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This is How Islam Ends Print E-mail

By Bradley Burston
Haaretz. Com
February 4, 2008

This is how Islam ends.

It is Friday, the Muslim day of prayer. Two mentally disabled women are fitted with bomb belts. Their handlers hold the switches that will activate the remote controlled detonators affixed to the explosives.

One of the women is a familiar figure at the al-Ghazi pet bazaar, an open market in central Baghdad, where people come to buy and sell pigeons and other pets. The woman sells cream there in the mornings.

This Friday is an unusually beautiful morning. Clear skies after weeks of severe winter weather bring out large crowds, many out just for a stroll.

When her handler closes the switch, a horrifying blast rips through the market. The carnage in the blackened pools of blood strews and confuses human and animal remains. The woman, who may not have even known that she was wearing explosives, is one of 62 people killed in the smoke and the crushing shock wave and the fire and the shrapnel that are too fast to avoid.

This is how Islam ends. Twenty minutes later, a second switch is closed. The second woman, according to police a woman with Down Syndrome, has entered the bird market in New Baghdad, a mostly Shiite area in a southeastern section of the city. The explosion tears and chars her body to pieces and vapor. Thirty-six other people are dead. Another 56 are injured, many of them gravely maimed for life.

This is how Islam ends. This is the future according to Al Qaida. This is the real meaning of this World War III of our times: A war of Islamists against Islam itself.

In sheer numbers of attacks and tolls of innocent victims, the moral outrages committed by Al Qaida of late have overwhelmingly targeted Muslims and Muslim shrines.

It is a war of the self-styled devout against an Islam whose core precepts are meant to foster peace, self-discipline, respect for women, protection of the innocent and unfortunate. It is a war to the death. And Al Qaida is not the only assailant.

During afternoon prayers the day before the Baghdad blasts, a Taliban member suicide bombs a mosque in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan. Six people are killed while praying.

In the current conflict, the practice of lethal re-interpretations of Islam may extend even to governments which are formal enemies of Al Qaida and the Taliban. The week before the suicide bombings, an Afghan court handed down a death sentence to journalist Perwiz Kambakhshm, 23, for mocking Islam and the Koran, and for distributing an article saying that Mohammed had ignored the rights of women.

Who will save Islam from the Islamists? It will not be those who, for reasons of their own, exploit the crimes of radical Muslims to smear Islam and its vast majority of decent, firmly non-violent adherents.

There is, of late, good reason to believe that it is Muslims, clear-thinking, lionhearted Muslims, who will save their religion from those who butcher in its name. Among the courageous moderates whose voices are increasingly heard in mainstream media are those of writer and commentator Mona Eltahawy, and of Nasser Weddady of the American Islamic Congress.

These are not Uncle Toms, they do not turn a blind eye to the moral failings of the West and Israel and their mistreatment of innocent Muslims in the context of declared wars against armed Islamists. But they understand what radical Islam is doing to a great and profoundly moral Islam.

Moreover, there are signs that there has been a change in the selective abhorrence of the Western hard left, its reflexive need to denounce all acts of allied powers and tolerate and/or ignore all war crimes, "honor" killings, and racist incitement committed in the name of Islam.

Perhaps the obscene terrorism committed in the hearts of Western capitals, and against civilians in Israel and around the world explains the change, perhaps additional factors are at work, but the left appears to have grown a tad more circumspect in going through with boycott and divestiture proposals, and with expressing profound understanding for the wrongheaded actions of Islamic extremists while cataloguing without a hint of perspective every wrongdoing of the United States, Britain and Israel.

Of course, in all of God's green globe, there is one spot that remains blithely impervious. It is the city of Berkeley, California, home to the best weather, the most marvelous views, and many of the most ostentatiously self-righteous politicians in the United States of America.

Last week, the Berkeley City Council voted to inform the U.S. Marine Corps that its recruiting station in the city's downtown business district "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders." They also voted to earmark parking spaces for and otherwise aid protesters who will hinder Marine recruiters from their work.

Well, they've sent their message. It is this: There is no double standard. We will continue to countenance acts of unconscionable violence against women, Muslims, Jews, and black people, as long as those who commit the violence are Muslims.

We will continue to believe - because it suits us - that the violence perpetrated by Muslims against Muslims is in its entirety a result of Western and Israeli occupation of Muslims.

We will continue to live in a country - because it suits us, because it protects us, because it allows us to hate it in public - which, while acknowledging that it has made grave errors while attempting to defend itself, we have decided can get along without any defenders at all.

Many Muslims have woken up to the problem. A number of people in my beloved Berkeley clearly never will.
 

 
 


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