Christian Tragedy in the Muslim World

Few people realize that we are today living through the largest persecution of Christians in history, worse even than the famous attacks under ancient Roman emperors like Diocletian and Nero. Estimates of the numbers of Christians under assault range from 100-200 million. According to one estimate, a Christian is martyred every five minutes. And most of this persecution is taking place at the hands of Muslims. Of the top fifty countries persecuting Christians, forty-two have either a Muslim majority or have sizeable Muslim populations.

The extent of this disaster, its origins, and the reasons why it has been met with a shrug by most of the Western media are the topics of Raymond Ibrahim’s Crucified Again. Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow of the Middle East Forum. Fluent in Arabic, he has been tracking what he calls “one of the most dramatic stories” of our time in the reports and witnesses that appear in Arabic newspapers, news shows, and websites, but that rarely get translated into English or picked up by the Western press. What he documents in this meticulously researched and clearly argued book is a human rights disaster of monumental proportions.

In Crucified Again, Ibrahim performs two invaluable functions for educating people about the new “Great Persecution,” to use the label of the Roman war against Christians. First, he documents hundreds of specific examples from across the Muslim world. By doing so, he shows the extent of the persecution, and forestalls any claims that it is a marginal problem. Additionally, Ibrahim commemorates the forgotten victims, refusing to allow their suffering to be lost because of the indifference or inattention of the media and government officials.

Second, he provides a cogent explanation for why these attacks are concentrated in Muslim nations. In doing so, he corrects the delusional wishful thinking and apologetic spin that mars much of the current discussion of Islamic-inspired violence.

Ibrahim’s copious reports of violence against Christians range across the whole Muslim world, including countries such as Indonesia, which is frequently characterized as “moderate” and “tolerant.” Such attacks are so frequent because they result not just from the jihadists that some Westerners dismiss as “extremists,” but from mobs of ordinary people, and from government policy and laws that discriminate against Christians. Rather than ad hoc reactions to local grievances, then, these attacks reveal a consistent ideology of hatred and contempt that transcends national, geographical, and ethnic differences.

In Afghanistan, for example, where American blood and treasure liberated Afghans from murderous fanatics, a court order in March 2010 led to the destruction of the last Christian church in that country. In Iraq, also free because of America’s sacrifice, half of the Christians have fled; in 2010, Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad was bombed during mass, with fifty-eight killed and hundreds wounded.

In Kuwait, likewise, the beneficiary of American power, the Kuwait City Municipal Council rejected a permit for building a Greek Catholic church. A few years later, a member of parliament said he would submit a law to prohibit all church construction. A delegation of Kuwaitis was then sent to Saudi Arabia–which legally prohibits any Christian worship– to consult with the Grand Mufti, the highest authority on Islamic law in the birthplace of Islam, the Arabian Peninsula.

The Mufti announced that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” a statement ignored in the West until Ibrahim reported it. Imagine the media’s vehement outrage and condemnation if the Pope in Rome had called for the destruction of all the mosques in Italy. The absence of any Western condemnation or even reaction to the Mufti’s statement was stunning. Is there no limit to our tolerance of Islam?

Moreover, it is in Egypt–yet another beneficiary of American money and support– that the harassment and murder of Christians are particularly intense. Partly this reflects the large number of Coptic Christians, the some sixteen million descendants of the Egyptian Christians who were conquered by Arab armies in 640 A.D. Since the fall of Mubarak, numerous Coptic churches have been attacked by Muslim mobs. Most significant is the destruction of St. George’s church in Edfu in September 2011. Illustrating the continuity of mob violence with government policy, the chief of Edfu’s intelligence unit was observed directing the mob that destroyed the church. The governor who originally approved the permit to renovate the building went on television to announce that the “Copts made a mistake” in seeking to repair the church, “and had to be punished, and Muslims did nothing but set things right.”

The destruction of St. George’s precipitated a Christian protest against government-sanctioned violence against Christians and their churches in the Cairo suburb of Maspero in October 2011. As Muslim mobs attacked the demonstrators to shouts of “Allahu Akbar” and “kill the infidels,” the soldiers sent to keep order helped the attackers. Snipers fired on demonstrators, and armored vehicles ran over several. Despite the gruesome photographs showing the crushed heads of Copts, the Egyptian military denied the charges, but then claimed that Copts had hijacked the vehicles and ran over their co-religionists.

False media reports of Copts murdering soldiers fed the violence. Twenty-eight Christians were killed and several hundred wounded. In the aftermath, thirty-four Copts were retained, including several who had not even been at the demonstration. Later, two Coptic priests had to stand trial. Meanwhile, despite an abundance of video evidence, the Minister of Justice closed an investigation because of a “lack of identification of the culprits.”

The scope of such persecution, the similarity of the attacks, and the attackers’ motives, despite national and ethnic differences, and the role of government officials in abetting them, all cry out for explanation. Ibrahim clearly lays out the historical and theological roots of Muslim intolerance in the book’s most important chapter, “Lost History.” Contrary to the apologists who attribute these attacks to poverty, political oppression, the legacy of colonialism, or the unresolved Israeli-Arab conflict, Ibrahim shows that intolerance of other religions and the use of violence against them reflects traditional Islamic theology and jurisprudence.

First Ibrahim corrects a misconception of history that has abetted this misunderstanding. During the European colonial presence in the Middle East, oppression of Christians and other religious minorities was proscribed. This was also the period in which many Muslims, recognizing how much more powerful the Europeans were than they, began to emulate the political and social mores and institutions of the colonial powers.

Thus they abolished the discriminatory sharia laws that set out how “dhimmis,” the Christians and Jews living under Muslim authority, were to be treated. In 1856, for example, the Ottomans under pressure from the European powers issued a decree that said non-Muslims should be treated equally and guaranteed freedom of worship. This roughly century-long period of relative tolerance Ibrahim calls the Christian “Golden Age” in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, as Ibrahim writes, the century-long flourishing of Middle Eastern Christians “has created chronological confusions and intellectual pitfalls for Westerners” who take the “hundred-year lull in persecution” as the norm. In fact, that century was an anomaly, and after World War I, traditional Islamic attitudes and doctrines began to reassert themselves, a movement that accelerated in the 1970s. The result is the disappearance of Christianity in the land of its birth. In 1900, twenty percent of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than two percent is.

Having corrected our distorted historical perspective, Ibrahim then lays out the justifying doctrines of Islam that have made such persecution possible during the fourteen centuries of Muslim encounters with non-Muslims. The foundations can be found in the Koran, which Muslims take to be the words of God. There “infidels” are defined as “they who say Allah is one of three” or “Allah is the Christ, [Jesus] son of Mary”–that is, explicitly Christian. As such, according to the Koran, they must be eliminated or subjugated. The most significant verse that guides Muslim treatment of Christians and Jews commands Muslims to wage war against infidels until they are conquered, pay tribute, and acknowledge their humiliation and submission.

