Why was India — a nation that has suffered enormously from terrorism in the past seven years — unprepared for the Mumbai attacks? And why are America, Britain and most of the rest of the civilized world equally unprepared even now, so many years after 9-11?
London’s Telegraph reported Monday that “the former head of Britain’s SAS has revealed that Britain is not adequately prepared for a Mumbai-style terror attack. He said hundreds of civilians would have been massacred if such an assault was carried out in this country.”
The primary reason for this unpreparedness, of course, is the unwillingness or inability of government, law enforcement, and the mainstream media to confront the ideology of the jihadists and the Islamic doctrines that provide the foundation for that ideology.
Instead, it is an ironclad dogma in the American public square that the overwhelming majority of American Muslims decisively and unequivocally reject that ideology and doctrine and have nothing but abhorrence for the jihadists. Thus it is unsurprising that it was a Kuwaiti journalist, rather than an American one, who in the wake of the Mumbai attacks dared to observe that the Emperor has no clothes: “Unfortunately, we have yet to see a distinguished popular condemnation in the traditional Arab or Muslim communities that strongly rejects what is happening in the name of Islam.” So wrote the Kuwaiti columnist Khaled al-Jenfawi.
Underscoring this imperial nudity is the fact that as the full magnitude of the Mumbai carnage was still unfolding, some Muslim leaders as they condemned the attacks appeared principally concerned that they would hurt Islam’s image. Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain lamented that “a handful of terrorists like this bring the entire faith into disrepute.” Likewise Kazim al-Muqdadi, a lecturer at Baghdad University, complained that “the occupation of the synagogue and killing people in hotels tarnishes the Muslim faith.”
How to polish this tarnished image? One way might be to end the duplicity that is all too common. For example, Saudi Arabia announced that it “strongly condemns and denounces this criminal act” in Mumbai. However, Jonathan Fighel of Israel’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism observed that the Saudis had been sending financial support to the jihadists in Kashmir, the brothers-in-arms of the Mumbai attackers. “This demonstrates,” noted Fighel, “exactly the double game and, I would say, the hypocrisy of the Saudi regime.”
Of course, there is one thing they could do about that that would actually begin to make people think better of Islam. Imams could begin to saturate mosques and madrassas with the message that jihad warfare is never justified, that the imperative to subjugate unbelievers under the rule of Islamic law must be decisively rejected, and that peaceful coexistence as equals with unbelievers is to be maintained indefinitely. But they do not. They continue to play the same double game that the Saudis do.
Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al recently declared that “the day will come, within several years, when this world will change, submitting to the Arab Islamic will, Allah willing.” If Islamic clerics stopped talking about making the world submit to Islamic law and began to teach genuine tolerance of unbelievers and acceptance of them as equals, Islam’s image might begin to improve.
If Muslim leaders worldwide energetically condemned all those who maintained belief in the Qur’an’s literal words of war and in the traditional Islamic doctrines regarding jihad warfare (whether by hot war or by stealth), as well as declaring beyond the fold of Islam anyone who wished to impose Shari’a upon unbelievers by force, and if those leaders demonstrated their sincerity by actions instead of mere words, informed non-Muslims might begin to think better of Islam.
Until they do, how can we?
These things will not happen. Instead, Deepak Chopra and others have rushed to blame the West for the Mumbai jihad massacres — while at the UN, Islamic states have successfully pushed through a resolution criminalizing “blasphemy,” i.e., criticism of Islam, while ignoring one that was introduced denouncing violence committed in the name of religion. That in itself is telling.