Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Who says Islam is hostile to modernity?
Monday, April 24, 2006
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because 'All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.' Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you (1st Peter 1:22-25).
…Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:12-15).
Sunday, April 23, 2006
And too many uncritically accept such non sequiturs. West is on crusade: 'Bin Laden':
The West's moves to isolate the new Hamas-led Palestinian government prove it is at war with Islam, a tape attributed to Osama Bin Laden declares.
The tape also described the situation in Iraq and Sudan's troubled Darfur region as further evidence that a "Zionist-crusader war" was being waged.
The recording was broadcast by Arab satellite TV al-Jazeera on Sunday.
If confirmed, it is the first message from Bin Laden since January 2006, when he threatened more attacks on the US.
...The authenticity of the tape has yet to be independently verified.
The speaker on the tape said that along with their governments, the people of the West bear responsibility for what he called a "Zionist-crusader war against Islam".
"The war is a responsibility shared between the people and the governments. The war goes on and the people are renewing their allegiance to its rulers and masters," he said.
"They send their sons to armies to fight us and they continue their financial and moral support while our countries are burned and our houses are bombed and our people are killed."
He said that the decision by some Western powers to cut funding to the Palestinian government since the militant group Hamas won elections there was further proof of this anti-Islamic campaign.
"The blockade which the West is imposing on the government of Hamas proves that there is a Zionist-crusader war on Islam," the tape said.
...The speaker also criticised Western involvement in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan saying it was part of the "crusades against Islam" and called for militants to journey there to join the fight.
"I call on mujahideen and their supporters, especially in Sudan and the Arab peninsula, to prepare for long war again the crusader plunderers in Western Sudan," the voice said. "Our goal is not defending the Khartoum government but to defend Islam, its land and its people."
Bin Laden was based in Sudan until he was expelled following US pressure on Khartoum.
He then moved to Afghanistan and is now believed to be hiding in the mountains on the Pakistani side of their shared border.
But successive operations involving coalition troops inside Afghanistan and Pakistani forces along their side of the border have so far failed to track down the al-Qaeda leader.
Here are headlines (links removed) of stories related to the bin Laden article demonstrating its larger historical context--Islam's great war against Humanity--to which the BBC seems blind:
Moussaoui can face death penaltyAll the BBC can see is President's Bush's potential political opportunism:
Moussaoui 'hid 9/11 plot details'
US rebuffs Bin Laden 'truce call'
US convicts man of al-Qaeda plot
'Millennium plotter' gets 22 years
Spain wraps up 9/11 terror trial
Terror threat remains global
Analysis: Key player seized
Pakistan's 'al-Qaeda' catch
The Hamburg connection
Q&A: Moussaoui trial
Q&A: Geneva rules
Hunt for Bin Laden
Boost for Bush?
A message from the al-Qaeda leader may help the US president at home and abroad.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
On NPR recently I heard the mellifluous Robert Siegel -- so mellifluous that he punches above his weight, and one is disinclined to pluck out his idiocies because he is well-spoken -- describe a friend of his who had had relatives, or his own friends, die in the World Trade Center Attacks. That friend, hitherto an opponent of capital punishment, had described to Siegel his own newfound willingness not merely to contemplate, but to wish with his own hands to execute, the death penalty on Moussaoui, Osama Bin Laden, and the others he connected to that attack.
So, Siegel's friend turns out to be a former death-penalty opponent who begins to see the matter differently becaus of his close ties to the victims of murder. He is one more of those souls who have a limited imagination, and who must endure experiences himself in order to learn from them; anything that might be learned, through the experiences of others, recorded and accessible to others, will not do it. The imaginative sympathy, a faculty once encouraged by literature and the study of history, is merely vestigial in him. But still, at least he was able, this friend, to arrive at some home-truths, while there are some who not only lack the wit to learn from the experience of others (as found in works of history and, often, of literature) but even lack the wit to learn from their own experience. For there are now many who continue to interpret away, in ways that prove most comforting to them, even the evidence of their own senses.
Siegel goes on to tell us that his friend describes Moussaoui as a "nut case." That, of course, is nonsense. Had Siegel's friend, had Siegel himself, had others at NPR, taken it upon themselves -- and a certain leisure is required for this task -- to study Islam and jihad and to think clearly about how such belief-systems can operate, none of them would think Moussaoui was anything but sane. Here one must not think of the local etiolated church service, but rather of the kind of indoctrination given to those admitted to the Army of True Communists (in the early days), or True Nazis (at any time).
Moussaoui is not a "nut case." He is a perfectly rational and devout believer in what the Qur'an, and the Sunna, tell him. And he is not unusual in his understanding of what Qur'an and Sunna stand for, of the hostility, even murderous hostility, those immutable texts teach Muslims to feel toward all Infidels. Unless Robert Siegel is willing to study those texts, those of Qur'an and Hadith, and the life of Muhammad, he has no business assuming, and passing on that assumption to unwary listeners, that Moussaoui must, of course, be a "nut case." For there are tens or even hundreds of millions of Believers who, like Moussaoui, divide the world uncompromisingly between Believer and Infidel, between the Domain of Islam, Dar al-Islam, and the Domain of War, or Dar al-Harb, and are perfectly aware of the duty imposed on them to push back the boundaries of Dar al-Harb until, ultimately, the rule of Islam is established everywhere. This is not a fabrication of perfervid mad-dog Infidel brains. It has been studied, at great length, by a great many Western scholars -- the scholars who lived and wrote and published in an earlier, less frightened and less inhibited age. Many of these scholars are represented in the anthology "The Legacy of Jihad." Islam has not changed. What has changed, since 1973, is the wherewithal that Islamic peoples and polities have acquired, including the nearly ten trillion dollars in OPEC oil revenues, and the other instruments of Jihad, including the foot-soldiers, the millions of Muslims who, in roughtly the same period, were admitted into, and allowed to settle deep within, the countries of Western Europe -- that is, within the Lands of the Infidels, behind enemy lines, as Muslims (but not those innocent Infidels) regard them.
There are millions who may not do as Moussaoui (who grew up in France) has done, but who support what he did, and who understand perfectly what prompted it. And it was not a matter of his being a "nut case." It is Moussaoui, and Osama bin Laden, and all the members of Jaish-e-Muhammad, and Laskar Jihad, and Hamas, and Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda, and As Sayyaf, and a thousand other groups, and millions who belong to no groups, who have the Qur'an and the Hadith and the example of Muhammad on their side. Unless and until a great many more people cease to soothe themselves with the comforting idea that all these people are merely "nut cases," and begin to look at, and to study with comprehension the Qur'an, and also -- this should never be overlooked -- the still more telling Hadith, they will continue to be surprised by a steady stream of such “nut cases.”
Mere reading of the Qur'an will not be enough. In both French and English it is far softer in its meaning than the original. And the reader may not be aware that Islamic tradition has resolved contradictory statements using the interpretative device of "naskh" or abrogation, resolving them always and everywhere in favor of the harsher verses, with the softer ones being cancelled.
And even reading and rereading the Qur'an and the most authoritative collections of the Hadith, and then studying the most salient aspects of the life of Muhammad, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, that Perfect Man, will not be enough. It takes time for it all to sink in -- and to imagine, to begin to comprehend, the effect it has on the minds of hundreds of millions, and even how the effect of filial piety, or civilizational pride, can cause otherwise intelligent people born into Islam to accept the monstrousness of it all, and to defend it and apologize for it in front of questioning and skeptical Infidels.
But let us pretend that Moussaoui, and tens of millions of others, are merely "nut cases." Suppose that were true. Suppose, that is, that only "nut cases" would take the passages of Islam and seek to act on them as Moussaoui did. And suppose, further, that the only thing we Infidels had to worry about were acts of terrorism, and not the slow transformation of our own societies (beginning with the sudden self-imposed limits on the practice of freedom of speech, by almost the entire American press, and now even by that supposed total iconoclast and brave disrespecter of all pieties, Comedy Central).
What then? How many "nut cases" are there? Well, the problem is that in any society, millions and millions of people at one time or another fall into depressions. In the United States, more than 15 million people at any one time are said to be severely depressed. When this happens to Infidels, they can blame all sorts of things: their parents, their children, their siblings, Amerika, The System, The Man, the Republicans, the Democrats, immigration, affirmative action, lack of affirmative action, crooked financial analysts, Wall Street speculators, Chinese and Indian competition, Fate, the stars in their alignment, their cholesterol level, their serotonin level -- even, at times, themselves.
