I recently had the pleasure of speaking (on racial harmony) and playing music at Oxford University in jolly ol’ England. It was quite inspiring to see so many young, committed folks come together for a Jewish, Israel-oriented experience — especially in a bastion of ancient college tradition and culture.

Yet despite all the Christian overtones to Oxford’s colleges (names like Trinity and Christ) the most visible group there was the Muslims. I am told that this small town now has more than a dozen mosques with a new, huge one under construction.

Listen, I’m a big believer in free speech and freedom of worship. Jews, more than any other group throughout history, know all too well what it’s like to have these basic rights taken away. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder about the true sentiments of the Oxford Muslims. Many Oxford folks were quick to point out that “their” Muslims were essentially Pakistanis and not really too concerned about Middle East politics. And it was true that I only saw a few walls with graffiti that declared “Free Palestine!”

It was, in fact, their silence that had me alarmed. Why didn’t I read any statements from the Oxford Muslim leaders or lay people about how it wasn’t right for their co-religionists to riot and kill over the Miss World contest in Nigeria? Why hadn’t any Muslims protested or written anything against the declaration that it was permissible to spill the blood of a Christian female news reporter for her audacity to express her own opinions about Mohammed?

Why was there no great world pressure on Egypt (you know, the modern “peace” partner with democratic Israel) when it recently aired a television series based on the patently untrue and  anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Hitler would have proud of the Egyptians. Where was the protest from the so-called enlightened Muslims?

And why is it that whenever I read about a terrorist act, or the murder of innocent civilians, or systematic violence in one of the world’s crazy trouble spots, it’s a pretty sure bet that Muslim fanatics are behind it — and that “moderate,” law-abiding, decent Muslims are once again silent. There is no voice of dissension, no protest, no rage.

And where are the voices of “middle of the road” modern Muslims expressing gratitude and thanks for the liberation of millions of their brothers & sisters from Saddam’s ghastly oppression?

Why do they keep pointing an accusing finger at the U.S. and arguing, “See, so far you have not found those weapons of mass destruction!” Are thousands of mass graves (courtesy of Saddam and family) not enough of a “smoking gun”? Or does it only count if the bodies number in the millions? 

There’s the old adage about the “squeaky wheel getting the grease.” But these aren’t just loud, obnoxious wheels; they’re are sharp, dangerous ones that threaten not just the majority of the Muslim world, but humanity in general. 

We have seen the pattern of subversion and repression by the PA, Hamas, and other so-called “leadership” groups against their own people. Here too, as in the rest of the world, Arabs who dare criticize practices and policies risk a quick kangaroo court (if they’re lucky) and swift application of “Muslim justice.” The not-so-lucky ones, including a pregnant mother of many children, have been dragged out of their homes in broad daylight for rape and/or execution at the hands of bloodthirsty mobs.

So the questions come down to these: Are the so-called “middle” Muslims afraid to speak out, or do they really side with the fanatics? And why hasn’t the UN called for an investigation into such PA practices as teaching racism, turning children into suicide bombers, and shooting (hiding) behind ambulances and schools?

All freedom-loving peoples and nations must, as President Bush so bravely stated, join together to confront and eliminate this global threat of terrorism. (The key word here is “eliminate.”) It’s particularly insidious since many Muslim fundamentalists have no qualms killing “in the name of.” They praise terrorism and glorify suicide bombers. To remain silent is to acquiesce in their attempt to hold the world hostage.

Finally, we cannot negotiate in any way, shape or form with those who sponsor and support terrorism. While we still have the upper hand, they need to be dealt with in the only language they understand, respect, and fear: the language of military power. That’s why it’s high time to unleash the IDF. If the U.S. and Great Britain won’t do what’s necessary to help eliminate terrorism in the “territories,” then Israel is quite capable of doing the job on its own. 

President Bush could score a decisive blow in his declared war on terrorism by giving the IDF the full “green light” to take care of business once and for all. The opposite scenario, in which the terrorists are left holding the trump card, is too horrifying to even consider.