The attack on Bombay seems to have much in common with 9/11. Another group of young men have been prepared to kill and to die. On both occasions, the intention was to leave as many victims as possible. The captured terrorist says that in Bombay they intended to kill 5,000, which would have been an atrocity on a wartime scale.
A lot of planning and premeditation went into the attack. The terrorists had been trained professionally. They had also prepared the ground. The targets were carefully selected. In the big hotels and the café they could be sure to kill infidel Westerners. In the station they knew they would find local Hindus to murder. In Nariman House, the Jewish center, they captured, tortured and shot Jewish hostages. The New York Times suggests that this last outrage was an “accidental hostage scene.” The thinking behind that phrase is as bad as the grammar, but then the New York Times is more often ridiculous in its commentary than not. The terrorists were out to make a clean sweep of Christians, Hindus and Jews, and they succeeded in that.
Islamists are out to confront the whole world. Iran believes it will master and subdue the United States. Al-Qaeda believes likewise. Hamas and Hezbollah aim to destroy Israel. Assorted Islamists seek bases in Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, here, there, and everywhere They are in the grip of fantasy, of course, and therefore it is pointless to argue with them about the nature of reality. The Muslim world is sinking in distress and failure, taking with it as many as it can.
What ought to happen now is a reaction on the part of those Muslims who realise what is happening, and do not wish to be taken down by fellow Muslims. Repudiation of Islamism is requisite on the part of the Kings of Saudi Arabia and Morocco, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, the ever-voluble Tariq Ramadan and Sheikh Qaradawi, anyone and everyone with a voice in the Muslim world. As it is, President Asif Zardari of Pakistan is pleading with India not to go to war. The Bombay killers wanted such a war in the evident belief that Allah is with them and they would win it. Intelligence services are warning of other similar attacks in the offing. If Muslims themselves do not manage to control and contain Islamists, there is bound to be a great deal of reality enforcement, and very tragic that will be.