Where’s Whitey?

2010 03 12_1876
Some Events Are Just More Important Than Others

It’s amazing how things that seemed importance fall into insignificance in the light of other events such as family or community or national tragedies. Our law enforcement agencies deserves congratulations for the quick uncovering of the fiend bombers, two Chechens brothers, who caused the Marathon Terrorist Attack (MTA) One of whom is dead at this posting.

One is still at large but close to being brought down or in. He is Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. Have you seen the picture of him intently walking away from the explosion while all the people around him stare back in disbelief or stand stunned? For me, that alone is enough to show his involvement.

Dzhokhar has lived among us for upwards of 10 years and is a graduate of a Cambridge High School with American friends. When  9/11 happened I thought the terrorists involved in that incident had had no connection to America. I believed had they that they’d have understood what America is about with its openness and freedom and acceptance of all. I was dismayed to find that I was wrong. Some of these men had lived here and knew our culture. But none had grown up here prior to their teenage years.

How then explain what caused Dzhokhar to want to murder Americans among whom he has gone to school and had a few beers? This is why it is hoped that they capture him alive. Yet he has no reason to surrender knowing full well what lies ahead for him.

How then explain his older brother Tamerlan. He trained to be a Golden Glove heavy weight fighter hoping to go to the Olympics to represent the US. He said he’d rather fight for America than Russia.

Of course that these two terrorists are Muslims is the worst thing that American Muslims could want. Within that community there was great fear that if one of their own brought about the MTA the anti-Muslim furor would again begin. We can’t be part of that. But we’ll see some exploiting this and as they stir the embers of fear.

There are millions of Muslims in America. Many recent arrivals love the country for the freedom it has given them to practice their religion and escape from oppression.  Many others, born here, know no other country than America.  American Muslims have as much  responsibility for this incident as I did for the IRA murder of British Lord Mountbatten.

What is important now is to find clues that will tell us what brought about the radicalization of these two brothers. What did we miss? Did they travel anywhere? Where was it? Who were they in contact with? Where had they worked? Things like that.

I figure they pretty much acted alone. They had no escape plan hanging around in Boston until their pictures were shown on TV. Then robbing a 7 Eleven to get some money and hijacking a car.

Too much of importance is happening to write about Whitey’s saga today. To answer the question where’s Whitey, he’s been put to bed for a day or two.

38 thoughts on “Where’s Whitey?

      1. The 72 virgins is supposed to be what Allah will give the Jihadist in paradise if he straps a bomb to himself and blows something up.

        1. Henry:
          I’ve heard that before but I’d guess if it is true it just is used to entice very young men just out of puberty into radicalism. The problem with the theory is that it seems none of the 72 virgins have a say in what is going on. That just doesn’t seem right.

  1. This isn’t the first time that Whitey has enjoyed the beefits of the spotlight being diverted from him on account of terrorist activities. If I remember correctly, The 9/11 attacks postponed or cancelled some significant hearing or event relating to this case. In regardsthe to the hunted 19 year old Russian expatriate, I hope he doesn’t take the coward’s way out, and they take him alive,soOuBhe can be interrogated, and hopefully we can make some sort of sense

    1. Rather:
      I agree but there seems a lot of firepower out there and the cops are getting tired and jumpy.

      It would be important to see how the kid who from all reports was a normal American kid wrestling team captain, studying at college, and is mentally sound came to the conclusion it was a good idea to become a terrorist.

  2. Probably not the time to raise it, and it may not be much to consider, but it’s noticed that that they did not have an “exit strategy” thus suggesting disorganization and no “larger connections.” They didn’t even shave/cut their hair afterwards. They robbed a convenience store???? Hijacked a Mercedes??? With in all likelihood a GPS system to be in it for sure????

    This may seem stupid or irrelevant at this time, and maybe insensitive or short-sighted that I am saying them – or maybe just plain clueless on terrorism (which I am) – but there are some things that bother me about all of this that is getting unnoticed:

    1.)The loser-brothers are about the same age as loser Adam Lanza.
    2.)Just prior and supposedly in the middle of ths there was some mention about them communicating on “Facebook.” Facebook, folks, ya!
    3.)They are in that techno age group and admitted to feeling alienated or disaffected/unassimilated.

