November 27, 2008

Mumbai Mujahedin: Terror, Mass Murder and "Blasphemy" Resolutions

Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.
I wonder if the 85 members of the UN General Assembly who voted on November 25 in favor of the anti-blasphemy resolution from whence those words came are feeling any sense of irony today, the day after an undetermined number of terrorists sormed into the Indian city of Mumbai and turned it into a war zone and killing ground. At last count, at least 125 people have died, 325 have been injured, and hostages are still being held by a group calling itself the Deccan Mujahedin.
Indian military commandos continued to exchange fire with an unknown number of militants one day after coordinated groups of gunmen shot and blasted their way through tourist sites around Mumbai on Wednesday night, apparently targeting American, Israeli and British citizens for use as hostages...

One hostage, a Polish national, said he was very happy to be free and praised the Indian military commandos. Moments later, a man identified as being of Lebanese descent was carried out with two other people, too weary to address the throng of reporters.

Most of Mumbai remained in shock today. In many neighborhoods, 80% of the businesses remained closed as police warned residents to stay at home, where many followed the unfolding drama on television.

A previously unknown group calling itself Deccan Mujahedin said it carried out the attack.
We will, no doubt, get some perfunctory denunciations from countries like Saudi Arabia that will tell us all about how these new mujahedin aren't really Muslims. The "no true Scotsman" argument is used so frequently by religious fundamentalists that its faux kilt is in dire need of patching from all the wear. They're not really Muslims in the same way that Ted Haggard isn't really Christian. When the true-believers go astray and start blowing up innocent people or molesting a few children or having sex-for-money, it's so easy to disavow them, isn't it?

In light of the UN General Assembly resolution, we're certain to be told that these mass murderers have no association with Islam. They're actually... what? Martians? Mutant ninja turtles? No, they're mujahedin. They're Muslim fundamentalist holy warriors, and their holy war means blowing up bombs and shooting up hotels and train stations. This is religion once again bringing people together... in morgues.
Although Mumbai has been the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent years, experts said Wednesday's assaults required a previously unseen degree of reconnaissance and planning. The scale and synchronization of the attacks pointed to the likely involvement of experienced commanders, some said, suggesting possible foreign involvement.

The terrorists struck almost simultaneously at the city's domestic airport and a railway station and sprayed gunfire at the Leopold Cafe, a restaurant popular with foreigners. As many as 16 groups hit nine sites on the southern flank of this crowded metropolis of 19 million...
Nobody knew, right? This is probably the biggest, most coordinated attack by holy warriors since the Afghan mujahedin were fighting the Soviets a quarter century ago... but nobody knew. No mullahs, no community leaders, nobody. No true Muslims were even complicit in this attack. Amazing. After all,
Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.
And how beautiful is this holy war that has been brought against the citizens and workers of Mumbai:
...Wednesday's attacks were a brazen frontal assault using automatic weapons.

The targets included police headquarters in south Mumbai, where some officers were pinned down by gunfire.

The victims included Mumbai's anti-terrorism chief, Hemant Karkare, and two of his senior police officers, which complicated the law enforcement response to the attacks. Television video showed Karkare donning a flak jacket and helmet minutes before heading into one of the hotels.

Witnesses said the attackers appeared to fire at random and made no effort to hide their identities, which, experts suggested, signaled a readiness to die...
How glorious. How noble. This is the will of God in action, is it not, that mujahedin should take up arms and fire randomly at human beings as they go about their daily business.
Across India, more than 3,600 people have been killed in terrorist incidents since January 2004, according to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, many involving sectarian disputes...
None of them were killed by Muslim extremists, though, because Islam is wrongly associated with terrorism, just like Catholic priests have been wrongly associated with pederasty. Religious people just don't do this sort of thing.

Aren't we sick of this yet? I'm not talking about Americans or Indians, and I'm not talking about atheists or religious believers. I'm talking about human beings.

Look, I'll be honest. I honestly have no use for religion in my life. I think its widest role in modern civilization is divide people and to hold back the progress of reason in our world. There are plenty of people out there who disagree with me on these points, and that's fine. I don't want to blow any of you up, and I have enough faith in the vast majority of my species to believe that the feeling is mutual.

Still, isn't it about time to confront the fact that much of the violence of the kind that we're seeing in Mumbai, that has been see in India so frequently in recent years, that has happened in the US in places like New York and Oklahoma City, that took place in Guyana 30 years ago, that all of this is tied to religious belief and is justified in the name of doing the work of some deity or another? It's not my place to drum these strains of violence out of religion. People like me are more inclined to chuck the whole thing out and rely on empiricism and empathy, not on allegedly divine laws. It's the place of those within religion to make the changes, if they can be made at all, that will insure that things like what is happening even now in Mumbai never, ever happen again. That can only start when religious moderates come to understand that there is something present in their religion as it is understood by all too many people that calls for war, whether it's a shooting war in India or a culture war in America. When you call for war, you'll find volunteers to carry it out sooner or later.

In Mumbai, those volunteers call themselves the Deccan Mujahedin today. They are terrorists associated with Islam.

The UN General Assembly should spit that stupid anti-blasphemy resolution out like the mouthful of garbage it is and instead start looking into why Islam — and Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, all of these religions — sooner or later foster the birth of monsters.

The blood of the thousands, the millions, of the victims of dehumanized mujahedin calls out for this. Will it ever get done, or will there be another hundred Mumbai Novembers, 9/11's, Tamil Tiger suicide bombings, holy war without end?

Enough. Enough, enough, enough.

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