What happens when a Muslim finds himself in disarray? You are Muhammad Atta, and things are not working out in Hamburg, where you set off to study urban planning, and you are not the great success you were supposed to be, and the Western world is so baffling, so confusing. You are Raed Albanna, dancing the night away in cocaine-soaked clubs of West Hollywood, and you are piling failure upon failure, for you failed to establish a practice as a lawyer in Jordan, and you need to find a solution more permanent and steady than that offered by that cocaine, those girls, that music by Nine Inch Nails.
When "Mike" Hawash, an Intel engineer with an American wife and three American children, earning $360,000 a year and the respect of his colleagues, turned to Islam and more Islam, and then deeded over his house to his wife, and made plans to fight the Americans in Afghanistan after the Al Qaeda attacks in New York and Washington, was he a "nut case"? Or was he someone who, in his recent return to Islam, was only reflecting his need for Islam and more Islam as a stay against confusion and depression? And if the Answer for Muslims, even those who are not especially observant, and who seem to be thoroughly Westernized and to have been the recipients of the best the West has to offer, is Islam and more Islam, then the Western world, the world of Infidels, owes it to itself to protect its own legacy, and to scrutinize closely and carefully control the immigration of those who, in moments of the kind of doubt or depression that come upon all of us, will always and everywhere turn, or return, to Islam.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Rather than provide cover for the subjugation of Man under Allah with phrases like "Religion of Peace" and equating the murderous blood-creed codified in Qur'an with the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount (as he did in his second inaugural address), President Bush should be telling the truth to the world about Islam's false god and prophet and refusing to give one penny, one inch of ground, one rhetorical point to the Religion of Death.
Rather than aid those who fight against, subdue and humiliate, and kill non-Muslims (including fellow Christians!), it is the President's responsibility to defend us. How can the leaders of the free world and the most powerful man on earth not understand?
President Bush's earlier statements about the "great" religion "hijacked by extremists," the "religion of Peace," and "Iraq the Model" need to be publicly refuted. He can justify them as the honest good will of a truly tolerant and peaceful people bending over backwards to give the benefit of the doubt to adherents of a religion obviously unlike our own.
The President would be fully justified in admitting (even many of the President's political enemies in the Democratic Party would be unwilling to find fault with this) that America and its allies did all they could to provide the opportunity for true Liberty and self-determination to the Muslim world but that Islam as defined by Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira is incompatible with the Equality of Man, and too many of Islam's people have chosen (democratically!) Islam over Freedom. The West did what it could but over and over again, despite the sacrifice of (especially) American lives, blood, and treasure, the Muslim world has proven itself unworthy of such a gift. There would be no shame in admitting that.
After such a declaration to the world, the President could then make very clear that all financial, military, and other forms of aid to all Muslim nations is forever ended. Any who would be our ally will also stop aiding the global Jihad in word and deed, stop succumbing to the intimidation of "peaceful," "moderate" Muslims in Western nations, start providing real assistance (not just lip-service) to fellow Infidels (especially Christians) in Muslim lands, and start crushing any and all of the faithful who dare to lift a heel against the unbelievers.
What nation has been more patient and generous--even to its mortal enemies--than Israel? The United States? There are still decent, honest, moral people in this nation. This is still the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave (despite what growing numbers of the self-centered, self-serving, and amoral might imply).
Innocent people are dying at the hands of Islam and our leadership makes excuses for it. It's disgusting and it's got to end.
Contemplating obvious next steps in resisting the manifestation of Allah's will in one locale is Ten Good Reasons For Stopping the Jizyah to Egypt:
Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald does the work that the dhimmis in the State Department cannot or will not do:A poster on this website recently asked, “Now how do we unload that $2 billion annual yoke to Egypt?"
The same way we unstick ourselves from the Iraq tarbaby -- just do it. Decide to do it, tell Egypt that we have Ten Good Reasons to End the Jizyah, and that it is hereby over. The American people simply will not stand for shelling out $2 billion a year (my, what could that do for solar energy and wind energy projects?), amounting to some $60 billion and counting, to a country that is not part of the West, and that does not share our beliefs or our assumptions -- and that does share beliefs and assumptions that, if they were somehow to prevail, would make our lives as Infidels much more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous. At the very least, and at the most, they might pose a mortal threat.
Here are those Ten Good Reasons:1) Egypt has failed to fulfill every single one of those intangible commitments it made to Israel under the Camp David Accords, all that stuff about ending hostile propaganda and so on. Instead, it has prevented Egyptians from visiting Israel, prevented Israelis from participating in film and book festivals in Cairo, and done everything it can in the press and on television (all of which are controlled completely by the government -- just try making noises about Mubarak's plans for his son) to make Egypt a hotbed of antisemitism. A multi-part television series based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion does not exactly correspond to what Egypt committed itself to do in order to receive, for the second time, the entire Sinai, together with oilfields and $16 billion (in 1979 dollars) in infrastructure put in by the Israelis.
2) Egypt has failed to make the Egyptian population grateful for the nearly $60 billion it has so far received. In fact, we have come to understand that the American aid is a kind of slush fund for the Mubarak Family-and-Friends Plan, and so actually increases resentment by people in Egypt toward the Americans.
3) The discovery that many high officials in Egypt were receiving sums from Saddam Hussein cannot allow further sums to go to Egypt. There has been evidence of collaboration between the regime of Saddam Hussein and Egypt on certain kinds of weapons development. In other ways Egypt was meretricious in how it hid all these dealings from the American government.
4) The failure of the Egyptian government to stop all the weapons smuggling into Gaza, though it has been made well aware, for years, of the situation, is a further violation of Egypt's commitments and of what the American government has a right to expect of it. Arms sent to such terrorist groups as Hamas (or Hezbollah, or Islamic Jihad) through Egypt can only be sent with the knowledge of some Egyptian authorities. The government should have found them. It did not.
5) The endless and sustained anti-American campaign in the press and television have led Egyptians to be among the most thoroughly anti-American in their views, even among Muslims. The government should have been moving heaven and earth to change these attitudes if it expected American taxpayers to keep shelling out money to a regime, a country, and a people (or at least the Muslim component of that people) who do not wish us, as Infidels, well -- and whom we, in turn, have no obligation in the slightest to support, and many good reasons not to support.
6) The behavior of Egypt in protecting the Sudan, in preventing U.N. troops or any troops except the ineffective African Union contingent, shows that the government of Egypt has no moral objections to the Jihad being conducted against non-Arab (and therefore inferior in every respect) Muslims in Darfur. Egypt has in every way been defending that government and throwing up obstacle after obstacle to attempts to end the continued mass murders in Darfur, as have other Arab and Muslim governments. Over the past 20 years Egypt has more or less successfully prevented Western powers from stopping the genocide against Christian and animist black Africans in the southern Sudan. This is not surprising. During the Biafra War it was Egyptian pilots who gleefully strafed Ibo and other Christian villages, killing tens of thousands of helpless villagers (who had not a rifle among them). Egypt's role in suppressing the Christians during the Biafra War was promptly forgotten; it should not have been.
7) The stratokleptocracy (or rule by a thieving military caste) has led Egyptians to turn to Islam as the answer, as most Muslims inevitably will when assorted lords of misrule confront them. And they inevitably will be so confronted, because Islam itself encourages the habit of subservience to the ruler, and the habit of mental submission at every level, and the habit of discouraging free inquiry. All this leads to conspiracy theories, rumors, and sheer political craziness, preventing good government from being established.
Therefore the more money Americans and other Infidels supply those corrupt and odious Egyptian rulers, the more, not less, will be their obvious gain. That gain will be flaunted, leading to still more resentment by ordinary Egyptians not privy to the appropriation and divvying up of that aid. The more aid we give to Egypt, the more anti-Americanism will be encouraged.
8) The behavior of the Egyptian officials in reacting to the kidnapping and rape, or kidnapping and forced conversion of Coptic girls, and the attacks on Coptic schools and churches, and even murders of Coptic priests and villagers, has been intolerable. These have often been carried out with the full knowledge, and sometimes the participation, of local police. This will probably continue, but it should not continue with American aid money.