In the seventh century, the second Caliph, Omar bin al-Khattab, promulgated the “Conditions of Omar” that specified in more detail how Christians should be treated. These conditions proscribe building churches or repairing existing ones, performing religious processions in public, exhibiting crosses, praying near Muslims, proselytizing, and preventing conversion to Islam, in addition to rules governing how Christians dress, comport themselves, and treat Muslims.

“If they refuse this,” Omar said, “it is the sword without leniency.” These rules have consistently determined treatment of Christians for fourteen centuries, and Muslims regularly cite violations of these rules as the justifying motives for their attacks. As a Saudi Sheikh said recently in a mosque sermon, “If they [Christians] violate these conditions, they have no protection.” From Morocco to Indonesia, Christians are attacked and murdered because they allegedly have tried to renovate a church, proselytized among Muslims, or blasphemed against Mohammed–all reasons consistent with Koranic injunctions codified in laws and the curricula of school textbooks.

Both Islamic doctrine and history show the continuity of motive behind today’s persecution of Christians. As Ibrahim writes, “The same exact patterns of persecution are evident from one end of the Islamic world to the other–in lands that do not share the same language, race, or culture–that share only Islam.” But received wisdom in the West today denies this obvious truth. The reasons for this attitude of denial would fill another book. As Ibrahim points out, the corruption of history in the academy and in elementary school textbooks have replaced historical truth with various melodramas in which Western colonialists and imperialists have oppressed Muslims.

These and other prejudices have led American media outlets to ignore or distort Islamic-inspired violence, as can be seen in the coverage of the Nigerian jihadist movement Boko Haram. These jihadists have publicly announced their aim of cleansing Nigeria of Christians and establishing sharia law, yet Western media coverage consistently ignores this aim and casts the conflict as a “cycle of violence” in which both sides are equally guilty.

As Ibrahim concludes, even when Western media report on violence against Christians, “they employ an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism” to promote the anti-Western narrative that “Muslim violence and intolerance are products of anything and everything–poverty, political and historical grievances, or territorial disputes–except Islam.”

Within the global Muslim community, there is a civil war between those who want to adapt their faith to the modern world, and those who want to wage war in order to recreate a lost past of Muslim dominance. We do the former no favor by indulging Islam’s more unsavory aspects, since those aspects are exactly what need to be changed if Muslims want to enjoy the freedom and prosperity that come from political orders founded on human rights and inclusive tolerance. Raymond Ibrahim’s Crucified Again is an invaluable resource for telling the truth that could promote such change.

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The Politics of Resentment

Under the guidance of general director Irina Bokova, a Bulgarian socialist politician and daughter of the adamant communist ideologue Georgi Bokov, editor-in-chief of “Rabotnichesko Delo,” the party daily newspaper during Todor Zhivkov’s dictatorship, UNESCO recently decided to add hundreds of manuscripts by Ernesto “Che” Guevara to the Memory of the World Register. In so doing, Mme Bokova and the organization she runs pay tribute to an ideological adventurer directly involved in the establishment of the Cuban totalitarian state and its secret police. “Che” Guevara hated the US, liberal values and whatever an open society means. He lionized guerrilla fighters as “killing machines” and was himself a killing machine. How would the world respond to a similar decision regarding the manuscripts of a Nazi leader, say Alfred Rosenberg? The answer is in the question. Double standards regarding the mass crimes of the two totalitarian experiments (fascism and communism) remain a shockingly disgraceful  feature of our times.

There are topics that, whether we like it or not, remain disturbingly timely. Among these is the phenomenon of the problematic, often adversarial, relationship between the contemporary Left and democratic capitalism, the U.S., Israel and the universality of human rights. Political thinker Jean-Francois Revel wrote about the anti-American obsession rampant among French leftist intellectuals. Historian Robert Wistrich and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy have identified a mounting and frequently vicious anti-Semitism within the Left. A fierce and courageous book, United in Hate, by Dr. Jamie Glazov, editor, political commentator and historian, is a call for clear-mindedness in our dangerous times. It is a successful effort to demystify some people’s enduring attraction to dictators, pseudo-redeemers, myth-makers, and political mountebanks. Published a few years ago, United in Hate, a scathing encyclopedia of foolishness, is as timely and compelling as ever.

Glazov revisits some of the most notorious and tragic chapters in the history of Western gullibility, including the case of Walter Duranty, the “New York Times” Moscow correspondent during the Great Famine and the purges of 1936-1939 — about which Duranty knew everything but chose to lie. He denied that millions were starved to death by Stalin’s police state, and he endorsed (as did the U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, Joseph E. Davies), the Stalinist show trials. Unlike William E. Dodd, the U.S .ambassador to Nazi Germany, who despised and lambasted Hitler’s criminal regime, Davies accepted and even endorsed Stalin’s propaganda and regarded the victims of the Great Purge as genuine saboteurs and spies. In his memoir, “Mission to Moscow,” made into a Hollywood hit during the war, Davies glamorized Stalin’s tyranny as a popular regime. Mass terror was glossed over and the Davieses maintained cordial relations with Stalin’s clique.

At the Hillwood Collection in Washington one can see a superb Russian vase received as a gift by the Ambassador’s then wife, millionaire Marjorie Merriweather Post, from Madame Molotov, Polina Zhemchuzhina. An uninformed visitor would have no idea that the object was most likely the result of Bolshevik plundering of Russian old fortunes and that Mme Molotov was herself arrested in the late 1940s, tried and deported to the Gulag as a Zionist agent. The Molotovs’ grandson, political commentator Vyacheslav Nikonov, is, incidentally, one of Vladimir Putin’s chief propagandists.

People such as Duranty indulged in lying to themselves and to others; these lies enabled political corruption of an untold scale to go not only unchecked but protected.  The story of intellectual treachery, as disquietingly told by Glazov, continued during and after World War II. Cassandras such as George Orwell and Arthur Koestler were dismissed as “war-mongers.” The philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre proclaimed: “L’anticommuniste est un chien” (“The anticommunist is a dog”). Great minds such as Albert Camus and Raymond Aron were disparaged.

Whoever thinks that the collapse of the Soviet empire during the revolutionary upheaval of 1989-1991 ended this infatuation with abuse in the service of a fantasy Utopia was mistaken. Anti-Westernism, and Anti-Americanism, possibly out of frustration that the West falls short of “perfection,” remains a galvanizing force for all those who resent the rule of law, democratic procedures, humanistic values, and critical thinking.

