Thursday, December 04, 2008


I have been driven to post this entry upon seeing an exchange on Facebook last night. A friend of mine posted the following 'status update', "Karen is disturbed that her college chaplain believes the Islamists attacked their victims randomly and without regard to religious or national affiliation."

I was a little taken aback. Firstly because that is a foolish belief for anyone to hold. Secondly, because that's a Cambridge chaplain, not some average jo-shmo at Middlesex poly. Anyway, I don't get shocked anymore, there are plenty of different flavours of fools out there, and the intelligent are not immune.

A friend of Karen's commented: "Why? Those guys are known for attacking dudes indiscriminately. I'm sure they'd rather have killed lots of Jews and Americans, but they didn't. I'm sure the majority killed will transpire to be Hindus and Muslims, probably roughly divided along the lines of Bombay demography. How can you walk into a train station, randomly shoot the place up and still claim to be making targeted attacks? That seems like silly minutia to be bothered about - why not just accept that it was wrong to kill any civilian - Jews, Muslims, Americans or anybody else?"

What gets me is this word indiscriminate. It's like saying that they terrorists thought, "We don't care who we kill, we just want to cause mayhem!" These are religious and political acts; our villains aren't of the same mould as the Joker from Batman whose sole aim is to cause pandemonium. To anyone who insists on referring to any terror attack as indiscriminate, I ask the following simple question: When was the last time, if ever, a terrorist planted a bomb or detonated a suicide belt in his home, or in his place of worship? Or at the very least, in his village?

Seems a daft question. "Well of course they haven't done that!" you'd exclaim. What purpose would that serve? It would be utterly pointless and self-defeating to kill of their own. Herein lies the crux of the matter.

On September 11th 2001, individually random people were killed. That much is true. But there was a very specific target that day - American civilians. On 9/11, fear was struck into the heart of an entire nation, and the world looked on in awe. In London's 7/7 London Underground and bus attacks, random people were killed. Yes, one can argue that they were killed "indiscriminately," but the truth is that the act was far from haphazard. There was a very real aim, the fact is that it was not an indiscriminate attack. If it was, why didn't it happen in Bradford, where there is a far higher percentage of Muslims?

The attack was on London's heart and soul. Random people paid the ultimate price, but the real target was freedom of expression, justice and Western liberal values. The real aim was to kill heathens, non-believers, anyone who disagreed with the terrorists' extreme Muslim beliefs. (I hope that is read correctly.) The fact remains that these two heinous attacks took place on American and English soil, and not in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Yes, Muslims were killed, but far more "infidel" Christians and atheists were killed. It seems almost too obvious, but we cannot overlook it. The random nature of the individual murders must not overshadow the precise intent behind it.

During the nadir of the second Intifada, terrorists detonated bombs in crowded malls in Israel, and suicide bombers detonated their belts on Jerusalem buses among children and OAP's. There were no specific people assassinated. Does that mean that those people were indiscriminately killed?

The answer is an irrefutable no. Just because individual targets are not specified, does not mean that there is no overall target. The demographic makeup of a Jerusalem bus is rather different from your average West Bank suicide bomber's hometown. Admittedly, a Filipino worker might get killed, and so too might a fellow Muslim or two, but if you look at the death of toll of the second intifada, the overwhelming majority of casualties were Israelis, were Jews.

When, as happens from time to time, an angst-ridden teenage American enters a shopping mall and kills people at random, he chooses the mall because there are people there. There are targets and he can make a tremendous spectacle of himself. Location is everything.

I cannot offer an explanation for the anomaly that was the random shooting at the train station, but then again these terrorist don't seem to do logic, do they? It's only speculation, but my guess is that they wanted to stretch the police and the army and thus create a diversion for the other, even more chilling, part of their plans.

The attacks in Bombay were an assault on all things that did not conform to the terrorists' beliefs, on all things they deemed "unIslamic." We know that at the Taj Palace Hotel, the terrorists' first move was to obtain a list of all guests holding an American or British passport. They then attempted to round these people up and execute them. The Chabad house was a specific target, namely because it is one of the only Jewish centres in the city and as such attracted Jews and Israelis. Incidentally Chabad are a Haredi organisation, but unlike many other Haredi organisations, they are relatively pro-Israel. This must not go unnoticed, either. We found out later that the bodies of the married couple that ran the Chabad house were found to be in a far worse condition than others - the result of horrific torturing by their evil tormentors.

I cannot deny the basic element of randomness involved, but I state one last time, there was nothing indiscriminate about the intent of these attacks. A quick thesaurus check on Microsoft Word gives the synonyms "arbitrary" and haphazard" for indiscriminate. These were absolutely not haphazard or arbitrary attacks. So, does anyone else believe these attacks to be "indiscriminate," or is it just that simpleton Cambridge chaplain?

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Anyone who calls the attacks "indiscriminate," and without reference to nationality or religion is frankly arguing against the facts. Why would anyone feel the need to contrive against these obvious facts, and against the only sensible explanation of them, I wonder?

    As for a possible explanation of the train station attacks - I would conjecture that the Islamists targeted a city with a large Hindu population, living close to a large Muslim population, in order to escalate tensions between the two communities. This is in turn will help them in their recruiting amongst the Muslim population. Also, they've stated the aim of punishing India's Hindus for their supposed mistreatment of Muslims.