9) Egypt has made repeated threats, some official, and some unofficial, to the government of Ethiopia and to others involved in its agricultural development, warning that "the Nile belongs to Egypt" and that Ethiopia (a country which in recent decades has suffered from famine and drought) should not dare to divert some of the headwaters of the Nile without Egypt's explicit approval. It is clear that the Egyptian government backs the Sudanese Arabs in wiping out as many of the non-Arabs -- whether Muslim or non-Muslim -- as possible. Meanwhile, the Arab control of Sudan (which just a half-century ago had a black African majority) tightens. This, in turn, is part of a larger effort to extend Egyptian (i.e., Arab Muslim) control, so that Ethiopia, the old Christian kingdom that once was given a dispensation (because some of Muhammad's followers had been given temporary refuge in Ethiopia by the negus, thus earning a special exemption from the violent Jihad), will never dare to take decisions about the Nile waters or anything else without express permission of the Arab Muslim imperialists in Cairo.
10) Egypt is a corrupt country out of control. By permitting successive governments to count on American support, the viciousness and corruption are allowed to continue without any consequences. From 1882 to 1922, the British brought some semblance of efficiency and a reduction of corruption to the Egyptian Civil Service.) See Edward Cecil's classic "Memoirs of an Egyptian Official," with its famous epigraph: "Here lies one who tried to hustle the East." Even after that period, Egypt enjoyed a period of good government, of an expanding economy, and of semi-decency in public life. This was reflected in the vivacity of its European and Levantine populations. It came to an end when Nasser and the other colonels arrived on the scene. There was the famous rioting against Jews, Copts, and Europeans, in Alexandria. Almost overnight, Greeks, Italians, Jews, and many others who had lived there had their property stolen by the Egyptians, who called it "nationalization." The Egyptian Muslims who ran everything took billions of dollars in property, the fruit in some cases of family entrepreneurial activity that had gone on for a century or more. Following Nasser was Saint Sadat: the same Sadat imprisoned by the British for his pro-Nazi activities during World War II. Jimmy Carter, who incidentally has also managed to award himself the same title, of course, awarded him his sainthood. Carter was rewarding Saint Sadat for deigning to accept all of the Sinai -- territory that morally Egypt had no right to receive back yet again. Egypt, after all, had lost in a war of aggression started when Nasser demanded that U Thant pull out the U.N. peacekeepers, and then proceeded to block the Straits of Tiran in May 1967.
Yet Carter rewarded Sadat and Egypt with nearly $2 billion a year in American foreign aid -- which foreign aid became automatic, a tribute never to be interrupted, in other words, Jizyah. This Jizyah has bought us nothing, unless you think that the anti-Americanism in Egypt has been swell, that the threats to Ethiopia and the support for the Sudanese government are acceptable, that the complicity in arms-smuggling into Gaza is perfectly understandable, that the continued and even growing numbers of rapes and looting and murders of Copts is simply what one should expect of Muslims and that one should not get too upset about it.
I don't think any of those things. And I don't think other long-suffering American taxpayers, Infidels all, agree with The New Duranty Times, or those lazy officials or hangers-on in Washington who keep prating about the "need" to keep "our Egyptian ally" happy. Why? So they can torture, occasionally, the odd Al Qaeda suspect? But meanwhile, they can try to produce WMD, harass the Copts, plot diplomatically and with arms-smuggling against Israel, bully Ethiopia to endure further famine, and fill the press and television with the most disgusting and scandalous misrepresentations of the behavior of American soldiers, as they have done for decades in their misrepresentation of Israeli soldiers.
No, I have presented Ten Good Reasons For Stopping the Jizyah to Egypt.
I defy anyone in Washington to offer even One Good Reason for continuing the Jizyah to that meretricious and sinister regime, people, and country.
It took me precisely 22 minutes to compose this article at one go. Why cannot those thousands of bigshots in Washington, in their think-tanks or in their well-paid government jobs, or at their newspapers and magazines, come up with these Ten Reasons, and Ninety Reasons more? If they did, they would thereby save us money, and, when it comes to dealing with the menace of the Jihad everywhere, Start Making Sense.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Clashes broke out between Muslims and Coptic Christians in Alexandria in Egypt, after the funeral of a Coptic worshipper killed in church on Friday.
Police fired tear gas and tried to separate the groups, who threw stones and attacked each other with sticks.
This followed the funeral of Nushi Atta Girgis, 78, who died after being stabbed in one of three knife attacks at Alexandria churches.
Christians have accused the government of failing to protect them.
Mourners shouted anti-government slogans as the funeral procession - attended by an estimated 3,000 people - turned into a protest outside the church where the funeral was held.
At least 15 people were injured and four vehicles were burned out, an interior ministry source said.
'Crushed by Muslims'
The government has announced the arrest of a "deranged" man it says was responsible for all the attacks, but some Copts believe they were carried out simultaneously as part of an anti-Christian plot by extremist Muslims.
A judge remanded Mahmoud Salah-Eddin Abdel-Raziq, 25, into custody.
"Certain papers speak of a madman. I don't believe a word. It is propaganda to silence us and to make us believe it is an individual incident," said Karim, a 78-year-old Copt at the funeral.
"We have always been peaceful, but we are always crushed by the Muslims," said 30-year-old Girgis Mina. "If the state does not protect us, we will do it ourselves."
Christians make up 10% of the Egyptian population and have complained of harassment and discrimination.
Some Copts argue that previous attacks on them have gone unpunished or have drawn light sentences.
Most Christians in Egypt are Copts - Christians descended from the ancient Egyptians.
Their church split from the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in 451AD because of a theological dispute over the nature of Christ, but is now, on most issues, doctrinally similar to the Eastern Orthodox church.
Friday, April 14, 2006
So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
2nd Corinthians 5:14b-21
... that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The Big Lie as propaganda device has a long and dishonorable history, gulling onto complacency those who prefer to avoid unpleasant worries. The Nazi propagandist Goebbels was its most notable practitioner, but for sheer numbers and historical roots, no other group can match the efforts of jihadist Muslims, with their religiously-sanctioned practice of deceiving infidels to protect the faith.
Al-Jazeera aired on March 24, 2006, a rather chilling, one-sided “dialogue” between representatives of Arab and Danish student organizations who met in Damascus, ostensibly to discuss the violent worldwide Muslim reactions following publication of the Muhammad cartoons by the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten. Video clips and a written transcript of this event are available through the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Ahmad Al-Shater, Chairman of the Arab Students Union, and his Sudanese Student Union colleague “Muhammad,” were unremittingly truculent in their presentations, which melded classic taquiyya (sanctioned dissimulation of Islamic doctrine to “protect” the faithful), or sheer ignorance, Muslim Jew-hatred, and a Goebbels-like distortion of contemporary events, including the requisite conspiratorial Judenhass (Jew-hatred).
Al-Shater began by stating that it was the nefarious “Zionists” and “imperialists” who had deliberately misrepresented Islam by wrongfully associating the religion with terrorism. He asserted categorically:
According to the Islamic religion, even in times of war, it is forbidden to uproot a tree, it is forbidden to kill a woman, it is forbidden to kill a child, it is forbidden to destroy wells… It is forbidden to fill wells with earth… Water wells… It is forbidden to harm human life, it is forbidden to destroy a church, it is forbidden to attack a religious belief…
Classical Islamic doctrines on jihad war, and more importantly the actual practice of jihad campaigns in accord with this theory, put the lie to Al-Shater’s uninformed or deliberately taquiyya-laden assertions. Al-Shater’s basic contention that “it is forbidden to attack a religious belief” is patently absurd—the archetypal proto-jihad campaigns of Muhammad himself imposed Islam and Islamic suzerainty upon the pagans, Jews, and Christians of ancient Arabia, and continue to provide the rationale for aggressive jihad imperialism to this day.
For example, Muhammad, according to a summary of sacralized Muslim sources,
..waited for some act of aggression on the part of the Jews of Khaybar, whose fertile lands and villages he had destined for his followers…to furnish an excuse for an attack. But, no such opportunity offering, he resolved in the autumn of this year [i.e., 628], on a sudden and unprovoked invasion of their territory.
Ali (later, the fourth “Rightly Guided Caliph”, and especially revered by Shi’ite Muslims) asked Muhammad why the Jews of Khaybar were being attacked, since they were peaceful farmers, tending their oasis, and was told by Muhammad he must compel them to submit to Islamic Law. The renowned early 20th century scholar of Islam, David Margoliouth, observed aptly:
Now the fact that a community was idolatrous, or Jewish, or anything but Mohammedan, warranted a murderous attack upon it.