The European Left, echoed by many in the US, sees the global terrorist threat as a paranoid delusion meant to justify US world supremacy. Free elections in Iraq were dismissed as a mere electoral window-dressing. Distinguished university professors accepted to serve on Qaddafi’s son’s (and then heir apparent) doctoral dissertation committee at the London School of Economics. The very idea that human rights are universal is often decried as a lack of sensitivity regarding “local traditions” in China and other police states.

Anti-Americanism has become an ideological cement uniting groups and movements of various persuasions. It blends with traditional Judeophobic myths in a conglomerate of resentment. Glazov explores the mind of individuals such as Noam Chomsky for whom Israel is the great villain of our time, allegedly an “imperialist puppet,” whereas Hamas and other terrorist groups belong to the progressive wave of the future. Glazov’s encyclopedia of lethal misguidedness shows how Stalinists and Fascists closed ranks as ideological brothers in their inextinguishable hostility to freedom. The social scientist Albert Hirschman once wrote that shared hatreds make for strange bed fellowships. Glazov’s analysis of the Stalino-Fascist Baroque once again illustrates the truth of this view.

Glazov offers a perceptive anatomy of the leftist radical mythology. As Ambassador R. James Woolsey writes in his Foreword, Glazov’s approach deals with the radical Left- not with the decent, rational Left . The old democratic Left, the Left of Francois Mitterrand, Paul-Henri Spaak, Tony Blair, and Mario Soares was anti-totalitarian, anti-dictatorial, anti-Soviet, and pro-Israel. The radicals, increasingly influential in Europe, favor authoritarian anti-American regimes (e.g. Hugo Chavez’s “Bolivarian socialism” in Venezuela) and resent Israel. Political scientist Alvaro Vargas Llosa accurately distinguishes between a vegetarian Left (Lula in Brazil) and the carnivorous one (the Castro brothers, the Ortega brothers, Evo Morales, Chavez and his heir, Nicolas Maduro, reportedly a puppet of Raul Castro’s secret service).

Unfortunately, the illusions of the radical leftists continue to misinform much of the public discourse in the West, including efforts to blame the U.S. for war and every misfortune from AIDS to global warming. Instead of seeing Islamism as an heir to the totalitarian movements of the last century, many leftists prefer to find justifications for the anti-Western anger they dispense.

Glazov highlights in an unsparing, well- documented way the endless hypocrisy, double standards, and sheer irresponsibility of the latter-day Leninists. They are ready to walk in the steps of the  Marxist poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht’s and acclaim any crime, merely because they execrate diversity, market forces, separation of powers, accountability, equal justice under law, free expression and other Western values. For the leftists analyzed by Glazov, these values are nothing but an ideological camouflage for capitalist (plutocratic) domination. Former Red Brigades theorists like philosophy professor Antonio Negri receive paeans for their anti-”Empire” diatribes.

For these revolutionary oracles, radical Islam and Palestinian terrorism are purifying forces, catalysts of the “Great Refusal” (a term dear to Herbert Marcuse, once the guru of the counter-culture), whereas liberal capitalism is rotten, worthy only of being smashed. Unfortunately, such ideas are infectious and seem to have poisoned the minds of many young people in post-communist countries. Attacking capitalism as soulless, inhuman, mercantile, and philistine has become, once again, a favorite enterprise of the intelligentsia.

Glazov was born to a Russian dissident family who, after years of harassment, left the Soviet Union for the West. In 1968, his father, Yuri Glazov, a distinguished scholar, had signed “The Letter of the 12″ to protest the Soviet regime’s abysmal human rights abuses. For the Glazovs, as for other members of the beleaguered dissident communities in East-Central Europe (the USSR included), the term “Free World” had a very concrete meaning. So did the concept of totalitarianism -repudiated by many Western social scientists convinced that communist regimes could reform and reconcile with pluralism. Communism is intrinsically monopolistic, inimical to the free expression of values, opinions, political choices. In fact, communism cannot be really reformed in terms of political institutions. As East Europeans dissidents used to say: “There is no communism with a human face, but only totalitarianism with broken teeth.” This is the  meaning of human rights activist, political thinker, and poet Liu Xiaobo’s “Charter 2008,” a manifesto for political and intellectual freedom the Chinese leaders hated intensely and led to Liu’s arrest and imprisonment.

Glazov’s book identifies the current dangers and calls for moral clarity and political alertness. In the tradition of  Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer,” he offers an important analysis of nihilistic revolutionary passions rooted in frustration, resentment, rage, desperation, and ideological frenzy. He shows how utopian fanaticism remains a main feature of our times and how it mobilizes anti-Western ideologies and movements. His book should be read by all those who hold dear the value of liberty.

Vladimir Tismaneanu is professor of politics at the University of Maryland (College Park) and author most recently of “The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century” (University of California Press, 2012). Special thanks to Nina Rosenwald for her excellent editorial suggestions.

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Sitcom Infantalization and the Death of America

It’s not difficult to peg precisely when the American sitcom moved away from following the lives of mature adults to idealizing the lives of overgrown adolescents. But there’s no question that two generations of Americans have now grown up in a world where virtually everyone worth watching on television is a twentysomething to thirtysomething without a home, a spouse, children, or even a solid job in many cases.

That transition began with the modern shift of the early 1970s, when CBS led the way in moving from traditional situation comedies like Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies to more urban-centered comedies like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and All in the Family. Both of those shows focused on non-traditional situations. The Mary Tyler Moore Show focused on a single woman living with a roommate while working at a news station. All in the Family focused on a father and mother living with their grown daughter and son-in-law. The twist: the father was a bigoted moron, and the mother was a good-hearted idiot, while the liberal son-in-law, who didn’t have the ability to provide for his wife, was the smartest one of the bunch.

Fast forward forty years. There are still family-oriented sitcoms, although they all feature non-traditional families being equated to traditional families, or completely dysfunctional traditional families (Modern Family, Glee, Two and a Half Men, Family Guy). There are work-oriented sitcoms, although those sitcoms largely revolve around people who dislike their jobs (The Office, Parks and Recreation). But all of those sitcoms revolve around people who are in their forties.

What of people in their thirties? They are treated like people in their twenties used to be. The Big Bang Theory features late-twenties scientists rooming together, or with their mother, struggling with love; it took five seasons for one of the main characters to get married. Nobody on the show has had children. New Girl features three men living with a woman in an apartment. All are approaching or above age thirty. All but one have dead-end jobs. None are married, none have children.

That used to be the exception rather than the rule. Now, thanks in part to the plethora of television characters who live glorious and fun single lives without responsibility, that’s become the societal ideal. The median age of marriage was stagnant from 1950 to 1970; it was 22.8 for men and 20.3 for women in 1950, and 23.2 and 20.8, respectively, in 1970. As of 2010, the median age of first marriage is now 28.2 among men and 26.1 among women.