    I bet we will find out that they are “Gamers” just like Adam Lanza was. I bet their “disaffectedness” was fueled by such stuff and supposedly “Gamers” are getting competitive over “real” points. The car chase alone was so “Grand Theft Auto.” Accordingly, I think the larger debate from all of this when things are resolved should move from gun control to video game control – and I am a generally anti-tax person so for me to say that, than it’s probably time (or clearly from recent events overdue.)

    Simply put: I think it’s time we tax the h– out of violent video games and earmark the funds to police/fire and federal law enforcement initiatives.

    Lastly, and I am sure they are on top of this already, but I bet what comes out of this is that the IC will be paying a little closer attention to those who are designating themselves “Engineering” or “Computer Tech” majors.

    1. Alex:

      Too much is unknown to form many conclusions. To much is known that makes little sense. The younger brother 19 years old had friends, was a wrestling captain at a Cambridge High School, was well liked. Everything a terrorist is not supposed to be. He was not a loner or a gamer. Too much up in the air to conclude anything right now.

      1. Thank you for your response. However, given that his own uncle called him a “loser” I am going to stick with my hunch….I know that the fact that he was from Chechnya has everyone jazzed to think more, but they were in this country for about 10 years according to reports (so the prime vg years.) Yes. I am reading into things at tnis point and yes too much is up in the air to conclude anything – but I suspect it could just as easily be related to having been indoctrinated by violent technology as/than the muslim religion. I have been in a position to see and experience that “swagger of attitude and entitlement” all too often – – the narcissistic rage – which is created in youth by over exposure to violent video games.

        When all is settled Matt, ask your friends on the force(s) whether they ever found any evidence, a hint of vg’s played by those two “losers.”

        Signing off.

        1. Alex:
          You know the rules of this blog: everyone should stick to their own hunches and conclusions. Facts we can agree on but that doesn’t mean we must come to the same conclusions. You may be right since Dzhokhar was as several people who knew him said an average American kid. I think we will find out in time more about this issue especially now since he is captured alive. The problem now is the FBI is very closed mouth group and we’ll have difficulty getting information from it. I’m sure however a lot of his friends will give us an indication.

  3. Matt,
    Thanks for taking the time to reflect on the most important issues of this whole week really….. I am shocked over a number of things in this MTA case:
    1) the quickness in which the authorities had these guys (although much of the work was done by the terrorists themselves in terms of getting caught. I think they got spooked and panicked.)
    2) that these guys didnt have the intellegence to “get out of dodge” while they could. i mean, they were able to pull this tragedy off looking like “cool cats” as the authorities have stated but didnt figure to leave immediatley?? That confuses me.
    3) And finally, as of 4:30pm they still dont have this 19 yr old terrorist after doing door-to-door searches, etc, etc. He must be in the sewers or something, no? Cant just disappear right? And if he is holed up in a house – that is the reason for the door-to-door searches..
    He is screwed either way.
    Will get his in this life or the next…..
    Thanks as always Matt for keeping it real!

    1. SJM:
      This is truly an amazing ongoing incident. We can only hope the guy is captured alive. I want to know how a kid who seemed well adjusted and well liked did this.
      1. Excellent work by the cops in tracking them down. Clearly they got the right guys.
      2. I figured they’d be long gone. Trouble was they had money troubles which may turn out to be the reason for their hatred of America. It’s like they thought they could do this an then life would go on as normal. I figured if they were part of a group their escape would have been assured. They never thought of what to do after the bombing. Strictly amateurs.
      3. I was going to post on what you just mentioned. The younger guy vanished in thin air. You mentioned the sewers, I doubted that since we don’t have those type sewer systems; but we do have underground tunnels. I hope the cops have prowled through the MBTA tunnels. That’s e where I’d be looking.
      4. They have to take him alive. I think it is important to know When this seemingly well adjusted kid become radicalized?
      5. Everyone is getting tired including the kid whose name is pronounced like the word Joker but with the Boston accent turning the “er” into an “ah.”

