TERRA INCOGNITA: Denial, ISIS wins when you are silent

“When terrorists target mosques and Muslims, you know terrorism has nothing to do with Islam,” a friend wrote on Facebook.

A WOMAN walks past the remains of a building after an attack in Baghdad killed 200 people on Sunday. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A WOMAN walks past the remains of a building after an attack in Baghdad killed 200 people on Sunday.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dhaka, Baghdad, Istanbul, Medina. The evil arm of Islamist terror associated with Islamic State reached out to murder people throughout the world in the past week. In Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the murderers struck as Muslims were breaking their fast during Ramadan. In Turkey and Bangladesh, the killers targeted foreigners.
With the attacks come the usual bevy of excuses. “When terrorists target mosques and Muslims, you know terrorism has nothing to do with Islam,” a friend wrote on Facebook.
This is the Orwellian response to ISIS attacks – the more they kill in the name of religion, the less religious they are. In Bangladesh, the authorities won’t even admit that Islamic State inspired the attack despite the photos of six attackers posing, smiling, with guns and the black flag. It’s a “home grown” group, they say.
Remember the stories about how “ISIS captors didn’t have a Koran” or they couldn’t quote the Koran, which ostensibly provided evidence that they were not really into religion? In Dhaka, the murderers asked hostages to recite the Koran, which means the perpetrators were versed in it.
With Dhaka, the media has made a conscious effort to downplay the heinous crime. CNN writes: “In a perverse gesture, the gunmen separated the Muslims from the non-Muslims... the non-Muslims didn’t fare well.” They were hacked to death. The BBC said they were “tortured” if they couldn’t recite the Koran.
The media doesn’t want to show blood-stained floors or describe the injuries because that might make the public aware of the nature of the evil perpetrated. Auschwitz details you can know, and how the KKK lynched, you can know, but what happened at the Holey Artisan Bakery is left to the imagination.
It’s okay, the same was done about the mass murder at West Gate in Nairobi, when Muslims and non-Muslims were separated, or in Mumbai.
They kill non-Muslims for being non-Muslim, and they kill Muslims for being the wrong kind of Muslim.
There are two levels of denial regarding ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups. One involves the Pavlovian response that they are not Islamic.
The second involves media purposely toning down the crimes and turning the attackers into “militants.”
The crown prince of Abu Dhabi condemned the attacks in Saudi Arabia, saying that “it’s time we work together to save our religion from these deadly criminal gangs.”
But they aren’t criminal gangs; they are religiously inspired, mostly wealthy and privileged mass murderers.
You may think they’ve misread their religion, like the Inquisition did, but it doesn’t obscure exactly what they are.
Someone I know in the US posted a meme recently: “For all you Christians who demand moderate Muslims confront ISIS, what have you done against the KKK?” Another meme shows Ku Klux Klan members in bed sheets juxtaposed with ISIS and says” “If you don’t think these people represent Christians, why do you think these people represent Muslims?” I don’t think the KKK represents all Christians, but it is undeniably a Christian organization. Confronting it solely in this context, confronting it by its own people is what defeated the KKK. But if it were like ISIS, it would control several parts of several countries and be killing hundreds of people a week and selling black women as slaves.
The KKK isn’t doing that precisely because it was confronted on its own terms. Any Christian pastor who, after watching a KKK bombing of a black church, simply said “they aren’t Christians” wouldn’t have been doing enough against the KKK.
The “thoughts and prayers” brigade that emerges after every terror attack doesn’t do anything to confront evil, either. After the Dhaka killings, people made signs saying “No more terror, we want peace.” But for years now, Bangladesh has been beset by numerous targeted killings of secular bloggers, Hindus, Buddhists and others. You can’t say “peace” to people coming to hack you to death. You have to hack back.
In Iraq in August 2014, hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shi’ites marched to the front lines against ISIS. People who fled Sirte in Libya described ISIS members flogging women and crucifying men. Against such evil, only total war is the answer.
Francis Clooney, professor of divinity at Harvard Divinity School, said the answer to the mass murder in Orlando was to fast alongside Muslims because fasting was a “powerful tool” of “resistance.” The academic said that Omar Mateen, the shooter at the gay club, had been a “terrorist dedicating himself to ISIS and its war on America.”
Its “war on America”? That’s a nice way to excuse its crimes. Was the genocide against the Yazidis part of the war on America, professor? When men raped women 10 times a day and burned their children, was that against America? It’s not a war on America; it’s a war on humanity. Fasting won’t cure it (although fasting while shouldering a sniper rifle might help cure it).
Talking about fasting and “thoughts and prayers” and holding candles and saying “peace” is a form of collaboration with ISIS. Those who do nothing to help the victims are siding with perpetrators.
If you don’t want ISIS-style terror to be the wages of the next generation, you have to stop coddling this worldwide mass murder. Stop calling it “militant.” Stop saying it’s “not Islamic.” Stop pretending that its volunteers have some excuse to murder people.
Train security forces to kill terrorists on the spot, not negotiate with them for six hours while they hack people to death. Take every threat against minorities, such as Ahmadis, Shi’ites, Kurds, secular people and others as a sign of more extremism to come. Admit that terrorism is a weapon of the privileged and wealthy, not of the underprivileged, and that its supremacist origins lie in religious extremism, much as the KKK’s views were a toxic blend of religion and racial supremacy.
Terrorists want to be given the credit of being “militants” as if they are fighting a war, but raping women and beheading innocent people is not a war. It’s murder.
Abolish this phrase “thoughts and prayers.” Victims of ISIS don’t need “thoughts and prayers” anymore than people in Auschwitz needed them. They want to be liberated.
They want action, not thoughts.
The terrorists are always smiling in their pre-murder videos. It’s the smile of people who feel they have a right to decide who lives and who dies. That smile and that “right” need to be removed.