As we move along the post-Boston Marathon bombing period, I see that there is a lot of debate all around about terrorism issues. There are those who downplay the terror inflicted on the innocent people in Boston and that they blame the United States for its past (and present) atrocities. They seem to imply that such violence inflicted upon innocent Americans can be justified as mere retaliatory actions because they seem to suggest that the American government has terrorized and continues to terrorize more people around the world than these radical Muslims have done. I do not agree with these people but they are free to vent out their deep seated anger towards the American government and perhaps the American people as well. Imperialistsâ€¦ fascistsâ€¦ terroristsâ€¦ whatever they call the American government or the American people, for me they can knock themselves out with their vitriol. However, what annoys me more is the Political Correctness (PC) police and the leftist peaceniks that seem so obsessed with being careful not to offend the feelings of Muslims. Who the heck are these folks trying to impress? Would jihadists really care and would they stop attacking America if Americans were only PC with their choice of words? I doubt it.
So before I get flak from the PC police, let me say that yesâ€¦ I agree that not all Muslims are jihadists or Islamic terrorists. However, I think even the PC police would not make a stink about jihadists and Islamic terrorists all being Muslims. But what does being Muslim (or the religion of Islam) have anything to do with terrorism especially if not all Muslims feel the same extremist views and anger towards the West and non-Muslims? I think it is more of a matter of the core belief of Muslims that simply fosters and justifies violence in the name of their deity, Allah, and upon injunctions of their sacred book, the Quran. I may be wrong but their (recent) record sure does seem to suggest that violence is justified even for the silliest cartoon that they find offensive to their prophet. (Yes, even those who arenâ€™t necessarily bomb strapping â€œmartyrsâ€ eager to get it on with 72 virgins in Paradise.)
The way I see it, Islam may very well be the worst amongst the major organized religions in the world today when it comes to threats to free thought and world peace. In 2004, Hirsi Ali (a former Muslim turned feminist and atheist activist) and film director Theo Van Gogh, released their film â€œSubmissionâ€. According to Wikipedia:
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â€œThe film tells the story of four fictional characters played by a single actress wearing a veil, but clad in a see-through chador, her naked body painted with verses from the Koran. The characters are Muslim women who have been abused in various ways. The film contains monologues of these women and dramatically highlights three verses of the Quran,(4:34 2:222 and 24:2) that allegedly give authority to men over women, by showing them painted on womenâ€™s bodies.
Hirsi Ali has said “it is written in the Koran a woman may be slapped if she is disobedient. This is one of the evils I wish to point out in the film”. In an answer to a question about whether the film would offend Muslims, Hirsi Ali said that “if you’re a Muslim woman and you read the Koran, and you read in there that you should be raped if you say ‘no’ to your husband, that is offensive. And that is insulting.”
On November 2, 2004, Theo van Gogh was assassinated in public by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim with a Dutch passport. A letter, stabbed through and affixed to the body by a dagger, linked the murder to Van Gogh’s film and his views regarding Islam. It was addressed to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and called for a jihad against kafir (Kafir is a disbeliever or infidel) against America, Europe, the Netherlands, and Hirsi Ali herself. Following the murder of Van Gogh, tens of thousands gathered in the center of Amsterdam to mourn Van Gogh’s death. There were fire-bombings of mosques and Muslim schools, and counterattacks against Christian churches. Besides Bouyeri, eleven other Muslim men were arrested and charged with conspiracy to assassinate Hirsi Ali.â€
The motivation behind the killing of the film director was about Aliâ€™s views regarding Islam. Notice too that in addition to the murder of the film director and threats to Aliâ€™s life (Ali being one of the direct makers of the film), a jihad against entire countries and even a continent was declared! Such threats to parties not directly involved in whatever offended these Muslims are not new, of course.
In 2005, a Danish newspaper released editorial cartoons which depicted the Islamic prophet Mohammed. As seen in Wikipedia:
â€œThe newspaper announced that this publication was an attempt to contribute to the debate regarding criticism of Islam and self-censorship.
Danish Muslim organisations that objected to the depictions responded by petitioning the embassies of Islamic countries and the Danish government to take some form of action in response, and filed a judicial complaint against the newspaper, which was dismissed in January 2006. After the Danish government refused to meet with representatives of the Islamic countries and would not intervene in the case, a number of Danish imams made trips to the Middle East during the autumn of 2005 to raise awareness of the issue.
After the issue received prominent media attention in some Islamic countries, Muslims held protests across the world in late January and early February 2006, some of which escalated into violence resulting in a total of more than 200 reported deaths, attacks on a number of Danish and other European diplomatic missions, attacks on churches and Christians, and a major international boycott.
Critics of the cartoons described them as Islamophobic, racist, or baiting and blasphemous to Muslims, possibly intended to humiliate a Danish minority, or as a manifestation of ignorance about the history of Western imperialism, double standards, and stereotyping.
Supporters generally said that the publication of the cartoons was a legitimate exercise of the right of free speech, regardless of the validity of the expression itself or that it was important to be able to openly and frankly discuss Islam without fear and that the cartoons made important points about topical issues.”
