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Jewish World Review Sept. 14, 2001 / 25 Elul 5761

Don Feder

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West must resist reverse crusade -- IN the wake of the greatest carnage on American soil since the Civil War, our leaders tell us we are now at war with terrorism.

Where have they been for the past 30 years? The Arab oil embargo wasn't an act of war? What about the 1982 bombing of the Marine compound in Beirut (241 dead) -- or the attack on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Khobar Towers bombing and the assault on the USS Cole?

If it's war, let us be clear about the nature of the foe and not mistake one head for the hydra. It's not just the enemies' forward units -- Osama bin Laden, the Taliban thugs, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

It's not just the fiends who turned commercial airliners into aerial bombs. It's not just the sanctuary states -- Afghanistan, Iran and Libya.

It's also the mullahs who tell deluded youth that martyrdom and murder are shortcuts to Heaven. It's government newspapers in Egypt that accuse Jews of conducting blood rites.

It's the Saudis who wouldn't let U.S. servicemen stationed there during the Gulf War wear crosses, even though they were protecting them. It's the Pakistani regime that sentences "blasphemers" to death for insulting the Prophet.

It's the Arab street where the deaths of thousands of Americans were greeted with jubilation. "Beloved bin Laden," they chanted in the Palestinian city of Nablus. The fires that erupted in the wreckage of the World Trade Center blaze on many shores. The conflagration isn't confined to the Middle East.

The day before the largest building in Manhattan was reduced to rubble, blood flowed in the streets of the Nigerian city of Jos. In the past year, thousands have died in fighting over attempts of Nigeria's northern states to impose Islamic law.

The latest strife, which left dozens dead and hundreds of home and cars smoldering ruins, began when a Christian woman tried to cross the street where a group of Moslem men had gathered for prayer. Thus is Allah honored.

Reports from Indonesia -- where the Laskar Jihad has been engaged in religious cleansing in the Moluccas islands -- say as many as 5,800 Christians have been forced to convert to Islam, the women subjected to genital mutilation in the process.

"They said that if we didn't convert to their religion, they would cut our throats," one teen-ager recounted. At least they didn't bury her under tons of debris.

"Central Asia Braces to Fight Islamic Rebels," read a May 3 headline in The New York Times.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is determined to create a clone of the enlightened regimes in Afghanistan (where piety is proved by demolishing Buddhist statues), the Sudan (run by a gang of Simon LeGrees) and Iran -- which threatens to give the Dark Ages a bad name.

A story in the Feb. 19 Newsweek ("A Spreading Islamic Fire") observed, "In the occupied West Bank, in devastated Chechnya and embattled Kashmir, in parts of Indonesia and the Philippines ... Islamist extremists are on the move and in contact with each other."

The article mentions a map posted on the website of a bin Laden cell in Chechnya that shows Islamic green engulfing the world in this century.

Newsweek quotes a retired Pakistani army officer, now a commander of the Kashmir jihad. "There's the American New World Order and this world order," says Ehsan ul-Haq, pointing to the Koran. "The whole of the globe belongs to Allah, and the whole of Allah's law has to be executed on the globe" -- which is accomplished by executing Jewish settlers, Serbs in Macedonia and officeworkers in Manhattan.

America is caught up in a world war. Retaliation is easy; comprehension is harder.

We must understand the nature of the conflict. A creed that uses God to justify its horrors deserves to be treated like any other criminal enterprise. There is no United Methodist Jihad. Suicide bombers don't quote the Talmud. Unbelievers aren't converted to Mormonism by the sword.

What is to be done? Wherever Islam seeks to advance by force, it must be resisted. Wherever Christians, Jews or Hindus are threatened -- in Africa, Israel, the Balkans, the Kashmir, East Asia -- they must be supported. After almost 1,000 years, the Crusades have resumed. But now it's the West that's besieged.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate