Where Is Islamic Conference When Its Own Are Massacred?

Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009 11:28 AM

By Walid Phares

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The Organization of the Islamic Conference resists defamation of religion, but it is strangely silent when jihadi terrorists attack mosques and massacre innocent women and children.

For example, the largest club of governments and regimes in the world short of the United Nations was mum after jihadi terrorists killed scores in a mosque in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

The terrorists "stormed a mosque in Rawalpindi, killing at least 36 worshippers, including six military officers, during Friday prayers as they sprayed gunfire and threw grenades before blowing themselves up," The Associated Press quotes Pakistani officials as saying.

Four attackers hurled grenades and then opened fire as they rushed toward the mosque in a military residential colony just a few miles from the capital, a military statement said. Two jihadists then blew themselves up inside, while the other two terrorists were killed in an exchange of gunfire.

Seventeen children and 10 civilians were killed. The dead included a major general, a brigadier, two lieutenant colonels, one major and a retired major, as well as three regular soldiers, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said.

Two of the militants entered the mosque, which had up to 200 worshippers inside, while others ran into buildings nearby, witnesses said.

"Nasir Ali Sheikh saw the attackers at the mosque as he walked there to pray," AP reported. "He said they were dressed in traditional Pakistani clothing of loose pants and a long tunic and carried hand grenades, automatic weapons and ammunition belts slung around their shoulders.

"' They were killing people like animals," he said. "I couldn't understand what was happening."

Blood covered the mosque's walls and prayer mats, and shattered glass lined the floor.

What horrifies observers around the world is the unethical jihadi behavior in terror operations. The sheer, open, and cold-blood murdering of children, women, elderly, and civilians in general, even when they coin these horrors as "martyrdom operations" (amalyyat istishadiyya), they qualify unarguably as war crimes.

The jihadi Salafists have been perpetrating these types of international law breaches since the early 1990s in Algeria, where more than 100,000 civilians, mostly women, children, older people, and cultural personalities have been butchered for 10 years. Salafi jihadism has been among the most barbaric levels of violence that radical ideologies have perpetrated in the modern history of the Arab and Muslim world.

Intellectuals and politicians in the region long ago indicted this "movement" as catastrophic. Moderate Iraqi, Jordanian, Bahraini, Kuwaiti, Pakistani, Lebanese, and Egyptian writers and commentators have appeared on air and written often about the necessity for their governments to condemn not only the perpetrators but also the ideology and the doctrines allowing such mayhem.

But what surprises me and many other observers is the lack of response from the Organization of the Islamic Conference. With a membership exceeding 50 countries and a dizzying economic power embodied by many of its oil-producing regimes, the conference should have been at the forefront of fighting the Salafi jihadist method.

Since the massacres in Algeria in the 1990s, the Organization of the Islamic Conference has refrained from expressly denouncing the movement and ideology behind these perpetrators. If we put aside the jihadist massacres of 9/11, Madrid, London, Beslan, Mumbai, and those perpetrated in southern Sudan, arguing that these societies are non-Muslim (not that this should justify the bloodshed) but even when al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other Salafist terror groups had targeted Muslim societies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, and Pakistan, still the alleged representative of the 1 billion Muslims dodged the ideology behind the murder of Muslim women, children and elderly.

The question is why?

The Islamic conference was overwhelmingly active to get a vote on the so-called "defamation of religion" at the United Nations but ran away from indicting the doctrine that kills people of its own religion.
One would at least expect that the conference would narrow its indictment of jihadism to focus on what many Arab Muslim governments coin as "Takfirism," that is the so-called hot-headed fringe within the Islamist web. But that never happened; why not?

Then jihadi terrorists shouting "Allahu Akbar" attacked mosques in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now in Pakistan. Where on earth is the Islamic conference when the very worship places it is supposed to protect are targeted by militants claiming "jihad." We've seen the group's bureaucracy thoroughly investigate any possible criticism of the ideology of jihadism coining it "Islamophobia" while the Jihadists murder Muslims inside their own Mosques.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, whose member states are mostly authoritarians, is busy fighting the Swiss democratic referendum about the shape of the minarets in the Alps, while Mosques are ravaged in one of the most populated Muslim countries in the world: Pakistan. Something is utterly wrong here.

Bureaucrats with the Organization of the Islamic Conference first of all must rush to the defense of the children and women the jihadists executed inside the Masajid, Shia or Sunni, Pakistani or Arab, and openly condemn the savage behavior of those who are claiming themselves as the soldiers of the new Jihad.

In refraining from coming to the rescue of their own populations and civil societies, including their own houses of worship, these bureaucrats would be sending a message to a billion people that petrodollars are protecting the murderous ideologies instead of protecting innocent civilians.

Dr. Phares, who wrote "The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad," is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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