  4. Who provided the inspiration for the marathon attack? To answer this question we must study the Necker Cube phenomena.
    Imagine a rectanglar line drawing. The drawing’s dimensions seem to shift back-and-forth from its exterior-to-interior aspects like an exchange of prospectives in an Escher print The mind can globally grasp the simultaneous existence of both aspects, but, cannot visually accomodate the duality of the unified image.
    Much the same phenomena occurs when attempting to juxtapose Islamic morality against the value system of the West. Good and evil are culturally relative terms. The Tsarnaev brothers were following what Marshall G.S. Hogdson calls the “ghazi tradition.” A ghazi is somewhat analogous to a a “knight errant” in the medieval European tradition. Young Muslim fighters, ghazis, would flock to contested areas on the fault-line between East and West to wage war against the enemies of Islam. It is a very romantic and compelling image, one that has evolved into the contemporary mujahid ideal.
    In this age of drone attacks and Gitmo tortures, are these men’s actions more heinous, more horrific, than those perpetrated by the military and security organs of the United States, and, its allies? Certainly, at least from one perspective on the cultural Necker Cube. Yet, from that other prespective, these brothers are heroes harkening back to the Sahaba at Badr. There in lies the rub.

    1. Khalid:
      You tell the story of one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero. Of course there are people who can justify the Marathon attack as a response to American attacks against their people. The families and friends of innocent people who die in American drone attacks or when America makes mistakes in our war against our enemies surely cheer when someone strikes back at America. We understand that but we still abhor the idea of being attacked. The people in some Muslim countries have worse blood baths than we have seen that have also been caused by Muslim extremists killing their own people. We see that and are repelled by that also. We do not understand how someone can set a bomb off among civilians although I assume there are some Irish among us who were not bothered by IRA bombings in England. You are right when you say it depends on whose terrorist it is doing the bombing.
      But we are Americans. Any bombing in America like we experienced at the Marathon is an attack against America and we resent the attack and do not accept there is any justification for it. America is where we live and it is like an attack on our family. Others may be pleased and say it is only tit for tat but we don’t accept that although we can understand why they feel that way.
      The Muslim terrorist should understand for centuries there has been no war between the East and West. It is a figment of imagination dreamed up by hateful people who willingly send others off to die, like the young suicide bombers, while remaining safe themselves. The West, mainly Christian, has welcome Muslims among us and all other people. We wish to live in peace with them and all people. We do not judge them for their beliefs just like we ask them not to judge us. Almost all Muslims accept that deal however some still believe hate filled preaching that mindless murder is part of a Muslim’s duty.
      Those brothers you say “harken back to the Sahaba al Badr.” I believe that was in the 7th Century. I suggest that is untrue since the people at that time engaged in open battles, man against man, sward against sword, and not in cowardly clandestine killings of women and children. A person with a bomb who intends to murder non-combatants is a coward, pure and simple. No tradition would honor such a person.

  5. Thank you for a reasoned reply.
    From a Western perspective, all you have said is logical and persuasive. But, from a Salafi perspective, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev counted himself a Salafi, terrorism is only asymetrical warfare.

    Salafism is a neo-Sahaba movement. Salafists trace the behavioral paradigm of the Prophet and his followers, the Sahaba. Muhammad (PBH) and his Sahaba constituted not only a religious community, but, also a war band. Ibn Ishaq, a hadith collector, has left modern scholars a record of these times. His narative, Siratul Nabi, The Story of the Prophet, chronicles the development of the early Muslim state from its infancy to the Islamic age of conquest. That narrative is filled with instances of what, today, would be considered terrorism, ethnic cleansing, and outright massacre. But, that is the Western reading. For Muslims, the Siratul Nabi is an inspiring tale filled with sacrificial heroics,the mighty deeds that define the courage and faith of al-Mumin, the believers.
    Again, we are mired in the Necker cube unable to accurately juxtapose the two conflicting weltanschuuang. Both world views are exclusive and do not accept the co-existence of the other. Assimilation becomes immpossible. How does a Muslim assimilate to a kufr culture of the dar al-Harb, the land of war? Only baraha is possible, seclusion from the kufar, interacting only on solely commercial terms, limiting social interaction with non-Muslims to the absolute minimum.
    Tamerlan said he had no American friends. That would be a Salafi exercise in baraha. How did Tamerlan find the sirratul mustaqueem, the straight path? Perhaps, the tablighi jaamat touched his heart.
    The tablighs are an worldwide Isamic prostelytizing movement based in Rivan, Pakistan. Originating in Medwar, India, the tablighs have taken on the mission of re-awakening the Islamic faith in those who have fallen away. They specialise in teaching the basics to those who’ve been born Muslim, but, know not the articles and practices of their faith. The tablighs are staunch Salafis who follow Deobandi fiqh, a strict interpretation of Islam. Watch for the tablighi jaamat’s appearance in the information uncovered in the investigation ahead

