The world is being victimized by an epidemic of
terrorism from the September 11 attacks, the USS Cole bombing in
Yemen and suicide bombers in Israel, to murderous kidnappings in the Philippines,
a nightclub bombing in Bali, the deadly guerrilla takeover of a Moscow
opera house, and the fatal hotel bombing in Kenya. Is there a connection
among these far-flung terrorist acts?
What are the facts?
Radical Islam is the common denominator. Four Al Qaeda conspirators were recently convicted of the deadly bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Suspects linked to Osama bin Laden bombed the USS Cole in 2001. That same year, the Abu Sayyaf Group in the Philippines kidnapped and beheaded Christian missionaries. A group called Jamaah Islamiah committed the Bali nightclub massacre in October, 2002, which killed more than 200 innocent victims. In late 2002, an Islamic Chechen guerrilla group seized a packed Moscow opera house, causing the deaths of more than 100 people.
But clearly, Israelis and Jews are primary targets of these terrorists. Last November, Muslims bombed an Israeli hotel in Kenya, killing 13. In Israel itself, the Islamic groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbollah have murdered more than 600 civilians and injured over 4,000 in the last two years a devastation in that tiny country equal to having more than 35,000 U.S. citizens killed and 230,000 wounded.
These worldwide terrorist acts have two glaring elements in common. First, all were committed by radical Islamists groups that advocate overthrowing Western democratic governments and replacing them with fundamentalist Islamic regimes. Second, all these groups believe that killing innocent people in terrorist acts is a legitimate way to achieve their goals.
What does radical Islam really want? Despite the nationalistic focus of some of these terrorist groups, they all share dedication to aa common purpose: carrying out a jihad, or holy war, to rid the world of infidels, such as Christians, Jews and Hindus, and the establishment of a worldwide Islamic order.
For example, although the immediate goal of Hamas (the terrorist
Islamic Resistance Movement of the Palestinians) is localto eliminate
all Jews from Israel and the disputed territoriesHamas claims affiliation
with the international Muslim Brotherhood, whose purposes are building
the Muslim state and mastering the world with Islam
The same is true of Chechen rebels: While their demands focus on regional independence, their philosophy is radical Islam, and they have shadowy connections to Al Qaeda.
Of course Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden makes no secret of his murderous global design: To create worldwide Islamic rule by killing or subjugating non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians.
Why does radical Islam use terrorism? To most of the world, the idea of purposefully killing innocent people even for a noble cause is unthinkable. Likewise, the notion of suicide bombers: Most of the worlds religions consider human life to be Gods most precious gift, not to be sacrificed, except to save others.
The jihadis believe otherwise. They justify heartless, cold-blooded killing of innocent women and children on behalf of Allah. They entice youngsters to commit suicide, to become martyrs, with the promise of sensual pleasures in the hereafter.
What can be done? When our leaders tell us we are threatened by terrorism, they only tell half the story. Terrorism is clearly dangerous to our people and anathema to our social, religious and democratic values. Yet terrorism is not a goal in itself it is a vicious tactic of warfare, used to achieve totalitarian ends.
Indeed, if we declare our enemy to be terrorism, we fail to see our real enemy. The enemy is militant Islam, which uses terrorism to destroy democratic institutions and deny our basic freedoms. It is a tool being used ruthlessly to supplant our civilization with religious fundamentalism to impose upon us a world order based on orthodox Islam, with its harsh rules of behavior, intolerance of diversity, subjugation of women and totalitarian political rule.
Its time we speak out: Radical Islam not just the tactic of terrorism threatens our country, the state of Israel and other democratic nations. Its also time for moderate Muslims and their imams to raise their voices . . . and unequivocally condemn the violent aims of their brethren. The world waits for you to dissociate your faith from these bloody tactics and their authoritarian purposes. Finally, its time to fight back: We cannot pretend that we dont know who is responsible for todays deadly terrorist attacks, and we cannot suffer them passively. Just as the U.S. is responding aggressively to the threat of terrorism, so must Israel respond, since its people are being killed and maimed by terror attacks on a daily basis. Above all and for everyones good, militant Islam must be fought and defeated through a united effort by all civilized nations.
This ad has been published and paid for by
Gerardo Joffe, President