Counter-Terrorism: Religion That Kills

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March 24,2008: One aspect of the war on terror that does not get much attention is the constant, low-level hostility of Islamic conservatives to anything Western. This includes aid from Western charities, or even from Islamic ones that do not conform to what the local Islamic conservatives consider appropriate. Two recent examples are instructive. Last February, gunmen invaded the offices of an NGO in northern Pakistan, killed four people (local employees of the charity) and destroyed the facility. The police arrived, but did not interfere. The charity was providing aid to victims of earthquakes in the area. Local Islamic conservatives had expressed anger at the hiring of women (often widows) by the foreign charities. This was especially annoying if women were hired instead of male candidates put forward by local religious or tribal leaders. The charities prefer women because they are better workers, and less likely to cause trouble.

Meanwhile, down in Yemen, a girls school was attacked. Three mortar shells were fired at it, and men on motorcycles threw three grenades into the courtyard of the school. This wounded 17 of the students. Previously, Islamic conservatives, believed to be al Qaeda, had attacked the principal of the school. Islamic conservatives consider education of women, which is often funded by foreign charities, un-Islamic and against the law of God.

Such hostility and violence is common in Islamic nations, and has been for a long time. The degree of hostility varies. Arab nations tend to be the worst, those in Southeast Asia the least hostile. But everywhere there are Islamic conservatives who thrive on a version of Islam that endorses active hatred of infidels (non-Moslems), and tolerates violence against infidels, even those who are trying to help in an emergency.

Aid organizations, and the mass media, simply accept this hostility as part of the local culture. Not worth reporting on, or making a fuss about. It's just the way they are. That attitude of tolerance is rarely reciprocated.

 


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