As the war on terror continues, it is vital to pause occasionally and remind ourselves how truly horrific an enemy civilization confronts. In militant Islam, America and its allies–and even some nations that have sidestepped this conflict–face a breathtakingly evil foe. In recent weeks, this Coalition of the Wicked has reconfirmed its barbarism.
‐Until liberation, Fallujah was an Islamist house of horrors. U.S. soldiers discovered up to 20 blood-stained homes in which innocent hostages were detained and killed, often on videotape. Amid guns, rockets, and an unfinished car bomb, terror master Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s headquarters included computer and audio-visual gear for disseminating al Qaeda’s hateful missives and real-life snuff films.
-Iraqi forces found a reputed toxic-weapons laboratory featuring poisonous chemicals and anthrax recipes.
-Roughly half of Fallujah’s mosques doubled as military outposts. Their minarets became sniper’s nests. American GIs found artillery shells, machine guns, and anti-tank mines at the Saad Bin Waqas Mosque on November 24. The Sunni shrine also housed a suspected mobile bomb factory inside a truck, rocket-propelled grenades, surface-to-air missile parts, and, a military spokesman told the Associated Press, “documents that detailed insurgent interrogations of recent kidnap victims.”
-Dublin-born Margaret Hassan, 59, married an Iraqi, converted to Islam, and spent 30 years bringing Iraqis medicine, clean water, and other relief. She also denounced the Iraq war. Impossible-to-please Islamic extremists kidnapped her in October. A mid-November videotape showed an unidentified terrorist fatally shooting a blindfolded captive believed to be Hassan.
-James Mollen, 48, cheerfully spent 16 months improving Iraq’s beleaguered schools and linking some to the Internet. Nonetheless, a Zarqawi-tied assassin fatally shot Mollen in the head as he drove through Baghdad November 24.
-A Sunni communiqué promised, as NBC News’s Richard Engel reported November 18, “to kill all organizers of coming elections here, and anyone who votes.” Not since the Ku Klux Klan’s glory days in the 1950s and ’60s have hooded villains threatened lethally to disenfranchise those who aim to cast and count ballots.
‐When Iran’s theocrats are not enriching uranium, they destroy their own people–even teenagers. As the December 13 National Review notes, a local Islamic judge sentenced a 14-year-old boy for breaking the Ramadan fast. Last month, he endured 85 lashes, then died. Earlier this year, officials publicly hanged a 16-year-old girl for having pre-marital sex.
-An Iranian group, seemingly with government supporters, is training 20,000 volunteers for suicide operations, the AP reports. The Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement (HCMGIM) recently let 300 applicants choose among preparing for suicide attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq, similar assaults in Israel, or assassination attempts on Salman Rushdie, the British author of The Satanic Verses against whom the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa. (Although Tehran later backed off of this death warrant, Khomeini died before rescinding it, so it technically remains in force.)
“This group spreads valuable ideas,” Iranian lawmaker Mahdi Kouchakzadeh told the AP. “Iran’s foreign policy makers have to take the dignified opinions of this group into consideration.” Kouchakzadeh, a former Revolutionary Guardsman, attended HCMGIM’s initial meeting, as did Revolutionary Guard General Hossein Salami.
‐British authorities on November 22 outlined an al Qaeda cell’s thwarted plans to blast the London Underground and Westminster Abbey, crash planes into London’s Heathrow Airport, and bomb three skyscrapers at Canary Wharf, including 50-story One Canada Square. Last August, British cops snagged eight terrorists including Dhiren Barot. He allegedly possessed maps of the New York Stock Exchange, Citigroup’s Manhattan headquarters, Prudential’s Newark, New Jersey base, and Washington, D.C.’s International Monetary Fund. These arrests raised America’s terrorist-alert level last summer.
‐German politicians have proposed requiring imams to lead services in German to prevent them from concealing extremist speech in Arabic or Turkish.
“We will have to step up measures to track down hate preachers and remove their residency rights,” Interior Minister Otto Schily told Reuters November 16. Schily also advocated padlocking radical mosques.
‐Belgium recently announced plans to restrain anti-Semitic and anti-Western Arabic-language websites and radio stations. Police are shielding Belgium’s justice minister after she and two other officials were menaced by mail. An Islamic convert allegedly warned he would “ritually slaughter” one Belgian lawmaker who criticized Muslim attitudes on women.
‐In Holland, both mosques and churches have burned since filmmaker Theo Van Gogh’s November 2 murder, allegedly at the hands of Dutch-Moroccan Mohammed Bouyeri, 26. Van Gogh, 47, a grand nephew of the 19th-century Impressionist painter, produced a controversial movie about Islam’s treatment of women. Police say Bouyeri, inflamed by the film, shot Van Gogh in Amsterdam, tried to sever his head, “as if he were slicing bread,” one eyewitness recalled, then stuck a five-page letter into Van Gogh’s chest with a knife.
Addressed to Somali-born Dutch legislator Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who worked on Van Gogh’s movie, the letter spewed death threats against Ali, plus Koranic passages, and anti-Semitic rants. “Hair-raising screams will be squeezed from the lungs of the non-believers,” warned the Dutch- and Arabic-language letter.
Bouyeri grew more fervent after leaving a relatively tame Islamic center for a more radical one. Amsterdam’s Al-Tawheed mosque sold books that advised dropping gay people head first from tall buildings. Any who survived were to be stoned to death.
Dutch police first noticed Bouyeri while investigating Samir Azzouz, 18, another Dutch-Moroccan. Azzouz and a Dutch Islamist were caught in Ukraine bound for Chechnya. After searching Azzouz’s apartment, Dutch cops found detailed maps of Holland’s parliament, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and the Borssele atomic power plant.
As Andrew Higgins chillingly related in the November 22 Wall Street Journal, two days after Van Gogh’s death, Islamists aimed their knives at Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, a critic of open immigration. They posted his picture on line beside this message: “The punishment is beheading, and the reward for doing it is paradise.”
Moderation against such fanaticism is inconceivable. Fundamentalist Islam must be transcended from within while militant Islam must be vanquished from without. Victory cannot come too soon.
Until then, Geert Wilders grasps the stakes. “Bush was totally correct,” he phoned Higgins while dashing between safe houses on the advice of police. “This is war, a world-wide war.”