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Former Sec. of State Eagleburger on Cartoon Violence: "The Democratic World...Needs to be Awakened to the Fact that We Now have a Serious Threat of Radical Islam."

5:25 PM, Feb 8, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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In an interview yesterday with Neil Cavuto of Fox News, the Secretary of State under the first President Bush didn't pull any punches.

CAVUTO: What do you make of the ferocity of the response to this cartoon?

EAGLEBURGER: Well, first of all, I should tell you, I hope, devoutly, that this tends to unite, as you said -- to unite the West, to begin to understand the kind of threat that we face.

I'm -- I'm going to sound like a racist to some, and I apologize for that. I don't mean it as racist. But you have to see -- you -- you watch this on television, and then you tell yourself that this is not a serious problem in the Muslim world, in terms of the way they look at the West?

This is -- it -- it should be very clear to everybody now that we have a problem for ourselves, not just the United States, but the Western world in general, and, certainly, the Christian world. And it seems to me that it should be very obvious that what is happening now is so irrational and so dangerous that we had better wake up to the fact that the world has changed and this is a part of that change.

CAVUTO: Indeed, Denmark doesn't have a -- exactly a very violent history at all.

It is probably one of the most peaceful nations on the planet. What do you think the message is for fellow peaceful nations, nations like Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, that try to stay out of this whole debate?

EAGLEBURGER: Well, I hope -- I hope that what this will tell them all is that there has to be some unity now amongst all of us, because this is a threat that isn't going to go away.

And one of the problems in the Western world is that we are so tolerant, we have reached the point that we are tolerant of intolerance. And that's what's going on here now. And if we pooh-pooh it, and if we say, well, it's all the fault of this Danish newspaper, shouldn't have done, we will have been getting all the wrong reactions.

What we ought to be seeing now is that the Western world, if I can use the term, the democratic world, it needs to be awakened to the fact that we now have a serious threat of radical Islam. And, please, don't let me get into the point of trying to say that every Muslim is like this, but what is fairly clear now is that there is a growing number of them.

And we need to be worried about that. And I also have to say, we don't see any of that in the United States. God help us, if we should. But, in Europe now, what we're seeing is a very serious challenge to Western European democracy.

CAVUTO: You know, Secretary, there have been even critics more vocal than you who have said that the same who are ranting and rioting right now didn't say boo when there were pictures of decapitations of hostages...

EAGLEBURGER: Of course not.

CAVUTO: ... and that sort of thing.

EAGLEBURGER: Of course not.

CAVUTO: But they are making a huge deal out of this.

I guess I'm wondering whether that image, that -- that weird juxtaposition, resonates, even in the Muslim world, that there might be a - - a clarion call for -- for the more moderate members of the Muslim world to stand up and say, this isn't us?

EAGLEBURGER: Good -- good for you. Good for you, because that's the only real alternative now, is that the moderate Muslims, who have pretty much kept -- kept their heads down, for good and sufficient reason, when you see this sort of thing happening, are going to have to realize that, if they don't react to this, they're going to be dragged along by a hysterical mob that is going to move all of the Muslim world, all of Islam, in a direction that they ought not want.

And it's totally counterproductive. Yet, at the same time, I have to tell you, there was a poll taken in the United Kingdom in 2004, in which 60 percent of the Muslims living in the United Kingdom said they wanted to live under Sharia, which is the Muslim law that governs the way you live, and includes things like women with their faces covered and things of this sort.

When you have 60 percent of those who are living in one of the world's great democracies saying they don't want to live in that democracy, but they want to live in the United Kingdom, you better understand you have a problem.