Monday, July 18, 2005

Loving death, loving sacrifice

Christopher Hitchens has argued of the London murders "It is a big mistake to believe this is an assault on 'our' values or 'our' way of life. It is, rather, an assault on all civilisation."

"For a few moments [on July 7]," Londoners received a taste of what life is like for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose Muslim faith does not protect them from slaughter at the hands of those who think they are not Muslim enough, or are the wrong Muslim."

If you think this is hyperbole then remind yourself of the weekend's terror attack in Baghdad:
A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt Saturday night inside a Shiite Muslim mosque in a town south of Baghdad, igniting cooking gas in a tanker parked outside and setting off a massive fireball that killed at least 98 people and destroyed or damaged homes more than a half-mile away, police said.
These murderers are not killing 'invaders,' or killing 'oppressors.' This is just killing because they can, and at the cost of their own lives. This is killing of innocents justified by faith, and an ideology that glorifies sacrifice and killing. Here's the school where at least one of the London killers learnt blind hate. As The Times reports, "There is no science, maths, literature or other languages and everything was by rote learning. 'Why do we need discussion?' asked my guide Rashid, the deputy director, when I questioned this. 'What is written is written.' "

I'll let Hitchens conclude for me:

Random and "senseless" though such violence may appear, we also all know it expresses a deadly ideology; indeed that in some ways it is that ideology. The preachers of this faith have taken care to warn us that they love death more than we love life. Their wager is that this makes them unstoppable. Well, we shall have to see. They certainly cannot prove their point unless we assist them in doing so....

We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

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