Moreover, this canonical hadith (from Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4324), which further incorporates a Koranic verse (K 59:5), states clearly that Muhammad also sanctioned the destruction of the trees (i.e., date palms) of infidel foes:
It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) ordered the date-palms of Banu Nadir to be burnt and cut. These palms were at Buwaira. Qutaibah and Ibn Rumh in their versions of the tradition have added: So Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, revealed the verse (K59:5): “Whatever palm-tree you cut down or leave standing upon its roots, It is by Allah’s command, and that He may abase the transgressors”
And with only minor points of internal disagreement, the consensus amongst all four major schools of classical Sunni Islamic jurisprudence contradicts each claim made by Al-Shater. The Hanafi jurists Abu Yusuf (d. 798), Shaybani (d. 803/805), and Shaikh Burhanuddin Ali of Marghinan (d. 1196), state:
[Abu Yusuf]—It seems that the most satisfactory suggestion we have heard in this connection is that there is no objection to the use of any kind of arms against the polytheists, smothering and burning their homes, cutting down their trees and date groves, and using catapults.
[Shaybani]—The army may launch the attack [on the enemy] by night or by day and it is permissible to burn [the enemy] fortifications with fire or to inundate them with water.
[Shaikh Burhanuddin Ali of Marghinan]—in the Traditions…the Prophet plundered and despoiled the tribe of al-Mustaliq by surprise, and he also agreed with Asamah to make a predatory attack upon Qubna at an early hour, and to set it on fire, and such attacks are not preceded by a call…If the infidels, upon receiving the call [to Islam], neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do. And having so done, the Muslims must then with God’s assistance attack the infidels with all manner of warlike engines (as the Prophet did by the people of Ta’if), and must also set fire to their habitations (in the same manner as the Prophet fired Baweera), and must inundate them with water and tear up their plantations and tread down their grain because by these means they will become weakened, and their resolution will fail and their force be broken; these means are, therefore, all sanctified by the law.
The Hanbali jurist, Ibn Qudama (d. 1223) concurs, and both he and Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), also a Hanbali, elaborate on the issue of when killing women and children may in fact be allowed:
[Ibn Qudama]—It is permitted to surprise the infidels under cover of night, to bombard them with mangonels [an engine that hurls missiles] and to attack them without declaring battle (du‘a’). The Prophet attacked the Banu Mustaliq unexpectedly, while their animals were still at the watering-place; he killed the men who had fought against him and carried off the children into captivity. It is forbidden to kill children, madmen, women, priests, impotent old men, the infirm, the blind, the weak-minded, unless they have taken part in the combat.
[Ibn Taymiyya]—As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped, and their likes, they shall not be killed, unless they actually fight with words [e.g. by propaganda] and acts [e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare]. Some [ jurists] are of the opinion that all of them may be killed, on the mere ground that they are unbelievers, but they make an exception for women and children since they constitute property for Muslims.
Averroes (d. 1198), the renowned philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist, outlines some of the (rather trivial) points of controversy:
Opinions vary as to the damage that may be inflicted on their property, such as buildings, cattle, and crops. Mālik allowed the felling of trees, the picking of fruits and the demolishing of buildings, but not the slaughter of cattle and the burning of date-palms…According to Shāfiī, dwellings and trees may be burnt as long as the enemy have the disposal of fortresses.
The Shafi’i jurist Al-Mawardi’s (d. 1058) opinion confirms the prevailing consensus views:
The amir [leader] of the army may use ballistas and catapults when besieging the enemy, for the Messenger of Allah…set up a catapult against the inhabitants of Ta’if. He may also destroy their homes, make night raids against them and cause fire. If, moreover, he reckons that by cutting their date-palms and their trees down it will serve to weaken them, such that they are overcome by force or are compelled to make a peace agreement, then he should do so; he should not, however, act in this way if he does not see any such benefit in it…. It is also permitted to block off the supply of water to them, or to prevent them from using it, even if there are women and children amongst them, as it is one of he most potent means of weakening them and gaining victory over the, either by forcer or through a treaty. If a thirsty person amongst them requests a drink, the amir may either give him to drink or refuse him, just as he has the option of killing him or letting him live.
Even the writings of the much lionized paragon of mystical Sufism and Shafi’i jurist al-Ghazali (d. 1111)—who, as noted by the esteemed scholar W.M. Watt, has been “…acclaimed in both the East and West as the greatest Muslim after Muhammad…”—underscore how these practices were normative:
one must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year…one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…One may cut down their trees…One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide..
Ibn Hudayl, a 14th century Granadan author of an important treatise on jihad, explained how these allowable methods facilitated the violent, chaotic jihad conquest of the Iberian peninsula, and other parts of Europe:
It is permissible to set fire to the lands of the enemy, his stores of grain, his beasts of burden – if it is not possible for the Muslims to take possession of them – as well as to cut down his trees, to raze his cities, in a word, to do everything that might ruin and discourage him…[being] suited to hastening the Islamization of that enemy or to weakening him. Indeed, all this contributes to a military triumph over him or to forcing him to capitulate.
And these repeated attacks, indistinguishable in motivation from modern acts of jihad terrorism, like the horrific 9/11/01 attacks in New York and Washington, DC, and the Madrid bombings on 3/11/04, or those in London on 7/7/05, were in fact designed to sow terror. The 17th century Muslim historian al-Maqqari, explained that the panic created by the Arab horsemen and sailors, at the time of the Muslim expansion in the regions subjected to those raids and landings, facilitated their later conquest:
Allah thus instilled such fear among the infidels that they did not dare to go and fight the conquerors; they only approached them as suppliants, to beg for peace.
The essential pattern of the jihad war is captured in the classical Muslim historian al-Tabari’ s recording of the recommendation given by Umar b. al-Khattab (the second “Rightly Guided Caliph”) to the commander of the troops he sent to al-Basrah (636 C.E.), during the conquest of Iraq. Umar reportedly said:
Summon the people to God; those who respond to your call, accept it from them, but those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation and lowliness. (Koran 9:29) If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency. Fear God with regard to what you have been entrusted.
By the time of al-Tabari’s death in 923, jihad wars had expanded the Muslim empire from Portugal to the Indian subcontinent. Subsequent Muslim conquests continued in Asia, as well as Eastern Europe. Under the banner of jihad, the Christian kingdoms of Armenia, Byzantium, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and Albania, in addition to parts of Poland and Hungary, were also conquered and Islamized by waves of Seljuk, or later Ottoman Turks, as well as Tatars. Arab Muslim invaders engaged, additionally, in continuous jihad raids that ravaged and enslaved Sub-Saharan African animist populations, extending to the southern Sudan. When the Ottoman Muslim armies were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683, over a millennium of jihad had transpired.
These tremendous military successes spawned a triumphalist jihad literature. Muslim historians recorded in detail the number of infidels slaughtered, or enslaved and deported, the cities, villages, and infidel religious sites which were sacked and pillaged, and the lands, treasure, and movable goods seized.
And once again, despite Mr. Al-Shater’s ignorance or disingenuous denial, this sanctioned but wanton destruction, resulted in: the merciless slaughter of non-combatants, including women and children; massive destruction of non-Muslim houses of worship and religious shrines—Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, and Zoroastrian, Hindu, and Buddhist temples and idols; and the burning of harvest crops and massive uprooting of agricultural production systems, leading to famine. Christian (Coptic, Armenian, Jacobite, Greek, Slav, etc.), as well as Hebrew sources, and even the scant Zoroastrian, Hindu and Buddhist writings which survived the ravages of the Muslim conquests, independently validate this narrative, and complement the Muslim perspective by providing testimonies of the suffering of the non-Muslim victims of jihad wars.
Al-Shater also spewed forth this lying invective—180 degrees divorced from reality—which included a frank “burning of the Reichstag” reference to mosque destruction considering the recent bombing of the revered Shi’ite “Golden Mosque” in Samarra—a striking contemporary event, but also just another manifestation of over a millennium of Muslim sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi’a:
Those who try to pin the blame for terrorism on the Muslims, headed by the leader of international terrorism, America, and by Zionism and imperialism, are killing our children in Palestine and Iraq on a daily basis, as you can see. They are destroying schools. They are destroying churches and mosques. They violate our honor. They rape women and slit open the stomachs of pregnant women.
The bitter irony is that in stark contrast to Al-Shater’s mendacious slurs against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Israeli forces in Gaza, Judea or Samaria, it is modern jihad campaigns which have been fraught with the atrocities he enumerates. A few prominent examples include: the Ottoman massacres of the Bulgarians in 1876 and larger genocidal slaughters of the Armenians at the close of the 19th century, through the end of World War I; the Moplah jihad against the hapless Hindus of South India in 1921; the massacres of Assyrian Christians by Arab and Kurdish Muslims near Mosul in 1933; and the recent genocidal jihad waged against Southern Sudanese Christians and Animists by the Arab Muslim Khartoum government, primarily during the last decade of the 20th century.