    1. Khalid:
      Thank you for your informative reply. I know little about Muslims or about the Prophet and his followers in the early days. I’m sure in the history of Christianity, and I’m thinking of the times of the Crusades when huge armies went off to attack and plunder and convert the infidels, as non-Christian believers were considered, there were actions that we’d recoil at if they were done today.
      My take away from what you write is that there is an inherent conflict and endless war that must exist between Muslims and others. That for some strange reason Muslims want to force others to believe how they believe or failing that they want to destroy them. But isn’t that really out of date thinking to suggest others must believe like you believe or there is something wrong with them.
      I’m a Catholic and I know in the history of my Church especially in Spain (but I’m sure elsewhere) where as the Muslims forces had been slowly pushed out, the last leaving in 1492. The Catholic Church decided Muslims and Jews were wrong not believing in Christianity and sought to change their beliefs. I believe that was a dark time even though those Catholics back then thought they were doing the work of God.
      Now you suggest that Muslims are not capable of changing from the views held in the first millennium. I hope that is not the case.
      I would have had difficulty understanding why others want to tell me what I should believe had I not been brought up to think that Catholicism was the only true religion and a Catholic’s duty was to convert others. Fortunately, I went to a public school system and was later tossed into the military where I met others of different faiths and realized they held as strong a belief as I even though we believed in different ways to approach God or even if they did not believe in God. I saw in all these people good men who were doing their best to get through life without harming others. After all is you believe God created us then you have to believe he gave us minds to use and to come to our own conclusions and not to force our thoughts on others.
      I have had a great difficulty understanding how the “straight path” means setting off bombs that kill an 8 year old boy, a beautiful young Asian woman, and a young hard working American woman and maiming countless others. Doesn’t it occur to you that the murder and injuring of innocents is nothing more than a horror.
      Here’s what I really don’t get, why are the tablighs so bothered by what other people believe that they want to murder them? What is the purpose or is barbarity the sole purpose? Many of us can’t help what we believe because it is so much a part of us. Do you remember back in the Inquisition days in Spain that Muslims converted to Christianity to avoid being murdered. Do you really think they gave up their beliefs? I don’t. You can’t force a person to believe in something she can’t believe in although the person may pretend to do so. How many times through history have we seen forced conversions yet the people practice their religion secretly at night out in the boondocks. Being Irish, that’s what happened to my people when our religion was outlawed.
      I just don’t think that violence achieves anything but more violence. Tamerlan was able to convince the woman he married to convert to Islam. No one stopped her from accepting her new religion. Isn’t that the way things should be done, not by war and violence but by words and example.
      I thank you for given me a little insight into the thinking of people like Tamerlan. The more we know about each other the better off we will be. I once read that Prophet Muhammad said” “Shall I not inform you of a better act than fasting, alms, and prayers. Making peace between one another. Enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots.” Peace.

