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The Hijacking of Islam...Who can save it now? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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&#34We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.&#34 This was how an Islamist group, using the Al Qaeda brand name, announced its responsibility for the terror attacks that claimed at least 40 lives in London yesterday.

Although the exact circumstances of the attack in London remain murky, one thing is certain: this was a suicide operation aimed at killing as many civilians as possible. That the raid came on the day the G-8 summit opened in Scotland is certainly significant. However, it is safe to assume that the terrorists have been trying to hit London for years.

What do we do about people who are prepared to court certain death in exchange for killing others? The question has been asked by the Israelis for years and by the Americans since 9/11. It is now the turn of the British to ponder on it.

The first thing to do is not to be impressed by the fact that an individual who has been brainwashed out of his or her humanity is ready to die in order to kill others. The only reasonable way to treat such individuals is as a new form of weaponry. Just like all other weapons that impress when first introduced, these suicide-killers will continue to terrorize and fascinate until we find an antidote.

Cyrus the Great used camels as a weapon when he conquered Babylon. Hannibal used elephants for his raid on Rome. The Islamist terror leaders who wish to conquer the world and convert the whole of humankind to their brand of &#34true Islam&#34 have gone one step further by using the human body as a weapon. However, like all other arms, this new weapon is designed by some people, financed by investors, manufactured somewhere, and deployed by leaders who can be identified and destroyed.

These human weapons are designed and shaped by a constant flow of anti-Western propaganda from Arab satellite television, the so-called Islamic associations, and countless madrassas (Islamic schools) and mosques throughout the world, including London itself. The root cause of the tragedy is a discourse that divided mankind into the believers and &#34the infidels&#34, inciting hatred among followers of different faiths. This discourse is based upon a litany of woes about the &#34Cross-worshippers&#34 and the &#34plotting Jews&#34 who supposedly want to destroy Islam. You will hear how the West is mired in corruption, its womenfolk exposing their midriffs in public, and its governments sanctioning gay and lesbian marriages. You will also hear how &#34the Crusaders&#34 have invaded Muslim lands and are trying to impose their democratic system on Afghanistan and Iraq.

Such a discourse might leave most Muslims indifferent or annoyed. Nevertheless, it is enough to seduce even one per cent of the world”s Muslims, that is to say 13 million people, for everyone to be in trouble.

The would-be suicide-killer is also comforted by the sense of guilt manifested by many in the West. He has seen do-gooders from the United States in the streets of Arab Jerusalem apologizing to astounded Muslim passers-by for &#34the Crusades&#34 which happened long before the US came into being. He may also note that he is treated with something bordering on deference by much of the Western media, which have banned the use of the word &#34terrorist&#34 altogether, using, instead, such terms as &#34militants&#34 or &#34 resistance fighters.&#34

Then there was the successful &#34ghazva&#34 (raid) on Madrid last year when the Islamists succeeded in changing the government of a major Western democracy with a single attack.

If the suicide-terrorists were weapons made of metals the victims would certainly react by trying to bomb places where they were manufactured, but because these weapons are made of human flesh, the assumption is that they cannot be traced back to any specific locality. It is as if we were dealing with ethereal beings existing beyond the limits of reality.

Last year a petition signed by some 4000 Muslim intellectuals called on the international community to take action against the self-styled &#34sheikhs&#34 who incite Muslims to murder and terror. The petition was addressed to Kofi Annan, the United Nations” Secretary General, in the hope that it would be placed on the agenda of the General Assembly for a proper debate. It took Mr. Annan seven months to acknowledge the receipt of the petition, and even then only through a spokesman.

The petition showed that an increasing number of Muslims are aware of the harm that the ideology of suicide-killing, falsely presented as &#34martyrdom&#34 is causing Muslims throughout the world.

The attacks on the United States, Spain and now London, over the past three years have claimed almost 4000 lives. However, the suicide-killers and their allies are responsible for the death of almost half a million Muslims in Algeria, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, among others, during the past two decades. As the principal victims of this ideology of murder and death, Muslims have a moral, indeed a religious duty, to isolate, expose and oppose the ideologues who propagate terrorism in the name of faith.

The London attack, or &#34ghazva&#34 (raid), was not only the work of the few individuals who carried it out. It was the bitter fruit of a faith that has been hijacked by a minority of extremists while the majority of its adepts watch with a mixture of awe and unease. Unless we hear Muslim voices condemning such attacks without any &#34ifs&#34 or &#34buts&#34, the would-be suicide-killer would have every reason to assume that he enjoys at least the tacit support of all Muslims. The real fight against this enemy of humanity would start only when the so-called &#34silent majority&#34 in Islam speaks out against these murderers and those who brainwash, train, finance, and deploy them.

Amir Taheri

Amir Taheri

Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at or written for innumerable publications, published eleven books, and has been a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987. Mr. Taheri has won several prizes for his journalism, and in 2012 was named International Journalist of the Year by the British Society of Editors and the Foreign Press Association in the annual British Media Awards.

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