James Foley Is All Of Us

James Foley, a US journalist was murdered by the cowards of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, alternatively known as ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. What these savages did to James Foley is what they want to do to every man, woman and child in this country. This is not an accusation, it is their words.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of James Foley. He was your son, brother and friend but he was also ours and we mourn with you. I cannot imagine the special pain you are living in right now and I can only hope and pray that you either did not see that video, or having seen it, you can somehow look beyond it to your memories of your loved one.

This young man was in many ways an idealist. He went to Syria more than two years ago to chronicle the lives of people he did not know. His motivation by all accounts was to compassionately expose their suffering, thereby perhaps motivating the world community to act. There is no indication that his reporting was anything other than sympathetic to the realities of war as experienced by innocents. But, because he was American, he was taken captive and murdered. Savagely. On video, but only after he was forced to decry the fact that he was guilty of the unpardonable sin of being American

What happened to James Foley could happen to any of us who end up in the hands of these lunatics. It wouldn’t matter if one were a member of Code Pink, that group of harpies that occasionally make the news for their inane street theater and think they are supporting the poor, oppressed victims of US drone strikes. Support, by the way, that was denounced by the extremists themselves.  Nor would you be spared if you are an anarchist committed to the overthrow of the US government or a devout pacifist who believes all war, no matter the circumstances, is wrong.

ISIL, ISIS or whatever acronym they are going by at any particular moment will kill you, wants to kill us all. Because we are Americans. They occasionally dress up their hate with trumped up justifications, like they did with James Foley. But the simple truth is, you are not only an American you are a kafir. That means you don’t believe in Islam or Allah, or more correctly, in their version of Islam.

They say they represent the true Islam and they are in fact correct. This, in part, explains the zeal with which they are slaughtering civilians; the goal of Islam as promulgated by their prophet is the complete and total rule of all mankind. Accomplishing their end game with war is how the religion of peace began. In their dystopian world view, it would be preferable for all people to be submissive followers, but those who are determined to persist in Jewish or Christian belief systems are to be tolerated. As long as they are subject and submissive to Islam. And if there are any left alive after the conquering army is done making examples of them.

There are currently more than 1 billion Muslims on the planet. You don’t have to ask, because CAIR and others will tell you that the methods of these misguided few do not represent the majority. I’m thankful for that, but the words majority and minority are misleading. The other word to pay attention to is method.

As some Muslim apologists maintain, only 1% of all their fellow believers are extremists. However, nearly every intelligence agency in the world puts that percentage somewhere between 15%-25%. The difference in opinion is one of definition, i.e., what constitutes an extremist?

For many Americans, anyone who believes the attack on 9/11 was justified and therefore legal is an extremist. According to the Pew Research institute, that means more than 35% of Muslims. Another definition, one CAIR and others of their ilk subscribe to, is only those who think the slaughter of innocent infidels, the Arabic word for non-believers (of Islam is inferred) is not only good but righteous are extremists and puts the percentage closer to 1%. I still can’t figure how the attack of 9/11 is not the slaughter of innocents, but in their twisted logic, it somehow isn't.

The definition that most closely mirrors Western thought is, those who believe peace is only possible with the implementation of Sharia law above all other laws of man, everywhere, regardless of the beliefs of the people, should be classified as extremists.  According to nearly every poll, even one famously published by Muslim apologist authors Dalia Magohed and John Esposito in their 2008 book, “Who Speaks For Islam”, using that definition puts the number at over 25%. Of course, the authors don't call that view extremist, they call it moderate.

Because they changed the barometer and definition of what qualifies as extremist after the Gallup poll that instigated their work was published, it is hard to cipher how many are what they call moderate but the rest of the world sees as extremist. Still, using the original criterion is less important than understanding their definition of moderate Muslim includes those who believe the 9/11 attacks were in some way, shape or form justified. Moderate Muslims, as they define it, constitute 25% of the faithful, according to their math. I'm truly, deeply afraid of what qualifies as extremist to them.