      1. Dia duit, mo chara

        The Tablighi Jaamat doesn’t preach hatred. Brothers concentrate on perfecting their salaat, reciting Koran, studying hadith, and, other pietistic concerns. The Tablighs don’t prostelytize non-Muslims, but, will accept non-Muslims who seek them out. The objective of Tablighi Jaamat is to instill a basic knowledge of Islam in the hearts of those born Muslim.
        There are whole generations of people, particulary in the territories of the old Soviet empire, who know they are Muslims, but, know not Islam. Hedge-row type education was vigorously suppressed by the Soviet security apparatus. Imams were routinely shot. Practicing Muslims sent to slow death in the labor camps. People were too frightened to practice their religion. Knowledge of Islam gradually became a lost treasure, only rumored to exist. But, hamdu lilahi, Tablighi Jaamat knew where to search for what had been lost.
        Tablighi Jaamat functions like a sodality. The Tablighs found, and, fund store-front mosques all over the world. The sole objective of Tablighi Jaamat is to return Muslims to their faith and emulate the sunna, the thoughts and actions, of the Prophet Muhamad (PBH) as related in the hadith collections of al-Bukhari, and, abu-Muslim, and interpreted by ibn Hanbal.
        Salafis, in general, and Tablighs, in particular, revere the era of the Khalipha Rashidun, the first four divinely guided successors of the Prophet Muhammad (PBH). Salafis hope to found a revivified Caliphate. That is the ultimate goal. Salafi groups have a well-articulated ideological vision of rightly guided Islamic government based on al-Muwardi’s Ordinances of Goverment “al-Akham as-Sultaniya wa Deeniya.”
        Islam is an intriguing, beguiling, spiritual labrynth, but, in order to press inward, toward the heart of its’ mystery, one must leave the philosophic and scientific presuppositions of the West behind, and, enter a world where two-and-two can make five…if Allah wills it.
        All the American and native European renegades presently held by US authorities, John Walker Lind, for example, at one time, or, another, underwent the Tablighi conditioning process, and, were initially vetted for reliability, and, fervor, by the Tablighs, before they were passed into other hands.
        The founder of the Tablighi Jaamat, Muhammad Ilyas, Allah yarhamihi, compares favorably with Ignatius Loyola in terms of his organizational capabilites, and, sheer determination to spread the Word.

        slan

        1. Khalid:
          What you write is instructive but what’s it got to do with putting a bomb down on a crowded street and slinking away?

  6. Well Khalid, between the dizzying overuse of Muslim references, oxymoronic extreme rhetoric, and thinly veiled patronization, your posts are growing somewhat hollow and laughable. You are excellent at making a long-winded and earnest attempts at defending your indefensible position. I do respect everyone in this world’s right to freedom of religion, and other God-given rights, but really…..since when is it justified in God’s eyes to kill innocent women and children? Please Khalid, answer me that,.. and please leave out the mispelled Gaelic references. Thank you.

    1. My apologies to all who’ve been offended.
      I am not trying to patronise anyone, but, I am attempting to show the possible mind-set of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and, the ideas that may have influenced him. If he was a religious man, and, only God knows, he would attempt to justify his actions by reference to passages in the Koran and Hadith, or, connect those acts to a fatwa.
      You are correct in your criticism of my using too many unexplained Islamic religious terms. I’ll give a short gloss on the terms and an explanation of Islamic legal reasoning:
      The Noble Book, al-Koran, is the collected divine revelations given Muhammad by Allah, is the ultimate source of spiritual authority. The Hadith compilations are eyewitness accounts of Muhammad’s words and actions that are utilized to establish his “Sunna,” the pattern of his life.
      Islam is a “paradigm tracing” religion. The Sunna of the Prophet, as reported in hadith, serves as the exemplary paradigm. The four madhabs: Hanafi, Maliki,Shafi, and Hanbali, are schools of Islamic legal thought whose purposes are to interpret Sharia, the Islamic pattern for human life.
      The schools differ in the ways they make an Islamic legal ruling, a fatwa. The first tool of Islamic legal thinking is text. If an question is raised that is plainly answered in the Koran that settles the question. Sometimes, the question is more complex and requires the use of qiyas, analogical reasoning. For example, if, in the day of the Prophet it was wrong to steal a man’s camel,then,in contemporay times it would be wrong to steal some one’s car. When the question raised can’t be related to precedent, or, analogically reasoned, human opinion can be exercised by the qadi, the judge.

