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[casi] Radical Islam's Assault on Human Life

Dear list,

This article was brought to my attention today. The most ignorant viewpoint I have come across yet:


      The monstrous attacks on New York and Washington
      on September 11 shocked, saddened, and angered all
      Americans as well as the rest of the Western world.

      Some causes of this tragedy have already been
      identified: poor intelligence; inadequate airport and
      airplane security; and, most important, the weakness of the U. S.
      government, which has done nothing to punish those countries
      that have fostered terrorism over the past two decades.

      However, there has been an eerie silence regarding the most
      fundamental cause of the attack: the ideas of the terrorists
      themselves. This is due largely to the popular doctrine of
      "multiculturalism," which asserts that all cultures are equal and
      none may criticize another. But the terrorists' acts cannot be
      understood without grasping at least two fundamental premises of
      their avowed philosophic base: Islam.

      First, in Islamic philosophy it is a moral duty and a moral virtue to
      kill "infidels"—those who do not accept Islam. The Koran is replete
      with such commandments as: "fight and slay the Pagans wherever
      you find them . . . those who reject our signs we shall soon cast
      into the fire . . . those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut
      out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads . . .
      as to the deviators, they are the fuel of hell." This is not to say all
      Muslims agree with this idea, but the terrorists take these
      teachings of the Koran seriously and literally. In his "Declaration of
      War against the Americans," Osama bin Laden repeatedly cites
      religious texts in addition to the Koran to justify his holy war. He
      especially favors martyrdom and boasts that Islamic youths "love
      death as you [the Americans] love life." The highest level of
      paradise, he claims, is reserved for those who die in battle. The
      young terrorists, he says, "have no intention except to enter
      paradise by killing you." Islam may oppose suicide, but it glorifies
      dying in battle, which is how the terrorists view their acts.

      Second, Islam, unlike Christianity (since the Renaissance and
      Thomas Aquinas), has no respect for reason as a means of gaining
      knowledge or guiding actions. Islam advocates total domination of
      every sphere of life by religion, including the legal system, politics,
      economics, and family life. The individual is not supposed to think
      independently but to selflessly subordinate himself to religious
      dogma. The word "Islam" means literally: submission. The Koran
      states that knowledge comes from revelation, not thinking. The
      ideal Islamic society is a theocracy (religious dictatorship) run
      primarily by clerics. We have seen this before in the West—it was
      called the Dark Ages.

      These two Islamic ideas together easily lead to religious fanaticism.
      The fanatic demands unquestioning obedience based on faith and
      rejects any attempt to question religious dogma. The fanatic
      cannot be reasoned with, because he rejects reason totally. The
      fanatic cannot be persuaded that his views should be modified on
      the grounds that they are inimical to life, because life on earth is
      not important to him. Although there are other possible
      interpretations of Islam, the terrorist fanatics are consistent and
      uncompromising advocates of its doctrines.

      It is true that many Muslims who live in the West reject religious
      fanaticism and are law-abiding and even loyal Americans, but this
      is because they have accepted some Western values, including
      respect for reason and individual rights and the need for a
      separation between church and state. Many Muslims left the
      Mid-East specifically to escape theocracy and its
      consequences—especially the lack of freedom.

      The terrorists' attack on the World Trade Center vividly betrays
      their motivation. This was not just an assault on America—which
      they view as the embodiment of Satan—or on capitalism, although
      it was both of these. At the deepest level it was an assault on life
      itself. The World Trade Center symbolized the principle that man
      can, with reason as his guide and individual rights as his
      protection, live successfully on earth by producing the material
      values his life requires. It represented the antithesis of the
      anti-life, anti-this-earth philosophy of the religious fanatics who
      worship death and the afterlife.

      The only proper response to people who have declared war on life
      and happiness—and everything that makes them possible—is to
      give them what they want: death—and to recognize that this is
      not just a war of weapons but a war of ideas. Ultimately, our
      biggest danger is not terrorist attacks but attacks of moral
      self-doubt—by ourselves. We must proclaim loudly and with moral
      certainty the values we stand for: reason, rights, freedom, material
      prosperity, and personal happiness on this earth.

~ Anai Rhoads

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