September 3, 2006 - If only we stopped supporting Israel, the terrorists would leave us alone - this is a popular misconception and a na´ve hope.
Al Qaeda released another videotape yesterday. Its number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, gave a brief introduction. In it he called on Americans to convert to Islam:
To the American people and the people of the West in general.... God sent his Prophet Muhammad with guidance and the religion of truth... and sent him as a herald.
Most of the tape featured comments by Adam Yehiye Gadahn (nÚ Adam Pearlman, an American who converted to Islam and promoted by Al Qaeda presumably for his ability to communicate with his fellow Americans). Here are some of his comments:
Instead of killing yourself for Bush... why not surrender to the truth [of Islam], escape from the unbelieving army and join the winning side. Time is running out so make the right choice before it's too late.
You know that if you die as an unbeliever in battle against the Muslims you're going straight to Hell without passing "Go." You know you're considered by Bush and his bunch of warmongers as nothing more than expendable cannon fodder.... You know they couldn't care less about your safety and well-being.
We send a special invitation [to convert to Islam] to all of you fighting Bush's crusader pipedream in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever else "W" has sent you to die. You know the war can't be won.
It is time for the unbelievers to discard these incoherent and illogical beliefs. Isn't it the time for the Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists to cast off the cloak of the spiritual darkness which enshrouds them and emerge into the light of Islam?
[Islam will prevail] whether Bush likes it or not.... [The West is] the civilization which enslaved Africa, slaughtered native Americans, fired bombs at... Tokyo and Fallujah and nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This tape reveals quite a bit. The Islamic extremists' laundry list of grievances is so long and goes back so far that ceding Israel to them would make little difference. Even if we unilaterally withdrew from Iraq, we are still the rotten civilization that slaughtered the Indians and nuked Hiroshima. There was no Israel then.
But most important of all, we are a civilization that is not Muslim.
The offer to convert fulfills a religious obligation just before an act of war (or terrorism, war by a different name). According to shari'a (Islamic law), jihad (holy war) is an obligation of the Muslim community. But the (Qur'an 2:256) says: "Let there be no compulsion in religion." In practice what this meant was that the enemy would be given a choice: conversion, subjugation, or death. No one is compelled to convert. The choice is free. But if the invitation is refused, the way is clear for attack.
This is the real agenda of the terrorists: the entire world must come under the rule of Islam. Either through conversion, subjugation, or death. This has been Islam's goal throughout its early history, and enshrined in Islamic law. After a period of dormancy, this ancient ambition is reawakening.
Abandoning Israel in the hope of safety would be like throwing one log into the fire. The fire would grow and consume even more. The Islam that terrorists want to impose on the world will not be satisfied with Israel alone. It was voracious even before Israel existed.
Nevertheless, Israel remains a good wedge issue for the Islamic extremists. It is an ancient strategy: divide and conquer. Channel the wrath of the West against Israel, rather than against radical Islam: in this way the entire West will be weakened, and the path to Islam's ascendancy made easier.
The strategy seems to be working.
Associated Press. "Al Qaeda Deputy Issues New Videotape." New York Times, September 2, 2006.
Peace with Realism