Special Report

You Are the Target

In the surreal world of Political Islam civilians are soldiers and vice-versa.

By 8.31.05

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Hani Sibai should be congratulated for his honesty and openness -- and then booted out of the country. The country of which I speak is, of course, the U.K., for the past 150 years a sanctuary for Third World rabble-rousers and crackpot revolutionaries (from Marx to the Italian refugee who reportedly kept a young lady of Kensington awake all night with his "monster organ"). Unlike most Islamic apologists, Mr. Sibai, director of London's Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies, speaks his mind, even when he risks jeopardizing the British media and intelligentsia's love-affair with multiculturalism.

So what is Mr. Sibai's offense? Just that he recently told that pillar of objective journalism, Al-Jazeera TV, what many of us have suspected all along: that in the strange and surreal world of Islam there is no distinction between soldier and civilian.

Until Mr. Sibai opened his big mouth, the West's Islamic leaders were enjoying lots of prime-time PR as they apathetically issued various fatwas, proclamations and rationalizations, the gist of which was that Islam condemns the murder of civilians -- indeed that "all acts of terrorism targeting civilians are forbidden in Islam." That, of course, depends on one's definition of "civilian." In the West, the definition is fairly cut and dry. Not so in the bizarre world of political Islam.

Based on this and similar revelations it is now clear why so many "moderate" Muslims failed to denounce similar peace-time attacks on U.S. military installations, such as al Qaeda's bombing of the USS Cole (17 dead), its truck bombing at the Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (19 dead), and its butchering of U.S. soldiers in Somalia (18 dead).

These young men and women were considered legitimate targets.

Mr. Sibai's comments echo the earlier threats of Osama bin Laden, who was no less circumspect when he said, "There are no civilians in Israel. All Israelis are either in the army or have been or shall one day be soldiers." In the same way Muhammad Hassanein Heikel, a prominent political analyst on Al-Jazeera, has admitted that there is no distinction between civilians and the military in a modern state. A civilian uses the ballot box to bring someone like Sharon to power, he said, and thus supports his policy.

Today's Muslims are programmed to believe that Islam is involved in a string of defensive wars from Iraq to Afghanistan. Impressionable young men are taught that jihad is justified and compulsory because America has invaded the land of Islam with its occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, has established military bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, and Uzbekistan, has placed economic sanctions on Iran, and has given support to Israel in its occupation of Palestine. And indeed, both the Koran and the Hadith (the sayings and teachings of Mohammed) preach that in a defensive war the decision whether to fight is not an option, but an obligation requiring the services of all able-bodied Muslims. These are not the rantings of radical imams or hatemongering Wahhabis, but the teachings of mainstream Islamic scholars.

Yet in the end it matters little what the West's Muslim leaders say, for the jihadists have already marked them down as infidels and traitors. Johannes Jansen, author of The Neglected Duty: The Creed of Sadat's Assassins and Islamic Resurgence in the Middle East, notes that among the jihadists, "the [Muslim] rulers of this age are in apostasy from Islam. They were raised at the tables of imperialism, be it Crusaderism, or Communism, or Zionism. They carry nothing from Islam but their names, even though they pray and fast and claim to be Muslim." Far from concerning themselves with who is a legitimate target, the jihadists' sole preoccupation is to fulfill the sacred duty of Islam by wiping out the infidel civilization of the West.

This then is the chief reason the West cannot allow another Arab or fundamentalist Islamic nation to acquire nuclear or chemical weapons, particularly notoriously unstable regimes like that currently in power in Iran. Last year the chief scientist who worked on the Pakistani bomb, A.Q. Khan, confessed to distributing nuclear-enabling technology to Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Iran. I suspect the latter's fundamentalist leadership follows a similar line to that of London Islamic community leaders like Hani Sibai -- that as allies of Israel and invaders of the Islamic holy places every American and, indeed every Westerner, is a legitimate target.

If that is indeed the case, which I fear it is, what's to keep the Iranians and their gung-ho co-religionists -- once they have succeeded in their current plans to enrich uranium -- from attempting to wipe the infidels, both soldier and civilian, from the face of the earth?

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About the Author
Christopher Orlet writes from St. Louis.