As for childbearing the numbers are similarly stunning. The average age for first childbirth for women in the United States is 25, lower than the average age for marriage (no wonder there are such massively rising rates of unwed motherhood across socioeconomic lines). The median age in 1950 was 22.8. That may seem like a minor rise, but as Jonathan Last has pointed out in his fantastic What to Expect When Nobody’s Expecting, a rising age of first birth and a lower age of last birth means fewer children.

Not all of this is attributable to television – not even close. But television, as both a reflective and a transformative medium, has changed how people think about marriage and family. Marriage on television is largely relegated to negativity. Married couples are generally miserable (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Simpsons), while single people lead glamorous lives full of sexy partners and interesting jobs (Sex and the City, Friends). Nobody has to live with the consequences of spending adulthood as in a suspended state of adolescence.

America, however, will. When Americans stop getting married, stop having children, stop aspiring for a home and a homestead, the predictable effect is an unmoored civilization, both morally and economically. We cannot all live in our father-in-law’s house. Someone has to pay the bills. And someone has to pick up the slack for a population that increasingly blows off responsibility for the fleeting fun of college-style living.

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Egypt Erupts

Sunday marked Mohamed Morsi’s first anniversary as president of Egypt. By evening it was clear—if there had been any doubt left—that he had little to celebrate.

Already on Saturday, amid mounting violence, Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had had to whisk him away to safety amid reports that protesters planned to march on his presidential palace. At least eight people, including a young American man, had already been killed in demonstrations. Offices of the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, had been set on fire in the cities of Alexandria and Dakahlia.

The opponents of the Islamist regime claimed to have gathered 22 million signatures on a petition to oust Morsi—almost double the 13 million who had voted for him a year earlier. These opponents are an unlikely coalition of (relative) liberals, supporters of the previous regime of Hosni Mubarak, and even more extreme Islamists of a Salafist bent. All are united—for now—only by an iron determination to topple Morsi and his regime.

That regime, in the eyes of the protest movement, is responsible for Egypt’s ongoing economic deterioration that includes mounting inflation, wide-scale unemployment, a steep drop in tourism, shortages of basic commodities, plummeting foreign investment, and dwindling cash reserves. Accompanying the acute economic crisis is a breakdown in social order with the police rendered impotent, rampant crime in the streets, and minorities like Christians and Shiites suffering severe persecution.

The protesters also charge the regime with subverting Egypt’s political institutions. The parliament was disbanded a year ago, and early in June the Senate was declared unlawful. The Brotherhood, say its opponents, has imposed its own Islamist constitution on the country, stacked government with its supporters, and generally betrayed its supposedly democratic mandate while miserably mismanaging the country.

The crisis intensified on Sunday. During the day one person was killed and close to thirty injured when Morsi supporters and opponents clashed in the city of Bani Suef, south of Cairo. Troops and armored vehicles were deployed in Cairo and army helicopters flew above the city. Fears of violence were reportedly prompting many people to try and flee the country, with 60,000 leaving it via Cairo International Airport since Friday.

The key question was whether, as the heat of the day subsided toward evening, the protesters indeed had enough support to bring vast numbers of people into the streets. By early evening it was clear that the answer was affirmative as hundreds of thousands materialized in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in cities throughout the country. The Tahrir Square protesters used the same chant—“The people want the fall of the regime!”—that was heard there two and a half years ago in the anti-Mubarak revolt. A much smaller group of Islamist supporters of Morsi, reportedly around 10,000, gathered around a mosque near the presidential palace.

By late Sunday evening there were reports of about 175 people injured in protests throughout the country. The Brotherhood said its Cairo headquarters had been attacked by protesters firing shotguns and throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks. The initial impression, then, is that the protest has real backing and energy and the regime would be wrong to count on it fizzling out.

A key issue is the role of the army. Earlier in the week the chief of staff, Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, had warned that the army would intervene if things got out of control. Having been removed from power a year ago by Morsi, after having ruled the country for the year and a half since Mubarak’s fall, the military establishment is considered resentful toward the regime but cognizant of the fact that Washington, as Israeli commentator Boaz Bismuth puts it, “supports the elected president, even if it is Morsi. The military, however, can force Morsi to make concessions.”

The coming days will tell to what extent the regime is in trouble; but Sunday’s events can hardly leave it sanguine. It would be encouraging to think most Egyptians now realize the mistake of hastily deposing the lesser evil, Mubarak, and in effect clearing the path for the considerably greater evil of Morsi and his Islamists. Confronted, though, by yet another Middle Eastern spectacle of roiling violence, with Salafists constituting one faction of the rebels, even relative optimism has to be cautious.

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Excusing Jihad In Boston

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev woke up and told investigators that he and his brother Tamerlan were waging a lone jihad when they set off two bombs packed with nails and ball bearings at the Boston Marathon. He said his brother came up with the whole plot out of a desire to “defend Islam.” And as if on cue, the mainstream media began an all-out effort to obscure and downplay the significance of the now indisputable fact that this was a jihad terror attack – an effort as energetic and inventive as their previous attempt to convince the American people that the bombings had to be, just had to be, the work of “right-wing extremists.”

Imagine for a moment if the attackers had indeed turned out to be “right-wing extremists.” Imagine that they were even that mother lode of Leftist media fantasy, Christian “extremists” – think Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear, his body tattooed all over with Biblical quotes, muttering about the wrath of God and determined to terrorize not just a single family, but an entire city, an entire nation. Just to make it really interesting, imagine that the people these Christian terrorists happened to kill with their bombs were Muslim.

If the attackers had been people like that, the Atlantic Wire would have run a piece entitled “The Boston Bombers Were Christian – So?” It would have complained that “we confuse categories – ‘male,’ ‘Christian’ — with cause,” and cautioned against stereotyping all Christians and painting Christians with a broad brush.

Meanwhile, Chris Matthews would have had on an FBI agent who would have asked about the bombers, “Where was their inspiration? Where did they get the guidance?,” leading Matthews to respond: “Why is that important? Why is that important to — is that important to prosecuting? I mean, what difference does it make why they did it if they did it? I’m being tough here.”

Also on MSNBC, Martin Bashir would lament about how these Christian bombers were “burying the ‘peace, compassion and kindness of the Bible.’” A local Muslim leader at a prayer service would have cautioned: “We must be a people of reconciliation, not revenge….The crimes of the two young men must not be the justification for prejudice against Christians….It is very difficult to understand what was going on in the young men’s minds, what demons were operative, what ideologies or politics or the perversion of their religion.”

