June 21, 2004
by Donald G. Mashburn
Civilized people are sickened by the barbaric beheadings of American businessman Nick Berg, murdered in Iraq by fanatical Islamic extremists, and American engineer, Paul M. Johnson, Jr. killed in or near Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
The killers, claiming to be supporters of al-Qaida, videotaped the victims before and after the beheadings. In Iraq, Berg’s grisly and cowardly execution was carried out by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida’s leader in Iraq. In Saudi Arabia, Johnson’s executioners claimed to represent the “Fallujah Brigade of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.”
Whatever they call themselves, the term “cold-blooded murderers” doesn’t even begin to describe the evil and merciless stupidity of cowardly killers preying on innocent civilians in the name of some twisted, misguided and crazy version of something called “religion” by the murderers.
Whatever the label, the civilized world is appalled at the gruesome beheadings. That such killings can happen in this age, and be aired on government-sponsored Arabian television, should tell even the slowest minds that we are seeing but the latest example of the dark and evil side of radical Islam.
Berg was among the thousands of Americans trying to help the violence-racked Iraq that Saddam Hussein left in economic ruin. Their efforts are hampered by fanatics whose hatred and distorted religious thinking are aimed at bringing about the disintegration of a country that has never known real freedom.
Johnson was a civilian engineer involved with helicopter maintenance, as part of the effort to bring some semblance of order and decency to the lives of people that have never known real freedom.
Still, it’s not just the crazies in al-Qaida. Self-rule in Iraqi and anything that even resembles individual freedoms in the Arab world are also hindered by a mindset of hatred toward outsiders and “infidels” anyone not a Muslim and twisted religious beliefs that Paradise awaits those crazy enough to blow up themselves while killing other innocent humans.
Those evil beliefs find fertile seedbeds in twisted minds that believe the savage decapitation of an innocent civilian is somehow justified by the wrongs perceived or real of infidels, especially Americans, Jews and Europeans.
The Berg and Johnson executions graphically show that if the world is to have any hope of peace, civilized people must at some point confront and contain radical Islam in the Middle East and in any nation where radical Muslims hold power.
Consider the absence of a single Islamic nation that’s politically stable and provides freedom for its citizens. Not a single one! Nations adopting Islam as their national religion invariably become unstable and dictatorial.
Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan are prime exhibits. In Egypt, a sometimes-useful ally of the United States, religious persecution is officially condoned, even in the Egyptian press. Not all Muslims are violent radicals, of course, but the extremists manage to gain control, usually by sheer cruelty and armed might.
It’s also true that those claiming to be “peaceful Muslims” are slow to condemn atrocities like the Berg and Johnson murders. Their halfhearted disapproval is too often followed by complaints of past wrongs done to Muslims, somewhere, by someone that’s not Muslim.
Radical Islam’s roots run deep in its history. Mohammed, Islam’s founder, was given to violence. The spread of Islam was accompanied by wholesale bloodshed and the elimination of Islam’s perceived enemies. Scholars report Mohammed ordered hundreds of victims beheaded. Beheading victims has a long history among Islamic extremists.
Some secular Muslims claim Islam is a “peaceful religion,” but these often aren’t familiar with the Quran, and are seldom in positions of power. The radical Islamic terrorists, however, focus on statements found in the Quran that appear to justify violence against “infidels.”
Their twisting of their own religion gave birth to the political Islam that murders innocent humans. And it is now a growing problem for the free world. The extremists do have their critics in their own religion. These include the likes of Arab women’s rights advocate, Maryam Namazie, who declared, “The 21st Century must be the century that rids itself of political Islam.”
During past centuries the world could not rid itself of Islamic terrorists. And with so many hypocritical foes both in Washington and in some European countries the 21st century doesn’t hold much promise either.
Unless, that is, the world wakes up and realizes it must deal with the likes of the executioners of Nick Berg and Paul Johnson. Which may be easier than dealing with anti-American critics seeking political gain from our efforts to win the war against terrorism.