Even if we go with the artificially low, unsubstantiated and questionably defined 1%, out of a population of 1.2 billion we are talking about over one million extremists. Use the commonly accepted definition of believers who want Sharia law implemented and we are now talking about 300 million; use 35%, the number who think 9/11 was somehow justified and we have exceeded the total population of the United States. 

Think on that number for a moment and grasp it's significance. The minority means over 300 million people. This is why claiming it is onlyminority who hold extremist views is a deceptive statement. Granted, the majority of Muslims is much, much greater, but since they are allowing their minority to drive the agenda, their moderateness is justifiably called into question.

Once upon a time, the KKK in this country created an atmosphere of fear and hatred. All white people were found guilty through the judgment of history for allowing this extremist minority to carry out its wave of terror. And rightly so.

White Americans, even when they were disgusted with and shocked by the policies, ideas and actions of this hate group, allowed themselves to be shouted down by the supporters and sympathizers of the KKK’s ideologies.  It wasn’t until the majority stood together that the power of the KKK was finally dismantled. Decades later, there are still pockets of skin heads, White Supremicists and other stragglers of evolution. But now, when these embarrassments raise their hooded heads, the first to call them out, shut them down and repudiate all they believe in, stand for and do are the descendants of those Whites who, by their silence or at best tepid repudiations, allowed them to commit their past transgressions.

The same onus is now on the self-described peaceful, moderate Muslim majority. You tell us how you number more than 1 billion according to CAIR yet you allow what you call a tiny percentage to perpetrate this madness in your name. You are, will and should be held responsible, not only by the judgment of history but in the here and now as well.

Another uncomfortable reality explains why we are not likely to see that vast majority rise up and squash the extremists; it is the underlying issues of belief and method. When the KKK was at the zenith of its power, they used intentional, willful misinterpretations of Christianity to justify their actions.

White America was horrified by the photos of four little girls killed in the bombing of a church. It has been argued that until the method of expression of their beliefs shocked the majority, many if not sympathized with, then at least respected their right to their beliefs. Finally, and only when the faces of the sweet, young, innocent little girls were splashed across newspapers from coast to coast did the majority reevaluate the underlying message and take back their religion.

This is where the analogy between the misappropriation of Christianity by the KKK and that of Islam by the current crop of Muslim extremists ends.Where the Muslim extremists are concerned, they are not making mistakes in meaning or understanding of their religious texts. The Koran, Sunnah and Hadith are replete with statements not merely justifying the killing, enslavement and overthrow of the enemy, but admonishments that it is the duty of all those who would follow their prophet to do the same.

In Christianity, regardless of the blood thirstiness displayed and by Jesus’ forebears, Jesus never advocated violence. In fact, followers were admonished to “put up your sword”, “turn the other cheek”, “render unto Caesar”. The only action of Jesus’ that can be considered violent is turning over the tables of money changers. The same cannot be said of Mohammed.

In order to be or be considered a Christian, one must accept and believe in the words, acts and ideals espoused by Jesus. To be a Muslim, all the same is true about Mohammed.

Muslim apologists rely on most Americans’ ignorance of Islam. They are quick to point out that the Quran admonishes followers to ‘tolerate’, sometimes translated as ‘respect’ the other Peoples of The Book, meaning Jews and Christians. The sillier of these selective explanations go so far as to proclaim that Jesus didn’t preach that kind of tolerance. After laughing at them, it is sometimes fun to explain that neither Christianity nor Islam existed in the time of Jesus and that Jesus and his early followers considered themselves Jews. It is usually a pointless and fruitless expenditure of breath, but serves as an explanation of why that person gets ignored going forward.

Islam is the religion of peace because that is the definition of the word. Islam comes from the root salaam, which can be translated as peace. But, Islam is also defined as surrender or submit. It is both a mistranslation and a mistake to think that because you give something an innocuous name, it reflects the reality of the thing.

White Supremacists don’t call themselves black oppressors, not because the former more accurately reflects their beliefs but because while the latter does, that name would be less likely to gain adherents. Plenty of White Supremacists claim not to hate blacks, they just love Whites. Semantics works in every language pretty much the same way.

