Jul 13, 2005

Jihadists Killing Fellow Muslims

·The four terrorist attacks in London, one of which occurred in the Edgware Road area, a largely Arab neighborhood in central north London reminds us that jihadist militants have been especially successful in one area: Killing fellow Muslims.  Western governments should exploit the fact that al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed thousands of Muslims. The US government, for instance, has squandered a number of propaganda advantages in this arena.  For example, after the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, U.S. officials should have quickly pointed out that of the more two hundred killed in the attacks, a substantial number of the victims were Muslims; Kenya and Tanzania having large Muslim populations.  

Puzzlingly, no effort seems to have been made by the U.S. government to determine the number of Muslims who died in the 9/11 attacks.  Given the fact that New York attracts a disproportionately large number of Muslim businessmen, immigrants, and visitors, it is likely that a quite substantial number of Muslims perished on 9/11. 


Likewise, the vast majority of insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi’s many hundreds, or even thousands, of victims in Iraq are Muslim civilians. Western leaders should not be afraid to point this out. Attempting to justify a double crime puts al Qaeda and its affiliates on the defensive; there is no language in Islam that permits the killing of civilians or the killing of fellow Muslims.


When bin Laden is asked how he justifies the deaths of civilians the normally eloquent terrorist leader becomes mealy mouthed and resorts not to Koranic language, but to rationales such as the fact that American tax payers subsidize American foreign policy, not a point of view needless to say that can be found anywhere in the Koran or the hadith, the sayings of the Prophet.


President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and other Western leaders should not be afraid to condemn terrorist acts as against the Koran.  One does not need to be an expert in Islam to condemn attacks against civilians on these grounds.  The Koran is replete with injunctions about how civilians must be protected in times of war.  Bin Laden and his ideological fellow travelers cannot justify their attacks on civilians from a Koranic perspective and this is a weakness that should be exploited.  When U.S. civilians are beheaded in Iraq or British civilians are killed as they go to work in London, the first point that our leaders should make is that these acts are condemned by the Koran, the Prophet Mohammed, and many centuries of Islamic tradition. 


An effort to determine the number of Muslims who died in the London attacks should be undertaken by the British government immediately and when the results are known they should be widely publicized. It will remind the world that the jihadist terrorists value no one’s life, including those of their co-religionists.