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Saturday, 23 July 2005
An Insidious 'Cancer'
Topic: Terrorism
There is a cancer eating away at all of us. It started, as many cancers do, as one or two small insignificant eruptions. They appeared to heal but unbeknown to us, the cancer continued spreading its invasive destruction beneath the surface. Then it erupted again with a huge devastating effect. The cancer would need to be cut out. However, it seems that all the operation succeeded in doing was to divide and spread the cancer further. Will it ever be cured?

I am talking about the cancer of terrorism, about Al-Qaeda. It probably all started with the bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993 followed by the killing of American soldiers in Somalia in October of that year. Then a truck bomb blew up outside the Khobar Towers military complex in Saudi Arabia in June 1996 killing another 19 US servicemen and injuring hundreds more. Two years later, in August 1998, US embassies in East Africa were bombed - 224 people died, including 12 Americans. In October 2000, the USS Cole was bombed in the port of Yemen - 17 US sailors died. In September 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were destroyed - at least 2,985 people died in this horrific attack.

In April 2002, there was an explosion at an ancient synagogue in Tunisia, the following month a car exploded outside a hotel in Karachi, in June a bomb exploded outside the American Consulate in Karachi. In October, bombs destroyed a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, killing 202 people, most of them Australian citizens. There was also an attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya.

In 2003, suicide bombers killed 34 at housing compounds for Westerners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Bombs went off in Casablanca, Morocco. There was a suicide car bomb at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. More explosions in Riyadh, suicide car bombers attacked two synagogues in Istanbul and a week later, a British bank was bombed. In March 2004, ten terrorist bombs exploded on trains during the Madrid rush hour. In Iraq, there have been countless bombs and suicide attacks, Muslim against Muslim. It seems that civil war is imminent and that no one can stop it.

Now, this cancer has reached London with the attacks on 7th July followed by more bungled attempts to cause yet more carnage last Thursday. I hope they catch them - those four would-be suicide bombers. Thank goodness their bombs failed to detonate. These particular terrorists were weak mutations of the original cancer. It seems that they were ignorant, unskilled and probably stupid as well - 'Homo Hostilis Inscitus' an offshoot of Homo Hostilis! Unfortunately, it is the stupid and the ignorant who are dangerous, who are most likely to be 'brainwashed' into committing terrorist crimes. Now they have struck again in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh.

What on earth does Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda hope to accomplish by all this? It seems that their principal stated aims are to drive Americans and American influence out of all Muslim nations, especially Saudi Arabia. They also want to destroy Israel and to topple pro-Western dictatorships around the Middle East. Bin Laden has also said that he wishes to unite all Muslims and establish, by force if necessary, an Islamic nation adhering to the rule of the first Caliphs. According to his 1998 fatwa (religious decree), it is the duty of Muslims around the world to wage holy war on the U.S., American citizens, and Jews. Muslims who do not heed this call are declared apostates (people who have forsaken their faith).

I used to think that other religions were just different paths leading to one God and that all religions were intrinsically good. I was naive. The Muslim hatred of Jews as stated in the Koran is particularly unbelievable - see Stephen Pollard's article of 20th July, "Ban the Koran?", in which he highlights the stupidity of the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill. My dictionary defines 'religion' as:- Perpetrating acts of terrorism is hardly the 'ideal life'. So why has the terrorists' Fundamentalist 'religionism' taken a wrong turning? Why is it that this evil branch of one of the world's main religion seems to be stuck in the Middle Ages? And what about suicide bombers? They are like small greedy children believing that if they die a 'martyr's death', they will be rewarded by meeting 70 virgins in the after-life. I actually find this particular bit of the Koran a real insult to women. If there is an afterlife for these self-styled martyrs, I believe it will be the opposite of the eternal debauchery they expect because they will discover that they do not have a corporeal form after death! No, they will be in a hell of their own making.

