With the reports last week that US forces in Afghanistan had disposed of the bodies of some terrorists by burning them, yet another howl of outrage rocked the Muslim world. This was a grave insult to all Muslims, we had committed a horrible atrocity by not burying them with honor, and the foul perpetrators of this atrocity must be punished — preferably after being handed over to Muslim authorities.
This got me thinking a bit. When some Muslims commit the Outrage Of The Week (bombing, massacre, rocket attack, etc. etc.) screaming “Allahu Akbar!”, the rest of the not-currently-bombing Muslim population rushes to distance themselves from the terrorists, trotting out Muslim Standard Disclaimer #1 — “they do not represent True Islam.”
(This is usually followed by Muslim Standard Disclaimer #2, “you must not blame us for the actions of these bad people, who until so recently we embraced as brothers, right up until they blew up the bomb”, then Muslim Standard Disclaimer #3, “What they did was terrible, but they were provoked by the West’s support of Israel/the West’s oppression of Muslims/the horrible obscenity of Piglet, Porky Pig, Miss Piggy, and piggy banks,” and Muslim Muslim Disclaimer #4, “We fear a terrible backlash from vindictive Westerners, and demand you protect us and suppress any who criticize us, because they some day just might go beyond saying mean things — and even that is too much for us to be forced to withstand.”)
But I’ve noticed something odd. The instant the terrorists are not carrying out their terrorism, they suddenly revert to Good Muslims and must be treated accordingly.
Let’s look at those terrorists we capture. They must be given full respect for their religious convictions — the same ones that led them to commit their atrocities, the same ones they allegedly have perverted — and the “good Muslims” get horribly bent out of shape if that isn’t done. If they are not protected from “unclean” substances, “impure” women, not given a Koran and a prayer mat, not told the direction of Mecca and allowed to pray five times a day, the outcries heard are worse than if we were severing limbs and boiling them in oil and stretching them on racks. It seems that these people who have “twisted the peace-loving faith of Islam” must, at all costs, be allowed to continue to do so — at the insistence of those who have denounced their version of that faith.
It even extends beyond death. In Afghanistan, our forces killed several terrorists. Local Afghans were apparently contacted and asked to dispose of the bodies in an appropriately respectful fashion, but they, as I understand it, said “they’re foreigners, here to cause trouble, screw them” and refused. So the US forces, not really interested in digging graves in the sides of mountains, or hauling them to softer ground, and unwilling to simply leave them to decay, took the only option they saw: they burned them (in apparent violation of Muslim tradition, but in accordance with several other faiths, who view burning as an honorable method of body disposal, and actually in accordance with my own wishes).
I think it’s time to call bullshit on the “mainstream Muslim” community. If the terrorists don’t truly represent Islam, even as they scream “Allahu Akbar” and hit the detonator, then they must be consistent and not offer them the protection they are due as fellow Muslims. But if they want to offer them their sympathies, then they must readily accept the consequences of declaring themselves friends with the terrorists. They can’t have it both ways.