      The Hanbalis are strict textualists. A Hanbali decision will always have its’ precedent in the Koran and/or Hadith. Hanbali derived Deobandi fiqh, religious law, is honored by the Tablighi Jaamat. Deobandi fiqh, is closely related to Wahabbi fiqh, the interpretation of sharia holding sway in Saudi Arabia. Jihadis generally follow Deobandi, and/or, Wahabi fiqh.
      Deobandis and Wahabis are takfiris, denouncers. They condemn other Muslims for what they perceive are impieties. Their interpretation of sharia is hard-line, and, they look to the works of Ibn Tammiyya, an arch-conservative 13th century reigious scholar, for political guidance in modern times.
      It seems, at least from media reports, that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was modeling the takfiri ideal. If the brothers are implicated in further killings at their marijuanna dealer’s residence, it stands to reason that they were there to conclusively reject their Western oriented hedonist life models, and, perform a violent act of cleansing that would further commit them to their plans to wage Jihad. Once their weed smoking friends were killed, there would be no turning back. The bloodletting could be considered a psychological ablution, of sorts, a ghastly blood “wudu” (ritual cleansing)that purified them for their attack on the marathon.

      As for your ad hominem, thanks. I really need to come down a peg, or, two, sometimes. And the Irish, well, I usually work in Arabic, but, when I really want to get confused, I attempt to improve on my Irish language skills. I’m comforted by the fact that spelling is the curse of Irish language and the notion of broad and slender consonants a puzzle even to most natives. Do you wear the golden pin of fluency?

      And,…I meant no dis to Iggy. I owe my mind to S.J.

      1. Khalid:
        We live in the West, all the talk about a justification for murder really doesn’t cut it. When in Rome do what the Romans do or suffer the consequences.

    2. In times of hot blood, it’s a dicey task to represent the devil. But, this being America, don’t we owe Iblis his day in court?
      Tamerlan is dead, and, his brother will eventually wend his way to ADX Colorado. They are no longer important. What is important, is the complex of ideas that led to their behavior. Its neccessary to view recent events dispassionately, and, analyze the psychological circumstances that led to this behavior. What would it feel like to wear Tamerlan’s shoes, feel the thoughts and emotions he felt that led to his actions? What freshly awakened mythic archetype drove him to his acts? Does that same force slumber fitfully in the sub-conscious of others, waiting for the cue to explode? These are the questions that concern me.

        1. Have you seen the film Zero-Dark-30? Imagine what a Muslim thinks as he, or, she, watches the first thirty minutes of that flim. A Muslim doesn’t see an evil terrorist being interrogated by selfless bureaucrats who are injuring their consciences through their actions. A Muslim sees his brother strung up to the ceiling, he watches his son being force-fed, and, most horifying of all, he imagines himself being stuffed into that clausterphobic box. Later in the film, when the CIA field personel are blown up by a mujahid suicide bomber, a Muslim wants to cheer. Understanding that perspective is vital to getting at the “why” of things.

          1. Khalid:
            Machiavelli said it is better to kill a man’s father than to take his land. If the Muslims would stop focusing on movies and get to face real life they’d recognize that they’ve been way behind in education.At one time the Arabs were the leaders in the fields of science and mathematics but over the past several centuries they’ve turned from education to looking back to the Sixth or Seventh Century. They’re looking back as you have been telling us while the rest of the world moves forward. It’d be nice is they recognized this and brought their brains to the table rather than their hatreds.

          2. Paul Valery said “Man is the only creature that walks into the future facing backward looking at the past.”

            Have you ever looked at a Delacroix painting of events during the French Revolution? The figures wear classical Roman garb. Why? because the artist is using figures from the past to paint the ideas of the future. That is the objective of neo-classicism. The venture of Islam in the 21st century is a neo-classical effort. Don’t take Islamic ideas as antique notions. The religious imagery and references are not an attempt to cling to the past, but, rather, a bold project to make a future made explicable through the imagery of the Islamic past.

          3. Khalid:
            Delacroix’s paintings of the French Revolution (Liberty Leading the People) were in the garb of that day. I do think the ideas you write about that a very minute number of Muslims believe like the restoration of the caliphate are ridiculous, to be kind. I suggest Ataturk had it right; the way to the future for people of Muslims is the separation of mosque and state. The people of Iran if given a chance would gladly rid themselves of the religious rulers. Tell me one place where freedom and liberty have existed when a religious ruler is in charge.

