After the massacre by mostly Muslim terrorists in Beslan, Russia, that killed, at last count, 338 people, including at least 156 children, and wounded hundreds of others, we hear a rare voice of reason from an unlikely place.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya television in Dubai, wrote in a London Arabic newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, "Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture."
Under the headline "The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists Are Muslims!" he wrote, "Most perpetrators of suicide operations in buses, schools and residential buildings around the world for the past 10 years have been Muslims." He also wrote that if Muslims want to change their image, they must "admit the scandalous facts," rather than disparage critics or justify terrorists' behavior.
As a good Baptist would say, "Amen!" It's about time somebody spoke the truth. From Russia to Iraq, from the Sudan to the Philippines, and from Madrid, Bali and Kenya to the World Trade Center in New York, a field in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon in Washington, one characteristic describes all of the killers: They are Muslims.
In the Russian killings, the news agency Itar-Tass reports that at least 10 of the 32 hostage terrorists were linked to al-Qaida or had ties to Arab nations. Despite these facts, major American media are going out of their way to cover up the obvious, preferring words such as "militants" and "extremists," and refusing in many cases to identify the religious motivation behind the killings.
The U.S. government is promoting "tolerance" and "diversity" sessions led by Muslim organizations, some of which have questionable ties to groups that have either supported or condemned with disingenuous statements killings by Muslim extremists, or sought to justify them because of policies promoted by Israel or the United States.
Repeatedly, these mandatory sessions tell government employees that Islam is a peaceful religion from which they have nothing to fear. If that is so, why aren't the "moderates" leading an army of their own and crushing the "infidels" who have supposedly "hijacked" this "peaceful religion"?
"Moderate" Islamic clerics should defrock and denounce other clerics who preach hate and the destruction of Christians, Jews and all things Western. These diversity and sensitivity sessions should take place in countries that harbor and train terrorists and export terrorism as a religious mandate and a national policy.
Instead, we hear from Ali Abdullah, an Islamic scholar in Bahrain, who said of the massacre in Russia: "I have no doubt that this is the work of the Israelis who want to tarnish the image of Muslims and are working alongside Russians who have their own agenda against the Muslims in Chechnya." Omar Bakri Mohammed, the leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, told London's Sunday Telegraph (Sept. 5), "If an Iraqi Muslim carried out an attack like (the Russian massacre) in Britain, it would be justified because Britain has carried out acts of terrorism in Iraq."
It gives a whole new meaning to "women and children first." Mohammed's interview was in conjunction with a "celebratory" conference in London this weekend to commemorate the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
It's long past time to ditch political correctness and identify the enemy, which is not disembodied "terrorism" but radical Islamists who commit terror in the perverted name of their god.
The Muslim vote may go to John Kerry this time (it mostly went for President Bush in 2000) because Kerry is perceived by some Muslim leaders as potentially more sympathetic to their objective of ending support for Israel and eliminating the Patriot Act, which has kept an eye on people and places known for Islamic extremist behavior and potential jihadists who want to kill us.
We should be listening to the likes of Abdulrahman al-Rashed or, for a reality check, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who last October called on the world's 1.3 billion Muslims to unite against "a few million Jews," whom he said rule the world and get others to fight and die for them.
Moderate? Peaceful? Where is the evidence?
(E-mail Cal Thomas at www.calthomas.com)