Counter-Terrorism: Why Terrorists Are Above Criticism


March 8, 2007: The need for Moslems to criticize Moslems, for crimes against Moslems, is a critical aspect in the war on terror. Unfortunately, it's highly unusual for Moslems to criticize their co-religionists, no matter how outrageous their actions. Moslems terrorists regularly blow up mosques, murder imams, and even violate oaths taken on the Koran, such as when the Taliban captured the Afghan village of Qala Mussa a few weeks ago, after having sworn on the Koran to engage in negotiations with the local elders. Yet there's rarely a hint of outrage in the Moslem world.

There have been some Moslem voices raised to protest the crimes perpetrated in the name of the faith. A large association of American Moslem scholars has even issued a number of fatwas condemning the twisting of religious texts to justify violence. But these efforts have hardly made a ripple. Indeed, it's surprising that they haven't been the object of death threats and the like (at least as far as we've heard), the common fate of Moslems like Salman Rushdie, the Indian Moslem novelist, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali refugee who became a Dutch politician.

This is a front where we have very little leverage, as we are faced with a cultural obstacle that has strenuously resisted change. Some non-Arab Moslems have tried to speak out about the violence, but have been shouted down by Arab media, that considers itself the keeper of Moslem cultural standards. However, the message is getting through to most Moslems. Since 2003, the Moslem-on-Moslem violence in Iraq has caused the popularity of al Qaeda to plummet in Moslem opinion polls. The terrorists are also condemned in the Moslem countries where they operate. But there is still an admiration for the Islamic terrorists if they kill non-Moslems, making clear that the "them-versus-us" attitude that is alive and well in the Moslem world. This attitude is at the basis of the Islamic support for being at war with all non-Moslems. This is considered perfectly natural for a Moslem, and when taken to an extreme produces the Islamic fanaticism and terrorism that periodically appears in the Moslem world.




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