For more than a decade, we are told and our leaders have been very careful to say that we are not at war with Islam. We are fighting against those who use the tenets of their faith to justify their bloodthirstiness, their desire to conquer the world. Perhaps it is time we stop playing semantics games as well. We are, as a nation, as an ideology at our very foundation opposed to the goals and tenets of Islam as it is written, practiced and preached, from its foundation to the present day iteration expressed by these extremists.

We are a nation founded by settlers who sought religious freedom – the freedom to practice their religion, in their homes and communities as they saw fit. We enshrined this first principal in our Constitution, our Bill of Rights and our Declaration of Independence, both specifically in words and in tenor. Every man, woman and child is free to believe or not, practice or not their religion according to the dictates of their own hearts. Until their beliefs infringe on another’s right to do the same. We do not and will not allow the tenets of any religion to supersede the laws of man as they are enumerated in our founding documents. This thinking is anathema to Islam, plain and simple.

We don’t hide our disgust for any religion and culture that promotes the subservience and submission of women, even if it is done so out of a misogynistic religiously justified belief system. Because your prophet says women should be covered to protect them from men tells us that the men in your culture are unevolved. A woman is not defiled because her face or form are viewed; she is defiled, devalued and objectified by being covered.

A society is judged by how it treats the least of its members. We have yet to attain the equality we strive for, but we do strive. Islam and Islamic culture treat one half of its population as inferior. It is well known that your prophet said that women should be educated, that women have the right to divorce, and that these were admirably forward thinking ideas for the time. But he also said a woman’s testimony is valued at one third of a man’s and that it is a man’s duty-either as a father, husband or brother-to allow a woman to be educated. Again, the woman is subject to the man.

Your religion states a man can take up to four wives because a woman with an infant is not capable of performing her duties as a wife. Yes, a man must provide for each of his multiple wives equally and a first wife has the right to not allow a second, third or fourth, in which case, the husband has grounds to divorce her. If there is a male child over the age of seven or a daughter over the age of twelve, take them from her for the new wife to raise, otherwise they may not grow up with the proper instruction only a man can provide.

All of these ideas, foreign and even horrifying to Westerners, are accepted fact for all who profess to be Muslims. This acceptance is central to the faith; a belief system which is by it’s very name is defined as submission. There are those who do call themselves Muslim yet reject these anachronistic notions, but these thoughts make them apostate to the faith; the only class of people subject to more hatred and vilification than Americans.

The funniest part, in a sad, depressing kind of way, is that though you hate us for what we believe, we will defend your right to believe as you choose. Unless or until you force your beliefs on others or use them as justification to attack us. Once you do, we will attack you back. When we once again find our will, the will that seems to be currently buried under the suffocating weight of political correctness manifesting as misguided, inappropriate and undeserved consideration of your supposed victimhood. But rest assured, that day is coming. And the killing of an American journalist who was by all accounts sympathetic to your people may just be the impetus needed.

The discrepancies and disagreements over who is and is not a proper, correct Muslim are the drivers of the current situation in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. In short, there are two groups vying for supremacy, the Sunni and the Shia. For decades, the West has supported Sunni rulers such as the kings in Saudia Arabia and Jordan, even though the former is one of the most oppressive, totalitarian regimes in the world. The thinking had been, the Sunni represent the majority of Muslims in the world, and we can co-exist with those who seek to co-exist with us.

The Shia are and were considered fanatics, by the Sunnis, Colonial powers and even by Western chroniclers going back centuries. One of their holiest days and rituals revolves around the public and bloody self-flagellation of adherents. They are more militaristic and less tolerant of the rest of the world and coexistence was not seen as viable. In recent decades, it was the Shia who were oppressed in both secular and religious Muslim countries, with the notable exception of Iran.

