By Norman Berdichevsky
A few days ago, one of the most violent incidents involving the slaughter of innocent civilians took place in Lahore and several kilometers away in Garhi Shahu, Pakistan. There has been essentially no media interest, such as on-the-spot coverage or interviews with survivors. The victims were all Ahmadis, a “deviant” sect within Islam. Ahmadis comprise the sect that is distinguished as being the most peaceful; they have always lived in peace with their neighbors, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
The Ahmadis were attacked by those “mainstream” Muslims who are sympathizers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan. These Muslims attacked the two Ahmadi mosques packed with hundreds of worshipers. At least eighty people were killed. The assaults in Lahore were carried out by at least seven men, including three suicide bombers. Some of the attackers acted as snipers from an adjacent mosque to kill their fellow Muslims.
Ahmadis are reviled as heretics by mainstream Muslims for their belief that their sect’s founder was a savior foretold by the Quran, Islam’s holy book. The group has experienced years of state-sanctioned discrimination and occasional attacks in Pakistan, but never before in such a large and coordinated fashion.
Not one reputable, representative, acknowledged Muslim religious leader anywhere has seen fit so far to issue a condemnation of the attack. Not one media commentary anywhere (except in Israel) saw fit to mention that the only place within the Middle East where Ahmadis live in peace and harmony with their neighbors and enjoy full civil and religious rights is Israel.
The Kababir neighborhood in Haifa was established in 1928. The neighborhood’s first mosque on Mount Carmel was built in 1931, and a larger grand mosque was built in the 1970s. The grand mosque has two white minarets standing one hundred feet tall. They dominate the low-rise skyline of the residential neighborhoods on the ridges nearby. The mosque is subsidized entirely by the members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
As noted authority Bernard Lewis has so cogently argued, although a majority of Muslims at any given time may not be motivated by considerations of jihad, the phrase “Islamic terrorism” is apt, because
Islam has had an essentially political character … from its very foundation … to the present day. An intimate association between religion and politics, between power and cult, marks a principal distinction between Islam and other religions. … In traditional Islam and therefore also in resurgent fundamentalist Islam, God is the sole source of sovereignty. God is the head of the state. The state is God’s state. The “army is God’s army. The treasury is God’s treasury, and the enemy, of course, is God’s enemy.”
Jihad is directed not “just” against the unbelievers (the kaffirs, i.e., non-Mulsims), but all those who have “deviated” — the Shi’ites, the Alawites, the Ahmadis, the Druze, Bahais, Yazidis, etc. It is holy war by armed resistance to all those who do not accept Muhammad’s message as interpreted by the sacred traditions hallowed by all the schools of Sunni jurisprudence across fourteen hundred years of history. But for our president and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, there is the unshakable but blind, deaf, and dumb conviction that as they interpret it, Islam is a peaceful and noble religion that has been distorted by a “tiny minority,” and jihad means a peaceful striving with oneself to overcome evil tendencies, notwithstanding the facts of:
1. The eight-year-long war between Iraq and Iran resulting in almost a million killed.
2. The First Gulf War; Invasion of Kuwait (Aug. 1990-Feb.1991), Operation Desert Storm, the Second Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
3. Massive violence between Muslims and Hindus in India following partition and three India-Pakistan wars, terrorism in Kashmir and India resulting in several million killed and at least fifteen million people displaced.
4. Pakistan-Bangladesh conflict, 1971 (following civil war and secession). This war saw the highest number of casualties in any of the India-Pakistan conflicts. It is believed that from one to three million Bangladeshis were killed as a result of this war. Very little media coverage.
5. Ongoing Yemeni and Somali Civil Wars. Thousands killed. No media coverage.
6. Inter-sectarian Muslim violence between Shias and Sunnis in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
7. Border disputes between Syria and Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
8. Jordan’s crackdown on “Black September,” 1970. PLO crushed by Jordanian Legion under command of King Hussein (at least 25,000 killed).
9. Syria’s suppression of the Muslim Brothers and opponents of the Assad regime; destruction of the city of Hama (at least 20,000 killed) to wipe out Muslim Brotherhood. Media barred from entering the city. Uprising in Hama by Muslim Brotherhood crushed by Assad regime in Syria Feb. 1982.
10. Al-Qaeda and Taliban violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
11. Inter-Palestinian factionalism in Gaza; dozens killed.
12. Decade-long mass violence between Muslim religious extremists (Salafist movement) and Algerian government beginning in 1991 estimated to have cost between 150,000 and 200,000 lives.
13. Sixteen-year-long civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 130,000 to 250,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people (one-third of the population) were wounded, half of whom were left with lifetime disabilities.
14. Iraqi, Iranian, and Turkish suppression of Kurdish autonomy; approximately 180,000 Kurds killed, mostly civilians in Iraq, by Saddam Hussein’s forces via poison gas attacks.
15. Muslim terror against civilians in Chechnya, and additional hundreds killed in Moscow and other Russian cities including children at primary school. Russia’s two biggest terrorist attacks both came from Muslim groups. The Chechnyan separatist “Special Purpose Islamic Regiment” took an estimated 850 people hostage in Moscow in October 2002 at a theater. At least 129 hostages died during the rescue, all but one killed by the chemicals used to subdue the attackers.
In the September 2004, 1,200 schoolchildren and adults were taken hostage at a secondary school in Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, which was overrun by an Islamic terror group. About 500 people, including 186 children, died in the attempt to free the hostages. According to the only surviving attacker, Nur-Pashi Kulayev, the choice of a school and the targeting of mothers and young children by the attackers was carried out in order to generate the maximum outrage possible and ignite a wider war in the Caucasus with the ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic Emirate across the whole of the North Caucasus.
16. Muslim secessionist activity and terrorism in the Philippines (with almost monthly reports by American media that do not mention the words “Muslim” or “jihad”).
17. Darfur in the Sudan; genocidal attacks against non-Muslim Black Sudanese. On July 13, 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court filed ten charges of war crimes against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, charges that included three counts of genocide, five crimes against humanity, and two of murder. The ICC’s prosecutors have claimed that al-Bashir “masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part” three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity.
18. Muslim grievances and violence in Thailand.
19. Terrorist activity against the Han Chinese in Western China. More than a hundred fatalities.
20. Division of Cyprus to satisfy Turkish Muslim minority.
21. Muslim unrest and violence against Christians in Nigeria and Ghana; several thousand killed. No media interest.
22. Muslim terrorist attacks against the U.S. in New York and Washington. Almost 3,000 civilians killed.
23. Terrorist attacks throughout Europe — London Underground, Atocha Train Station in Madrid; in Africa at American embassy in Kenya; in Bali nightclub where most victims were Australian tourists; foiled attempts in the U.S. and elsewhere.
24. Jihadi-inspired sniper and terror attacks by deranged lone Muslims in the United States against military bases (Ft. Hood), synagogues, and airports, and at Times Square.
25. Continued terrorist attacks against the State of Israel and Jews throughout the world.
26.Widespread piracy on a scale not seen for 150 years along the Somali coast of East Africa preying upon international shipping.
27. Indonesian Muslim suppression of East Timor population’s (98%) desire for independence. Tens of thousands of civilians killed or died from malnutrition, imprisonment (1974-1998).
28. Continued civil war in West Sahara between the Polisario Movement and Moroccan authorities , low-level guerrilla attacks and hundreds of thousands of displaced refuges.
In the above-mentioned conflicts, wars, massacres, and atrocities, the primary and majority of victims have been Muslims killed by other Muslims in the name of Islam and “jihad.” Where Muslims have been at risk of displacement and under attack in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Kuwait, their rescue was made possible only by the efforts of the United States.