If the Boston bombers really had been Bible-quoting Christian fanatics, none of that would actually have happened at all. Instead, the media feeding frenzy would have been intense. The air waves would have been full of earnest examinations of how the Bible is full of material that constitutes incitement to violence, recommendations of what the churches and Christian leaders must do to make sure that this kind of attack never happens again, and story after story about bright, attractive young people who got mixed up with church groups and ended up with their lives and the lives of everyone around them in ruins.

But of course, the bombers weren’t Christians; they were Muslims, acting explicitly in the name of Islam. Media analysts, when they have deigned to take notice of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s statement at all, have scratched their heads in puzzlement over how he and his brother could have gotten the idea that murdering innocent people at a sporting event could possibly constitute any kind of defense of Islam. However, they wouldn’t be so puzzled if they knew that the Qur’an exhorts Muslims to use the “steeds of war” to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (8:60) – and that al-Qaeda has recently recommended bombing sporting events as a nicely effective way to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah.

The mainstream media has no interest in how the Qur’an may incite those who believe it is the word of Allah to commit acts of violence against those who do not so believe. And so it was that the Atlantic Wire’s story was actually about why it scarcely mattered that the bombers were Muslim, and Chris Matthews was declaring that the bombers’ inspirations and motivations made no difference, and Martin Bashir was praising the virtues of the Qur’an, and it was Sean O’Malley, the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, who cautioned against taking revenge and decried the “perversion” of Islam that led to the bombings.

It is hard to say why Cardinal O’Malley was so confident that the bombers were perverting Islam, despite the Qur’an’s many commands to Muslims to commit acts of violence against unbelievers (2:190-193; 4:89; 9:5; 9:29; 47:4; etc.). It is likely, however, that he simply believes what he has been told about this question: that Islam is a religion of peace, and that those who commit acts of violence in its name are twisting and hijacking the beautiful, peaceful teachings of the religion.

And that’s the problem with this pervasive media denial. The Atlantic Wire asked why it mattered that the bombers were Muslim. It’s a fair question. It matters because the fact that they were Muslims is not incidental to what they did. There’s this thing called “jihad,” you see. It’s an Islamic doctrine involving warfare against unbelievers. The likelihood is that some others might want to wage jihad against Americans as well. And so the more we know about it, the better prepared we can be to defend ourselves.

But the more we lie to ourselves and each other about what this jihad is really all about, the more we enable people like Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. We cannot possibly defeat an enemy whom we refuse to understand, refuse to study, refuse to listen to because he explains why he is our enemy in terms that we can’t bear hearing. That’s why this media obfuscation is nothing short of criminal. And it will bear much more fruit of the kind it bore on the sunny day of the Boston Marathon.

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Calling Islam “Islam”

I wrote this a few years ago, and I think it’s worth posting again, particularly after the latest jihadist attack in Boston. I noticed, after the attack this week, that a number of people are using more proper terminology to identify this enemy, which is very important in taking on the enemy. I recall watching panel discussions after 9/11, with each panelist using a different term to describe the enemy we face. That annoyed the hell out of me as I think it’s incredibly important to identify the proper terms when speaking about our enemy, and to NEVER create terms, for whatever reason. To me, the only difference between “Islamism” and Islam is three letters. Below I try my best to make the case why we should always call Islam “Islam.”

Western intellectuals and commentators refer to the enemy’s ideology as:

“Islamic Fundamentalism,” “Islamic Extremism,” “Totalitarian Islam,” “Islamofascism,” “Political Islam,” “Militant Islam,” “Bin Ladenism,” “Islamonazism,” “Radical Islam,” “Islamism,” etc….

The enemy calls it “Islam.”

Imagine, if during past wars, we used terms such as “Radical Nazism,” “Extremist Shinto” and “Militant Communism.” The implication would be that there are good versions of those ideologies, which would then lead some to seek out “moderate” Nazis. Those who use terms other than “Islam” create the impression that it’s some variant of Islam that’s behind the enemy that we’re facing. A term such as “Militant Islam” is redundant, but our politicians continue praising Islam as if it were their own religion. Bush told us “Islam is peace” — after 2,996 Americans were murdered in its name. He maintained that illusion throughout his two terms, and never allowed our soldiers to defeat the enemy. And now we have Obama, who tells us, from Egypt:

“I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

If only he felt that way about America. Washington’s defense of Islam has trumped the defense of America and this dereliction of duty could well be called Islamgate.

Islam is a political religion; the idea of a separation of Mosque and State is unheard of in the Muslim world. Islam has a doctrine of warfare, Jihad, which is fought in order to establish Islamic (“Sharia”) Law, which is, by nature, totalitarian. Sharia Law calls for, among other things: the dehumanization of women; the flogging/stoning/killing of adulterers; and the killing of homosexuals, apostates and critics of Islam. All of this is part of orthodox Islam, not some “extremist” form of it. If jihadists were actually “perverting a great religion,” Muslims would have been able to discredit them on Islamic grounds and they would have done so by now. The reason they can’t is because jihadists are acting according to the words of Allah, the Muslim God. From the Koran:

“Slay the idolators wherever you find them…” Chapter 9, verse 5

“When you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads until you have made a great slaughter among them….” Ch. 47:4

Beyond the doctrine, there is the historical figure of Mohammad, who, more than anyone, defines Islam. How would you judge a man who lies, cheats, steals, rapes and murders as a way of life? This evil man is Islam’s ideal man, Mohammad. Whatever he said and did is deemed moral by virtue of the fact that he said it and did it. It’s no accident that the only morality that could sanction his behavior was his own. Nor is it an accident that Muslims who model themselves after him are the most violent.

For the 13 years that Mohammad failed to spread Islam by non-violent means, he was not so much peaceful as he was powerless. It was only through criminal activity and with the help of a large gang of followers that he managed to gain power. But he wanted his moral pretense too, so he changed Islam to reflect the fact that the only way it could survive was through force. And so, acting on Allah’s conveniently timed “revelation” that Islam can and should be spread by the sword, Mohammad led an army of Muslims across Arabia in the first jihad. From then on, violence became Islam’s way in the world. And today, acting on Mohammad’s words, “War is deceit” — in the sense that Muslims use earlier “peaceful” verses from the Koran as a weapon against the ignorance and good will of their victims. Those “peaceful” passages in the Koran were abrogated by later passages calling for eternal war against those who do not submit to Islam. How Mohammad spread Islam influenced the content of its doctrine and therefore tells us exactly what Islam means.

Note also that the only reason we’re talking about Islam is because we’ve been forced to by its jihad. And where are Islam’s “conscientious objectors”? Nowhere to be found, for even lax Muslims have been silent against jihad. But that doesn’t stop desperate Westerners from pointing to them as representives of “Moderate Islam.”

Far from being a personal faith, Islam is a collectivist ideology that rejects a live-and-let-live attitude towards non-Muslims. And while the jihadists may not represent all Muslims, they do represent Islam. In the end, most Muslims have proven themselves to be mere sheep to their jihadist wolves, irrelevant as allies in this war. Recovering Muslims call the enemy’s ideology “Islam,” and they dismiss the idea of “Moderate Islam” as they would the idea of “Moderate Evil.” When, based on his actions, Mohammad would be described today as a “Muslim Extremist,” then non-violent Muslims should condemn their prophet and their religion, not those who point it out.

Islam is the enemy’s ideology and evading that fact only helps its agents get away with more murder than they would otherwise. Western politicians have sold us out, so it’s up to the rest of us to defend our way of life by understanding Islam and telling the truth about it in whatever way we can. If we can’t even call Islam by its name, how the hell are we going to defend ourselves against its true believers? One could argue that we’d be better off if the West would just choose one of the many terms currently used for the enemy’s ideology. For my part, I call the enemy what they are, “Jihadists,” and our response, “The War on Jihad.” But behind it all, it’s Islam that makes the enemy tick.

Despite my frustrations with the refusal of many to call Islam “Islam,” I know that those who speak out against Jihad put themselves in danger, and I respect their courage. But it’s important that we acknowledge Islam’s place in the threat we face and say so without equivocation. Not saying “Islam” helps Islam and hurts us. So let’s begin calling the enemy’s ideology by its name. Let’s start calling Islam “Islam.”


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Sleeper Cell in America

Capping off a week of misinformation, confusion, contradiction, and error from the media and law enforcement, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino insisted Sunday that the Boston Marathon jihad bombers acted alone, even as it was becoming increasingly obvious that they did not. The UK’s Mirror reported on the same day that “the FBI was last night hunting a 12-strong terrorist ‘sleeper cell’ linked to the Boston marathon bomb brothers.” And so the jihad in Boston widens to proportions that are as yet impossible to calculate – as are the potential casualty rates.

The Mirror added: “Police believe Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were specially trained to carry out the devastating attack” and quoted an unnamed source saying: “We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google. They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come.”

And so, according to the Mirror, “more than 1,000 FBI operatives” were working to find the members of this sleeper cell. It was unclear whether or not that would be enough, given the fact that in 2011 the Obama Administration purged training materials of all truthful material about Islamic jihad terrorism. So these 1,000 “FBI operatives” are fumbling along in the dark, pretending that there is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist while hunting for Islamic terrorists.

This willful ignorance is, of course, being aided and abetted by the mainstream media, which continues to shrug its shoulders in bewilderment and claim that the motives of the Boston Marathon bombers are a mystery. In a Saturday article entitled “Motive still unclear after bombing suspect’s arrest,” the Associated Press noted that investigators were “establish[ing] the motive for the deadly attack and the scope of the plot.” The absurdity of 1,000 FBI agents hunting for a jihadi sleeper cell while investigators searched for a motive for the attack was compounded by the fact that on the same day that AP made this bizarre claim, the Los Angeles Times reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was “identified by a foreign government as a ‘follower of radical Islam and a strong believer’ whose personality had changed drastically in just a year, according to the FBI.”

In October 2011, Dwight C. Holton, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, emphasized that “training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for. They will not be tolerated.” And so the FBI in 2013, in passing along a description of one of the Boston jihadis as a “follower of radical Islam,” was saying he was an adherent of a belief system that the Feds were officially committed to denying even existed.

The absurdities multiply, as they always do in the mainstream media and among law enforcement officials at a time like this (most notoriously in the Obama Administration’s classification of the Fort Hood jihad massacre of thirteen Americans as “workplace violence”). Lisa Wangsness in the Boston Globe granted that “Islam might have had secondary role in Boston attacks,” but added that “scholars cautioned Friday against concluding that the Tsarnaevs’ motives were purely religious. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a firefight with police early Friday morning, appeared to sympathize with Islamic extremists agitating for Chechen independence from Russia.”

Wangsness did not bother to explain why “Islamic extremists agitating for Chechen independence from Russia” would think a strike in Boston, Massachusetts would aid the cause of the independence of Chechnya. Nor did she explore the possibility that Islamic jihadis agitating for a global caliphate might think a strike on Boston would be a capital idea, for that would reveal the jihadi brothers’ motives to be “purely religious” after all. She made it clear that anyone who thought that must be wickedly trying to victimize innocent Muslims, quoting Imam Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Boston: “This will open the door to the Islamophobic industry, an industry of ill-educated bigots, to attack Muslim communities.”

The Globe article doesn’t mention that the Tsarnaev brothers actually attended Muslim prayers at the Islamic Society of Boston. Nor does it acknowledge the possibility that anyone might want to explore how jihadis use Islamic texts and teachings to justify violence and supremacism not in order to “attack Muslim communities,” but to try to formulate effective strategies for keeping members of those Muslim communities from attacking us.

And in the Chicago Tribune, Manya A. Brachear took Wangsness’ Muslim victimhood posturing one step farther in an article entitled “Muslims guard against backlash.” She wrote: “The Council on American Islamic Relations again offered sympathy to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on Friday, but added a plea for Americans not to generalize and conclude that Muslim teachings influenced the suspect in any way.” She quoted CAIR’s Ahmed Rehab: “Our focus is primarily on the victims. We don’t want to be drawn into defending ourselves.” But that was what the whole article was about. Completely forgetting the victims of the Boston jihad attacks, the article went on: “Citing acts of violence in Boston and New York, Rehab blamed Islamophobic forces for inciting hate crimes. He said that phenomenon poses a bigger threat than ‘innocently ignorant individuals.’” And again, there was no consideration of the possibility that one might want to investigate the role of Islam in jihad attacks in order to prevent hate crimes, not provoke them.

Brachear also doesn’t mention (of course) that Ahmed Rehab is an operative of a Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood group that has had several of its officials convicted of jihad terror activity. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. Its California chapter distributed posters telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR has opposed every anti-terror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented.

This always happens: every time there is a jihad terror attack or foiled plot, the mainstream media fills up with stories about Muslims worrying about a “backlash.” The “backlash” itself never materializes. In reality, the stream of stories about fears of “backlash” are designed to deflect attention away from the jihad attack and onto Muslims as victims, who as victims ought to be exempt from scrutiny and accountability (even though no U.S. mosque or Islamic school has any program designed to teach against the al-Qaeda version of Islam that they ostensibly reject).

As David J. Rusin noted in National Review last January, “a detailed analysis of FBI statistics covering ten full calendar years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks reveals that, on a per capita basis, American Muslims, contrary to spin, have been subjected to hate crimes less often than other prominent minorities. From 2002 to 2011, Muslims are estimated to have suffered hate crimes at a frequency of 6.0 incidents per 100,000 per year – 10 percent lower than blacks (6.7), 48 percent lower than homosexuals and bisexuals (11.5), and 59 percent lower than Jews (14.8). Americans should keep these numbers in mind whenever Islamists attempt to silence critics by invoking Muslim victimhood.”

No victimization of even one innocent person is ever acceptable. These “backlash” stories, however, are just tools in the hands of Islamic supremacists, which they use once again to evade any responsibility to clean up their communities and stop the spread of the jihad doctrine and Islamic supremacism.

And yet there is an Islamic jihad sleeper cell apparently involved in the jihad attack at the Boston Marathon. That shows the cost of this politically correct obfuscation and victimhood posturing.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

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Islam’s World War Came to Boston

After the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Obama asked, “Why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence”

Despite the scholarships and the positive press, the money and the good times that came their way, the Tsarnaevs were never truly part of our communities or our country. As the words of a Jihadist song in Dzhokhar’s playlist go, “Be in this temporary world a stranger/Infidels rule the earth/for the faithful life is torture.”

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were strangers. Tamerlan had an American wife and Dzhokhar had plenty of American friends but they chose to treat a city and a nation that had taken them in as targets in a terrorist war. As infidels who deserved nothing more than to be lied to and killed.

The Tsarnaevs weren’t insane. Nor were they nihilists looking to go out with a bang just for the kicks. Their social media accounts reveal the world of two men who had strong beliefs and commitments. These beliefs and commitments however were not to this country. They were to the Islamic Ummah.

Two months before his killing spree, Tamerlan reproved another Muslim for not believing. Unlike him, Tamerlan believed. What he believed in was not the mere nationalism of a land that he had never lived in. If Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had only wanted Chechen independence, they could have joined the fight there. But if the thought ever crossed their minds, they were reoriented in another direction.

To Americans, the Chechen Jihadists, the Syrian rebels, the Palestinian terrorists, the Afghan Taliban and the Mali Turaeg fighters all represent national struggles. To Muslims, they are all local manifestations of a global struggle between Islam and the world. For the Tsarnaevs, Chechnya wasn’t any different than Afghanistan, Nigeria, Thailand, America or any other theater of battle in a world war. Instead of trying to fight a war in a country he had never seen, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was dispatched or dispatched himself to fight a battle in the country that he knew best.

In Obama’s speech, the willingness of the Tsarnaev brothers to kill the people of the country they had grown up in is a paradox. But it isn’t a paradox; it’s the point.

Communists in America undermined the country not just because they saw it as the greatest villain, but because Communists in every nation were committed to undermining it in order to remake it. Each Communist movement was fighting a local front in a transnational struggle. For Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev their local front was not Chechnya; it was Boston.

Chechnya to the Tsarnaevs represented the Islamic transnationalism of the Jihadist that transcended nations. Their Chechen nationalism, like Hamas’ Palestinian nationalism and the Syrian nationalism of the rebel brigades linked to the Muslim Brotherhood derived from a common Islamic identity. It could have no meaning without Islam.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev carried out the marathon massacre not because they were on the outside, but because they were on the inside. Islamic terrorism was their way of expressing their American identity. When they detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon, they weren’t doing it as Chechen Muslims, but as American Muslims.

Like Anwar al-Awlaki and Nidal Hasan, they wanted an American identity that would be based on Islam in the same way that Chechen identity was based on Islam. They wanted it because they believed it to be the only possible way of making America over into a country that would reflect their own values.

There is a reason why second and third generation Muslims are more likely to turn terrorist than their immigrant parents. It is because they have become American, British, Canadian and Australian part of the way. They have gone deep enough to begin making a claim on the country. The Western Islamist seeks to align his internal Islamic identity and his external national identity by unifying them through Islamization.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were not fighting for Chechnya at the Boston Marathon. They were fighting against the American infidels who were barring the way to an Islamic America. They were fighting to make America like Chechnya. Islam is not just a religion. It is a political system. You cannot expect a devout Muslim to live as an American, the same way that you could not expect a Communist, Nazi or any other consuming political identity to just keep it private or local. To think that way is to truly misunderstand Islam.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did not become radicalized. They became religious. They embraced a transnational ideology which applied not only to them, their mosque or their community, but to the entire world. Eventually the discontinuity between their beliefs and the life of the city around them became too great to be tolerated. And so the Tsarnaevs, inspired in no small part by the Islamist culture that they found on the internet and perhaps at their own radical mosque, set out to resolve the conflict through terrible violence.

The two brothers were showered with educational and financial advantages. The United States took them in as refugees. The City of Cambridge awarded Dzhokhar a $2,500 scholarship. Tamerlan aspired to be a boxer and found a woman who loved him enough to take his religion. They lived the good life, but it wasn’t enough. It could never be enough.

The liberals who refuse to see what the Tsarnaev brothers stood for passionately believe in the things that they think it will take to make the world a better place. The Tsarnaevs believed that only one thing was necessary; Islam.

Islam was born out of war and terror. It spread through the sword and the slave. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were not the disciples of some imaginary religion of peace, but a religion of war. What they did was horrifying, but not surprising. They were taking part in a world war that had begun over a thousand years ago.

They did not expect to strike the finishing blow; just another blow to bring America closer to the form of submission known as Islam. Like other Muslim terrorists operating in the countless theaters of the world war, from Asia to Africa to the Middle East to Australia and America, they sought to shock and horrify, to break our will to resist and force us to submit.

“He it is who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.” Koran 61:9

In Boston the infidels resisted the messengers of Mohammed and Allah. They patched up the wounded and saved as many as they could. They hunted down the messengers and shot them. But more will come. They will speak the language of our popular culture and their classmates will remember them as nice young men. No one will understand what caused such nice young men to do it except other nice young men like them who feel the tension between Islam and America inside them waiting to break.

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My Thoughts On Boston

Watching the news about the Boston bombing and the Muslim fanatics who perpetrated the deed, I cannot help reflect on all the nasty attacks that liberals and progressives and Muslim activists have conducted against conservatives who have attempted to warn Americans that their enemies are religious fanatics driven by an apocalyptic hatred of us because we are Jews, Christians, atheists, democrats – in a word, infidels.

It has been said by Nancy Pelosi, George Soros and other Democrats that George Bush created the terrorists by attempting to enforce a UN Security council resolution and take down one of the monsters of the 20th Century in Iraq.  It has been said by the late Susan Sontag and other progressive intellectuals that the heinous attacks of 9/11 were the result of American policies. The Center for American Progress and university administrators have relentlessly defamed as Islamphobes and bigots those of us who have had the temerity to talk about the Islamic roots of Islamic terror. If only we ignored the Islamic beliefs behind the terrorism and made nice to all Muslims indiscriminately, the terrorists wouldn’t hate us.

