Radical Islam Fears the "American Kosher Deli"

[Forbes] Sadanand Dhume - Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were murdered along with four other Jews in Mumbai's Nariman House, not far from the luxury hotels and crowded railway station that bore the brunt of an assault that killed 171 people and wounded 239. They and their co-religionists were murdered for the simple fact of their faith. In Pakistan, from where the attack was plotted and launched, a popular theory holds that their country is under threat from what the worldlier of Islamabad's residents call the American Kosher Deli - an alliance of Americans, Israelis and Indians, whose capital is New Delhi. In the faith-obsessed imagination, religion is the defining feature of every person, country and culture. By this logic, non-Muslims are inevitably hostile to Islam. Against this backdrop, it can be tempting to view the war on terror as a struggle between those - Christian, Jew and Hindu - who reject the prophet Mohammed's message and those who submit to it. But the lesson from Mumbai is in fact the opposite. The common enemy is not Islam, much less ordinary Muslims, but a toxic, totalitarian interpretation of the faith that goes by many names - among them Islamism, militant Islam, fundamentalist Islam and radical Islam. This ideology, exported in its Sunni form most fervently by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and in a Shia variant by the revolutionary regime in Iran, calls for every aspect of human life to be ordered according to the medieval precepts enshrined in sharia. What binds democratic America, Israel and India, then, is not merely that they are loathed by radical Muslims, but a shared commitment by most, if not all, Americans, Israelis and Indians to a planet on which all kinds of belief (and disbelief) have an equal right to thrive.

2008-12-08 01:00:00

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