May 4, 2004 9:52 pm


Unfortunately, recent revelations about American abuses in Iraq are muddying the waters at a time we need to see clearly that the Islamists have unveiled a new strategy - making the"Umah lands" (the region once controlled by Muslim rulers) not only free of foreign armies but"infidelrein" - free of non Muslims period. That is the common denominator between the attacks on oil workers in Saudi Arabia and the attacks on Chinese seaport workers in Pakistan.

It was this realization and the need to throw sand in the eyes of the world which led crown prince Abdallah and the Pakistani communication minister Babar Khan Gharui to resort to conspiracy theories to explain the attacks. Abdallah blamed "Zionists" for the attack while Gharui less directly blamed the Indians. After all, in both cases the citizens of a major ally were murdered.

Trust Arabists American diplomats to live in the past - I recommend reading Robert Kaplan's 1995 book, The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite - and chastise Bush for not being more even handed.

Who cares if the Voice of Palestine called the men who carried out the attack that left a pregnant mother and her four children dead"an act of heroic martyrdom?" (The radio station repeatedly used the term"is tish-had"(heroic martyrdom) and"mustash-hidin" (heroic martyrs) to describe the act Committed by"two youths". After reporting the attackers names the radio repeated that they were heroic martyrs. The Voice of Palestine referred to the victims of the shooting attack as"five settlers" without mentioning that the attack involved a pregnant women and four children who were first shot at a distance of several yards and then finished off from point blank range).

Yes, the Bush administration has mishandled the Iraqi occupation and the behavior of some coalition soldiers like the behavior of some Israeli soldiers leaves much to be desired. Still, the difference between democratic societies' response to the atrocities committed by its own could not be more obvious.

Sharon's proposal to leave Gaza amounted to his saying to the Palestinian Islamists: you want an infidelrien country, you got it. Remembering the lessons of Lebanon, most Likud members said no. For a fuller analysis click here. If the rest of the"infidel" world faces the question - Should it give the Islamists what they want, an"infidelrein" khalifat?, The Muslim world has to answer the question -"Do we want to live in an"infidelrein" world?

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