      1. Khalid:
        Idea are somewhat important but actions are more important. The prisons are full of Tamerlans who all have their sad tales. Let the Joker tell his tale and with any luck like Tim McVeigh, he’ll be executed.

        1. How does a Muslim feel about a mujahid’s death at the hands of the kufar? What would be his, or, her, frame of reference concerning such an existential event? Ibn Ishaq answers that question, without equivocation, in his decription of the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBH) on the morning of the day of Badr.

          “And then the apostle went forth to the people and incited them, saying, by God in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage, advancing, not retreating, but God will cause him to enter paradise.” Umayr b. al-Humam, brother of B. Salima, was eating some dates which he had in his hand. “Fine, Fine! said he,”is there nothing between me and my entering Paradise save to be killed by these men?” He flung the dates from his hand, seized his sword, and fought them until he was slain.

          This short passage comes from the hadith-based historical narrative “Siratal Nabi” It is the story of the Prophet as related by Ibn Ishaq, faithfully passed down through the ages by the Islamic historians Ibn Hisham, and, al Tabari.

          1. Khalid:
            I don’t think many care what the philosophy behind Muslim terrorism is. As you know people can justify any horror – slavery, concentration camps, gulags, forced famines, expulsions of populations called ethnic cleansing, Cambodian killing fields, rapes of Nanking, death marches, pogroms, and on and on. So really save us the justifications. Horrors are horrors.

          2. Exactly!

            What in Western philosophy justifies the actions of someone flying a drone, someone who kills a wedding party full of innocent people living in Afganistan? Yemen is a predator shooting-gallery. How about the high-tech slaughter in Iraq?
            “Just following orders,” “collateral damage,” there’s a myriad of logical ways to rationalize, and, sanitize, the butchery occuring somewhere else. Boston has the grim satisfaction of perpetrators to punish. Who should Muslims blame for sudden death falling from the sky? On whom can they take revenge? They have no drones, no aircraft carriers, or, cruise missles. How can they reply to their injury?
            Have you noticed our mirroring discourses? Each reflection, from its side, believes it is reality, denying, if not the existence of the other, then the basic presuppositions that support the existence of the other. The West and the Islamic world grasp each other’s images “en camera obscura.” Each sees the other as upside-down and inside-out, as not making sense.

            There is much, much, more going on than just two guys with bombs.

            The barbarians facing the ready gladius of the Imperium can’t be bought to reason They can’t hear you. They are too busy, keening for their dead.

          3. Khalid:
            Do you not understand we are in a war? Our enemy is those in the Muslim world who have taken upon themselves the idea that they must murder innocent American civilians. We are determined to stop them for doing this. The Western philosophy that justifies what we do, it is not only Western but accepted by all the nations of the world including Muslim nations under the charter of the UN, is that a nation can act in self-defense when attacked or when it appears we may be attacked by our enemy.
            We have been successfully attacked many times prior to 9/11/2001, on 9/11/2001 and on 4/15/2013 by our enemies, persons of Muslim background adhering to some to the ancient philosophies of which you have written which come from the 7th Century when the world was no larger than the distance a man could travel on a camel or a bark.
            Other attacks after 9/11 such as the shoe bomber and underwear bomber have been unsuccessful. This is an ongoing war. We Americans must not let down our guard and must proactively seek out our enemy before she murders our innocents.
            It is an uneven battle, as you suggest. One side, our side, aims at killing combatants using the most sophisticated of techniques such as drones. The other side, our enemy, aims at killing helpless civilians who are not combatants on the theory it cannot fight back using modern weapons because of their inability to adopt to modern times so they will willy-nilly kill anyone they can using the most barbaric and basic implements. Not do they intend to kill innocent America civilians but they also bring their barbarian-type terror techniques of suicide bombings among their own people.
            We’ve killed people at wedding ceremonies, we’ve killed innocent women and children, but we did not target them, or believed we were targeting civilians. We’re all about going after enemy combatants. Sadly wars also hurt innocent people but there is a big difference, at least in Western philosophy, whether that is your intent or it happens as a byproduct of engaging what is believed to be a combatant. Our enemy intends to murder women and children We don’t, although it happens.
            You ask how our enemy can reply to their injury. It’s simple. They can take the wise course and renounce violence. They could decide to compete with us peacefully. That would mean working to gain an education beyond the Mosque. They can turn their weapons in for computers. They can renounce the use of terror and bring this hideous war to a close.
            They must know that no matter how many Americans they kill we will always come back at them stronger than before. That’s why Obama erred in not making Joker and enemy combatant. The Muslim terrorists can begin to accept the world as it is with a myriad of different peoples and beliefs and recognize that war is a false answer – the fight should be over man’s minds and the weapons should be ideas.
            You fail to grasp that many Muslim nations and most Muslim people live in peace enjoying its benefits. You don’t seem to comprehend the US has helped Muslim people even when it recognized they were being treated wrongly as in the former Yugoslavia. There are only a few, a very, very few, who we are at war with. It’s too bad there are any.