The single greatest, and for the purposes of coexistence, significance in the difference between Shia and Sunni is the cause of the original schism. After the death of Mohammed, the question of who was to lead the faithful caused a disagreement. The closest companions and followers believe the sacred text said it was to be one of them, with which one being mutually decided upon by the others. This belief continues to this day, that a religious leader is chosen by the people, and if found wanting, can be removed by the people as well. This sounds nearly democratic and therefore more amenable to Western sensibilities.

Shia believed in a different interpretation of the text, and in fact believed those first companions manipulated the text to support their position. They believe that leadership should have fallen to the household of Mohammed, specifically his cousin who was also his son-in-law. Further, they believe all leaders are chosen by God and continue to be, usually mirroring a line of succession within a family. They also venerate these leaders, make pilgrimages to their tombs in the hope of securing their divine intercession. This last part is most soundly rejected by Sunnis and rises almost to the level of blasphemy.

It is ironic that the current ISIS leader is named Abu Bakr. Ali Abu Bakr was the companion of Mohammed chosen to lead the faithful after his death. It was the rejection of this choice, this leader, that caused the schism that continues today. For centuries, Shia repudiated his claim and denounced his words as heresy. For perspective, it would be akin to having a Pope named Judas.

Both Shia and Sunni have had their time in the sun, so to speak. Each sect has ruled the majority of the Muslim world, often imposing brutal oppression of the other as one the perks of power. This is not much different than what is going on today.

Sunni represent 85% of all Muslims so it is a natural assumption they would hold the majority of power.  Because of their majority status and the perception that the leaders are chosen by the people, Western powers have supported them. Shia contend the Sunni leaders have been tainted and secularized, a largely true statement. For the past hundred years, first the Germans, then the British and French, followed by Americans have traded with, enriched and in many cases, propped up Sunni leadership. Often the ostensibly secular Sunni leader we supported  was more brutal and oppressive than the Shia minority had been in the past. Saddam Hussein, Anwar Sadat and Bashar al-Assad are just a few recent examples.

One of the axioms about relations with the Muslim world mis-credited to T. E. Lawrence is, “Arabs divide themselves by tribe but nothing divides them more than religion”, referring to the schism between Sunni and Shia. These differences between the two sects both explain current events and predict what is coming next.

Like many oppressed minority groups with a strong religious bend, many Shia believe that God is punishing all Muslims by denying them their rightful place on the world stage, actually, control of the world stage. These transgressions can only be redressed by strict adherence to the religion, specifically their interpretation of the religion, something only they with their righteous clear sight can see.

This appeal to the downtrodden, largely uneducated and selectively educated is as common as it is tried and true. The majority of those who were part of the original uprising in Syria had little and less to lose. It was a momentary insanity that had the West supporting them, and then only because of the recalcitrance of al-Bashar. Another axiom from the Arab world seemed to guide our foreign policy, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Sadly, the simple understanding that no matter how we helped them, they would turn on us because the truth of that statement will always be trumped by their hatred for us.

The current goals of the Insane State of Islamic Loonies, the definition for the acronym that I hear in my head every time they are referenced, (when it is ISIS, the word is Savages) are predicated on their version of history. To them, all of the lands they claim are by right theirs because for one brief but not short enough moment in history, all of it was conquered by their religious predecessors. I guess the part of the historical narrative in which they were in turn conquered and lost control of those lands doesn’t matter. It was at one time theirs, at least nominally, so therefore should be now, too.

I wonder if the same reasoning should be applied to others. Say, the British, for example. At one time, they were in control of vast swathes of planet earth so maybe that gives them some historical right that should be honored and recognized today.  The fact the British Empire either lost or gave up parcels shouldn’t matter, using the Loonies’ logic.

The current mess created by these Loonies and Savages should not come as a surprise to anyone, least of all the US. For months, they have been advancing across Syria and Iraq, loudly proclaiming their intentions. Yet, suddenly, it is a crisis. And a surprise that they are actually doing what they said they were going to do.

Of course, they blame the US for all of it. Reference the above. But the truth of why they blame us is first and foremost because we let them.

