July 11, 2005

Friedman Takes On The Death Cult

Tom Friedman states the obvious: Muslims must condemn the Islamic terrorists

Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent. And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village. What do I mean? I mean that the greatest restraint on human behavior is never a policeman or a border guard. The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. It is what the village and its religious and political elders say is wrong or not allowed. Many people said Palestinian suicide bombing was the spontaneous reaction of frustrated Palestinian youth. But when Palestinians decided that it was in their interest to have a cease-fire with Israel, those bombings stopped cold. The village said enough was enough. The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.

Are there ever mass demonstrations of "moderate" Muslims, who want to see an end to Islamic terrorism? No. Of course, TV is full of the Muslim "leaders" and "spokesmen" who lament the tragedy, but do they ever condemn those who committed the heinous act? Do they ever address their fellow Muslims in a plea to stop the madness? No. Do they ever publicly say that the terrorists, who prey upon innocent men, women and children, are cowards? No. Rather, their responses typically can be described as follows: (a) they lament the "inevitable" anti-Muslim backlash that these acts will cause and (b) they justify the attack as the result of U.S./European/Israeli policy towards Arabs.
On Friday, my father in law and I were watching Tucker Carlson. He had a spokesman from a British Muslim group on to discuss the attacks. The spokesman essentially justified the attacks because of the British and U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Israeli "aggression" against the Palestinians, and Western support of Arab dictators. To his credit, Tucker Carlson argued with the spokesman and directly rebutted these outrageous claims.
The spokesman stated that the terrorist attack in London was "no different" than British/U.S. forces dropping bombs on innocent Iraqis. There is, however, a huge distinction between civilian losses in Iraq and those in London. The British and the U.S. forces take great pains to avoid civilian casualties (for example, the use of exposed ground forces and precision bombing as opposed to carpet bombing of areas of terrorist control). To the extent that there are any civilian deaths, they are typically an unfortunate accident. The terrorists, however, deliberately target innocent civilians. Notwithstanding, the British and U.S. forces are fighting an enemy that does not follow the rules of war - namely, they hide amongst the civilian population. It is arguable that many of the civilian deaths are not, in fact, the deaths of "innocent" people as many of these same civilians knowingly hide and give aid to the terrorists.
The spokesman's contention that terrorism is the result of the Muslim world's "great anger" over our support of Israel's "oppression" of the Palestinians is outrageous. First, it is useful to note that Al-Quaeda has never paid any real great attention to the Palestinian issue and has not waged war against Israel. Even the terrorist-statesman Yasser Arafat complained bitterly that Osama Bin Laden was MIA in the Intifada. The Palestinians are solely responsible for the squalor they currently live in. The Palestinians have received hundreds of billions of dollars in aid. Rather than build cities and infrastructure, the Palestinian leaders have stolen the funds for either their own private use or to fund their terrorist war against Israel. It is important to remember that the Israelis are not the only ones responsible for the Palestinians continuing to reside in these refugee camps. The adjacent Arab states, such as Jordan, have refused to allow the Palestinians to live in their countries. On several occasions, Israel has offered the Palestinians control of their own country on one condition - that they end terrorism. Yet, the Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. You see, the Palestinians don't want their own country - they want Israel. They want to see all Jews that live in Israel pushed into the sea.
The spokesman last point - that terrorism is the result of Muslim anger over the West's support of brutal dictators - is so obviously hypocritical that I hesitated whether I should even address it. If Muslims are angry over our support for brutal dictators, then wouldn't you think that they would be happy that the most brutal of the Middle East dictators - Saddam Hussein (a man responsible for more Muslim deaths than any one) - has been deposed by the British and the U.S.? Wouldn't you think that this would be one policy that they would have supported? Wouldn't the Iraqi war have shown the Muslim world that we are making amends for any past policies. Yet, according to the spokesman, the Muslims are angry about our invasion and occupation of Iraq. Makes no sense.
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