That reminds me of a marvellous description I once heard of the difference between heaven and hell. In hell, there was a very large banqueting table full of marvellous food laid out in the middle of the table. The people sitting around it had been supplied with very heavy long-handled spoons, spoons with which they could reach the food. But they were starving and screaming with anger and desperation because they could not manage to put one spoonful of food in their mouths to ease their hunger. In heaven there was an identical banqueting table and identical spoons but, unlike the inhabitants of hell, the people seated at the table were happy and laughing. Being good and kind, each person was busy using their long spoon to feed the person sitting opposite them on the other side of the table. The moral here is that the state of heaven or hell is a reflection of a good and generous nature or of an evil and selfish nature.

Sadly, there is no easy inoculation against the cancer of evil but we will continue to fight it, to tease it out wherever it erupts. We will show the terrorists that we are not afraid and we will prevail because we have right and justice on our side.

Posted by Noviomagus at 18:09 BST Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Monday, 25 July 2005 - 14:43 BST

Name: Joanna

When all this anti-terrorism hoo-haw got serious, I heard President Bush say, "Islam is a good and great religion and we must all respect it and it's holy book, the Koran. Only a few misguided fanatics among Muslims have corrupted the beauty of this religion to fit their own selfish goals. We must not allow our disgust for those few to ruin our appreciation for the validity of the beliefs of non-terrorists in the Arab world."

Hearing this. I considered that I had not actually read every word of the Koran, which Muslims feel to be the physical embodiment of their god on earth. With that thought in mind, I rustled up a copy and sat down to read and think. Er, feelings mirrored Mark Twain's upon reading the Book Of Mormon. Failing to discover gripping narrative, I began to read again, solely to find the basis for terrorists' claims re. their paradise, their duty toward non-Muslim people, etc. In more than one place I read clear instruction that it is the duty of a Muslim to eradicate any vestige of non-Islamic life on this planet. I don't care what anyone else says. I read the book for myself. Osama bin Laden is right. You can't be a good Muslim and peacefully co-exist with your non-Islamic neighbors. American Muslims who get along fine with their Christian neighbors are not doing the right thing according to the Koran. In my opinion, therefore, the religion of Islam has about as high a percentage of dedicated followers as does the Christian religion...and a darned good thing, too.

The other day I watched a program about the required pilgrimage to Mecca. All those in the show were going to Mecca from London. Every single one of those pilgrims was a picker and chooser. They had fingered through the beliefs expressed by Imams and the Koran and they had chosen to hold dear only the parts of the religion which met their needs. In each case the subjects of this program were people who neede to be told what to do. The were the type who feel more confident in life if they have a clearly stated book of rules about the details of daily existence...wear this, say that, blahblahblahblah. Of course each person passionately avowed belief in all the teachings of Islam. However, none of them were on the warpath against their Christian neighbors. Therefore, they had chosen to ignore some of the religion...without saying so. They like those parts about women wearing all kinds of restrictive garments, women obeying the men of their families, avoiding alcohol/porn/western TV, etc. In effect, they had crafted a religion from the materials available in Islam, discarding the inconvenient, repellant bits. Home made religion...hideous little god figures carved by primitive people, modern urbanites cobbling together a system of belief from locally available religious elements...same thing. Given recent events, I'm happy that any Muslims in my part of the world are kind of apostate from their faith and live their own version of that religion.

Tuesday, 26 July 2005 - 16:36 BST

Name: Tessa

Religion is supposed to be a set of rules to live by and live up to. A way of being at peace with nature and our fellow human beings. It seems to be anything but! The early Christians tried to convert people - by force in some cases. Some pagan societies thought they had to sacrifice people every day or the sun would fail to rise. It seems that the Fundamentalist Muslims want to murder anyone and everyone who doesn't agree with their fanatical views.

I saw a programme on television last night about "The New Al Qaeda" and how they make use of the Internet to recruit followers. Apparently, all the videos of beheadings and suicide missions actually 'inspire' young men to volunteer and they can download every bit of information they need to make bombs for suicide missions. As you say, thank goodness not all Muslims choose this path. The problem is telling them apart!

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