"The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children." So said President Bush in his September 20th address to Congress and the nation. "I also want to speak tonight directly to Moslems throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah."
I would respectfully disagree with the President. Little in Islam's history, dating back to 610 AD, when Muhammad began preaching, and 622AD, from which Islam dates its calendar, has demonstrated an inclination towards peace and, for decades now, its imams have preached hatred against Israel and the United States. Despite suppressing militant Moslem movements in their own nations, most of the Middle East leadership also contributed to their upkeep and permitted their media to validate their fanaticism.
While Americans are accustomed to expressing ourselves plainly and openly, one of the difficulties to be faced in the days ahead is that the opposite is true of Arab culture. The plain language of the President's address, understood instantly by Americans, is still being parsed by our enemies. In addition, Arabs live with too many boogyman fantasies about Jews. It clouds their ability to see things as they are. Regrettably, this can be also said of some Christians.
There is, however, a very big difference between Islam and Christianity. Writing in "Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 2lst Centuries", historian Paul Fregosi documented the history of Islam and its attacks upon European nations. "'The sword is the key to heaven and hell,' Muhammad told his followers. Six hundred years earlier, Christ had said, 'He who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword.' It can be said that Moslems who kill are following the commands of Muhammad, but Christians who kill-and there are many-are ignoring the words of Christ. Therein", wrote Fregosi, "perhaps lies one of the basic philosophical differences, as well as one of the basic ethical differences, between Islam and Christianity."
To ignore these differences-and they exist between Islam and all other religions-is to ignore a terrible truth, one that has been articulated by the leaders of Islam since its beginning. The late Ayatollah Khomeini whose Islamic revolution overthrew the Shah of Iran is a saint to millions of Moslems around the world. This is what he said of Jihad: "It
means the conquest of non-Muslim territory. The domination of Koranic Law from one end of the earth to the other is…the final goal…of this war of conquest."
Fregosi characterized Jihad as "essentially a permanent state of hostility that Islam maintains against the rest of the world." Many other historians have seen Islam in this light as well. Bat Yeor's "The Decline of Eastern Christianity" identifies Jihad as "a religious obligation. It forms part of the duties that the believer must fulfill; it is Islam's normal path to expansion." In this respect, Jihad is what Christians would call a sacrament; it is a religious duty that Muslim's must perform if called upon.
In February 1998, Osama bin Laden issued the following order: "Kill Americans." On September 25, 2001, in a statement to the people of Pakistan, he said, "We ask God to make us defeat the infidels and the oppressors and to crush the new Jewish-Christian crusader campaign on the land of Pakistan and Afghanistan." That's worth repeating: "the new Jewish-Christian crusader campaign." Not the American campaign or the British campaign, but one he identified totally in terms of Christianity and Judaism.
For all those loathsome liberals, intellectuals, and Hollywood types who want to blame the attack on America, this is what syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer, had to say, "America conducted three wars in the 1990s. The Gulf War saved the Kuwaiti people from Saddam. American intervention in the Balkans saved Bosnia. And then we saved Kosovo from Serbia. What do these three military campaigns have in common? In every one we saved a Muslim people. And then there was Somalia, a military operation of unadulterated altruism. Its sole purpose was to save the starving people of Somalia. Muslims all."
Americans and others around the world must now consider how we are going to deal with both militant Moslems and the great, largely silent majority of Moslem faithful. Since the early 1980's, except when provoked, America has largely "turned the other cheek", but I respectfully suggest this is no longer an option and this poses some very difficult questions and issues for everyone.
The Kalima, the central prayer of Islam says, "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet." This recitation, said daily by Moslems, is a proclamation of his or her faith in Islam. It can also be interpreted to be a declaration that all other religions are false. By comparison, the central prayer of Judaism is "Hear Oh Israel, the Lord, my God, the Lord is one." It simply declares the singularity of God.