Please note that the publication in Denmark of the cartoons deemed offensive to Islam has resulted in violence with more than 200 deaths and destruction of many properties in many countries outside of Denmark. Offended Muslims (including the non bombing kind) do not seem to recognize international boundaries when it comes to engaging in large scale violence and mayhem when reacting to artistic expressions that they deem to be critical of their religion or their prophet.
Now, notice too that the Danish newspaper has also released â€œsatirical cartoons depicting Christian figuresâ€. But the reactions of the offended Christians did not result in the same magnitude (if any) as the case for the violent reactions of the offended Muslims. The Christians in the Netherlands, of course, have engaged in violence too as stated in the previous Wikipedia snippet in retaliation to the murder of Theo van Gogh. But to compare the scale of violence and destruction engaged by both sides in the van Gogh case and also of the Danish cartoon case, the Muslim side gave a larger scale.
Now who can forget the September 11, 2001 attacks? A summary of the motives behind the attack is as follows:
â€œOsama bin Laden’s declaration of a holy war against the United States, and a fatwÄ signed by bin Laden and others calling for the killing of American civilians in 1998, are seen by investigators as evidence of his motivation.
In various pronouncements before and after the attacks, al-Qaeda explicitly cited three motives for its activities against Western countries: the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, U.S. support of Israel, and sanctions against Iraq. After the attacks, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri released additional video tapes and audio tapes, some of which repeated those reasons for the attacks. Two particularly important publications were bin Laden’s 2002 “Letter to America”, and a 2004 video tape by bin Laden.
Bin Laden interpreted the Prophet Muhammad as having banned the “permanent presence of infidels in Arabia”. In 1996, bin Laden issued a fatwÄ calling for American troops to leave Saudi Arabia. In 1998, al-Qaeda wrote, “for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.” In a December 1999, interview, bin Laden said he felt that Americans were “too near to Mecca”, and considered this a provocation to the entire Muslim world. One analysis of suicide terrorism suggested that without U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda likely would not have been able to get people to commit suicide in this way.
In his November 2002 “Letter to America”, bin Laden cited the United States’ support of Israel as a motivation: “The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its price, and pay for it heavily.” In 2004 and 2010, bin Laden again connected the September 11 attacks with U.S. support of Israel. Bin Laden claimed in 2004 that the idea of destroying the towers had first occurred to him in 1982, when he witnessed Israel’s bombardment of high-rise apartment buildings during the invasion of Lebanon. Several analysts, including Mearsheimer and Walt, also say one motivation for the attacks was U.S. support of Israel. In the 1998 fatwÄ, al-Qaeda identified the Iraq sanctions as a reason to kill Americans, condemning the “protracted blockade” among other actions constituting a declaration of war against “Allah, his messenger, and Muslims.”
Bin Ladenâ€™s big beef, according to the snippet, is the presence of infidels in Saudi Arabia. With infidels, of course he was referring to the soldiers of the Western powers headed by the United States stationed in Saudi Arabia. (He found issue with this but not with American liberation of Kuwait after being invaded by the ruthless Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein? Hmmmâ€¦ anywayâ€¦.) But why was Bin Laden and many like-minded Islamic zealots so anal about the US presence in Saudi Arabia?
â€œGod wanted to give Avraham a double blessing, through Ishmael and through Isaac, and ordered that Ishmael’s descendents should live in the desert of Arabia and Isaac’s in Canaan.â€
So Bin Laden, together with many other Muslims, consider Saudi Arabia as their god-given land. Anyone who does not honor or recognize their land benefactor (Allah) nor the veracity of their sacred text, the Quran, is considered an infidel. An infidel is basically a â€œnon-believerâ€, not necessarily just an atheist but anyone who does not recognize Allah as the one true god nor revere the Quran as sacred. For these folks, the Quran says:
â€œSo, when you meet those who disbelieve in war, smite at their necks (without giving them the opportunity to defeat you). At length, when you have sufficiently suppressed them (without continuing fighting), bind a firm bond of captivity on them. Then set them free either as a favor without demanding anything in return, or for ransom (which may consist of a reciprocal exchange of prisoners of war), so that the war may lay down its burdens (and come to an end). That (is God’s command). Had God so willed, He would certainly exact retribution from them (Himself), but (He orders you to fight) in order to try you by means of one another. As for those who are killed in God’s cause, He will never render their deeds vain.â€ (Quran47.4).
