According to Reuters, “Muslim militants planning attacks in Saudi Arabia’s holiest city, Mecca, booby-trapped copies of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, to kill and maim pilgrims, a leading Saudi-owned newspaper has reported.”

It’s ironic that they would even consider doing such a thing, especially in light of the outrage in Iraq over an American soldier who (no doubt unaware of the implications of what he was doing) threw a Quran to the ground during a search. Indeed, in light of the tremendous reverence which Islamic culture accords the Quran, it’s eminently possible that the entire report of exploding Qurans was manufactured by Saudi officials in an attempt to win back the Islamic high ground from al-Qaida militants who have vowed, in the name of true Islam, to bring down the House of Saud.

On the other hand, however, there’s no real reason why Al-Qaida militants would not have rigged up Qurans to explode, despite the fact that they would be among the first to denounce an American soldier for throwing a copy on the ground. For while they would excoriate the American unbeliever for callous indifference to the way the Muslim sacred book is treated, they wouldn’t see their own actions on the same plane, because of their devotion to the book and its method – devotion to the death.

Perhaps as they wired the books, they thought of what they were doing as a good way to “instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers,” as per this verse of their explosive book: “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): ‘I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them'” (Sura 8:12).

They probably considered themselves to be acting in accord with its dictate to “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them” (Sura 9:5), as their confreres who hijacked planes on 9-11 and exploded them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon no doubt did as well. And they may have thought that hiding explosives in the Quran accorded well with the Prophet Muhammad’s declaration that “war is deceit” (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4, book 56, no. 3030).

The use of Islam by Islamic terrorists is routinely dismissed by media figures and Islamic advocacy groups with hazy invocations of theological equivalence: There are violent passages in the Bible, too. And it’s true: People of all religions have done terrible things. But none of these kinds of objections gets to the heart of the matter: Terrorists on a global scale today are using the Quran, not the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita or the Book of Mormon, to justify violence and to convince others that they should act violently or approve of violence.

The widespread tendency to ignore or gloss over this fact puts the nation at risk of being blindsided. Yet you can go to any prominent American Muslim advocacy group, and you will see no hint of this. The Council on American Islamic Relations defines jihad as a “central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense (e.g., having a standing army for national defense), or fighting against tyranny or oppression.”

The Muslim Public Affairs Council states: “According to the Quran, Muslims may only undertake fighting in order to defend the Muslim polity against aggression or oppose a system that oppresses helpless people who are asking for support.” Also, “the attorney general should work to regain the confidence of the Muslim community by assuring members of the community that he rejects the notion of ‘Islamic terrorism.'”

Very well. But what is MPAC or CAIR doing to compel al-Qaida and similar groups to reject the notion of “Islamic terrorism”? What are they doing to convince them that packing a Quran with explosives is not an effective way to fulfill the book’s commands?

Insofar as Muslim moderates (both those that are genuine and those that are merely self-proclaimed) continue to ignore violent passages or to deny that they even exist in the Quran, and to ignore or deny the fact that radical Muslims can and do easily exploit them to justify their actions, nothing they say to these radicals will rein them in. They simply aren’t mounting a serious response to the enormous challenge of radicalism within their own community.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and the author of “Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West” (Regnery Publishing), and “Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books).

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