Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - Salim Mansur - Islam's worst enemies - Salim Mansur - Islam's worst enemies

Following the Bali bombing, U.S. President George Bush delivered a major speech in Washington to the membership of the National Endowment for Democracy. He expressed most clearly and specifically -- for the first time on record -- who and what is the enemy the U.S. and its allies are fighting in the war on terror.

"Some call this Islamic radicalism; others, militant jihadism; still others Islamo-fascism," Bush said. "Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: The establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom."

With these remarks, Bush clarified what many of us Muslims know by our experience and the history of our faith tradition -- that is, how greatly Muslims themselves have been terrorized through centuries by the same people who are now waging their indiscriminate war against those who refuse to accept their violently bigoted perversion of Islam.

Osama bin Laden is today the public face of this murderous ideology, whose first victims were members of the prophet Muhammad's immediate family. The worldview of these murderers -- irrespective of how they strive to link their acts to Islam -- is starkly primitive. Their world consists of nominal Muslims, to be ruled by them as Taliban chief Mullah Omar ruled Afghanistan, and infidels against whom they must wage an endless war.

In Bali the infidels are Hindus; in Iraq the infidels are Shiites and misguided Kurds; for Palestinians, the infidels are Jews. Americans, Europeans, Russians, Chinese, and Hindu Indians are all infidels who are present inside, or inhabit the bordering lands of Muslims, particularly the Middle East. As enemies of radical Islamists, they are to be terrorized indiscriminately, as was the objective of the London bombers this past July, with the aim that they will be compelled to withdraw from lands considered Islamic.

The internal war within the Muslim world, which is as old as Islam itself, went savagely global in the final decades of the last century. On 9/11 this internal conflict among Muslims erupted inside the United States, awakening America to the international menace of radical Islam in much the same way as Japanese militarism did 60 years earlier at Pearl Harbor.

But there are legions of Americans and Europeans, with supporters elsewhere in other continents, who are wilfully blind and deaf to the reality of radical Islam that Bush has sought to make plain in his public remarks.

They continue to insist that the violence of Muslim terrorists, despite being despicable, must yet be explained by reference to some "root causes" linked with the history of Western colonial imperialism.

Hence, these "useful idiots" (in Lenin's memorable phrase) give pause to the vast majority of Muslims -- in particular those in North America and Europe -- whose silence in the face of evil feeds the bloodlust of Muslim terrorists.

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