The blood on London Bridge and the barroom floors in Borough Market was still drying when the world’s leaders started denouncing the Islamic terrorists who spilled it as “cowardly.”
That was the first lie.
Conducting a terror attack requires considerable personal bravery, especially if the terrorists know at the outset that the attack will end in their deaths, and everyone on the planet knows it — starting with their fellow Muslims. That’s why jihadists who carry out these attacks are idolized throughout the Muslim world.
The whole point of terrorism is to attack innocents — in order to destroy a country’s confidence in its government and a society’s confidence in itself and its will to resist. That’s the essence of asymmetrical warfare and the object of the exercise.
The jihadists aren’t cowards anymore than, say, members of the Waffen SS were cowards. They’re evil. Evil people can be brave, just as good people can be cowards.
The “world leaders” who label terrorists “cowards” are engaging in self-serving name-calling or, worse, are underestimating the enemy. That’s a proven way to lose wars.
The real cowards are the so-called leaders who are too craven to call an existential enemy by its name — Salafist Islam — much less do what is necessary to eliminate the threat it poses: wage war on it until it submits or is destroyed.
To his lasting credit, London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Kahn did call the attackers “evil” as well as “cowardly.”
In a statement to the press he also said he was “angry and furious that these three men are seeking to justify their actions by using the faith I belong to, to justify their actions.
“The ideology they follow is perverse, and is poisonous, and it has no place in Islam. And I condemn this terrorist act and also this poisonous ideology these men and others follow,” he said.
Earlier he said, “There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.”
The last is a sentiment that’s routinely voiced by the world’s leaders following jihadist rampages.
Alas, it’s also untrue.
There most certainly is “justification” for such “barbaric acts.” It’s found in the Koran. As in these four passages:
“Kill the idolaters wheresoever ye shall find them, and take them prisoners, and besiege them, and lay wait for them in every convenient place” (Sura 9:5).
“If they turn back from the faith, take them, and kill them wherever ye find them; and take no friend from among them, nor any helper” (Sura 4:89).
“Wherever they are found they shall be taken, and killed with a general slaughter,” (Sura 33:61).
“Kill them wherever ye find them,” (Sura 2:191).
And 145 more, according to at least one tabulation (politicalislam.com/tag/violence-in-the-koran/).
Islam’s defenders maintain that many of these quotes are taken out of context or suffer from unsympathetic translation. They have a point there. But the collective meaning of 149 quotes, even if they’re taken out of context, takes on a life of its own, and the glorification of jihad unmistakably comes shining through. The Salafists clearly see it that way — and Salafism is the most vital force and fastest growing movement in Islam today.
As for unsympathetic translations, as Nietzsche once remarked “Neither the best nor the worst of a work is untranslatable.”
Islam’s defenders also point out that the Bible is chock-full of violent passages. True. The difference is that Christians no longer use Scripture to justify waging war on unbelievers and killing heretics and blasphemers. Salafist Islam self-evidently does.
After attacks such as the ones in London and Manchester, Western “leaders” routinely tell their citizens to “show defiance” by “getting on with their lives.” They also claim that the attack will result in the country being more united than ever in the face of terror.
Getting on with your life in the face of an existential threat isn’t “defiance.” It’s denial.
The war against Islamic terror is ultimately a war of ideas, and most Western “leaders” are timid about expressing ours and terrified about attacking theirs.
Mayor Khan also said, “We will not be cowed.”
That too is a sentiment routinely expressed by Western leaders in the wake of terror attacks, and it too is a lie.
If “getting on with your life” means accepting eruptions of Islamic terrorism as the new normal, if “showing defiance” means going to a rock concert, if “national unity” requires people to refrain from speaking out against the pathologies of Islam as “good Germans” refrained from speaking out against the pathologies of Nazism, then as a country and as a civilization you have already been cowed.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.