Did he say it? Did she say it? It must be one of those fabricated memories that psychologists talk about. I thought I heard the French Ambassador say that the perpetrator of the attack in Nice, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, didn’t fit the Islamic terrorist profile because he had a night life and was a gym junkie or some such. I thought I heard Julie Bishop express a “hope” that this would be the last of such incidents. Clearly I am going around the bend; inventing comments that are clearly so inane that they could not possibly have been made.
But one thing is clear even to befuddled minds. Numbers of politicians and commentators are again wondering aloud about the motives of the perpetrator. He was a petty thief, we are told. Well that is illuminating! It is a well known fact that petty thieves are more likely than most to run a truck through hundreds of men, women and children with the aim of killing as many as possible.
I am going to take a guess. With his Tunisian heritage and a name like Mohamed, I bet he was a Muslim. And his motive — another shot in the dark — was to kill infidels. And to complete this exercise in wild supposition, his inspiration was his poisonous religion. At one level he might have been directed or inspired by ISIS or by Al-Qaeda or Ansar al-Sharia or Al-Shabaab or Boko Haram, the list goes depressingly on and on. It doesn’t matter; there is a common factor and a common foe. It is Islam. And some fools think it will end once ISIS is defeated.
Conservatives chide President Obama for refusing to say ‘radical Islamic terror’. They should be chiding him for refusing to say ‘Islamic terror’. Islam is one, according to no less an authority than President Erdogan (unfortunately still in power): “Turkey is not a country where moderate Islam prevails. This expression is wrong. The word Islam is uninflected, it is only Islam.” Let’s take his devout Islamic word for it.
I have said this before and will say it again. Not one so-called moderate Muslim will disavow one word of the very words of Allah in the Koran. All round good guy [Mohamed] Zuhdi Jasser, American medical doctor and former lieutenant commander in the US navy, rejects what he calls political Islam. But, as he has said, he “loves his religion.” So to the question he never seems to be asked: does he embrace or disavow those parts of the Koran which instruct violence against unbelievers (e.g., 9.29) or which relegate women (e.g., 4.34) to subordinate status in perpetuity?
Jasser and other moderates are contortionists. They embrace Western values of tolerance and equality while remaining shackled to a scripture which preaches intolerance and supremacism. It would be fine if all devout Muslims were as flexible. Most aren’t. They are steadfastly Muslim inside and outside their mosques.
Comparable steadfastness is not common among the Western political elite. Their ranks are replete with contortionists. Yet another Muslim killing in the name of Allah prompts soul-searching about the real underlying cause. Was he, she or they economically disadvantaged; socially excluded; mentally unstable; prone to criminality or, perchance, to workplace violence? The bleeding obvious being too painful for them to absorb, they twist this way and that to find something which has a more familiar secular ring to it. Out of this delusional mindset springs delusional hope.
I heard this also from the French Ambassador. Victory on the battlefield against ISIS must be combined with economic reform at home to produce more inclusion. Leave aside the laughable proposition of any meaningful economic reform actually occurring in Europe – such as dismantling regulations, balancing budgets and tearing down wind turbines – those who ‘think’ in this way are completely divorced from reality.
Islamic terrorists come in all shades of rich and poor, employed and unemployed, with and without criminal convictions, married and single, with children and without, stable and unstable, mad and sane? It is their religion which is the common factor binding them together. This will not be changed by economic reform.
There will be no hope while politicians refuse to face reality and engage in wishful thinking. And the more this goes on the stronger the enemy will get and the more difficult it will be to win. The human face of the enemy is Muslims, but the real enemy is the creed which controls the way they think and act. We don’t get this; we don’t win.