Culture vultures, rejoice! We now have the equivalent from our current war with fundamentalist Islam of “We had to destroy the village in order to save it”.

The honour goes to Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam and her comments on the Pope’s remarks. “Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence,” she said in a wonderful piece of doublespeak.

The “Osama is our relative” brigade and other appeasers might howl away in “Comments, clarifications, clarifications and c*ck-ups”. Instead, they should look up the formal statement that a state of aggression exists – the fatwa – declared by Osama bin Laden and first published in the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi in August 1996 entitled “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places“. What part of “Declaration of war” don’t they understand?

It’s war. Just consider some of the violence of the past few days:

  • A 65 year old Italian nun has been shot at a children’s hospital in the Somali capital in an attack less than two days after a hardline Mogadishu cleric urged Muslims to “hunt down” and kill those who insult Islam.
  • Humanitarian work has been disrupted with the evacuation of three more Italian nuns from Mogadishu following fears of more attacks.
  • 150 demonstrators have burned the Pope in effigy in Shi’ite city of Basra in Iraq.
  • Protests have also been held in Indonesia and Kashmir.

A different kind of war, but war, nonetheless.

Peter Fray

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