Over the last
several decades, nearly every Muslim country and essentially the entire Muslim
world has experienced a religious resurgence or the unmistakable revival of
Islamic fundamentalism. Anti-Americanism has a vice-like hold on the entire
population of the Islamic world, including those from countries considered to
be moderate and our allies in our war on terror. Knowing this, the governments
of our Muslim allies, as well as the prominent leaders of "moderate
Muslim" groups in the U.S. have been reluctant, if not altogether silent,
on condemning the terrorists who are allegedly acting in violation of the
principals of the religion of Islam.
Political leaders, media personalities and other pundits describe Islam as a "religion of peace," stating that Muslims who kill in the name of their religion are not true Muslims. They insist that that the term "jihad" does not refer to a holy war, but a "personal moral struggle" against the evil within oneself - or some similar variation.
Commenting this past weekend on a recent "terror convention" in Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that recruiting suicide bombers in the name of Islam violates the fundamental tenets of "a great world religion." This violent cause "has nothing to do with Islam." Rice added:
"Islam is a peaceful religion. And so the notion that somehow flying airplanes into buildings or strapping a belt on yourself and blowing up other people is in the service of Islam is something, I think, that clearly perverts the religion and is resented by most respected Islamic scholars for very good reason. By the way, I think probably rejected too by most people, because who wants that to be the future for your children?"
Based on lengthy historical precedent, her statements lack the necessary acknowledgement that there are a great many Muslim people who stand willing to die for their faith. In
Condolezza Rice's statements are alarming insofar as they are either based on misinformation or more likely, are deliberately sophistical. Perhaps they were made with the intent of maintaining the tenuous coalition of a handful of "moderate" Muslim countries reluctant involvement against the war on terror. Even in consideration of the most noble of causes, her statements serve to reinforce misconceptions that ushered in the attacks of 9/11. Fighting terrorism is one thing, but winning the war against Islamic terrorism is another. The latter requires moral clarity and honesty about the enemy we are fighting. To misunderstand or deliberately mischaracterize our enemy for the sake of political correctness is to adopt an inappropriate and inadequate strategy in this war, and is one that will lead us down a perilous path - the same path that we have maintained for the last 30 years.
We need to take a look at history to understand what is at stake and realize that we cannot afford to misunderstand the religious convictions of our enemy. Noted historian Bernard Lewis wrote the following:
"In the Muslim worldview the basic division of mankind is into the House of Islam (Dar al- Islam) and the House of War (Dar al-Harb). Ideally, the House of Islam is conceived as a single community. The logic of Islamic law, however, does not recognize the permanent existence of any other polity outside Islam. In time, in the Muslim view, all mankind will accept Islam or submit to Islamic rule. A treaty of peace between the Muslim state and a non-Muslim state was thus in theory impossible Such a truce, according to the jurists, could only be provisional. The name given by the Muslim jurists to this struggle is jihad."
Accordingly, those in disagreement with jihad as meaning a holy war are themselves apostates to their religion. They are the infidels who are perverting Islam, not those who engage in the armed struggle. Perhaps this is the reason so many so-called "moderate Muslims" have been silent on condemning the terrorists in acting in violation of the principals of the religion of Islam. Perhaps this is the reason we maintain military superiority, yet unprecedented vulnerability.
When we know our enemy, or at least admit that the war we are currently fighting is steeped in centuries-old fervent religious ideology, then and only then we will be able to fight and fully beat them. We must make no mistake that our initial successes in