American correspondent Januarius A. MacGahan recorded these observations from Batak, July-August, 1876 during his investigation of the Bulgarian massacres:
The number of children killed in these massacres is something enormous. They were often spitted on bayonets, and we have several stories from eye-witnesses who saw little babes carried about the streets, both here and at Otluk-kui, on the point of bayonets. The reason is simple. When a Mahometan has killed a certain number of infidels, he is sure of Paradise, no matter what his sins may be…the ordinary Mussulman takes the precept in broader acceptation, and counts women and children as well. Here in Batak the Bashi-Bazouks, in order to swell the count, ripped open pregnant women, and killed the unborn infants. As we approached the middle of the town, bones, skeletons, and skulls became more numerous. There was not a house beneath the ruins of which we did not perceive human remains, and the street besides were strewn with them.
Lord Kinross described the slaughter of the Armenian community of Urfa in December, 1895, one of a series of brutal massacres committed by the Ottoman Turks between 1894 and 1896, as follows:
Cruelest and most ruinous of all were the massacres at Urfa, where the Armenian Christians numbered a third of the total population. Here in December 1895, after a two-months siege of their quarter, the leading Armenians assembled in their cathedral, where they drew up a statement requesting Turkish official protection. Promising this, the Turkish officer in charge surrounded the cathedral with troops. Then a large body of them, with a mob in their wake, rushed through the Armenian quarter, where they plundered all houses and slaughtered all adult males above a certain age. When a large group of young Armenians were brought before a sheikh, he had them thrown down on their backs and held by their hands and feet. Then, in the words of an observer, he recited verses of the Koran and “cut their throats after the Mecca rite of sacrificing sheep.”
When the bugle blast ended the day’s operations some three thousand refugees poured into the cathedral, hoping for sanctuary. But the next morning – a Sunday – a fanatical mob swarmed into the church in an orgy of slaughter, rifling its shrines will cries of “Call upon Christ to prove Himself a greater prophet than Mohammed.” Then they amassed a large pile of straw matting, which they spread over the litter of the corpses and set alight with thirty cans of petroleum. The woodwork of the gallery where a crowd of women and children crouched, wailing in terror, caught fire, and all perished in the flames. Punctiliously, at three-thirty in the afternoon the bugle blew once more, and the Moslem officials proceeded around the Armenian quarter to proclaim that the massacres were over. They had wiped out 126 complete families, without a woman or a baby surviving, and the total casualties in the town, including those slaughtered in the cathedral, amounted to eight thousand dead.
Vahakn Dadrian recounted the harrowing details of the slaughter of 6400 Armenian children, young girls, and women from Yozgad, described in Reverend K. Balakian’s eyewitness narrative of the World War I period (1914-1920), Hai Koghota (The Armenian Golgotha). The victims were left by their Turkish captors at a promontory some distance from the city. Then,
To save shell and powder, the gendarmerie commander in charge of this large convoy had gathered 10,000-12,000 Turkish peasants and other villagers, and armed with “hatchets, meat cleavers, saddler’s knives, cudgels, axes, pickaxes, shovels”, the latter attacked and for some 4-5 hours mercilessly butchered the victims while crying “Oh God, Oh God” (Allah, Allah). In a moment of rare candor, this gendarmerie commander confided to the priest-author, whom he did not expect to survive the mass murder, that after each massacre episode, he spread his little prayer rug and performed the namaz, the ritual of worship, centered on prayer, with a great sense of redemption in the service of Almighty God.
J. J. Banninga, an American graduate of the Western Theological Seminary, spent forty-two years in India, serving for 25 years as head of the Union Theological Seminary at Pasumalai in South India. His analysis of the 1921 Moplah (i.e., Muslims of Arabic and Hindu descent living in the Malabar district of South India) jihad—one of many periodic outbreaks of Moplah fanaticism—included these harrowing descriptions:
…the Hindu population fell easy prey to their (i.,e., the Moplah) rage and the atrocities committed defy description…The tale of atrocities committed makes sad reading indeed. A memorial submitted by women of Malabar to Her Excellency the Countess of Reading mentions such crimes as wells filled with mutilated bodies, pregnant women cut to pieces, children torn from mother’s arms and killed, husbands and fathers tortured, flayed, and burned alive before the eyes of their wives and daughters; women forcibly carried off and outraged; homes destroyed; temples desecrated…not less than 100 Hindu temples were destroyed or desecrated; cattle slaughtered in temples and their entrails placed around the necks of the idols in place of garlands of flowers; and wholesale looting. No fiendish act seems to have been too vile for them to perpetrate.
…There were, during the rebellion, many cases of forced conversion from Hinduism to Mohammedanism. There was a double difficulty about restoring these people to their old faith. In the first place there is a severe penalty resting on any Mohammedan that perverts…and in the second place there is really no door save birth into Hinduism.
On August 11, 1933, less than a year after British withdrawal from the region, the “new” Iraqi armed forces, aided by local Arab and Kurdish tribesmen, began the wholesale massacre of Assyrians in the Mosul area (Simel, Dohuk). Before the end of August, 1933, 3000 Assyrians were murdered, and thousands more displaced. An example typical of the carnage was described in a contemporary chronicle believed to have been written by Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII, a Cambridge University graduate and Patriarch of the Church of the East:
The inoffensive population was indiscriminately massacred, men, women and children alike, with rifle, revolver and machine gun fire. In one room alone, eighty-one men from the Baz tribe, who had taken shelter… were barbarously massacred. Priests were tortured and their bodies mutilated. Those who showed their Iraqi nationality papers were the first to be shot. Girls were raped and women violated and made to march naked before the Arab army commander. Holy books were used as fuel for burning girls. Children were run over by military cars. Pregnant women were bayoneted. Children were flung in the air and pierced on to the points of bayonets. Those who survived in the other villages were now exposed day and night to constant raids and acts of violence. Forced conversion to Islam of men and women was the next process. Refusal was met with death. Sixty five out of ninety five Assyrian villages and settlements were either sacked, destroyed or burnt to the ground. Even the settlements which existed from the year 1921 and who had no connection in any way with the trouble were wrecked and all property looted by Iraq army and tribesmen.
The intrepid Dr. John Eibner made 20 visits to the Sudan during decade of the 1990s, reporting on the recrudescence of jihad slavery. The Arab Muslim dominated Khartoum government established an overtly jihadist Popular Defense Force, which further incorporated local Arab militias. Their jihad depredations targeting the Christian and Animist tribes (principally the Dinkas of northern Bahr al-Ghazal, together with the black African Nuba tribes of southern Kordofan) slaughtered, displaced, and enslaved tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands at a time. During the spring of 1998 alone, more than 300,000 persons were displaced, while the total number killed and enslaved remained unknown. These Dinka victims—women and children—shared the fate of the Nuba, as described by Eibner:
Some Nuba captives end up as chattel slaves but the overwhelming majority are deported to concentration camps elsewhere in Sudan, where they serve in slave-like conditions. The children are sent to militant Qur’anic schools, while the women are sent out to work without pay as day laborers on farms and in private homes. Sexual abuse is rife.
Al-Shater’s conspiracy mongering (the publication of the Danish cartoons was yet another act of the “cabal”), and gross distortions of Islamic doctrines and history were complemented by his lionization of Holocaust deniers Roger Garaudy and David Irving (whose name he could not recall—“He relies on documents. I cannot recall his name, but he is a great English intellectual, a university professor, who refuted the Holocaust.”), as well as the viscerally anti-American and Antisemitic British politicians George Galloway and Ken Livingston.
The briefer presentation of Al-Shater’s colleague, Sudanese Student Union Chairman “Muhammad” included raw Muslim Judenhass, threats to Danish soldiers, and equally mendacious assertions of U.S. murderousness in Iraq—compared, with earnestness, to the putatively “light casualties” inflicted on the Iraqis during Saddam’s 30-year reign of domestic terror.
I’d like to tell you that harming the Prophet is not a new thing. One thousand four hundred years ago, the Jews tried to kill him in Al-Madina. In our religion, harming the Prophet is where we draw the line. We are prepared to die to prevent this……As you know, Bush killed 110,000 people in Iraq, while Saddam did not kill even one third of this figure. Saddam did not kill even 30,000 people throughout his rule. I would like to welcome you on this visit, because the image of Denmark and the Danish people has become very negative in the Arab and Islamic world. In conclusion, I would like to say that tomorrow America will pass a resolution in the U.N. Security Council calling for international military intervention in Sudan. Among these forces, obviously, there will be Danish forces. I would like to inform you that because the Sudanese people are so angry over this affront, they will kill the Danish soldiers before they kill the others.
