Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hearts and Minds

Here are two interesting editorials at a South African Muslim web site, The Voice of the Cape,
which reflect the increasing disenchantment of Muslims with terrorism as a tool. (There's no permalink at present, so the full articles may become hard to find.) It was OK at first, when the victims were all Israelis, and there wasn't much cost to Muslims in supporting it. In the first article, SUICIDE BOMBINGS OR MARTYR KILLING? by Munadia Karaan, the author says the times they are a-changing:
"With every new attack I personally run out of excuses for it. I understand and agree fully with the need to fight occupation. I understand even better the ability to use the most sophisticated propaganda in the media to make the other side look bad and clean your image as if you were the angel Gabriel himself. In the words of Prof Mahmood Mandani, author of the book Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, the language has all changed and it has helped the world to see state sponsored terrorism as 'good violence' and so-called Islamic fundamentalism as 'bad violence'. It is two sides of the same coin.

But even if we accept that the world stage and politics has changed after the cold war, we must admit that Islamic politics and resistance has changed just as dramatically and not for the better. It now leaves you and me as ordinary Muslims to ask ourselves if - amid the rapid increase in attacks by Muslims in response to Western terror, we can still find excuses for radicalism. Can we really be comfortable with the extreme measures chosen and with the spiraling lost of innocent life?"[emphasis added]
Karaan is still comfortable with lies/distortion in service of the ends, and there's quite a bit more about the details of how carefully they craft their language.
"And if we can, where does it all end because every counter attack becomes fiercer than the last. This week a US congressman told the media that the US would have no problem bombing Islamic holy sites like Makkah if fundamentalist terrorists were to attack US cities with nuclear weapons. I do not believe for a moment that this hypothetical statement could not come true."
We didn't hear of this comment from an unnamed congressman ourselves, being out of the country. Did this actually happen? A few months ago, Jack Wheeler, asserted that GWB had secretly threatened bin Laden with the nuking of Mecca in response to any WMD attack on the US. It's certainly good for terrorists (and perhaps "moderate" Muslims, as well) to have to contemplate that possibility.
"Our discussion board has been hectic with comments on this issue, one of whom asked the question so what are we to do in the face of continuing colonial, Western attack? How realistic is it to expect us to simply turn the other cheek when millions of Muslims are being killed in attacks from Iraq to Afghanistan, to Palestine, Chechniya, China, Kashmir and all the other places I cannot ever recall? Until the time that another Salahudin Ayubi arrives on the scene we need to fight with whatever tools we have to beat a stronger enemy at his own game, he says.

But two wrongs do not make a right. I cannot agree that while we wait for Salahudin we bomb the heck out of every enemy, never mind the loss of innocent life. That is too easy an answer when it is not your life or that of your loved one that is sacrificed. Why wait for a Salahudin when we bring children into this world every day who could be nurtured to become a Salahudin? Do the examples they see today lead them towards becoming a Salahudin? I think not."
Despite the peculiar delusion that "millions" of Muslims have been killed by non-Muslims, sense is starting to break through. That's good for everyone.

The second article on the page, THE LONDON FATWA, ISOLATING THE BOMBERS by Shafiq Morton, is grudgingly coming to similar conclusions:
"The other side of the proverbial coin is that the broader community may argue that it sees too little of Muslim abhorrence of terror. The fact is that it's usually there, but unheard. When, for example, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of New York condemned 911 with his Christian and Jewish counterparts, the New York Times edited out his statement."
Yeah, right. What a joke.
"Another point is that the extremist-Islamist faction has successfully prevented, and manipulated, Sunni Islam from isolating it, thus unfairly branding the whole Deen with the same reputation. Using a combination of emotional blackmail through shared concerns such as Palestine and a call for 'global unity', it has managed to poison mainstream Islam much in the same way that political Zionism has polluted the Jewish psyche.

Its simplistic threat of 'you're either with us or against us', plus its generous--but petro-dollar strings attached--patronage has intimidated many with the power of pronouncement into silence. Then it has also abused the hospitality and innate tolerance of mainstream Muslims.

These extremists--who've never had any compunctions killing Muslim opponents--know that Sunni Islam has enjoyed a thousand year tradition of unwillingness to even excommunicate other believers, no matter how repugnant their views. But if recent reports in the British media are anything to go by, the extremist 'honeymoon' may soon be over.

Severin Carrell of the Independent has reported that senior Muslim community leaders in Britain believe they must now deflect a wave of revenge attacks against Muslims by questioning the religious basis of any alleged terrorist's Islamist ideology--and more significantly, by issuing a fatwa questioning their rights to call themselves Muslims.

This dramatic move followed an emergency meeting in London after the blasts. Held under the aegis of the Muslim Council of Britain, delegates were unanimous in saying that if the bombers were found to be Muslim, the whole community had a responsibility not only to condemn their actions, but to thoroughly dissociate themselves from their actions."
So perhaps the British fatwa does represent a turning point in the battle for Islam between the terrorists and "moderates." We must say, however, that elements of this article are exactly the kind of half-hearted condemnation of terrorism and simultaneous appologetics for it we've seen too much of in the past. Here's a hint: if the deen is tacitly going along with the terrorists, whether for "global unity" or "petro dollars," then blaming the deen for its actions is not "unfair."

Another article on the same site makes a nice coda:
The Voice of the Cape - www.vocfm.com: "In a widely published article last year, human rights activist and political science lecturer at the University of Durban Westville, Lubna Nadvi, said: 'I have come to one conclusion, and that is that such groups have effectively become the enemies of the very faith whose interests they claim to advance, and have essentially evolved into self-serving agents, whose glorification of martyrdom as an end in itself (commensurate with attaining heaven and 70 virgins), has ultimately come to supersede its otherwise stated objectives--ridding the Middle-East and Muslim states of Western occupation, foreign troops and the 'infidels.' And even if these goals are really why you are engaging in acts of violence, then your actions are not working.'"[emphasis added]
Bingo. Message received.

So lets review the scorecard for GWB and the GWOT. Remove terrorist regime in Afghanistan--check. Remove terrorist regime in Iraq--check. Establish freedom and let it grow--working. Drive a wedge between the terrorists and the rest of Islam--working. Aggressively attack the remaining terrorists and state sponsors throughout the world--ongoing.

Update: Thanks to Seawitch for noting in the comments that Congressman Tancredo made the remarks in question about targeting Mecca as a response to a nuclear attack on the US by terrorists.

Update 2 (8/21/05): Mr. Morton responded in the comments, and I must agree that I see no instances of him "half-heartedly" condemning terrorism. I therefore withdraw that charge and apologize for making it in the first place. I have placed "strikethrough" style on that remark above. See this post for more information.

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