Dining Out With the Terrorists

On the days when my wife teaches late classes at the university, we usually go for supper at a nearby mall, which boasts a massive “dining hall” (once a “food court”) and which features a wide range of exotic menus to choose from. It is immensely popular, seating hundreds of diners at any one time, some in company, others peering into their smart phones, a few reading books, some attending to baby carriages, most clearly enjoying themselves under ample lighting in a mainly festive atmosphere.

Janice and I were there for a 7 o’clock post-class supper on Wednesday, December 2, tucking into our Bento Box and chatting about university politics and related issues, when for no apparent reason I was suddenly struck by a kind of vision, a troubling sense of premonition. I imagined a team of terrorists emerging from the corridor into the dining area, armed with AK-47s and spraying the crowd—they could take as many lives as they had bullets to take them with. What would I do? My first impulse was to shield my wife, but by then it might already be too late. The image does not bear describing. The security guards would have been utterly useless since they are unarmed, and, given our strict gun laws, no one among the diners would have carried a weapon. It was Bataclan revisited. I shook off the visitation and returned to a semblance of normality, but the meal had lost its savor.

Later that evening, after a two hour drive to our country home, I consulted my computer to catch up on the day’s events and read about the mass shooting in San Bernardino. And I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that the horror could just as easily have happened in that spacious, well-lighted dining hall, or in one like it, and that, thanks to our lax immigration procedures and the welcome we have extended to the droves of “Syrian” refugees and other poorly screened migrants, one day it surely would. And I knew, too, that in the aftermath, we could expect the same evasions and platitudes from our newly elected prime minister, the feckless Justin Trudeau, that Americans were treated to by Obama, who lied: “At this stage we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred…we don't know why they did it, we do not know the extent of their plans, we do not know their motivations.”

One wonders how the jihadists get away with their atrocities and from where they derive their power. Of course, they enjoy material help from the constitutive practices and ideology of the very nations they are attacking: the scourge of multiculturalism, which has received them into the body social and the body politic, and the reigning pathology of political correctness that refuses to name the enemy and suppresses or scumbles their true identity. The terrorists also profit from the sympathy of left-wing parties and the complicity of the liberal elites who pride themselves on the destructive canard of “tolerance,” that is, tolerance of both the intolerant and the intolerable. Influential leaders of Western nations have clearly sided with the children of Islam. One need look no further than Barack Hussein Obama, the first pro-Muslim American president; Justin Trudeau, the first pro-Muslim Canadian prime minister; Angela Merkel, the first post-war pro-Muslim German chancellor; and political weaklings like France’s president François Hollande and Britain’s prime minister David Cameron, among many others.

But the terrorists’ strength emanates from even more powerful sources. What we have not appeared to understand is that their spirit and practice differ categorically from the methods, traditions and policies of the armies of the West, in two crucial ways.

First, they are not bound by the Geneva conventions, they do not wear uniforms, they do not regard civilians as non-combatants, they do not care for the wounded, they do not respect the sanctity of rescue and medical corps, and, what should be immediately obvious, they do not take prisoners; they take hostages. Which is to say, they are out-and-out barbarians with no redeeming traits and their only connection with what we call civilization is deceptive and parasitical. As PJ Media columnist David Goldman writes in the Asia Times, “The trouble is that very large numbers of Muslims are willing to kill themselves in order to harm enemy noncombatants, and the number appears to be increasing. To my knowledge that is something new under the sun. Japanese kamikazes and Nizari assassins in the Middle Ages, like the pre-1917 Bolsheviks, were willing to die to kill public officials or soldiers. But the murder of noncombatants through suicide attacks (or attacks likely to prove suicidal) is something we have never before witnessed.”

Second, they are subjectively invincible. They do not take casualties. Their bodies are like weapons; when these are spent, they can be discarded. In other words, they do not die, but are immediately translated into Jannah, the Muslim heaven, where they will revel eternally in sparkling brooks, fruited orchards, and harems of sloe-eyed virgins. In a sense, they are the zombies of the modern world, the armies of the living dead who, as they are fond of saying, love death more than we love life. They cannot be defeated, they can only be quarantined, kept at bay, left to rave and rampage in the killing grounds of their own countries.

I don’t wish to join the controversy around Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration or Ted Cruz’s more modest plan to restrict it. But it’s clear that we have an enormous problem on our hands. “[T]o deny we have a gigantic Muslim problem in this country and in the world,” writes Roger Simon, “is to be a troglodyte of epic proportions. Something has to be done.” Simon advocates the outlawing of Sharia law, which is a start. But since Sharia is a bedrock principle of the Islamic faith, proscribing the one looks equivalent to prohibiting the other—a thorny contradiction, to say the least. Additionally, if a jihadist wants to kill Americans or Canadians, a public renunciation will have no braking effect on his intentions.