Religious war

Posted: Nov 02, 2001 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Nov. 10, the U.S. Marine Corps will observe its 226th anniversary. On that same day, President George W. Bush will fly to New York City to address the U.N. General Assembly -- an occasion that was postponed by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. In a strange way, both events -- the celebration of the Marine Corps' founding at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia and the president's U.N. discourse -- are related. And the relationship isn't pleasant -- it's perverse. Marines serving around the globe in "every clime and place" will commemorate the Corps' creation with formal dinners, imbibing of "spirits," a birthday cake, a remembrance of wars waged and prayers for fallen comrades. Remember that part -- about the prayers. When Bush takes the podium at the United Nations, representatives of some "Third World" dictatorships are planning to rise from their plush seats and walk out on the man who now leads a global coalition against terrorism -- nearly all of which has its origin in radical Islam. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is said to be making a quiet effort to dissuade the "protesters," but if the walk-out does indeed take place, much of the attendant media will undoubtedly ascribe the demonstration to an "expression of religious solidarity." Absent from the U.N. conclave will be representatives of the brutal Afghan dictatorship that harbors the mastermind of the vicious terrorist attack on Sept. 11 that claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people. The Taliban theocracy won't be there in the ornate Hall of Nations because the United Nations claims not to "recognize" the religious zealots who rule Kabul. They don't have to be there, for several dozen U.N. "member nations" have significant populations within their borders ascribing to the notion that the United States is waging a religious "war against Islam." Complicit in this obscene idea is a U.S. media, watched and read worldwide, that practically ignores that it is not the United States -- but many of these Islamic nations -- that have allowed a religious war against Christians to be waged within their borders. Tune into any of the daily press conferences, now broadcast live around the globe, from the White House, Pentagon, State Department and even the Department of Justice, and you will hear reporters interrogating Cabinet secretaries and their spokesmen about the wisdom of "continuing military operations during Ramadan" or the "profiling of people based on religion." And their editors and broadcast news directors are no better. These are the same folks who all but ignored the slaughter of 16 Christian worshipers on Oct.r 28, when bearded terrorists burst into a church in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, and blazed away for 10 minutes with AK-47s. The Washington Post mentioned the atrocity, which included the murder of seven women and three children, on page A-6. Yet, this week, The Post featured a front-page headline that screamed, "Pressure to Curtail War Grows," citing Pakistan's "unease" with the U.S. led bombing campaign and recording Pakistani General Pervez Musharraf's desire that the United States "terminate the bombing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan." The Associated Press wire screeched, "Saddam Urges America to Stop Attacks," and quoted the Iraqi dictator's demand that the Islamic world "abort the United States' aggressive schemes, including its aggression on the Afghan people." And while the U.S. media has gone apoplectic over the death of four Americans to anthrax and the "appalling civilian death toll" being "inflicted by misdirected U.S. bombs," the paragons of the press are virtually silent about the fate of eight Western aid workers -- including two American women -- who are being held somewhere in Afghanistan by Taliban thugs on capital charges of "spreading Christianity." Unfortunately, the press isn't alone in ignoring the "religious war" being waged against Christians by adherents to radical Islam. Since 9-11, the White House repeatedly urges "tolerance" for people of other faiths. The attorney general promises prosecution under "hate crimes" laws for those who threaten Islamic believers. The Congress, which established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 1998, is apparently oblivious to the commission's reports of anti-Christian repression and violence -- some of it state-sanctioned -- in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Turkmenistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan. And for those who think all this is just a problem for the United States -- think again. The London Daily Telegraph reported this week that a poll of British Muslims showed that 98 percent would refuse to fight for Great Britain against Osama bin Laden, but that 48 percent would instead fight for the terrorist and his cause. How does all this relate to the Marine Corps anniversary and a potential Islamic protest at the United Nations against a U.S. president that same day? Simply this: One of the battles that will be recalled during the Corps' birthday celebrations on Nov. 10 is the 1804-1805 campaign by Marine Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon against the Barbary pirates. They were terrorists, and they were Muslims. The naval and land campaign continued through Ramadan, and the pirates were hunted down and hung. Thomas Jefferson ignored the critics and whiners of the day until success was achieved. And nobody accused the United States of pursuing a "war against Islam." But O'Bannon reportedly underlined in the Bible he carried with him the consoling words of John's Gospel (15:18), "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you."