Guess who said the following?
"The earliest defenders of Islam would defend their more numerous and better-equipped oppressors because the early Muslims loved death -- dying for the sake of almighty Allah -- more than the oppressors of Muslims loved life. This must be the case when we are fighting life's other battles."
I know I haven't asked a fair question. As Andrew McCarthy put it recently, "that leitmotif -- We love death more than you love life -- has been a staple of every jihadist from bin Laden through Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood killer."
He isn't kidding. In 2008, as McCarthy notes, the "Supreme Guide" of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Mahdi Akef, while praising Osama bin Laden, urged teaching young people "the principles of jihad so as to create mujahidin who love to die as much as others love to live." In 2004, the 3/11 bombers in Madrid left behind a tape saying, "We choose death, while you choose life." MEMRI's Steven Stalinsky has noted the origins of this necro-parable in the Battle of Qadisiyya, 636, when the Muslim commander called for the conversion to Islam of his Persian enemies "for if you don't, you should know that I have come to you with an army of men that love death, as you love life."
Just to be sporting, here's more of the same mystery quotation: "What are our oppressors going to do with a people like us? We are prepared to give our lives for the cause of Islam."
Chilling, but not helpful, right? Similar death-cult code could come from any jihadist, from Mohammed Atta, in his night-before-9/11 instructions, to Anwar al-Awlaki, in his e-mails "ministering" to the underpants bomber, Umar F. Abdulmutallab.
But could it also come from a former Bush administration appointee? A board director of the American Conservative Union (ACU), sponsor of the C-PAC convention in Washington, D.C., where the newest batch of 2012 presidential hopefuls have been speech-o-flexing before 10,000 grassroots activists?
The surprise answer is yes. The former Bush official and ACU board member who I am quoting above is Suhail Khan, a protege, you might say, of the weirdly influential, not-very-conservative activist Grover Norquist. Khan's shocking quotation -- shocking, that is, for a classic conservative, but not for a classical jihadist -- comes from a 1999 speech Khan gave at another convention, that of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).