A HALF-DOZEN snapshots from the global jihad:
Australia: Australia's foremost Muslim cleric triggers an uproar when he likens women who don't wear an Islamic headscarf to "uncovered meat" and blames them for attracting sexual predators. "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or the park . . . and the cats come and eat it," says Sheik Taj al-Din Hilali, "whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat? If [the woman] was in her room, in her home, in her headscarf, no problem would have occurred."
Afghanistan: The kidnappers of Italian photojournalist Gabriele Torsello threaten to murder him unless Abdul Rahman, an Afghan Christian convert, is returned to Afghanistan and handed over to an Islamic court. Rahman lives in Italy, which granted him asylum earlier this year, when he faced the death penalty under Afghanistan's sharia law for converting from Islam to Christianity.
Iran: The president of Iran calls Israel "a group of terrorists" and threatens to harm any country that supports the Jewish state. "This is an ultimatum," warns Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the elimination of Israel and the United States. "Don't complain tomorrow." Days later, the deputy director of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization confirms another stride forward for the country's illicit nuclear program: With the injection of gas into a second cascade of centrifuges, Iran has doubled its uranium-enrichment capacity.
Thailand: Islamist terrorists bomb a column of Buddhist monks as they collect offerings of food in Narathiwat, a city in southern Thailand. One person is killed; 12 are injured. The attack is the latest in a bloody week that has included multiple shootings and another fatal bombing.
France: Another Muslim intifadah rages in France. Hundreds of cars are torched nightly and passenger buses set ablaze with Molotov cocktails. One such fire in Marseille leaves a 26-year-old woman in a coma with burns covering 70 percent of her body. "We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists," says police union leader Michel Thoomis. "This is not a question of urban violence any more. It is an intifadah, with stones and firebombs." So far this year, more than 2,500 police have been wounded in clashes with rioters.
Britain: In a "true Islamic state," sexually active homosexuals would be executed, says Arshad Misbahi, an imam in Manchester's Central Mosque. According to interviewer John Casson, the imam explains that while executions "might result in the deaths of thousands," they would be worthwhile "if this deterred millions from having sex and spreading disease."
Not all the news is bad. NATO forces have recently killed scores of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan . Czech intelligence agents thwarted an Islamist plan to seize the Central Synagogue in Prague on Rosh Hashanah, hold the Jewish worshipers hostage, and then blow up the building with its occupants. A proposal to let Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport refuse service to passengers carrying alcohol was scrapped in the wake of vehement public opposition. And the world's mightiest fighting force continues to kill Islamofascists in Iraq, currently the key battleground in the global jihad.
But there can't be much question that at this point in the war against radical Islam, the radicals are on the march. From Ahmadinejad's swagger to Hezbollah's war on Israel to the plot to blow up jetliners leaving London, our enemies are aggressive, relentless, and unequivocal in their determination to defeat us. Meanwhile, Western Europe is turning into Eurabia before our eyes, as a fading native population with its effete secular culture of pacifism and relativism is superseded by a surging Muslim cohort. Most Muslims are not Islamists or terrorists, of course. However, most of them keep quiet in the face of the radical offensive. That is all the radicals need to keep driving the jihad forward.
"If this country lets down its guard, it will be a fatal mistake," President Bush said last week. Yet too many Americans seem unable to recognize the threat, or to believe that they, their liberties, and the lives of innumerable human beings are truly at stake in a deadly global war.
But radical Islam is not going away. Like Nazism and communism, it is (in Senator Rick Santorum's words) "an ideology that produces the systemic murder of innocents." Like those earlier totalitarianisms, it will go on murdering until it is crushed. Like them, it is impervious to appeasement and contemptuous of weakness. The longer Americans sleep, the farther the jihad advances.
(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe. His website is www.JeffJacoby.com).
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