Islamic terrorists killed two hundred Indians and about twenty-two foreigners in Mumbai, India, last week, but they met their match when they turned from killing unarmed innocents to professional Indian commandos. The “Mumbai Massacre” thus confirmed, yet again, that jihadists excel in only one thing—the killing of innocent civilians.
Although it is politically incorrect to say so, this is a shame to Islam. Killing and maiming innocents under any circumstance is an act of unspeakable barbarity and gross criminality. That is why we have the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of warfare and the treatment of civilians and prisoners of war. Only Islam has no qualm about murdering innocents simply because they are not Muslims. That is why, during the Mumbai massacre, the jihadists spared only the life of a Turkish Muslim man. The lone captured jihadist readily admitted that their mission was to kill at least five thousand non-Muslims.
It is noteworthy that about ten percent of the victims in Mumbai were foreigners, mostly people of white complexion. This fact serves as a chilling reminder that jihadists consider white westerners more valuable targets than non-whites like Indians or Pakistanis or Bangladeshis.
There is a certain murderous logic to their preference: killing Westerners garners more attention. This September, for example, jihadists bombed the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, killing fifty-three people. Most of them were Pakistanis, and no British or Americans were killed. The result? The Marriott bombing failed to command the western media coverage that the jihadists were craving. The jihadists were disappointed—Pakistani blood, apparently, was not so valuable.
The jihadists have had other disappointments. In the last few months, terrorists detonated a number of bombs in several crowded places of India, killing hundreds of Indians. When this had little impact in the western media, the jihadists got the message. To attract world attention they would have to kill more westerners. Hence the Mumbai attacks.
Still, the question remains: why kill at all? Intelligence agencies, journalists, terrorism analysts, and policy makers have presented a wide assortment of theories. Their analyses range from Palestine, to Kashmir, to Indian communal riots (never mind that India has had such riots almost every month), to immoral Bollywood movie stars and the un-Islamic attire worn by Indian women. Still others insist that the unmet grievances of the local Muslims are the true source of the Mumbai terror.
These analysts will blame anything for Islamic terrorism except Islam itself. Even when the jihadists loudly proclaim that they are waging war for Islam, these pundits blithely dismiss religion as a cause. When the Islamist killers recite Koranic verses to justify their actions, these scholars and terrorism experts maintain, improbably, that the jihadists have simply distorted the peaceful religion of Islam.
If there is a lesson to be drawn from the rubble in Mumbai, it is that Islamist terrorism will not disappear in the near future. It will take time, massive military and non-military efforts, before the threat is nullified. But it is difficult to see how the threat of Islamic terrorism can be confronted when so many in the West refuse to believe that it even exists.