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.