Sunday, February 26, 2006

The recent battle over the Danish cartoons and the reaction to the cartoons in the Muslim world started me thinking on how I really feel about the "Religion of Peace". Of course, as an American, I have been steeped in a belief in freedom of religion and the accompanying right to worship however you are called without interference. I think almost all Americans react to religious faith in this way and rightly so. This is one of the foundations of our society and culture, and one of the building blocks of our culture.

The last few years of the War on Terror has no doubt taken a toll on many Americans' outlook toward Islam and especially the "classical" Muslim of the Middle East. Why is this?

As I thought about this, a few things came to mind. First, I thought about the terror attacks on not just the United States and her close allies, but also countries like India, Russia, Bali, and the Phillipines conducted by Muslim extremists. To the best of my knowledge this encompasses the great majority of terror attacks in the world over the last decade or so. I am not aware of radical Christians, Hindus, or any other religious group with cells all over the world conducting terror attacks across the globe in the last 10 years.

But even more telling, in my opinion, is the lack of outrage on the part of followers of Mohammed objecting to this cavalcade of murders. While I don't trust the media to accurately report all the goings on in the world, I do think that I would have heard somehow if there was a groundswell in some Muslim society somewhere objecting to this slaughter of innocent victims. I have heard of no such thing from the Saudis, Kuwaitis, or even CAIR, much less any of the countries that passively or actively support the terrorists. While I don't think this signifies overwhelming support for terrorist operations among Muslims, I do think it means that most Muslims accept it as a valid tool in the battle between societies. And this worries me.

If I am correct, and there is no "grass roots" opposition to terror in the Muslim world, I am afraid there is no alternative to the confrontation escalating to the point of religious war. Obviously, there are some Muslim leaders who are actively working to bring this about as they feel it is the fate of their religion. If they are wishing for this battle they are doing a poor job of interpreting history. Western culture, including both the United States and European nations, have shown in the past that they are capable of conducting total war with no qualms when the provocation becomes strong enough. The US, England, and France have shown that they will try to avoid war by every means possible but when pushed into it will do whatever it takes to win. Witness the trenches of WW1, the strategic bombing campaigns (conventional and atomic) of WW2, and the economic battles of the cold war. Any Muslim leader who doubts our will or capacity for battle is condemning his followers to a brutal death.

I do not want to see it happen, but the only way out that I can find is for Islam to accept the accomodating culture of the west and I can't see that happening without a major cataclysmic event in the Muslim world. I hope you can look back at this and laugh in 50 years. But I doubt you will be able to.

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