Hooded al-Qaida thugs real enemies of Islam

Whatever the beheadings of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg left untold, the recent beheadings of American Paul Johnson and South Korean Kim Sun-il certainly clarify, for those who remained uncertain, what our country is up against. As a Muslim, it also clarifies what my faith is up against. These acts are not those of humans, nor even animals. These acts are demonic, pure and simple. The kidnappings and beheadings join the litany of gruesome savagery that has been done in the name of my religion – Islam. I am filled with incalculable sorrow, but it also stiffens my resolve to no end. As much as the hooded demons of al-Qaida are enemies of freedom, they are enemies of Islam. The terrorist ideology, clothed in religious jargon, is similar to that of Stalin’s Russia or Hitler’s Germany. It is all based on one thing, destroying the spirit and will of others through fear and chaos so that a brutal ideology may reign supreme. That is why this battle is all about preserving freedom. It is only through freedom that we can get closer to God. Faith is when man freely chooses to relate to God, and is not dictated to do so by the commands of others. This is diametrically opposed to what Islamist fanatics believe. Their belief is medieval, just like those beheadings that are torn out of the pages of medieval history. They think that through the terror of the sword, they can kill and intimidate people into believing as they do. But they will not win. They are, in fact, a dying breed. This recent gruesome series demonstrates that they feel the terminal nature of their militancy. They are the dinosaurs of the modern era. They may, and probably will, still inflict tremendous damage as they continue to exploit our freedom. But their day is fading. These fanatics can only destroy. They cannot create. They cannot bring prosperity or happiness. All they can do is manufacture rage and a cowardly exploitation of religion. For too long, the so-called leaders of the Muslim world have, for the most part, remained quiet in the face of these atrocities. Their reprimands have been continually couched with qualifications or passive platitudes, but the time for denial is long over. The South Koreans have responded by dispatching 3,000 more troops, which sends an unmistakable message that targeting innocents only raises the resolve of freedom-loving nations to extinguish al-Qaida. My resolve and the resolve of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is, in fact, exponentially magnified. I see a two-headed poisonous snake, against which our resolve is necessary. One head, not of this world, is violently militant and must be defeated on the ground; the other is oppressively theocratic and must be defeated in public discourse. For their vicious killers, Nicholas Berg, Paul Johnson and Kim Sun-il were merely pawns in their game. Their real enemy is freedom. Their actions are meant to silence and intimidate people of good faith. But they will not succeed. If we have seen one thing in the titanic battles played out in the 20th century, it is that the forces of tyranny and oppression will eventually lose to the forces of freedom. This column originally appeared at the Arizona Republic at this link.

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