Americans are being urged to avoid giving offense to Moslem citizens. This is a nation that prides itself on its tolerance for all religions. Our Constitution extends protection to the free practice of religion and says in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", but in Moslem nations around the world, the practice of any religion other than Islam is forbidden, often on pain of death.
A major campaign by US Moslem organizations is being waged to convince Americans that Moslem Americans are loyal. Daniel Pipes, one of the nation's leading authorities on Moslems and Islam, has written that many of these organizations are saying one thing in public and another in private.
For example, American Muslims for Jerusalem publicly emphasizes "the profound attachment Moslems have to Jerusalem" and calls it a symbol of "religious tolerance and dialogue." In a November 1999 fundraiser however, AMJ speakers, Nihad Awad and Abduraham Alamoudi, reportedly "vied with each other in verbally assaulting the State of Israel and American Jews. In particular, they spun an elaborate conspiracy theory about Jewish control of the United States and Zionist brainwashing of American Christians," noted Pipes.
Pipes has warned for years against "the covert radicalism of American Moslem organizations", suggesting that "Government and corporate policymakers should not meet with them. The media should not quote them as authorities. Immigration officials should study closely whom they invite from abroad. Religious leaders should exclude them from ecumenical events."
American Moslems and surely all others around the world are faced with a profound spiritual decision. Can they break with sacramental ties to a religion that is based upon an unending Jihad against all other religions? Other major religions have evolved over the centuries. Only Islam appears resistant to any change. The President has taken the lead, inviting American Moslems to participate fully in the mainstream of our national community. He is a Born Again Christian and, as such, a man who takes forgiveness and redemption very seriously. The rest of us can only pray that American Moslems take the hand extended to them and grasp it firmly.
For my part, despite the rhetoric in high places, I believe it is folly to think that those in
Middle Eastern nations are our "allies" or "friends", no matter how many times our leaders use these terms in the effort to secure their leaders' cooperation to root out the terrorists in their midst. Whether Moslems such as those in Afghanistan are the victims of the so-called fundamentalists among them or whether they are those who danced in the streets of their cities, there is little evidence of anything other than widespread support for the evil that was visited upon the United States on September 11th.
Right now, the reality is that there are Moslem organizations dedicated to the Islamic domination of the world and they don't care who they kill or how many they have to kill in order to achieve it. These organizations include al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's organization, spread throughout all the nations of the Middle East and in African nations, as well as those in Asia and the Pacific Basin. Its cells exist in America and in the United Kingdom as well, and extend into former Soviet republics that include Chechnya, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
In the Philippines and Malaysia, there's the Abu Sayyaf group. In Algeria there's the Armed Islamic group. In Egypt there's Al-Gam'a al-Islamiyya and Al-Jihad.
Hamas, Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Palestinian Liberation Front are groups whose names are familiar to those who have followed the Islamic effort to destroy the nation of Israel and claim its land for Islam. It's claim goes back over 5,000 years, pre-dating both Islam and Christianity. Jews around the world just celebrate Rosh Hashonah, their New Year, whose calendar is 5762.
The United States has had a strange relationship with nations such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, the Sudan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. We are extremely dependent on the oil that props up most of their regimes. We have fought wars on their behalf and we have been the target of their scorn. The leaders of almost all these nations have now cut off diplomatic relations with the Taliban. As noted, they have suppressed militant Islamic movements within their own nations, but they have not curbed the ceaseless campaign of hatred against America and Israel.
The President, in his address to Congress, said, "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." There has to be a cultural and-yes, spiritual-change within Islam.
For America, the United Kingdom, Europe, the nations of South America, nothing less than the future of Western values, of human progress is at stake. For Buddhists and Hindus, and members of other faiths, Islam must reject its intolerance.
Are there good Moslems in the United States? Yes, of course, just as there are surely millions of Moslems worldwide who personally and privately condemn what is occurring. They must reclaim Islam and they must reform it. For now, however, America is a nation at war with an enemy who killed more than 6,000 of us on a single day. They call it Jihad.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center (anxietycenter.com/warning.htm).
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