A Decade of Islamic Violence

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Is that headline unfair? Does it speak to mindless racism, bigotry or just garden variety Islamophobia?

Or perhaps it negates all other violence in the world, especially that of the Israelis against the Palestinians. Maybe the title should be "A Decade of Unjustified Israeli Violence against the Palestinian People"? That would certainly garner the immediate approval of the Arab world, for whom the conflict with the "Zionist entity" is the source of all problems, second only to U.S. support for that country.

That sentiment also would get the approval of Western leftists who routinely claim that U.S. policy regarding Israel is the biggest stain on the country's honor, although "honor" is probably too strong a word, since leftists would be quick to claim that America has no honor, given its support for despotic regimes across the globe, but mostly for its support of the Jewish state.

But let's take a look at the last (not quite) decade:

11 September 2001: the touchstone for mass murder in the 21st century, the massacre of over 3,000 people carried out by idealogically and religiously committed Muslim men.

22 December 2001: Islamist Richard Reid tries, unsuccessfully, to blow up an American Airlines flight with an incendiary device hidden in his socks. The so-called "shoe-bomber" is responsible for millions of people now needing to take off their shoes when going through airport security.

12 October 2002: three bombs were detonated in or near popular nightclubs in Kuta, on the Indonesian island of Bali. Over 200 are killed.

11 March 2004: Close to 200 people are killed on the morning commuter route in Madrid, Spain. Originally blamed on ETA, the Basque separatist group, a Muslim Al-Qaeda inspired terrorist cell is fingered as the culprit.

7 July 2005: a series of coordinated suicide bombings take place in London during the morning rush hour, killing 56 people including the bombers.

7 July 2006: The FBI reveals terrorist plots against the transporation network in New York being prepared by Al-Qaeda.

10 August 2006: Scotland Yard reveals a plot by Islamic extremists to blow up planes between Great Britain and the U.S.

29 June 2007: a car bomb is stopped from killing scores of people in London, carried out by religiously committed Muslim men.

5 September 2007: three Islamists (with presumed ties to Al-Qaeda) are arrested for preparing car bomb attacks against American symbols, in Germany.

25 December 2009: to end the decade, a Nigerian Islamist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attempts a similar detonation to bring down a Delta Airlines flight en route to Detroit. The explosive fails to ignite, and he's subdued by alert passengers.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it underscores one central connection: all of these attacks were carried out by religiously committed Muslim men against either the United States and its "War on Terror," Western imperialism, or in the cause of jihad against the West as a whole. In any case, the first decade of the 21st century has been one, it may seem, of unrelenting conflict between Muslims and the West for a standard litany of complaints: the evil nature of the United States and its unfair policies, or its mere presence in Muslim lands and/or the invasion of Iraq. Throw in a reference to support for Israel and the laundry list is complete.

We write this not to say anything particular about the "true nature" of Islam: neither to defend nor condemn. We present this incomplete list merely as statement of fact: the deeds were done by Muslims in an overall Muslim cause, jihad. We write this not to cast aspersions on Muslims in any country or community in the world. We describe these acts as "Islamic terror" because they weren't done in the name of secular humanism. They weren't carried out by ideologically committed Christians seeking to regain Istanbul. We are only offering this list with the disturbing sense that religion of peace, as Islam is frequently described, seems to have a very high body count.