“What would Jesus drive?” A Judeo-Christian ecological group called the National Religious Partnership for the Environment poses that question in an upcoming media campaign. While these ads for automotive fuel-efficiency may make some believers roll their eyes, they are unlikely to incite violence. Imagine the reaction, however, if those spots asked, “What would Muhammad drive?”
Islam may be a religion of peace, but many of that faith’s remarkably thin-skinned fundamentalists evidently missed that memo. At least 220 were murdered, over 1,100 wounded and some 12,000 rendered homeless in recent riots that began when Muslims in Kaduna, Nigeria burned down the offices of ThisDay, a Lagos-based newspaper. It published Isioma Daniel’s November 16 article on the recently relocated Miss World pageant.
“What would Muhammad think?” Daniel asked. “In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from among” the contestants. For four days, according to press accounts, ThisDay published front-page apologies about the article. It also described its staff as half-Muslim.
None of this mollified militant Muslims in Kaduna a region in northern Nigeria that follows sharia, or strict, Koran-based law. According to the U.S. Committee to Protect Journalists, Muslims rampaged against the paper once Nigeria’s Supreme Islamic Council declared that Ms. Daniel’s article “declared total war against Islam” and urged Muslims to respond violently.
After torching the daily’s bureau, mobs ignited 22 churches and attacked Christians. They, in turn, retaliated, setting eight mosques alight. The mayhem eventually reached Abuja, Nigeria’s capitol, where machete-wielding Muslims chanted: “Down with Beauty.”
Meanwhile, the Zamfara state government met with at least 20 Islamic groups on November 26 and issued a fatwa ordering Isioma Daniel’s murder. Zamfara’s deputy governor, Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi, said: “It is binding on all Muslims wherever they are, to consider the killing of the writer as a religious duty.” Ms. Daniel has resigned from the paper and is in hiding.
“If she (Daniel) is Muslim, she has no option except to die,” Zamfara’s information commissioner, Tukur Umar Dangaladima, told the Associated Press. “But if she is a non-Muslim, the only way out for her is to convert to Islam.”
This deadly outburst of Muslim joylessness cannot be explained away as an inevitable response to Israeli actions, U.S. diplomacy, or even the “corporate hegemony” of McDonald’s and Starbucks. It was as apolitical as so much recent Islamist violence. Such chaos increasingly is little more than unbridled rage against non-Muslims.
‐After being released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, former Afghan detainee Faiz Mohammed complained to the Washington Post: “The Americans treated me well, but they were not Muslims, so I didn’t like them.” The West should be so lucky as to confront nothing more than Mr. Mohammed’s level of disdain. It gets worse.
‐A six-page manifesto the al Jazeera network says it received from al Qaeda November 13 does insist that the U.S. abandon Israel and withdraw from the Middle East. But it goes on to demand that the U.S. convert to Islam.
‐Asked what he would say to the loved ones of the 197 people killed in last month’s Bali nightclub bombings, Abu Bakar Bashir, leader of Indonesia’s radical Jemaah Islamiyah, replied: “My message to the families is, please convert to Islam as soon as possible.” Amrozi, a mononymous suspect in the blasts, said the carnage “delighted” him. He also pointed to Western reporters covering his November 13 appearance with police. Amrozi said: “Those are the sorts of people I wanted to kill.”
‐Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorists kidnapped six Jehovah’s Witnesses in Jolo, Philippines on August 20. The next day, the decapitated heads of two of the male abductees were found. One victim also had his tongue severed. Military officials say that a note attached to one head said, “Those who do not believe in Allah will suffer the same fate.”
‐Seven Pakistani Christians at a Karachi charity called the Institute for Peace and Justice were shot fatally in their heads, execution-style, on September 25. Islamic zealots are suspected.
‐Bertrand Delanoe, Paris’s openly gay mayor, endured three hours of surgery after being stabbed October 6. Delanoe survived an attack by Azzedine Berkane, a self-professed devout Muslim. He “explained his strong religious views made him reject homosexuality as unnatural,” French prosecutor Jean-Claude Dauvel told reporters.
‐Citing Philippine Intelligence documents, London’s Sunday Times reported November 10 that al Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned to kill Pope John Paul II during an ultimately canceled 1999 visit to Manila. The idea was to dispatch him with a pipe bomb or high-powered rifles with laser scopes as he celebrated Mass. Mohammed also is named in an abortive 1995 papal-assassination conspiracy, as is Pakistani arrestee Abdul Hakim al Hashim Murad.
Beyond hatred of non-Muslims, such murderers also embrace a pathological appetite for self-destruction. As al Qaeda’s Mualana Inyadullah put it in the London Daily Telegraph last year: “The Americans love Pepsi-cola, we love death.”
“We are more than determined to die here,” Movsar Barayev, told Mark Franchetti of London’s Sunday Times. “Our dream is to become shakhidi, martyrs of Allah.” Barayev led the Chechen terrorists who seized a Moscow theater earlier this fall. He was killed when Russian authorities ended the assault October 26.
And look for a while at the words of Dr. Adel Sadeq, chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association and chief of the Psychiatry Department Cairo’s Ein Shams University. In an April 24 interview on Iqraa TV, a Saudi/Egyptian satellite channel, he spoke of suicide bombing as the height of mental health.
“When the martyr dies a martyr’s death, he attains the height of bliss,” Dr. Sadeq explained. “As a professional psychiatrist, I say that the height of bliss comes with the end of the countdown: ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. And then, you press the button to blow yourself up. When the martyr reaches ‘one,’ and then ‘boom,’ he explodes, and senses himself flying, because he knows for certain that he is not dead,” He continued, in a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute: “It is a transition to another, more beautiful world, because he knows very well that within seconds he will see the light of the Creator. He will be at the closest possible point to Allah.”
The West will continue to confront Muslim fundamentalism — whether it is actual Islamofascist terrorism or merely the increasingly assertive actions of this religion’s most inflexible adherents.
Think of America’s “purest” Christians. The Amish of rural Pennsylvania live largely as if the 18th century never ended. They handcraft such things as fine furniture and quilts. They largely keep to themselves.
America’s “most conservative” Jews may be the ultra-orthodox Lubbavitchers. Like urban Amish, these Hassidic Jews traverse New York City in all-black, traditional clothing, long beards, and hats, even when the mercury reaches triple digits. They are harmless.
Now ponder Islam’s “strictest” believers in America. The infiltrated al Qaeda cells in Portland, Oregon and Lackawanna, New York, come to mind. Federal officials say two of the Lackawanna six possessed jihadi audiotapes, one of which called for “fighting the West and invading Europe and America with Islam.”
James Ujaama, a convert to Islam suspected of trying to launch a jihad training camp in rural Oregon, said on a video tape obtained by the Seattle Times: “There are many Muslims who have forgotten that the Jews and the Christians are our enemies.” There simply is no current Judeo-Christian analog to this sort of thing.
Thirteen years after the Berlin Wall collapsed, the U.S. finds itself in a new, twilight struggle against Islamic extremism. Like the Cold War, this fight could last decades. America soldiered mightily against those who followed Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao — mere mortals all. It could be at least as tough to defeat fanatics who believe they have been sent by God.