He may be invoking an oral tradition, preserved in the hadith, for this uniquely Islamic motif of Jew hatred (Bukhari- Volume 3, Book 47, Number 786), which maintains that the perfidious Jews caused Muhammad’s protracted, excruciating death from poisoning.
Narrated Anas b. Malik: A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah’s Apostle
The rest of Sudanese Student Union Chairman “Muhammad” statements speak for themselves.
And what were the responses of the Danish Student Delegation Head to his Muslim interlocutors, the Chairmen of the Arab Students and Sudanese Student Unions?
…as a representative of the Danish youth and not a representative of the government, I cannot explain to you why the Danish government has not apologized…And another important question, in your last very concrete questions about… could a Danish newspaper have made drawings of the Holocaust or denying the Holocaust. And the answer to that question is yes. There’s no law in Denmark preventing a Danish newspaper from making drawings of the Holocaust.
These muted, largely non-sequitur responses by the Head of the Danish Student Delegation are a tangible product of the “Eurabian ethos”, which Bat Ye’or warned, pervades Western European academic and political institutions. The very “cartoon dialogue” itself was but a microcosm of the larger Euro-Arab Dialogue process and a distressing illustration of the most craven dhimmitude that parent institution has engendered, threatening, as Bat Ye’or notes, the very foundations of Western society:
This Eurabian ethos operates at all levels of European society. Its countless functionaries, like the Christian janissary slave-soldiers of past Islamic regimes, advance a jihadist world strategy. Eurabia cannot change direction; it can only use deception to mask its emergence, its bias and its inevitable trajectory. Eurabia’s destiny was sealed when it decided, willingly, to become a covert partner with the Arab global jihad against America and Israel. Americans must discuss the tragic development of Eurabia, and its profound implications for the United States, particularly in terms of its resultant foreign policy realities. Americans should consider the despair and confusion of many Europeans, prisoners of a Eurabian totalitarianism that foments a culture of deadly lies about Western civilization. Americans should know that this self-destructive calamity did not just happen, rather it was the result of deliberate policies, executed and monitored by ostensibly responsible people. Finally, Americans should understand that Eurabia’s contemporary anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism are the spiritual heirs of 1930s Nazism and anti-Semitism, triumphally resurgent.
Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Our lives depend on it.
Most Westerners read the map of the world like a Broadway marquee: north is top of the bill—America, Britain, Europe, Russia—and the rest dribbles away into a mass of supporting players punctuated by occasional Star Guests: India, China, Australia. Everyone else gets rounded up into groups: “Africa,” “Asia,” “Latin America.”
But if you’re one of the down-page crowd, the center of the world is wherever you happen to be. Take Iran: it doesn’t fit into any of the groups. Indeed, it’s a buffer zone between most of the important ones: to the west, it borders the Arab world; to the northwest, it borders NATO (and, if Turkey ever passes its endless audition, the European Union); to the north, the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation’s turbulent Caucasus; to the northeast, the Stans—the newly independent states of central Asia; to the east, the old British India, now bifurcated into a Muslim-Hindu nuclear standoff. And its southern shore sits on the central artery that feeds the global economy.
If you divide the world into geographical regions, then, Iran’s neither here nor there. But if you divide it ideologically, the mullahs are ideally positioned at the center of the various provinces of Islam—the Arabs, the Turks, the Stans, and the south Asians. Who better to unite the Muslim world under one inspiring, courageous leadership? If there’s going to be an Islamic superpower, Tehran would seem to be the obvious candidate.
That moment of ascendancy is now upon us. Or as the Daily Telegraph in London reported: “Iran’s hardline spiritual leaders have issued an unprecedented new fatwa, or holy order, sanctioning the use of atomic weapons against its enemies.” Hmm. I’m not a professional mullah, so I can’t speak to the theological soundness of the argument, but it seems a religious school in the Holy City of Qom has ruled that “the use of nuclear weapons may not constitute a problem, according to sharia.” Well, there’s a surprise. How do you solve a problem? Like, sharia! It’s the one-stop shop for justifying all your geopolitical objectives.
The bad cop/worse cop routine the mullahs and their hothead President Ahmadinejad are playing in this period of alleged negotiation over Iran’s nuclear program is the best indication of how all negotiations with Iran will go once they’re ready to fly. This is the nuclear version of the NRA bumper sticker: “Guns Don’t Kill People. People Kill People.” Nukes don’t nuke nations. Nations nuke nations. When the Argentine junta seized British sovereign territory in the Falklands, the generals knew that the United Kingdom was a nuclear power, but they also knew that under no conceivable scenario would Her Majesty’s Government drop the big one on Buenos Aires. The Argie generals were able to assume decency on the part of the enemy, which is a useful thing to be able to do.
But in any contretemps with Iran the other party would be foolish to make a similar assumption. That will mean the contretemps will generally be resolved in Iran’s favor. In fact, if one were a Machiavellian mullah, the first thing one would do after acquiring nukes would be to hire some obvious loon like President Ahmaddamatree to front the program. He’s the equivalent of the yobbo in the English pub who says, “Oy, mate, you lookin’ at my bird?” You haven’t given her a glance, or him; you’re at the other end of the bar head down in the Daily Mirror, trying not to catch his eye. You don’t know whether he’s longing to nut you in the face or whether he just gets a kick out of terrifying you into thinking he wants to. But, either way, you just want to get out of the room in one piece. Kooks with nukes is one-way deterrence squared.
If Belgium becomes a nuclear power, the Dutch have no reason to believe it would be a factor in, say, negotiations over a joint highway project. But Iran’s nukes will be a factor in everything. If you think, for example, the European Union and others have been fairly craven over those Danish cartoons, imagine what they’d be like if a nuclear Tehran had demanded a formal apology, a suitable punishment for the newspaper, and blasphemy laws specifically outlawing representations of the Prophet. Iran with nukes will be a suicide bomber with a radioactive waist.
If we’d understood Iran back in 1979, we’d understand better the challenges we face today. Come to that, we might not even be facing them. But, with hindsight, what strikes you about the birth of the Islamic Republic is the near total lack of interest by analysts in that adjective: Islamic. Iran was only the second Islamist state, after Saudi Arabia—and, in selecting as their own qualifying adjective the family name, the House of Saud at least indicated a conventional sense of priorities, as the legions of Saudi princes whoring and gambling in the fleshpots of the West have demonstrated exhaustively. Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue—though, as the Royal Family has belatedly discovered vis-à-vis the Islamists, they’re somewhat overdrawn on that front. The difference in Iran is simple: with the mullahs, there are no London escort agencies on retainer to supply blondes only. When they say “Islamic Republic,” they mean it. And refusing to take their words at face value has bedeviled Western strategists for three decades.
Twenty-seven years ago, because Islam didn’t fit into the old cold war template, analysts mostly discounted it. We looked at the map like that Broadway marquee: West and East, the old double act. As with most of the down-page turf, Iran’s significance lay in which half of the act she’d sign on with. To the Left, the shah was a high-profile example of an unsavory U.S. client propped up on traditional he-may-be-a-sonofabitch-but-he’s-our-sonofabitch grounds: in those heady days SAVAK, his secret police, were a household name among Western progressives, and insofar as they took the stern-faced man in the turban seriously, they assured themselves he was a kind of novelty front for the urbane Paris émigré socialists who accompanied him back to Tehran. To the realpolitik Right, the issue was Soviet containment: the shah may be our sonofabitch, but he’d outlived his usefulness, and a weak Iran could prove too tempting an invitation to Moscow to fulfill the oldest of czarist dreams—a warm-water port, not to mention control of the Straits of Hormuz. Very few of us considered the strategic implications of an Islamist victory on its own terms—the notion that Iran was checking the neither-of-the-above box and that that box would prove a far greater threat to the Freeish World than Communism.
But that was always Iran’s plan. In 1989, with the Warsaw Pact disintegrating before his eyes, poor beleaguered Mikhail Gorbachev received a helpful bit of advice from the cocky young upstart on the block: “I strongly urge that in breaking down the walls of Marxist fantasies you do not fall into the prison of the West and the Great Satan,” Ayatollah Khomeini wrote to Moscow. “I openly announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the greatest and most powerful base of the Islamic world, can easily help fill up the ideological vacuum of your system.”
