Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The real trouble with Islam today . . .

Today's New York Times offered an interesting take on the nature of Islamic rage. Irshad Manji, a fellow at Yale University and the author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith," offered the following observations:

Last week, the luminaries of the British Muslim mainstream - lobbyists, lords and members of Parliament - published an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, telling him that the "debacle" of both Iraq and Lebanon provides "ammunition to extremists who threaten us all." In increasingly antiwar America, a similar argument is gaining traction: The United States brutalizes Muslims, which in turn foments Islamist terror.

But violent jihadists have rarely needed foreign policy grievances to justify their hot heads. There was no equivalent to the Iraq debacle in 1993, when Islamists first tried to blow up the World Trade Center, or in 2000, when they attacked the American destroyer Cole. Indeed, that assault took place after United States-led military intervention saved thousands of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.

If Islamists cared about changing Iraq policy, they would not have bothered to abduct two journalists from France - probably the most antiwar, anti-Bush nation in the West. Even overt solidarity with Iraqi suffering did not prevent Margaret Hassan, who ran a world-renowned relief agency in Baghdad, from being executed by insurgents.

Meanwhile, at least as many Muslims are dying at the hands of other Muslims as under the boots of any foreign imperial power. In Sudan, black Muslims are starved, raped, enslaved and slaughtered by Arab militias, with the consent of an Islamic government. Where is the "official" Muslim fury against that genocide? Do Muslim lives count only when snuffed out by non-Muslims? If not, then here is an idea for Muslim representatives in the West: Go ahead and lecture the politicians that their foreign policies give succor to radicals. At the same time, however, challenge the educated and angry young Muslims to hold their own accountable, too.
Sure, but that's not going to happen until people like Irshad Manji come to realize that the aim of angry young Muslims is no value that exists on this earth.

How can I say this? Consider how Muslims terrorists revel in their own self-immolation. A real freedom-fighter fights to secure a better tomorrow for himself and those he cares for; risking death, yes, but not actively seeking death out. In contrast, a Muslims terrorist so loathes his infidel enemy that he actively seeks his own martyrdom, and will plan things like using his own baby to bring down an airliner, as this report chillingly details.

There is no earthy cause for such venom, and that is precisely the problem with Islam today. It is an ideology divorced from this earth, and we in the West must reconcile this fact, or we will be forever doomed to live under the threats of its adherents.

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