Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My Slow Transformation Concerning Islam

Like most Americans before 9/11, I spent little time thinking about the Muslim religion and its implications for America. Of course I was aware of the many acts of terrorism that had been carried out against Americans and American interests that restarted in 1979 with the kidnapping of our diplomats and citizens in our embassy in Tehran, but I never really connected these dots until 9/11. I vaguely had associated the many terrorist bombings and mass murders with our support for Israel or our support for the Shah. Then I went through a stage where I understood that we had to confront the terrorists militarily everywhere in the world that they were operating, but I had no problems with Muslim-Americans living here.

In this I took my cue from President Bush, who has a different outlook and different responsibilities than I have, and who maintained that this was not a religious war, and that jihad was limited to a small number of Muslims who either misapplied their religious tenets or took certain commandments too far. The President is right in not wanting the world to see this as a religious war, and he is especially right in wanting to protect the rights of Muslim-Americans from the yahoos among us.

But, unfortunately, it is a religious war – not by us against them, but by them (the Islamists) against us. Almost everywhere around the world terrorist acts are occurring daily, and it is ALWAYS carried out by Muslims – against Christians, against Jews, against Hindus, against Buddhists and against other Muslims. And where they are not actively engaged in terrorism, they are trying to overwhelm whatever country they have chosen to live with their demands for imposition of their Sharia – their code of laws – sometimes on an incremental basis and sometimes the whole thing at once. This is going on in the USA and in many countries around the world.

“Three weeks ago Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten took to the Wall Street Journal to explore the phenomenon of Sharia in Minnesota. Kathy's Star Tribune colleague Curt Brown subsequently reported:

Minneapolis Community and Technical College is poised to become the state's first public school to install a foot-washing basin to help the school's 500 Muslim students perform pre-prayer rituals. "We want to be welcoming," MCTC President Phil Davis said, noting a student was hurt trying to wash in a regular sink.” See Continuation below*

I have written before about the attempted imposition of Sharia law in Ontario, Canada – successfully resisted mainly through the efforts of one woman, Homa Arjomand, an immigrant from Iran who once lived under its draconian measures. We may not like it, and it may offend our traditions about religion, but we have to watch for and we have to counter the many attempts to impose Sharia here in the USA.

In Europe the bullying by Muslims has been reported hundreds of times in the last five years, and it appears that Denmark, Germany, France and Great Britain have the biggest problems in this respect, although Spain, which kowtowed to Islam after a major loss of life in a terrorist bombing, is now poised to feel the brunt:

NEWS FEATURE: Alarm in Spain over al-Qaeda call for its "reconquest"
By Sinikka Tarvainen, EUX TV, 4/13/07

Madrid (dpa) - The emergence of a new al-Qaeda-linked organization in Northern Africa is alarming Spain, which is concerned about Islamists' calls for the reconquest of the country they regard as a lost part of the Muslim world.

"We will not be in peace until we set our foot again in our beloved al-Andalus," al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said on claiming responsibility for an attack which killed at least 24 people in Algiers on Wednesday.

Al-Andalus is the Moorish name for Spain, parts of which were ruled by Muslims for about eight centuries until the last Moorish bastion, Granada, succumbed to the Christian Reconquest in 1492.

The terrorists will undoubtedly attempt to extend their offensive from Northern Africa to European soil, anti-terrorism judge Baltasar Garzon warned, cautioning that Spain was at a "very high risk" of suffering an Islamist attack.

The reference to al-Andalus was not the first by al-Qaeda, which has also vowed to put an end to the Spanish "occupation" of the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the Moroccan coast.

Such announcements worry the security services in Spain, where 29 mainly Moroccan suspects are on trial for the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 and injured about 1,800 people.

The bombings were mainly a reaction to the war alliance of Spain's former conservative government with the United States in Iraq, but some of the terrorists are also known to have dreamed of reconquering al-Andalus.

The bloodbath in Algiers could launch a new string of attacks in Northern Africa and Europe, including Spain, terrorism expert Fernando Reinares warned.

Al-Qaeda is extending its activities in Northern Africa, where the Algiers bombings were preceded by the suicides of three Moroccan Islamists who blew themselves up to avoid being captured by police on Tuesday.

The Algerian-based al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), intends to federate North African Islamist cells under a common umbrella.

Some of the people who could attack Spain may already be in the country, where nearly 80 per cent of prison inmates jailed on charges related to international terrorism have come from Northern Africa over the past five years.

Islamist radicals proselytize at an estimated 10 per cent of Spain's hundreds of unofficial mosques, which operate in garages, basements and the like.

Spain has become an important base for the recruitment of suicide bombers who are sent to Iraq, according to press reports. Some of the fighters are believed to be trained in new al-Qaeda camps in Sahel countries such as Mali, Niger or Mauritania.

The Madrid train bombings appear to have been organized by a home- grown Islamist cell with the backing of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM).

Ceuta and Melilla, which have sizeable Muslim populations, could well be the next targets, judge Garzon warned.

*“today Kathy contrasts the treatment of Christianity and Islam at Minnneapolis Technical Community College:

Its officials say the college, a public institution, has a strict policy of not promoting religion or favoring one religion over another. "The Constitution prevents us from doing this in any form," says Dianna Cusick, director of legal affairs.
But that seems to depend on your religion.”

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