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The world in general has been sickened by the savage beheadings of innocent people by Islamic fundamentalists. But we really shouldn’t be surprised.

Daniel Pearl in Pakistan and Nick Berg in Iraq, both Jews, were the first to suffer this modern revival of historic Islamic savagery. Then it was another American, Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia. And then South Korean Kim Sun-il in Iraq, a reported born-again Christian. All were murdered without mercy by Muslims proclaiming the by now familiar mantra of praise, “Allahu akbar” [Allah is great].

The suicide crews flew American planes into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon on 9-11 shouting, “Allah is great.” Clearly these Muslims saw themselves carrying out their actions for a religiously based cause in the name of Allah.

It is important to note that these acts of barbarism were committed by diverse ethnic groups of Muslim zealots in different places. This reveals that there is a cohesive source that motivates all of them to commit such atrocities.

The West – and especially the United States – continues to cling to the myth that “Islam is a religion of peace.” History reveals this is simply not true.

Islam is not like Christianity, which teaches one should love his enemy. Christians seek to win converts by a loving presentation of the message of Christ’s offer of pardon for sin that He purchased by dying in our place.

On the other hand – according to the Quran – in places where Islam rules, it is to offer no mercy to the “infidel unbeliever” unless he converts to Islam. If he is allowed to live, he must live as a third-rate citizen and suffer all sorts of abuses with no legal rights to protect him. He is excessively taxed for “the privilege” of living among Muslims.

The cohesive core of Islam that continues to inspire its long history of violence is the Quran and the sayings and actions of Muhammad, himself. The many biographies of Muhammad reveal that he employed murder and war repeatedly to advance Islam. When he conquered Medina, he and his troops beheaded all the adult Jewish men, which Muslim sources place at over 600. So the practice of beheading “infidels,” especially Jews, is well established by Muhammad himself.

Many scholars believe we are actually in the Third Great Jihad in the history of Islam. The first was the original Great Jihad that spread Islam from the Atlantic to the borders of China. The second Great Jihad created the vast Ottoman Turk Empire. The third Great Jihad began with the takeover of Iran by the Ayatollah Khomeini and the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by the “holy warriors” of Islam who came there to fight from all over the Muslim world.

The goal of the Third Great Jihad is to drive all Western influence out of the Middle East and to restore it to Muslim rule as it was in the seventh century. Central to this is the obliteration of the state of Israel. They will not accept American style “democracy.” To them, this is an inherent part of a degenerate Judeo-Christian culture and is anti-Islam.

The victory over Soviet military forces in Afghanistan gave inspiration to the Muslim warriors that goes far beyond our realization. They surmised that the reason they prevailed over the mighty Soviet war machine was their complete fundamental faith in the Quran. From that, they reasoned that Muslim warriors have suffered such humiliating defeats in the battles of recent times because they have forsaken pure devotion to the fundamental teachings of the Quran and Muhammad.

The firebrand Osama bin Laden was one of these “holy warriors” who fervently applied these lessons. He proclaimed that he would lead a revival of Islam that would cleanse their lands of all “infidels” and re-establish former Muslim glory.

Osama bin Laden, with his group of “holy warriors” who had come from many Muslim communities around the world, issued a “fatwa.” A “fatwa” is a legally binding interpretation of the Quran for a contemporary issue written by an Islamic scholar. Part of Osama’s fatwa – dated February 1998 – proclaimed:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies – civilians and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem] and the holy mosque [in Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.

This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah “and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,” and “fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.”

We must not underestimate the power and impact of this “fatwa” upon the millions of young Muslim men who are demoralized over the decline of Islam in recent centuries. The message of Osama bin Laden that was forged in the fire of battle with the Soviet military strikes a deep, resonant chord in the hearts of young Muslims longing to restore the former glory of Islam. To them, Muhammad’s division of the world into only two groups is the only truth. Muhammad taught that the world is divided into “the house of Islam” and the “house of war.” Every land outside of Islamic rule is considered a place for war.

If we merely dismiss these facts as the ravings of a few fanatics, we do so at our great peril. About 15 percent of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are now fundamentalists. That’s about 195 million Muslim zealots scattered over the world who are bent upon the destruction of the United States.

The other 85 percent of Muslims are not fundamentalists, but their beliefs are not based on a literal interpretation of the Quran and the acts of Muhammad. And they rarely speak out strongly enough against the Muslim fundamentalists to make a difference. If there is a “peaceful” majority of Muslims, they had better speak out clearly and strongly against the growing power of the fundamentalists, or they will be confused with the Muslims who bring future terrorist acts against this country.

When Muslim fundamentalists launch attacks against our citizens that kill tens of thousands, there will surely be a release of fury that will not be so discerning of what kind of a Muslim a person is, unless he has made it very clear beforehand.

At this very moment, there are some devout Muslims plotting massive attacks against the United States. We must wake up to this reality that they are in our midst and start focusing all our resources on the places where they are most likely to be found. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out – just one who is willing to be politically incorrect.

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