What have you learned since the Sept. 11 attacks five years ago? The mass murder of 2,996 innocent people on American soil forced open my eyes to the Islamic holy war against the West, freedom and modernity. The battle has raged not for years or decades, but for centuries -- well before the Crusades began.
The indelible sight of workers plunging from the Twin Towers -- head first, feet first, solo, hand-in-hand -- roused me from slumber. The photos of children who were incinerated on United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 77 compelled me to start paying attention to the beliefs, goals, language and lies of those who would gladly kill my children the same way. The United Airlines Flight 93 hijackers' final exclamation as they drove the plane into the ground is a Muslim warrior leitmotif I will never again ignore: "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!"
So, how much do you know? Take a post-9/11 pop quiz. It's never too late to start pulling your head from the sand:
Jihadis. These are our enemies -- from Mohammed Atta and company to the Butchers of Beslan, to the throat-slitters in Karachi and Baghdad and Mindanao, to the bombers of Bali, Madrid and London, to their funders and imams and enablers worldwide. They are not "freedom fighters" or "militants" or "rebels" or "evildoers" of unknown geographic and religious affiliation.
Apologists claim "jihad" means a peaceful Muslim striving for spiritual perfection. But the late Ayatollah Khomeini rebuked Religion of Peace propagandists back in 1942: "Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those (who say this) are witless."
Egyptian-born Nonie Darwish, an ex-Muslim whose father founded the terrorist Fedayeen in Gaza and killed 400 Israelis, had her own recent rejoinder for the p.c. whitewashers who have redefined jihad as a kinder, gentler struggle: "In the Arab world we were only taught one meaning for Jihad, and that is: A religious holy war against infidels and armed struggle against anyone who is not a Moslem."Infidels/Kafirs . Anyone who is not a Muslim.
Sharia . This is the set of Islamic legal principles and traditions that our enemies seek to impose on us. It's a path that leads inexorably to the subjugation of women, stoning of adulterers, "honor killings" of rape victims, bans on beauty pageants, cinema and the viewing of soccer matches, death threats against authors, filmmakers, cartoonists and apostates who renounce Islam, and calls for beheadings of all who insult their faith.
Caliphate . A Muslim world government ruled according to sharia. It is what American al Qaeda Adam Gadahn envisions in his latest "Convert or die" propaganda video when he asserts, "Islam is the only religion acceptable to God," and "God recognizes no separation between religion and state." It is the dream not just of Osama bin Laden, but of Islamic imperialists throughout history.
Taqiyya . Religious deception. Jihadists are taught in al Qaeda training manuals to lie. To fabricate tales about how their captors treat them (see Gitmo). To lie in claiming "There is no compulsion in religion" while forcing conversions at gunpoint (see the "Holy Jihad Brigades" conversion video starring Fox News journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig). To conceal their true mission (see hijackers' visa applications). Dissimulation for the sake of Islam is sanctioned by the Koran.
You see it in the refusal to profile at the airport, limit immigration from terrorist-enabling countries and shut down Saudi pilot training programs -- even to this day -- for fear of hurting feelings. You will see it throughout the week-long commemoration of 9/11 as pundits and scholars de-emphasize the jihadi roots of the terrorist attacks in favor of "dialogue" and "tolerance" and self-flagellation.
Submitting to ignorance is submitting to defeat. Honor the victims of 9/11 by making a pledge: "I will not submit."