    3. Rather:
      I think Khalid is doing his best to educate us in what may have motivated the bombers but as you note it really has no connection with a couple of guys putting bombs in a crowd.

  7. That’s the quandary. Muslims have learned to do exactly as the Romans do, and the transformation has suited neither.

    1. Khalid:
      It wasn’t the Romans who were conforming to the Roman way but those who came within their purview; the ways of the West have suited the Muslims well. The Muslims will thrive when free from the restrictions placed upon them by imams fearful of modern thought.

      1. In a theo-centric universe the Imams are not fearful. The European Enlightenment established an anthro-centric concept of existence in the West. By dividing God from nature. Scientific method changed the presuppositions of European thought. Muslims consider enlightenment the province of the Prophets and the Messengers, and that the Isamic enlightenment was brought to its fruition by Muhammad, al-Khatim, the seal of the prophets. Meaning that he is the final messenger from Allah.
        Ashari Kalam, the prevailing school of Sunni religious reasoning, endorses a theory of the relationship between divine power and physical existence called “occasionalsim” also known as “atomism.” Proponents of this theory believe that Allah is not only the first cause, the prime mover, but, also the constant mover, and that God provides the sole link between cause and effect in every natural action, not physics.
        Allah completes the circuit that allows existence to come into being. For a believing Muslim, God’s will supports the very stars in heaven, and, they would fall from the the night sky without his constant attention. This concept sustains a Muslim’s consciousness for he knows that as Allah lifts the stars, so too, does he sustain and support the life of every Muslim. This is an article of faith. It is no more ignorant, and/or wrong headed than the Catholic concept of transubstantiation of the host that occurs during the ritual of communion. And, while we’re on the subject, the Summa Theologica owes a deep debt to Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali (d. 1050) whose thought, as expounded in “The Revivification of the Religious Sciences” served as a basis for Aquinas’ work two hundred years later.
        Robert Fisk calls the ideological conflict between Islam and the West a “monumental clash of civilizations.” To clearly view this dialectic, an observer must try to extricate himself/herself from the process. Jean Paul Sartre points out in the prologue to his “Critique of Dialectical Reason” that it very difficult to absent oneself from the dialectic since it is the dynamic that creates the future. We are inside it, subject to the effects of its movement even as we attempt to stand outside it for the purpose of observing it. Hegel would understand.
        In fact, Hegel’s analysis of the relationship between the “master and the slave” provides us with a tool to analyse the relationship between Islam and the West. Hegel says it is not enough for the master to dominate the slave, he must make the slave love him, love his servitude. The master must dominate the slave both physically and psychologically. For the master to be fullfilled and secure, the slave must willingly accept and thank him for his chains.

        1. Khalid,
          All that is informative but far removed from what concerns us. My thoughts are more simple. Any person who preaches it is fine to murder innocents is not preaching a good message. I don’t think any of the philosophers you mention would suggest otherwise. The message becomes hideous when told to children who believe they will go to heaven by becoming a suicide bomber.

  8. Matt,

    My bad. Delacroix is incorrect. Jacque-Louis David is the famous neo-classical painter. “Oath of the Horatii” ,”The Death of Socrates,” and other paintings portray characters in Greco-Roman garb. I borrowed the metaphor from Simon Schauma.

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