Tuesday, July 12, 2005

If there were any question about Islamic fundamentalism...

I read two articles today that really irritated me. The first came from the Daily Telegraph and concerns the BBC's omission of the word "terrorism" from reports on the London bombings.

The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments".

Consequently, "the word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding" and its use should be "avoided", the guidelines say.

Understanding? If there were any question about understanding the motivations of these or any other terrorist attacks, look no further than the second story that irritated me today. It concerns the man "suspected" of killing Theo Van Gogh last year. I say "suspect" because not only did he commit the murder in view of over 50 witnesses, he admitted in court that he did it and went on to say why.
"I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion," 27-year-old Dutch-Moroccan national Mohammed Bouyeri told the court in Amsterdam on the final day of his trial.
At the time of his murder, Van Gogh had recently released the film Submission which deals with culturally accepted violence against women in the Muslim world.

"I can assure you that one day, should I be set free, I would do exactly the same, exactly the same," he said, speaking slowly in sometimes halted Dutch.

He said he felt an obligation to Van Gogh's mother Anneke, present in court, to speak, but offered no sympathy.

"I have to admit I do not feel for you, I do not feel your pain, I cannot -- I don't know what it is like to lose a child," he said as Van Gogh's family and friends looked on.

"I cannot feel for you ... because I believe you are an infidel," he added.

"I acted out of conviction -- not because I hated your son."

Van Gogh's mother listened quietly as Bouyeri, wearing a Palestinian black and white headscarf, spoke with a hint of admiration for her son.

"I cannot accuse your son of hypocrisy because he was not a hypocrite. He said things out of conviction," Bouyeri said of Van Gogh.

Is there really any question that there are fundamentalists in the Islamic world that would like nothing more than to destroy our way of life? Why are world news outlets like the BBC afraid to admit it? Is it because they are afraid of offending the archaic and medieval Muslim sentiments that women are second- or third-class citizens? How many more terrorist attacks will it take for people to realize that there really is a war going on and our side is not taking it seriously?

Thankfully, the BBC came to its senses and at least took the step of qualifying the bombings in London as terrorist activities. This is serious business and people need to treat it as such or it may come back to haunt us.

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