I mentioned this very same thing the other day, and hopefully Brendan O’Neill of UK’s The Telegraph gets the ball moving in a way that at least starts the discussion.
Time and again, one reads about Islamist attacks that seem to defy not only the most basic of humanity’s moral strictures but also political and even guerrilla logic. Consider the hundreds of suicide attacks that have taken place in Iraq in recent years, a great number of them against ordinary Iraqis, often children. Western apologists for this wave of weird violence, which they call “resistance”, claim it is about fighting against the Western forces which were occupying Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion. If so, it’s the first “resistance” in history whose prime targets have been civilians rather than security forces, and which has failed to put forward any kind of political programme that its violence is allegedly designed to achieve. Even experts in counterinsurgency have found themselves perplexed by the numerous nameless suicide assaults on massive numbers of civilians in post-war Iraq, and the fact that these violent actors, unlike the vast majority of violent political actors in history, have “developed no alternative government or political wing and displayed no intention of amassing territory to govern”. One Iraqi attack has stuck in my mind for seven years. In 2006 a female suicide bomber blew herself up among families – including many mothers and their offspring – who were queuing up for kerosene. Can you imagine what happened? A terrible glimpse was offered by this line in a Washington Post report on 24 September 2006: “Two pre-teen girls embraced each other as they burned to death.”
…We have a tendency to overlook the newness of modern Islamic terrorism, how recent is this emergence of a totally suicidal violence that revels in causing as many causalities as possible. Yes, terrorism has existed throughout the modern era, but not like this. Consider the newness of suicide attacks, of terrorists who destroy themselves as well as their surroundings and fellow citizens. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were an average of one or two suicide attacks a year. Across the whole world. Since the early and mid-2000s there have been around 300 or 400 suicide attacks a year. In 2006 there were more suicide attacks around the world than had taken place in the entire 20 years previous. Terrorists’ focus on killing civilians – the more the better – is also new. If you look at the 20 bloodiest terrorist attacks in human history, measured by the number of causalities they caused, you’ll see something remarkable: 14 of them – 14 – took place in the 1990s and 2000s. So in terms of mass death and injury, those terrorist eras of the 1970s and 80s, and also earlier outbursts of anarchist terrorism, pale into insignificance when compared with the new, Islamist-leaning terrorism that has emerged in recent years.
Whether it’s apathy, fear of reprisal, or whatever the fact is it is time to call this kind of ruthless madness (and that’s what it is, because anyone with a right state of mind cannot read stories like this and not be repulsed at where this has been going for a long time). You gotta a problem with someone else’s religion? Fine, but as long as it doesn’t impact your life in a negative fashion go about your business and let others do the same. Besides, if it all results in a better, more peaceful world aren’t we all winners in the end?
The fact is, while these bastards use Islam and the Koran and the prophet Mohammed as cover for their actions they’re nothing but evil beasts incarnate that deserve to be destroyed and extracted like a cancer from the face of the earth. I’m willing to respect anyone’s religion (or lack thereof). But you would think when people in the name of Allah do despicable acts in his name fellow believers and leaders of Islam would stand up and condemn such actions. Would the prophet Mohammad agree with flying jet planes into the World Trade Center towers and killing innocents to make a point about so-called “infidels”? Would he agree with blowing up innocents on trains, or in shopping malls, or folks watching a marathon race, or queueing up for food outside of a Christian church? If he would, then he’d be just as much of a despicable idiot as his vile followers are.
I’m guessing, however – and hey, maybe I’m wrong – but he’d be just as appalled. As are many of the Islamic faith. But where are they? Good question.
It’s time for Islam as a religion to grow up and its leaders and the folks who practice it decide what they want the face of their religion to be. Is it to join the world’s other great religions and strive to be a force for greater good in the world, or do they really wish to lose it all at the hands of a relatively small population of faux believers whose unspeakable actions go beyond barbarism to be the very definition of evil in this world.
Methinks it is time for Islam’s leaders throughout the world to assess the difference between the actions of a political movement – where all is fair game and those who perform these barbaric acts are rooted out and destroyed, and religion and its practice as a vehicle for worhip, peace, brotherhood, self-improvmement and betterment of the world around it. Because from my viewpoint that is not the face of Islam in the world right now.