Sunday, July 10, 2005

Hard Choices Ahead For Muslims and the West

The Jawa Report posts today about numerous incidents of anti-Muslim backlash in Great Britain and New Zealand. Here's the spot where most commentators feel compelled to offer a de rigeur blanket condemnation of such "senseless, racist" acts. But the situation in the world today has become too complex for simple knee-jerk reactions.

For centuries, a murderous cult known as the Thuggee terrorized India:
The English word thug, meaning a violent criminal, comes from the Hindi word thag (and originally from the Sanskrit word sthaga), meaning a thief or villain.

The original Thugs were bands of roving criminals in India who strangled and robbed travellers. Originally these gangs committed murder following precise religious rites to honour Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction.
The Thugs included both Hindu and Muslim members and justified their murders through religious doctrine. The cautionary note for modern Islam is contained in the following passage (emphasis added):
Although Thugs never attacked English travellers the British government of India decided to eliminate them, and over 3000 Thugs were captured by William Sleeman during the 1830s. 483 Thugs gave evidence against the rest, 412 were hanged and the rest imprisoned or rehabilitated.

Sleeman is still commemorated in the name of the Indian village of Sleemanabad (where it is said that his picture still hangs in the police station).

The Indian population had suffered greatly from Thug activities and supported the British action against the cult, although one modern writer has described it as a witch-hunt.

The Thug cult was extinct by 1890, but the concept of 'criminal tribes' and 'criminal castes' is still in use in India.
Too many modern-day Muslims do not support efforts to destroy al Qaeda and its allies. Too many modern-day Muslims refuse to cooperate with authorities and turn in terrorists and those who applaud and advocate terrorism. The normal Muslim reaction is to ban such people from a particular mosque when their rhetoric becomes too radical. Muslim communities in the Western world need to internalize a new message: pro forma condemnations of terrorist acts perpetrated by Muslims are not enough. Muslims must do more to combat radical Islamism or face increasingly frequent questions about their loyalty. Muslims must actively and voluntarily share information about such people with counter-terrorist investigators.

The British exterminated the cult of Kali even though no Britons were among the victims. Now it appears that the jihadi madmen and their simpleminded followers have spilled innocent British blood. A few more such acts may be all it takes to have Muslims branded as the modern day Thuggee. The window of opportunity for Muslims living in the West to cooperate fully is slowly closing. Non-Muslim Westerners may be pushed into deciding that Islam is a danger to their societies.