Reason, Liberty, & Culture

Faces of Islam?

by Lewis Loflin

On February 7 a London jury has convicted Britain's most notorious Muslim hate cleric of 11 charges of inciting murder and racial hatred. This comes at a time as raging and rioting Muslims across the globe burn Danish flags over what some call the Cartoon Jihad. His sermons encouraged his followers to kill non-Muslims. He produced an "encyclodpeia" of terrorism and racial hatred.

This 10-volume "Encyclopedia of the Afghani Jihad," which prosecutors called "a blueprint for terrorism" included instructions on how to make explosives and identified Big Ben, the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower as potential terrorist targets.

Hamza claimed that he had never solicited his followers to murder non-Muslims. He said he had helped fundamentalist Muslim groups to assist people in Afghanistan and Bosnia. Hamza considers himself to be a prisoner of faith. He is subjected to slow martyrdom." Hamza preached murder, hatred and intolerance of anyone who did not follow the Islamic faith.

Hamza declared, "Killing a kaffir [nonbeliever] for any reason, you can say it is O.K. - even if there is no reason for it." In other recorded sermons played for jurors, he exhorted his followers to "bleed" the enemies of Islam and he says that Jews should be "removed from the earth." His own lawyer admitted Hamza's sermons were "over the top" and that the messages were fundamentalist readings of the Koran and were not intended to urge people to commit murder. That's just a little hard to believe.

Prosecutors used his own words against him from more than 2,700 audiotapes and 570 videotapes seized in 2004. The jury heard tapes of Hamza praising the Qaeda-led attack on the American destroyer Cole in Yemen in October 2000. The 47 year-old Egyptian-born Hamza, who with his wife and eight children live on welfare, is an icon of Islamist hatred in Britain.

He lost one eye and both hands fighting in Afghanistan, causing him to use hooks for hands. The press has dubbed him "Dr. Hook." is followers included shoe bomber Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, facing a possible death sentence in the US for his part in 9-11. Hamza was sentenced to 7 years of which he might serve half, but faces extradition to US to face more charges. He is accused of hostage-taking and conspiracy in connection with an attack in Yemen in 1998 on 16 tourists, including two Americans.

What is interesting in this story are several issues. First, if he had been in the US, his hate preaching would be legal unless he was specific. Here he wasn't. The British in the past have gone out of their way pandering to Muslims, but have changed their tune since the subway attacks in 2005. Officials claim there's no evidence directly linking him to any attack.

Most astonishing is the admission on the one end that fundamentalist' Islam teaches what is clearly murder, but that they don't mean to murder anyone. The worst part of all, I see no Muslim protest condemning this kind of behavior or the wanton violence and killing over some cartoons. I certainly don't want Muslims singled out or targeted, but their continued refusal to openly and by name denounce these people means they have no right to complaign that so many see them as potential terrorists.

Ref. The New York Times February 8, 2006

Cartoon crisis shows true nature of Muslim world

Editorial Kingsport Times-News January 8, 2006

That a handful of satirical editorial cartoons of Mohammed could set the Muslim world ablaze confirms the West's worst fears about the emotional infantilism and religious fanaticism of a culture that seems increasingly set on a dangerous collision course with the civilized world.

The cartoons, which include, among other things a depiction of Mohammed with a lighted bomb for a turban, first appeared in an obscure Danish newspaper last September and have since been reprinted on the editorial pages of several other European newspapers.

In the Western world, the reaction to such a depiction of a comparable Christian or Jewish figure would likely take the form of a letter to the editor. In the Muslim world, the response has been an explosion of murderous violence: riots, hostage-taking, boycotts and heated calls for the deaths of the editorial cartoonists involved.

The violent outcries from Muslims in Europe and throughout the Middle East have caused at least one editor in France who reprinted the cartoons to be fired and prompted two other cartoonists to go into hiding, fearing for their lives. Several European officials, while decrying the mounting violence, have made craven public apologies for a free press that dared to offend Muslim sensibilities.

Not satisfied with that, officials of more than 17 Islamic nations have urged the United Nations to officially sanction Denmark for allowing the offending editorial cartoons to be published in a private newspaper in that country.

Such a demand is ridiculous on its face, of course. But it has the virtue of revealing the Muslim world's inability to accommodate anything approaching religious tolerance and free speech, while also demonstrating the depths of that culture's incredible hypocrisy.

Indeed, Muslim media are infamous for wallowing in an anti-semitism that is easily as virulent as Nazi Germany's. In editorial cartoons throughout the Middle East, Muslim newspapers and magazines routinely portray Jews as bloodthirsty, satanic monsters, arm-in-arm with equally repulsive depictions of America's leaders. But this latest incident shows that when it comes to criticism of their own religion and culture, the Muslim world is like a prize fighter with a glass jaw - a fellow who can merely throw a punch, but collapses on the canvas if he has to take one.

Freedom of speech, even offensive speech, has a long and prized pedigree in the West. The same is true of religious freedom and religious tolerance. Sadly, this latest incident shows only too clearly that the same cannot be said for the Muslim world. A religion and a culture that doesn't allow tolerance doesn't deserve it in return. One has to be tolerant to be tolerated.

In the years since 9/11, whenever Islamic terrorists perpetrated some new outrage, we in the West have invariably comforted ourselves with the notion that there exists, somewhere, a moderate Muslim majority whose only desire is to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world. But the suspicion grows that the alluring phrase, "moderate Muslim" is a chimera, a fantasy borne of our own values, culture and freedoms in which the Muslim world has never believed - and never will. Letters from February 9

Media should have published cartoons

It is unfortunate that most U.S. media choose not to show the now famous Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed. This surrender to political correctness does not serve well the thousands of innocent people who have been blown up by suicide bombers or who happened to be in the WTC on 9/11. To those offended Muslims the question is: why have you not rallied and railed in the past over the many depictions of Mohammed that can be found in books, museums, and more recently, on the Internet? Additionally, why have you not rallied against terrorism and suicide bombers, since 99 percent of these acts have been carried out by Muslims?

From the perspective of those who cherish what we used to call Western civilization, the protestations that the Islamic world is peaceful and non-threatening ring hollow. We see angry young men, shooting AK-47s at the sky, yelling, throwing rocks, with faces covered. We see angry but well-dressed young men burning flags, yelling and throwing rocks. We see bearded older angry men, urging the younger men to jihad. We see a hit (fatwa) put on an author named Rushdie several years ago and calls for removal of the Danish cartoonist's hands by sword. The women are not much seen, since they are essentially property in a man's world.

And finally, the purely subjective observation that a smile or laughter is a rare commodity in their world of retribution against non-Muslims. It would be a sad day if we had censorship of the press by mullahs, Pat Robertson, or anyone else.

Jim Berry Church Hill