Today many people in the West don’t take that any more seriously than Gorbachev did. But it’s pretty much come to pass. As Communism retreated, radical Islam seeped into Africa and south Asia and the Balkans. Crazy guys holed up in Philippine jungles and the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay who’d have been “Marxist fantasists” a generation or two back are now Islamists: it’s the ideology du jour. At the point of expiry of the Soviet Union in 1991, the peoples of the central Asian republics were for the most part unaware that Iran had even had an “Islamic revolution”; 15 years on, following the proselytizing of thousands of mullahs dispatched to the region by a specially created Iranian government agency, the Stans’ traditionally moderate and in many cases alcoholically lubricated form of Islam is yielding in all but the most remote areas to a fiercer form imported from the south. As the Pentagon has begun to notice, in Iraq Tehran has been quietly duplicating the strategy that delivered southern Lebanon into its control 20 years ago. The degeneration of Baby Assad’s supposedly “secular” Baathist tyranny into full-blown client status and the replacement of Arafat’s depraved “secular” kleptocrat terrorists by Hamas’s even more depraved Islamist terrorists can also be seen as symptoms of Iranification.
So as a geopolitical analyst the ayatollah is not to be disdained. Our failure to understand Iran in the seventies foreshadowed our failure to understand the broader struggle today. As clashes of civilizations go, this one’s between two extremes: on the one hand, a world that has everything it needs to wage decisive war—wealth, armies, industry, technology; on the other, a world that has nothing but pure ideology and plenty of believers. (Its sole resource, oil, would stay in the ground were it not for foreign technology, foreign manpower, and a Western fetishization of domestic environmental aesthetics.)
For this to be a mortal struggle, as the cold war was, the question is: Are they a credible enemy to us?
For a projection of the likely outcome, the question is: Are we a credible enemy to them?
Four years into the “war on terror,” the Bush administration has begun promoting a new formulation: “the long war.” Not a reassuring name. In a short war, put your money on tanks and bombs—our strengths. In a long war, the better bet is will and manpower—their strengths, and our great weakness. Even a loser can win when he’s up against a defeatist. A big chunk of Western civilization, consciously or otherwise, has given the impression that it’s dying to surrender to somebody, anybody. Reasonably enough, Islam figures: Hey, why not us? If you add to the advantages of will and manpower a nuclear capability, the odds shift dramatically.
What, after all, is the issue underpinning every little goofy incident in the news, from those Danish cartoons of Mohammed to recommendations for polygamy by official commissions in Canada to the banning of the English flag in English prisons because it’s an insensitive “crusader” emblem to the introduction of gender-segregated swimming sessions in municipal pools in Puget Sound? In a word, sovereignty. There is no god but Allah, and thus there is no jurisdiction but Allah’s. Ayatollah Khomeini saw himself not as the leader of a geographical polity but as a leader of a communal one: Islam. Once those urbane socialist émigrés were either dead or on the plane back to Paris, Iran’s nominally “temporal” government took the same view, too: its role is not merely to run national highway departments and education ministries but to advance the cause of Islam worldwide.
If you dust off the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, Article One reads: “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” Iran fails to meet qualification (d), and has never accepted it. The signature act of the new regime was not the usual post-coup bloodletting and summary execution of the shah’s mid-ranking officials but the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by “students” acting with Khomeini’s blessing. Diplomatic missions are recognized as the sovereign territory of that state, and the violation thereof is an act of war. No one in Washington has to fret that Fidel Castro will bomb the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. Even in the event of an actual war, the diplomatic staff of both countries would be allowed to depart.
Yet Iran seized protected persons on U.S. soil and held them prisoner for over a year—ostensibly because Washington was planning to restore the shah. But the shah died and the hostages remained. And, when the deal was eventually done and the hostages were released, the sovereign territory of the United States remained in the hands of the gangster regime. Granted that during the Carter administration the Soviets were gobbling up real estate from Afghanistan to Grenada, it’s significant that in this wretched era the only loss of actual U.S. territory was to the Islamists.
Yet Iran paid no price. They got away with it. For the purposes of comparison, in 1980, when the U.S. hostages in Tehran were in their sixth month of captivity, Iranians opposed to the mullahs seized the Islamic Republic’s embassy in London. After six days of negotiation, Her Majesty’s Government sent SAS commandos into the building and restored it to the control of the regime. In refusing to do the same with the “students” occupying the U.S. embassy, the Islamic Republic was explicitly declaring that it was not as other states.
We expect multilateral human-rights Democrats to be unsatisfactory on assertive nationalism, but if they won’t even stand up for international law, what’s the point? Jimmy Carter should have demanded the same service as Tehran got from the British—the swift resolution of the situation by the host government—and, if none was forthcoming, Washington should have reversed the affront to international order quickly, decisively, and in a sufficiently punitive manner. At hinge moments of history, there are never good and bad options, only bad and much much worse. Our options today are significantly worse because we didn’t take the bad one back then.
With the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, a British subject, Tehran extended its contempt for sovereignty to claiming jurisdiction over the nationals of foreign states, passing sentence on them, and conscripting citizens of other countries to carry it out. Iran’s supreme leader instructed Muslims around the world to serve as executioners of the Islamic Republic—and they did, killing not Rushdie himself but his Japanese translator, and stabbing the Italian translator, and shooting the Italian publisher, and killing three dozen persons with no connection to the book when a mob burned down a hotel because of the presence of the novelist’s Turkish translator.
Iran’s de facto head of state offered a multimillion-dollar bounty for a whack job on an obscure English novelist. And, as with the embassy siege, he got away with it.
In the latest variation on Marx’s dictum, history repeats itself: first, the unreadable London literary novel; then, the Danish funny pages. But in the 17 years between the Rushdie fatwa and the cartoon jihad, what was supposedly a freakish one-off collision between Islam and the modern world has become routine. We now think it perfectly normal for Muslims to demand the tenets of their religion be applied to society at large: the government of Sweden, for example, has been zealously closing down websites that republish those Danish cartoons. As Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said, “It is in our revolution’s interest, and an essential principle, that when we speak of Islamic objectives, we address all the Muslims of the world.” Or as a female Muslim demonstrator in Toronto put it: “We won’t stop the protests until the world obeys Islamic law.”
If that’s a little too ferocious, Kofi Annan framed it rather more soothingly: “The offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were first published in a European country which has recently acquired a significant Muslim population, and is not yet sure how to adjust to it.”
If you’ve also “recently acquired” a significant Muslim population and you’re not sure how to “adjust” to it, well, here’s the difference: back when my Belgian grandparents emigrated to Canada, the idea was that the immigrants assimilated to the host country. As Kofi and Co. see it, today the host country has to assimilate to the immigrants: if Islamic law forbids representations of the Prophet, then so must Danish law, and French law, and American law. Iran was the progenitor of this rapacious extraterritoriality, and, if we had understood it more clearly a generation ago, we might be in less danger of seeing large tracts of the developed world being subsumed by it today.
Yet instead the West somehow came to believe that, in a region of authoritarian monarchs and kleptocrat dictators, Iran was a comparative beacon of liberty. The British foreign secretary goes to Tehran and hangs with the mullahs and, even though he’s not a practicing Muslim (yet), ostentatiously does that “peace be upon him” thing whenever he mentions the Prophet Mohammed. And where does the kissy-face with the A-list imams get him? Ayatollah Khamenei renewed the fatwa on Rushdie only last year. True, President Bush identified Iran as a member of the axis of evil, but a year later the country was being hailed as a “democracy” by then-deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage and a nation that has seen a “democratic flowering,” as State Department spokesman Richard Boucher put it.
And let’s not forget Bill Clinton’s extraordinary remarks at Davos last year: “Iran today is, in a sense, the only country where progressive ideas enjoy a vast constituency. It is there that the ideas that I subscribe to are defended by a majority.” That’s true in the very narrow sense that there’s a certain similarity between his legal strategy and sharia when it comes to adultery and setting up the gals as the fall guys. But it seems Clinton apparently had a more general commonality in mind: “In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.” America’s first black President is beginning to sound like America’s first Islamist ex-president.
Those remarks are as nutty as Gerald Ford’s denial of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe. Iran has an impressive three-decade record of talking the talk and walking the walk—either directly or through client groups like Hezbollah. In 1994, the Argentine Israel Mutual Association was bombed in Buenos Aires. Nearly 100 people died and 250 were injured—the worst massacre of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust. An Argentine court eventually issued warrants for two Iranian diplomats plus Ali Fallahian, former intelligence minister, and Ali Akbar Parvaresh, former education minister and deputy speaker of the Majlis.
