Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai: India's 9/11

Gary Fouse published these phenomenal comments, at Findalis' blog, regarding the Mumbai attacks:

I was going to wait until the tragedy in Mumbai (formerly Bombai) India was over before writing my thoughts down, but I couldn't wait. As I write this, it is said that over 150 people are dead. The courageous Indian commandos are still fighting their way through the Taj Hotel clearing out the remaining terrorist murderers and still rescuing hostages. The exact group that is responsible for this mass atrocity is still unclear, but one thing is clear; they are Muslims. Their targets were Westerners, British, Americans, and yes, Jews. One of the locations raided was Chabat House, a Jewish center. According to news reports, hostages, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife,Rivki, were murdered in cold blood as commandos closed in. (Their two-year-old son miraculously escaped.) I am outraged, and I am fed up with the excuses. It is long overdue, but we need to call a spade a spade and demand that the Muslim world rise up and remove this evil from its house.

By any means necessary.

Mumbai is now India's 9-11. We have suffered ours. We reacted, and at least, we can now say that two murderous regimes have been driven from power. Spain had their own 9-11. They reacted and elected a cowardly government that promptly pulled their forces out of Iraq. Britain had theirs and now prostrates itself at the feet of a hateful Muslim minority that spits in the face of British society as they demand Shariah law.

This latest incident is pretty much the final blow for me personally in trying to appeal to decent Muslims to take a stand. It is not easy. I know decent Muslims. I teach Muslim students, mostly from Saudi Arabia, who seem quite nice. I listen to the words of American Muslim leaders who speak of moderation and say they condemn terrorism. I have heard President Bush describe Islam as a religion of peace as he meets Muslim leaders. One of those leaders, whom he has invited to the White House, is Imam Muzammil Siddiqi, former head of the Islamic Society of North America and now head of the Islamic Society of Orange County-himself an Indian.

Last week, I attended a joint Jewish-Muslim discussion at Chapman University, where Dr Siddiqi spoke for Islam. (See post of last week). Dr Siddiqi is considered a "moderate Muslim", who decries terror. Yet, he has made statements in the past regarding Jihad and Shariah that many Westerners might find troubling. In the 1990s, he hosted the "Blind Sheihk" Rahman at his mosque. Let's just say I wasn't convinced at Siddiqi's words last week.

I have just checked the websites of CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Islamic Society of Orange County. Only the Islamic Society of North America has a statement on Mumbai, condemning the attacks and offering prayers for the victims. That is all well and good, but nowhere-nowhere is there any mention of the fact that the perpetrators were Muslims. There is also no mention of the attack on Chabat House. This is insufficient. As for CAIR and the Islamic Society of Orange County, there is nothing on their websites about Mumbai (as of this writing). What will they eventually say? What will the Muslim Student Associations at our US universities say about Mumbai when they have their next "Islam Awareness Week"? Will they continue to claim that they are not anti-Jewish, only anti-"Zionist"? That is the constant disclaimer they use, yet the raid on Chabat House puts the lie to that. It is clear that the killers wanted to include Jews (in India) among their targets. Why?

Because they hate Jews.
There's more at the link.

Compare Gary's comments to those of Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian and
filmmaker, interviewed today at the Wall Street Journal:

Since 9/11, American political leaders have struggled with the question of how to describe the ideology of the enemy without making enemies of the world's billion or so Muslims. The various terms they have tried -- "Islamic extremism," "Islamism," "Islamofascism" -- have fallen short of both clarity and melioration. Melioration is not Mr. Wilders's highest priority, and to him the truth couldn't be clearer: The problem is Islam itself. "I see Islam more as an ideology than as a religion," he explains.

His own view of Islam is a fundamentalist one: "According to the Quran, there are no moderate Muslims. It's not Geert Wilders who's saying that, it's the Quran . . . saying that. It's many imams in the world who decide that. It's the people themselves who speak about it and talk about the terrible things -- the genital mutilation, the honor killings. This is all not Geert Wilders, but those imams themselves who say this is the best way of Islam."

Yet he insists that his antagonism toward Islam reflects no antipathy toward Muslims: "I make a distinction between the ideology . . . and the people. . . . There are people who call themselves Muslims and don't subscribe to the full part of the Quran. And those people, of course, we should invest [in], we should talk to." He says he would end Muslim immigration to the Netherlands but work to assimilate those already there.

His idea of how to do so, however, seems unlikely to win many converts: "You have to give up this stupid, fascist book" -- the Quran. "This is what you have to do. You have to give up that book."

Mr. Wilders is right to call for a vigilant defense of liberal principles. A society has a right, indeed a duty, to require that religious minorities comply with secular rules of civilized behavior. But to demand that they renounce their religious identity and holy books is itself an affront to liberal principles.
Exit Question: Will America's "liberal principles" of openness and tolerance be the nation's Achilles' Heel?


Ben Sutherland said...

Answer: No. Liberal principles are the obvious strength of liberal societies. They are the basis for the real cultural, political, economic, and military strength that will finally end this scourge. Only fools who don't really believe in the principles they say they defend think otherwise.

Let's hope that's as few as people as possible in liberal democracies.

Socrates said...

Spain had their own 9-11. They reacted and elected a cowardly government that promptly pulled their forces out of Iraq.

The present government of Spain that you call “cowardly” has increased the number of Spanish troops in Afghanistan; many of them are dying while we comfortably write these thoughts.

The pulling of forces out of Iraq was what the majority of people in Spain (90%!) wanted before there was any war in Iraq or any attack in Spain. The government simply followed what the people wanted.

And we, the people, wanted that. Not out of fear of war –we are not soldiers—or out fear of being attacked –our soldiers keep fighting in Afganistan and more are being sent, or out of fear of terrorism –we have been fighting terrorism for many years and it does not scare us. If you believe otherwise, please travel to Spain and you will see it with your own eyes.

We were against the war in Iraq because it was not justified: 9/11 had nothing to do with Sadam Hussein.

In war you have to apply a basic strategic principle “Economize to Maximize your Resources” in order to be more efficient, you have to use your always scarce resources in the most efficient manner.

Spending military energy in Iraq in that war was not the best strategy, and in this many countries agreed with Spain: The best generals of the armies of Germany and France for example, and many of the top generals in the US think in the same way.

Calling a US ally government “cowardly” does not help our fight together for our principles, which together with the rest of Europe, are very much aligned with those of America.

If your purpose is supporting your ideals, then I think it is better to understand well the facts before scathing your friends.