Boston has exposed this as the Big Lie and fatuous delusion that it has always been. The Boston killers were treated better in America than all but an elite among Americans born here who love their country. They were given scholarships, they were admitted to the most exclusive prep schools, they lived in a Cambridge environment where critics of Islamic terror were regarded as Islamophobes and they as a minority deserving special consideration and concern. And yet they hated us. They hated America and ordinary Americans like the victims of their mayhem, and enlisted in the army of our mortal enemies. They hated us because they were fanatical believers in the idea that Mohammed had desired them to kill infidels and purify the earth for Allah. This is the face of our enemy and the sooner the delusional liberals among us wake up to this fact, the safer all of us will be.

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Illusions About Why Muslim Brothers Kill

Despite the fervent wishes of the progressive media and the buffoonish David Sirota, who hoped the culprit was “a white guy,” the terrorists who bombed the Boston Marathon have turned out to be not white, Tea Party, tax-hating bitter clingers, but Chechen Muslims. Quelle surprise, as the French say. Now we’ll start hearing all the rationalizing interpretations for their act, few of which will state the obvious: they murdered people because Islam gives them the theological sanction to use violence against infidels whose existence threatens the Islamic hegemony sanctioned by Allah.

Of course, for the secular materialists and pundits of the left, whose minds are furnished with tired received wisdom and banal clichés, such as statement is Islamophobic hate speech. Only Christianity and Judaism lead to violence, from the Crusades to Zionism. Islam is the tolerant “religion of peace” that created the Renaissance and treated Jews and Christians kindly. If Muslims act violently–over 20,000 violent attacks since 9/11–then they must have been provoked by Western bad behavior: colonialism, imperialism, greed for oil, support for Israel, disrespect of Islam and Mohammed, the War on Terror that has demonized Muslims. Or the terrorists are created by the inequities and costs of global capitalism, which give young Muslim men few educational or economic opportunities, creating frustration and despair that make them turn to a distorting heresy of Islam for relief. Or they are the products of oppressive political regimes that limit their freedom, violate their human rights, and stifle their aspirations.

We’ve heard all these explanations for over a decade now from both the left and the right. What we haven’t seen is very much evidence that they are remotely true. History provides no evidence that America’s alleged foreign policy sins outweigh the demonstrable concrete benefits to Muslims of our actions. America never had colonies in Muslim lands, and indeed after World War II resisted French and British attempts to reassert their authority over their one-time colonies, most obviously in the Suez Crisis of 1956. Since then, the U.S. armed the Afghans and helped them drive out the Soviets, rescued Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from the psychopathic sadist Saddam Hussein, bombed Christian Serbs to rescue Muslim Kosovars and Bosnians, liberated Shiite Iraqis from Hussein, liberated Afghans from the brutal Taliban, poured billions of dollars of aid to terrorist Palestinian regimes, used our jets to help the Muslims in Libya free themselves from the psychotic Gaddafi, and supported in word and coin the jihadist, America-hating, anti-Semitic Muslim Brothers in Egypt so that Muslims can enjoy “freedom and democracy.”

And that’s not all. We have incessantly protested our respect for the wonderful Islamic faith, censored our official communications and training programs to remove any references to jihadism or the Islamic theology that justifies holy war, euphemized jihadist attacks like the Fort Hood murders as “workplace violence,” invited sketchy imams to pray in the White House, filled our schools with curricula praising Islam and its contributions to civilization, scolded and prosecuted writers or cartoonists who exercise their First Amendment right to criticize Islam, abandoned “profiling” as a technique for identifying possible terrorists trying to board a plane or enter the country, hired as advisors to the FBI, the Pentagon, and the CIA Muslim apologists who recycle blatant lies and distortions–we have done all this liberating of Muslims and flattering of them and their faith, and they still don’t like us, and they still want to kill us.

This disconnect between our alleged bad behavior and the motives of the jihadists is starkly obvious in the case of the Boston terrorists. If Chechen Muslims have a beef with anyone, it’s the Russians. When jihadist terrorism became a problem in Chechnya, there were no “hearts and minds” campaigns, no solicitous outreach, no infusions of foreign aid, no apologies for past sins, no careful adherence to the laws of war, the Geneva conventions, or human rights, no courting of imams to provide insights into the wonderfulness of Islam. The Russians employed torture, assassination, group reprisals, and in the end ringed Grozny with artillery and left it in ruins. In the two Chechen wars the Russians killed around 150,000 people. In fact, Russia has been killing Muslims since the 18th century, and occupied Muslims lands in Central Asia for 80 years under the Soviet Union. So tell me, Senator Rand Paul or Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, if our foreign policy misbehavior explains jihadist hatred, how is that two centuries of Russian violence against Muslims is ignored, and all our blood and treasure spent to liberate and help Muslims count for nothing

No more convincing are the other rationalizations for Muslim violence. Lack of education and economic opportunity exist all over the world, but African Christians and animists, or Indian Hindus and Buddhists don’t commit acts of terrorism with anywhere near the same frequency as Muslims. Plenty of people across the globe live under oppressive dictators who routinely violate human rights, and they don’t turn to terrorism against distant strangers in response. Tibetans aren’t donning suicide vests or bombing marathons. Millions and millions of impoverished everywhere don’t kill innocent people in random attacks in countries far from their homes. Every excuse for Muslim violence collapses beneath the weight of such facts. Meanwhile, the one factor all these killers–rich or poor, educated or not, politically oppressed or otherwise–have in common, Islam, is preemptively rejected as the explanation for the violence.

This “willful blindness,” as Andy McCarthy calls, has become dangerous. It reflects the arrogance of secular materialism, which has discounted religion as a mere life-style choice, usually benign–unless you’re talking about gun-toting, racist, misogynist, homophobic evangelical Christians, or racist, land-grabbing Zionist Jews. No, it’s about psychological trauma caused by globalization, or Islamophobia, or insensitive insults to Mohammed, or Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, or anything and everything other than the numerous passages in the Koran, hadiths, and 14 centuries of Islamic jurisprudence and theology, which clearly and consistently set out the doctrine of violent jihad against infidels.

So expect in the coming weeks the same old commentary about foreign-policy blowback, or two-bit psychological analyses of personal trauma, or Israel’s sins and Bush’s wars, or American intolerance and xenophobia, or our need to “reach out” and “engage” and “respect” and “understand” the fanatics who don’t want our outreach, tolerance, or respect, but our deaths. In short, expect more public reasons for the jihadists to believe we are weak and corrupt and thus deserving to die.

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