While President Obama’s administration perpetuates the charade that an obscure YouTube video is the cause of widespread Muslim rage, the world received a lesson in jihadist reality over the weekend.
Yesterday Muslim protestors in Karachi, Pakistan, looted and destroyed a Hindu temple and rioters in Bangladesh burned down five Buddhist temples. The same day, a Shiite Islamic school was bombed in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria. And a series of shootings occurred in southern Thailand, followed by ominous notes to business owners that they must close shop on Fridays to honor Islamic law.
This string of terrorist acts thousands of miles apart came on the heels of President Obama’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly during which he said: ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.’ Such an astonishing statement of solidarity with the Islamists from our Commander-in-Chief did nothing to calm their rage. And it never will.
This is what President Obama fails to understand. The recent attacks in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Thailand are all unified under a single ideology: Jihadism. None of the attacks were motivated by a video, America, or Israel. The reasoning goes much deeper than that, and is more insidious.
We see that reflected in these under-reported sectarian conflicts from Nigeria to Thailand. They remind us that Jihadists have declared war on many more enemies than America and Israel. Obama’s administration approaches the Middle East with a failed notion – common among left-leaning academics and progressive politicos – that radical Islam hates America for our policies. This ignores that Islamists around the world continue to wage campaigns of terror against every major religious denomination.
It is hard to decipher from press reports what really is going on in these far-flung conflicts because of the international media’s consistently whitewashed coverage. Here is some brief context behind each of the attacks:
In Nigeria, an Islamist terrorist group calling itself “Boko Haram” is waging a pro-Sharia insurgency and campaign of terrorism. Most of their violence has been directed against Christians who are roughly half the country’s population of 160 million. A favored Boko Haram tactic over the past year has been bombing Christian churches. But as we saw over the weekend, even Shiite Muslim minority groups in Nigeria are vulnerable to jihadist attacks as “unbelievers.”
Thailand’s conflict is often described in the media as an ethnic Malay separatist struggle for territory. A more accurate description would be elements of a Muslim minority population are waging Jihad against the Thai government and seeking to live in a Sharia-compliant state. Thousands have died in this conflict over the last eight years.
Even terrorism in Pakistan goes far beyond anti-western attacks. We tend to view Pakistani intelligence service support for terrorists through the lens of Al Qaeda and the global jihad, but the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has historically been very concerned with sending Islamist militants into disputed Kashmir. This fight over territory is not a minor concern – the standoff spills over into real bloodshed elsewhere, as we saw in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Those Pakistani militants – from groups such as Lashkar E-taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed – do not limit their goals to the acquisition of territory. In their pronouncements and manifestos, it is hatred for “polytheism” (Hindus), and Judaism on a global scale that fuels their bloody campaigns of hatred. They are every bit as happy to firebomb a Christian church in India – or Pakistan – as they are to wage battle against Indian security forces over land.
Bangladesh has been much quieter than its Pakistani counterpart in recent years. But the seeds of radicalism have always existed there. Once known as “East Pakistan,” Bangladesh broke away from “West Pakistan” in 1971, and since then, the impoverished country has struggled to define a coherent national identity. Muslim extremist elements have continued to lurk in the shadows and occasionally strike.
For those of us who have screamed from the start that the “Innocence of Muslims” video is merely an excuse, the multi-confessional nature of this past weekend’s victims provide ample evidence. Hindus in Pakistan and Buddhists in Bangladesh have nothing to do with a single Coptic Egyptian in the U.S., and the Islamist mobs know it. They don’t care.
Empowered by their self-righteousness and the strong whiff of appeasement coming from Obama and the U.N., radical Islamic elements have decided it is open season on all of their enemies. Obama still fails to recognize the jihadists are not interested in his speeches.
By casting the actions of jihadist mobs as in any substantive way instigated by, or tied to, an obscure Internet video, we become prisoners of the sensitivities of any hard-line Islamist group, and foster the belief that their global campaign against freedom is making progress.
Whether bans on the hijab in France or cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark, there will always be cause for Islamist offense. If we grant that our actions – and not our mere existence – is the cause of these recent attacks, we have already surrendered the battle for our liberty.
Right now, peaceful and civilized people of all religions are watching America’s reaction to these outrages. Given President Obama’s expression of support for the “Prophet of Islam,” perhaps he should say a few words to the Buddhists and Hindus who are also the target of Islamist rage.