Our leaders and media act like the children of a bipolar mother, believing that everything that is wrong, negative or bad is our fault. Never in any of the narratives aired by the talking empty heads in the media or the equally empty suits (or golf shirts) of our politicians is the simple statement of, ‘No, this has nothing to do with religion. This is a few otherwise powerless megalomaniacs using the cover of religion for their own aggrandizement and control of their masses.’

One recent case in point is Osama Bin Laden (corrected-not Shia, a Wahhabi). To his followers and too many others here in the West, he was a holy man on a holy mission. Each time one of his lieutenants were captured or killed, the rat holes in which they had hid were found to be filled with pornography of an astounding variety. When Bin Laden’s last hideout was catalogued and cleared, it was proven they were simply following their dear leaders’ example.

Western religious leaders are just as apt to be caught with their pants down, so to speak. But, when their followers find out just how unholy these cretins are, they are shamed and turned on with a viciousness one would expect from the fathers of violated teen age girls. In other words, their power, prestige and position are at an end.

Nothing of the sort happens with these hypocrites. Their faithful practically sprain whatever brain they have doing mental gymnastics to deny the facts. Usually, it is chalked up to one of the many Zionist/American conspiracies designed to discredit their faultless prophet-kissed madman. Worse, even listening to such slander will cause them to risk a few of their promised virgins. There are few truer statements than, God save me from all True Believers.

Perhaps now, finally the media will begin to find their sense of identity as members of an evolved, enlightened society. The problems in the Middle East predate the creation of this nation by more than a thousand years, as is being proven by the Muslim on Muslim slaughter currently taking place. This current fight between Shia and Sunni literally began in the days after the death of their mutual prophet. The only thing that will unite them is their shared hatred of the US and desire to conquer the rest of the planet.

Stop helping them get their message out. When they release another video of the next beheading of an American, rape of a child or mass murder of villagers who either don’t share their religion or their version of the religion, point it out for what it is. Madmen, savages and lunatics behaving as madmen, savages and lunatics.

Don’t try to understand their motivations, get to the bottom of the grievances driving them or in any way, shape or form legitimize them by calling their actions other than what they are – power and land grabs for supremacy. Every mother prays that the death of their child won’t be in vain, will serve some greater purpose. Let the savage beheading of James Foley serve this purpose. Let this be the wakeup call we need.

Since 9/11, more than 6,000 American service men and women have died because of this age-old schism and the intolerance, hate and evil it has spawned. Uncounted others have succumbed to the horror that lives on in their minds after witnessing the barbarism that is war with this foe. We do not need more boots on the ground, we must not risk more American lives in a fight that is not ours and not winnable.

Adding to the body count will not avenge the death of James Foley, all it will do is break the hearts of more mothers. There is and can be no peace with this enemy. Any solution that includes any sort of compromise or truce will merely embolden them to reach for deeper depths of depravity. The worst thing we can do is delegitimize them by refusing to directly engage and stop helping them get their message out.

Each new atrocity should be publicized, but with the overtone of disgust that this is how they treat fellow human beings, their countrymen, their cousins if not brothers in faith.  Stop all shipments of aid, even humanitarian supplies. Certainly stop giving them arms and armaments in the naïve hope that once they have defeated their current foe, they will simply lay them down and not turn them on us.

Thousands, even hundreds of thousands will suffer. The death toll will be appalling. The people who will surely suffer the most are the same people whose adherence to those religious and cultural norms birthed this madness. Perhaps it needs to become clear to them they are the architects of this insanity, and they alone have the ability to finally put an end to it. This is the definition of that other adage, people get the government they deserve. There is a lesson in here for us as well.

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    Denise Williams

    Born and bred in Chicago, now living in the wilds of far suburbia. I'm a Gold Star Mom, a wife and step-mom to two terrific boys. My views are generally politically and socially conservative, though I am far from a Party line Republican. I believe in this country, our Constitution and above all, in the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe our government is supposed to serve the people, not tell them how to live. To me, this is just common sense, but since it seems to be a minority opinion, it has become "Uncommon Sense".

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