May 13, 2004
I think a lot of Americans, those favoring withdrawal from Iraq and efforts to negotiate with al Qaeda and those nations supporting its holy war, have not yet figured out that the Islamic fundamentalists who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg, who attacked this nation on 9-11, and who represent the insurgents in Iraq, want us dead. All of us.
We are in Iraq and Afghanistan for a purpose greater than just national security. We are there because the Middle East is a region seeking to distance itself from a world in which most nations, their economies, their security, their future and ours, is dependent on globalization, our being connected to one another. The United States of America is the only nation that can end the domination of some two billion people worldwide by the petty despots that prosper by not joining their future to ours. That is the overarching reason we are fighting---and winning---in Iraq.
Having said this, it would be useful if the February 23, 1998 “World Islamic Front” statement issued by Osama bin Laden, along with Ayman al-Zawahiri, amir of the Jihad Group in Egypt, and three others, were mandatory reading for every American. Indeed, for everyone who enjoys the benefits of a connected world, a modern world of export, import, prosperity, and of freedom. Bin laden spelled out why his movement is the greatest threat we face and why it must be defeated.
It issues a “fatwa”, a ruling based in Islamic faith and teachings. “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (Mecca) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the worlds of Almighty Allah ‘and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together’, and ‘fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.’”
There is no more clear and specific explanation of why we are involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting a bloody war to protect our lives. Bin Laden made it abundantly clear that he believes it is “Allah’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever, and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema (the worldwide community), leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s US troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.”
To dismiss such a statement as the insane babbling of some self-deluded religious fanatic is to ignore, at our peril, the fact that it is widely believed among a large portion of the Middle East’s Arab population. It also ignores the enormous wealth that bin Laden and al Qaeda is able to bring to this holy war.
There is a struggle going on for the soul of Islam between the fanatics and the moderates of a faith that is estimated to include some 1.2 billion people stretched across the map of the world. They represent twenty percent of the world’s population. Not all, of course, support the declared holy war, but surely enough do to require that we must expend the lives of our military and our wealth to insure our victory.
The ignorance of Islam still leaves many Americans wondering why we have witnessed a long history of attack on our military and, on 9-11, our homeland. Few have wanted to publicity cast this war as one between religions, but Islam was and is at war with all other religions, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and any other. Muslims divide the world between that of Islam and that of war.
In an excellent essay on the subject, “Islam and Violence”, posted on the website, Answering-Islam.org.uk, one can find a brief history of the role of violence in both the rise of Islam and in its philosophical/theological outlook as found in the Quran and its other holy books. “The point that we’d like to make is quite simple. Muslims who commit acts of violence and terror in the name of God, can find ample justification for their actions, based on the teachings of the Quran and the says and examples from prophet Muhammad himself!”
Unlike Christianity that teaches one should love their enemy, Islam offers no quarter for any unbeliever unless they convert. There are many verses of the Quran that invoke Muslims to fight against their enemies, the non-believers. The essay cites just twenty out of 149 easily found in the reading of the Quran.
Despite the constant repetition of the view that Islam is a religion of peace, only the most naïve and foolish could possibly look at events around the world and conclude there is any truth to this. Time and again, the many biographies of Muhammad reveal that he employed murder and war repeatedly to advance Islam. He was particularly obsessed with killing Jews.
As to the terrible instances of beheadings such as those of Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter (and Jew), and the most recent of the American businessman, Nick Berg, this practice has its roots in Islamic history.
Muhammad clashed with many tribes in Arabia, among which was a Jewish tribe from the city of Medina. When they were conquered, he ordered the execution of all of the adult males. Muslim sources put the number at 600 and all were beheaded.
The prophet left a trail of assassinations and other bloody acts behind him until his own death, all of which are recorded by Muslim historians. This would become a tradition among Muslims in the early centuries of its development. As the essay notes, these are not just isolated incidents or aberrations. “Such violence in fact goes to the very roots of Islam as found in the Quran and the actions and teachers of the prophet of Islam himself.”
The holy war that has been declared against us leaves us no choice but to fight for our lives.
Alan Caruba is the author of “Warning Signs” and his weekly commentaries are posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.
© Alan Caruba 2004
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