“Then, when the (four) sacred months (of respite, during which fighting with those who associate partners with God and violate their treaties was prohibited to you,) are over, then (declare war on them and) kill them wherever you may come upon them, and seize them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place. Yet if they repent and (mending their ways) establish the Prescribed Prayer, and pay the Prescribed Purifying Alms, let them go their way. Surely God is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.”(Quran 9:5)
“Fight against those from among the People of the Book who (despite being People of the Book) do not believe in God and the Last Day (as they should be believed in), and do not hold as unlawful that which God and His Messenger have decreed to be unlawful, and do not adopt and follow the Religion of truth, until they pay the jizyah (tax of protection and exemption from military service) with a willing hand in a state of submission.”(Quran. 9:29)
So clearly the injunctions of Allah, through his words reflected in the Quran, mandate every â€œbelieversâ€ to decapitate, slaughter, and make war on the infidels. How can any faithful Muslim, even those who are â€œpeace-lovingâ€, disobey their god? For those who follow the injunctions of this god, how can we even consider them as â€œgoodâ€ or â€œpeace-lovingâ€ given the brutal nature of injunctions such as the ones shared above? A review of Ibn Warraqâ€™s book â€œWhy I Am Not A Muslimâ€ gives a good point stating:
â€œGood and bad people are distributed in equal proportions in all nations. Yet in Islam good people are often forced to do bad things and go against their conscience. They often convince themselves that in this apparent injustice there must be a hidden wisdom that they do not understand and that God knows better. Many good people who claim to be Muslims are often ignorant of true Islam and dismiss the real orthodox Muslims as hard-liners and fundamentalists. But as Ibn Warraq in â€œWhy I am not a Muslimâ€ points out, unlike Christianity, Islam does not leave room for leniency and tolerance. Islam and fundamentalism are synonymous terms. You have to break the laws of Muhammad, just to keep your humanity and be good. No amount of intellectual acrobatics performed by Muslim apologists can justify the intolerant and ruthlessness of Muhammadâ€™s religion.â€
Clearly it is understandable why a lot of Muslims resort to murder, violence and mayhem when it comes to what they perceive as an insult to their religion because not to do so would disobey the very injunctions of their god. Now, I recognize that not all or not even the majority of Muslims go chopping off peopleâ€™s heads at a drop of a pen. However, the silence of these â€œnon-violent majorityâ€ seems very deafening! Writer Frank Gaffney Jr. explains why:
â€œSince 9/11, many of us have wondered: Where are the moderate Muslims? If they are out there, why are we not hearing more, and getting more help, from them in the fight against our common foe — the totalitarian Islamists?
In recent weeks in this space, I have chronicled the saga of an effort to answer that question. It took the form of a 52-minute documentary I helped produce for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s “America at a Crossroads” series. The film, entitled “Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center,” features compelling stories of anti-Islamist Muslims who have had the courage to stand up to co-religionists who are using faith to accomplish political ends.
The documentary makes clear why the moderates are not more in evidence. Observant Muslims who dare to challenge the Islamists over ideological agendas pursued in the name of religion are shown being subjected to ostracism, intense coercion to conform and, in some cases, death threats. As long as these anti-Islamist Muslims are rightly seen as isolated, vulnerable and powerless, it would be foolish to believe that many of their co-religionists will want to emulate them.â€
The PC police may argue that the majority (if not all) of the violence committed by the Muslim extremists are political and not religious in nature. I can meet them halfway on that. I am not entirely sold on that because we also have to acknowledge the fact that those crazy Muslim suicide bombers or â€œmartyrsâ€ have engaged in murder under the assurance that â€œGod is on their sideâ€, that the â€œinfidelsâ€ deserve such death as stated in the Quran, and that their personal sacrifice will assure them of a free pass to Paradise with many 72 or so virgins for them. The PC police may say that the Islamic terrorist acts we often hear of are only committed by the fringe group who distort interpretations of the Quran to suit their ideology. Yes, I would agree with that. However, isnâ€™t it almost always the fringe group who wreak havoc (Christian extremists included)? The PC police may also say that the root cause is in the interpretation of the Quran. However, this is the problem with most (if not all) religious texts. The Quran, like the Bible, contains a lot of verses that are just so susceptible for misinterpretation. One of my favorite authors, Bishop John Shelby Spong, has a book called â€œThe Sins of Scriptureâ€ that exposes the â€œterrible textsâ€ in the Bible that have been used by Christians to justify atrocities. But the level of violence committed by Christians in the olden days has decreased significantly more than the case for Muslims. Womenâ€™s rights, and human liberty, for instance, are now looked at with high importance and value within the Christian fold. I cannot say the same case for Muslims especially those who live under the Sharia law.
It is really amazing how the PC police would bend over backwards just to appease the feelings of Muslims to the point of even placing the terrorists amongst the Muslim fold on a higher moral pedestal than non-Muslims (such as non-Muslim Americans). Others, in the typical leftist peacenik fashion, have given a big stink against generalization. Thousands of lives have been killed and many properties have been destroyed in the name of Islam within just these few recent years. The September 11, 2001 Islamic-inspired terrorist attacks alone have claimed the lives of around 3,000 people in one day. With that, I am amazed that these PC police left-leaning peacenik bunch seem to be suggesting that generalization is a lot worse than killing 3,000 people in one day! Isnâ€™t it funny how the PC police and the leftist peaceniks love to engage in Muslim butt-kissing despite the fact that Islam actually mandates that they (the non-Muslims within their fold) get killed for being infidels?
Calling a spade, a spade…