It really is a dialog of the deaf!
I’ve just been listening to a discussion on the World Service of the BBC. The program was Newshour, one hour of serious world news, the best available.
The discussion was about the cover of this week’s Charlie Hebdo satirical paper. Only last week ten members of staff, including four cartoonists and the managing editor, were all killed when terrorists invaded their office. Their motive was revenge, to kill those who had insulted the prophet Mohammed by depicting him in their paper.
In defiance, the paper’s staff, now temporarily housed in the offices of Liberation, refusing to be intimidated, have again depicted the prophet on their front page, holding up a sign saying “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). Interestingly, not one of the 200 members of staff of Liberation disagreed with the decision to house those from Charlie Hebdo, even though they clearly endanger themselves.
The BBC presenter was interviewing two female journalists, one a practicing Muslim of Algerian origin and the other a journalist with Liberation.
The Muslim explained to the BBC’s worldwide audience how deeply offensive the cartoon is, that it is, in Islam, blasphemy. The other journalist countered by explaining that France has freedom of speech and that they are expressing their highly valued freedom.
What was particularly interesting to me was the Muslim saying she is deeply committed to freedom of speech but that does not extend to insulting somebody else’s religion.
It reminded me of a segment on the same program two or three years ago following the Arab Spring, a period of time when western countries thought they were witnessing the flowering of western style freedom in the Arab world. The interviewer then was talking to Tunisians who were anticipating democracy in their country. They were asked a number of questions and gave the same responses as most people in the West would give.
That is, until the interviewer asked if their vision of democracy extended to allowing people to choose their own religion.
That was a definite no-no. Nobody could ever renounce Islam
A huge gulf separates western thinking, which is based on individual freedom, and Islam, which means “submission.” They are two opposites.
This is not only a dialog of the deaf; it is also a clash of civilizations.
The clash between these two worlds is going to be the defining conflict of our age, just as the Cold War was for over forty years.
Tom Rogan, a writer for National Review and an expert on Islamic terror groups, said on the latest McLaughlin Group that there are three types of terrorists now operating in the West.
One group is the al-Qaeda operatives, who have been around for about twenty years.
Secondly, we have those returning to the countries of their birth, from Syria and Iraq. They have been trained for conflict and encouraged to stage terror attacks in their home countries similar to what we saw in Paris last week. All western countries should expect to see a surge in such attacks in the foreseeable future.
The third group is made up of those influenced by “YouTube.” These are often the lone wolfs we saw recently in Ottawa, Sydney, and New York. They keep an eye on terrorist websites, which encourage them to stage terror attacks, especially on police, security personnel, and government buildings.
Mr. Rogan predicted that we will see more attacks this year.
While we are on the subject of terrorism, it should be noted that while the world’s attention was on the 17 deaths in Paris, an estimated 2,000 died in NE Nigeria when Boko Haram attacked a small town. Most of those killed were women, children and the elderly who could not run fast enough to escape from the terrorists.
The BBC has not been able to verify the figure because it is impossible for anybody to get nearer than 200 kilometers to the area. Boko Haram also destroyed the cell phone tower in the town, so that nobody living there has been able to communicate.
People who escaped ran to the nearest big city of Maiduguri. All told the same story of countless numbers of dead within and outside of the town.
A few days later, in the same region of Nigeria, a ten-year old girl, used by Boko Haram as a suicide bomber, blew up a market, killing twenty people.
It’s not surprising that the local archbishop has called on the US and other western countries to intervene to save the people from the Islamic onslaught.
The Nigerian army seems to be doing very little. Neighboring Cameroon claimed today that is has killed 150 terrorists belonging to the organization.
FOOTNOTE: Sky News has just said that 5,000 EU citizens are now fighting in Iraq and Syria with ISIS. What will they do when they return to their home countries in Europe?
Clearly, President Obama was wrong when he said a few months ago that the War on Terror was over. It seems more likely that it’s just starting.