Suicidal self-hatred continues to sweep the West. Mariane Pearl, the widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and beheaded by Islamic jihadis in Pakistan in 2002, has suffered a great deal, and it is perhaps churlish and uncharitable to venture any critical word at all. But it isn’t she I am criticizing. It is the general tendency, the felt need or the unspoken imperative, to take all possible opportunities to exonerate Islam of all connection to crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings. One can never solve a problem by pretending it doesn’t exist. But that is exactly what we are doing.
The 19th anniversary of Daniel Pearl’s murder was Monday, and on Wednesday, Mariane Pearl published an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “My husband’s killer could go free in Pakistan. Despite the injustice, I still have hope.” It began: “Almost two decades ago, the people of Pakistan sent me messages expressing sadness and anger at the murder of my husband, Daniel Pearl, in their beloved country. Danny was 38 years old and the Wall Street Journal’s bureau chief for South Asia. “I am a Muslim and this, my friend, is not Islam,” one wrote. My favorite message read: “Your husband had a great smile . . . a happy mixture of Pope John Paul and Dean Martin.”
It is certain that Mariane Pearl received numerous messages after the murder of her husband. The one that she and/or the Post chose to give first mention, however, was “I am a Muslim and this, my friend, is not Islam.”
The first question that springs to mind about this is: Why this message? Why is cleansing Islam’s image the number one priority?
The second question is: Why is this always asserted but never explained? Daniel Pearl was made to state that he was a Jew in a video, where he likely read a statement the jihadis had prepared for him: “My name is Daniel Pearl. I am a Jewish American from Encino, California USA. I come from, uh, on my father’s side the family is Zionist. My father’s Jewish, my mother’s Jewish, I’m Jewish. My family follows Judaism. We’ve made numerous family visits to Israel. Back in the town of Bnei Brak there is a street named after my great grandfather Chaim Pearl who is one of the founders of the town.” Then he was beheaded.
In a hadith that Muslims consider authentic, Muhammad is depicted as saying: “The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim 6985)
And the Qur’an says: “When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks…” (47:4)
In light of all that, it is unfortunate that Mariane Pearl’s interlocutor apparently did not explain how the killing of Daniel Pearl was not Islam, how the jihadis who killed him were transgressing Islamic tenets, or how the passages of the Qur’an and Hadith that seem to allow for such behavior actually have some other meaning or can be interpreted in a benign manner.
In the article, Mariane Pearl describes how it all happened, and how a Muslim who was the chief of the counter-terrorism unit in Karachi offered his help. Mariane Pearl jokes in response to kindness from this man and his wife: “Stop being so nice. How am I ever going to hate you guys?” That is the choice as most people see it today: one must either hate Muslims, or pretend that Islam is a religion of peace. But in reality, the fact that Islam teaches warfare against unbelievers does not mean that every Muslim will believe this to be an imperative or practice it. It doesn’t mean that no Muslims will be kind to unbelievers. But to believe that such kindness precludes the possibility that Islam does teach this warfare is to be willfully blind. And that’s where we are as a society.
The third and easiest question to answer is: Would the Washington Post ever print an explanation of the Islamic justification for the murder of Daniel Pearl, even if such a story included statements by Muslim spokesmen in the West offering differing interpretations of the passages in question? And the answer is, Not on your life! Not only is the Post, and all the rest of the establishment media as well, dedicated indefatigably to whitewashing and obfuscating the ideological roots of jihad terrorism; it is also determined to pretend that there isn’t even a question about those roots: they lay, according to the Post and its colleagues, in “racism” and “Islamophobia,” not in Islamic texts and teachings, and anyone who suggests otherwise is a racist “Islamophobe” himself.
The victory of “Islamophobia” propaganda has been so complete that the elites don’t even consider it remotely necessary even to address the arguments of those whom they smear as “Islamophobes,” or to acknowledge that they have any arguments at all. The only problem with all this is that the jihad, motivated by Islamic texts and teachings according to numerous statements of jihadis themselves, is not going to go away for all this pretending that it doesn’t exist.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.