With a recent CNN poll showing that 68 percent of Americans oppose the plan to build a mosque in lower Manhattan, close to Ground Zero, it is difficult not to conclude that Americans have begun to take a referendum, not necessarily on their Muslim neighbors, but more generally on what they see as the problems posed by Islam to U.S. liberal democracy. In Washington, Newt Gingrich put a name to it in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute when he identified the problem as "sharia," or what is commonly translated as Islamic law.

Stealthy jihadis and violent ones, said Gingrich, are "both seeking to impose the same end state, which is to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of sharia." After quoting the Gettysburg Address, Gingrich concluded, "I would argue that the victory of sharia would clearly mean the end of the government Lincoln was describing."

You'd think the party of Lincoln was made of stronger stuff, but many on the right have taken up the former Georgia congressman's call to arms. Gingrich, wrote Andrew McCarthy on National Review Online, "has crystallized the essence of our national-security challenge. Henceforth, there should be no place to hide for any candidate, including any incumbent. The question will be: Where do you stand on sharia?"

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