Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Who's Vulnerable?

Steyn on the World

Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, the Sydney Daily Telegraph's columnar wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline: "British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow's Train Bombing." Indeed. And so it goes. This time round - Bombay - it was the Associated
Press that filed a story about how Muslims "found themselves on the
defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion."

Oh, I don't know about that. In fact, you'd be hard pressed from most news
reports to figure out the bloodshed was "linked" to any religion, least of
all one beginning with "I-" and ending in "-slam." In the three years since
those British bombings, the media have more or less entirely abandoned the
offending formulations - "Islamic terrorists," "Muslim extremists" - and by
the time of the assault on Bombay found it easier just to call the alleged
perpetrators "militants" or "gunmen" or "teenage gunmen," as in the opening
line of this report in the Australian: "An Adelaide woman in India for her
wedding is lucky to be alive after teenage gunmen ran amok."

Kids today, eh? Always running amok in an aimless fashion.

The veteran British TV anchor Jon Snow, on the other hand, opted for the
more cryptic locution "practitioners." "Practitioners" of what, exactly?

Hard to say. And getting harder. Tom Gross produced a jaw-dropping round-up
of Bombay media coverage: The discovery that, for the first time in an
Indian terrorist atrocity, Jews had been attacked, tortured, and killed
produced from the New York Times a serene befuddlement: "It is not known if
the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental
hostage scene."

Hmm. Greater Bombay forms one of the world's five biggest cities. It has a
population of nearly 20 million. But only one Jewish center, located in a
building that gives no external clue as to the bounty waiting therein. An
"accidental hostage scene" that one of the "practitioners" just happened to
stumble upon? "I must be the luckiest jihadist in town. What are the odds?"

Meanwhile, the New Age guru Deepak Chopra laid all the blame on American
foreign policy for "going after the wrong people" and inflaming moderates,
and "that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in

Really? The inflammation just "appears"? Like a bad pimple? The "fairer" we
get to the, ah, inflamed militant practitioners, the unfairer we get to
everyone else. At the Chabad House, the murdered Jews were described in
almost all the Western media as "ultra-Orthodox," "ultra-" in this instance
being less a term of theological precision than a generalized code for
"strange, weird people, nothing against them personally, but they probably
shouldn't have been over there in the first place." Are they stranger or
weirder than their killers? Two "inflamed moderates" entered the Chabad
House, shouted "Allahu Akbar!," tortured the Jews and murdered them,
including the young Rabbi's pregnant wife. Their two-year-old child escaped
because of a quick-witted (non-Jewish) nanny who hid in a closet and then,
risking being mown down by machine-gun fire, ran with him to safety.

The Times was being silly in suggesting this was just an "accidental"
hostage opportunity - and not just because, when Muslim terrorists capture
Jews, it's not a hostage situation, it's a mass murder-in-waiting. The sole
surviving "militant" revealed that the Jewish center had been targeted a
year in advance. The 28-year-old rabbi was Gavriel Holtzberg. His pregnant
wife was Rivka Holtzberg. Their orphaned son is Moshe Holtzberg, and his
brave nanny is Sandra Samuels. Remember their names, not because they're any
more important than the Indians, Britons, and Americans targeted in the
attack on Bombay, but because they are an especially revealing glimpse into
the pathologies of the perpetrators.

In a well-planned attack on iconic Bombay landmarks symbolizing great power
and wealth, the "militants" nevertheless found time to divert 20 percent of
their manpower to torturing and killing a handful of obscure Jews helping
the city's poor in a nondescript building. If they were just "teenage
gunmen" or "militants" in the cause of Kashmir, engaged in a more or less
conventional territorial dispute with India, why kill the only rabbi in
Bombay? Dennis Prager got to the absurdity of it when he invited his readers
to imagine Basque separatists attacking Madrid: "Would the terrorists take
time out to murder all those in the Madrid Chabad House? The idea is

And yet we take it for granted that Pakistani "militants" in a long-running
border dispute with India would take time out of their hectic schedule to
kill Jews. In going to ever more baroque lengths to avoid saying "Islamic"
or "Muslim" or "terrorist," we have somehow managed to internalize the
pathologies of these men.

We are enjoined to be "understanding," and we're doing our best. A
Minnesotan suicide bomber (now there's a phrase) originally from Somalia
returned to the old country and blew up himself and 29 other people last
October. His family prevailed upon your government to have his parts (or as
many of them as could be sifted from the debris) returned to the United
States at taxpayer expense and buried in Burnsville Cemetery. Well, hey, in
the current climate, what's the big deal about a federal bailout of jihad
operational expenses? If that's not "too big to fail," what is?

Last week, a Canadian critic reprimanded me for failing to understand that
Muslims feel "vulnerable." Au contraire, they project tremendous cultural
confidence, as well they might: They're the world's fastest-growing
population. A prominent British Muslim announced the other day that, when
the United Kingdom becomes a Muslim state, non-Muslims will be required to
wear insignia identifying them as infidels. If he's feeling "vulnerable,"
he's doing a terrific job of covering it up.

We are told that the "vast majority" of the 1.6-1.8 billion Muslims (in
Deepak Chopra's estimate) are "moderate." Maybe so, but they're also quiet.
And, as the AIDs activists used to say, "Silence=Acceptance." It equals
acceptance of the things done in the name of their faith. Rabbi Holtzberg
was not murdered because of a territorial dispute over Kashmir or because of
Bush's foreign policy. He was murdered in the name of Islam - "Allahu

I wrote in my book, America Alone, that "reforming" Islam is something only
Muslims can do. But they show very little sign of being interested in doing
it, and the rest of us are inclined to accept that. Spread a rumor that a
Koran got flushed down the can at Gitmo, and there'll be rioting throughout
the Muslim world. Publish some dull cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper,
and there'll be protests around the planet. But slaughter the young pregnant
wife of a rabbi in Bombay in the name of Allah, and that's just business as
usual. And, if it is somehow "understandable" that for the first time in
history it's no longer safe for a Jew to live in India, then we are greasing
the skids for a very slippery slope. Muslims, the AP headline informs us,
"worry about image." Not enough.
The Orange County Register, December 2008

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