Why blow up a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires? Because it’s there. Unlike the Iranian infiltration into Bosnia and Croatia, which helped radicalize not just the local populations but Muslim supporters from Britain and Western Europe, the random slaughter in the Argentine has no strategic value except as a demonstration of muscle and reach.
Anyone who spends half an hour looking at Iranian foreign policy over the last 27 years sees five things:
- contempt for the most basic international conventions;
- long-reach extraterritoriality;
- effective promotion of radical Pan-Islamism;
- a willingness to go the extra mile for Jew-killing (unlike, say, Osama);
- an all-but-total synchronization between rhetoric and action.
Yet the Europeans remain in denial. Iran was supposedly the Middle Eastern state they could work with. And the chancellors and foreign ministers jetted in to court the mullahs so assiduously that they’re reluctant to give up on the strategy just because a relatively peripheral figure like the, er, head of state is sounding off about Armageddon.
Instead, Western analysts tend to go all Kremlinological. There are, after all, many factions within Iran’s ruling class. What the country’s quick-on-the-nuke president says may not be the final word on the regime’s position. Likewise, what the school of nuclear theologians in Qom says. Likewise, what former president Khatami says. Likewise, what Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, says.
But, given that they’re all in favor of the country having nukes, the point seems somewhat moot. The question then arises, what do they want them for?
By way of illustration, consider the country’s last presidential election. The final round offered a choice between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an alumnus of the U.S. Embassy siege a quarter-century ago, and Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Council, which sounds like an EU foreign policy agency but is, in fact, the body that arbitrates between Iran’s political and religious leaderships. Ahmadinejad is a notorious shoot-from-the-lip apocalyptic hothead who believes in the return of the Twelfth (hidden) Imam and quite possibly that he personally is his designated deputy, and he’s also claimed that when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly last year a mystical halo appeared and bathed him in its aura. Ayatollah Rafsanjani, on the other hand, is one of those famous “moderates.”
What’s the difference between a hothead and a moderate? Well, the extremist Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” while the moderate Rafsanjani has declared that Israel is “the most hideous occurrence in history,” which the Muslim world “will vomit out from its midst” in one blast, because “a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel, while an Israeli counter-strike can only cause partial damage to the Islamic world.” Evidently wiping Israel off the map seems to be one of those rare points of bipartisan consensus in Tehran, the Iranian equivalent of a prescription drug plan for seniors: we’re just arguing over the details.
So the question is: Will they do it?
And the minute you have to ask, you know the answer. If, say, Norway or Ireland acquired nuclear weapons, we might regret the “proliferation,” but we wouldn’t have to contemplate mushroom clouds over neighboring states. In that sense, the civilized world has already lost: to enter into negotiations with a jurisdiction headed by a Holocaust-denying millenarian nut job is, in itself, an act of profound weakness—the first concession, regardless of what weaselly settlement might eventually emerge.
Conversely, a key reason to stop Iran is to demonstrate that we can still muster the will to do so. Instead, the striking characteristic of the long diplomatic dance that brought us to this moment is how September 10th it’s all been. The free world’s delegated negotiators (the European Union) and transnational institutions (the IAEA) have continually given the impression that they’d be content just to boot it down the road to next year or the year after or find some arrangement—this decade’s Oil-for-Food or North Korean deal—that would get them off the hook. If you talk to EU foreign ministers, they’ve already psychologically accepted a nuclear Iran. Indeed, the chief characteristic of the West’s reaction to Iran’s nuclearization has been an enervated fatalism.
Back when nuclear weapons were an elite club of five relatively sane world powers, your average Western progressive was convinced the planet was about to go ka-boom any minute. The mushroom cloud was one of the most familiar images in the culture, a recurring feature of novels and album covers and movie posters. There were bestselling dystopian picture books for children, in which the handful of survivors spent their last days walking in a nuclear winter wonderland. Now a state openly committed to the annihilation of a neighboring nation has nukes, and we shrug: Can’t be helped. Just the way things are. One hears sophisticated arguments that perhaps the best thing is to let everyone get ’em, and then no one will use them. And if Iran’s head of state happens to threaten to wipe Israel off the map, we should understand that this is a rhetorical stylistic device that’s part of the Persian oral narrative tradition, and it would be a grossly Eurocentric misinterpretation to take it literally.
The fatalists have a point. We may well be headed for a world in which anybody with a few thousand bucks and the right unlisted Asian phone numbers in his Rolodex can get a nuke. But, even so, there are compelling reasons for preventing Iran in particular from going nuclear. Back in his student days at the U.S. embassy, young Mr. Ahmadinejad seized American sovereign territory, and the Americans did nothing. And I would wager that’s still how he looks at the world. And, like Rafsanjani, he would regard, say, Muslim deaths in an obliterated Jerusalem as worthy collateral damage in promoting the greater good of a Jew-free Middle East. The Palestinians and their “right of return” have never been more than a weapon of convenience with which to chastise the West. To assume Tehran would never nuke Israel because a shift in wind direction would contaminate Ramallah is to be as ignorant of history as most Palestinians are: from Yasser Arafat’s uncle, the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the British Mandate, to the insurgents in Iraq today, Islamists have never been shy about slaughtering Muslims in pursuit of their strategic goals.
But it doesn’t have to come to that. Go back to that Argentine bombing. It was, in fact, the second major Iranian-sponsored attack in Buenos Aires. The year before, 1993, a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed 29 people and injured hundreds more in an attack on the Israeli Embassy. In the case of the community center bombing, the killer had flown from Lebanon a few days earlier and entered Latin America through the porous tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Suppose Iran had had a “dirty nuke” shipped to Hezbollah, or even the full-blown thing: Would it have been any less easy to get it into the country? And, if a significant chunk of downtown Buenos Aires were rendered uninhabitable, what would the Argentine government do? Iran can project itself to South America effortlessly, but Argentina can’t project itself to the Middle East at all. It can’t nuke Tehran, and it can’t attack Iran in conventional ways.
So any retaliation would be down to others. Would Washington act? It depends how clear the fingerprints were. If the links back to the mullahs were just a teensy-weensy bit tenuous and murky, how eager would the U.S. be to reciprocate? Bush and Rumsfeld might—but an administration of a more Clinto-Powellite bent? How much pressure would there be for investigations under UN auspices? Perhaps Hans Blix could come out of retirement, and we could have a six-month dance through Security-Council coalition-building, with the secretary of state making a last-minute flight to Khartoum to try to persuade Sudan to switch its vote.
Perhaps it’s unduly pessimistic to write the civilized world automatically into what Osama bin Laden called the “weak horse” role (Islam being the “strong horse”). But, if you were an Iranian “moderate” and you’d watched the West’s reaction to the embassy seizure and the Rushdie murders and Hezbollah terrorism, wouldn’t you be thinking along those lines? I don’t suppose Buenos Aires Jews expect to have their institutions nuked any more than 12 years ago they expected to be blown up in their own city by Iranian-backed suicide bombers. Nukes have gone freelance, and there’s nothing much we can do about that, and sooner or later we’ll see the consequences—in Vancouver or Rotterdam, Glasgow or Atlanta. But, that being so, we owe it to ourselves to take the minimal precautionary step of ending the one regime whose political establishment is explicitly pledged to the nuclear annihilation of neighboring states.
Once again, we face a choice between bad and worse options. There can be no “surgical” strike in any meaningful sense: Iran’s clients on the ground will retaliate in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and Europe. Nor should we put much stock in the country’s allegedly “pro-American” youth. This shouldn’t be a touchy-feely nation-building exercise: rehabilitation may be a bonus, but the primary objective should be punishment—and incarceration. It’s up to the Iranian people how nutty a government they want to live with, but extraterritorial nuttiness has to be shown not to pay. That means swift, massive, devastating force that decapitates the regime—but no occupation.
The cost of de-nuking Iran will be high now but significantly higher with every year it’s postponed. The lesson of the Danish cartoons is the clearest reminder that what is at stake here is the credibility of our civilization. Whether or not we end the nuclearization of the Islamic Republic will be an act that defines our time.
A quarter-century ago, there was a minor British pop hit called “Ayatollah, Don’t Khomeini Closer.” If you’re a U.S. diplomat or a British novelist, a Croat Christian or an Argentine Jew, he’s already come way too close. How much closer do you want him to get?