After 9/11 the Western world’s response fell between two poles; on the one hand lots of people agreed with General Norman Schwarzkopf that it was not our job to forgive the terrorists, it was God’s job; ours was simply to arrange the meeting. On the other hand some on the American Left asked the question: why do they hate us so?
Perhaps more worrying might be the question: why don’t they hate us?
This week Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the lovely Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—now just ‘Islamic State’—issued a statement to the worldwide faithful in his new role as self-proclaimed caliph.
In a reasonably slick document issued in several languages al-Baghdadi celebrated the month of Ramadan with his own message, rather like the Pope does at Christmas.
‘We congratulate the ummah (people) of Islam, in the East and in the West, on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan, and we praise Allah (the Exalted) for allowing us to reach this virtuous month.’
‘Go forth, O mujahidin in the path of Allah. Terrify the enemies
of Allah and seek death in the places where you expect to find it, for the dunyā (worldly life) will come to an end, and the hereafter will last forever.’
He then went onto say, rather lacking in irony I should add, that the blood of Muslims was being spilt everywhere, orphans and widows made and the rights of Muslims violated. As Blackadder might have said: by your soldiers, sir.
He then got on to the good stuff:
‘O ummah of Islam, indeed the world today has been divided into two camps and two trenches, with no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of kufr (disbelief) and hypocrisy – the camp of the Muslims and the mujahidin everywhere, and the camp of the jews, the crusaders, their allies, and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia, and being mobilized by the jews.’
All in all, in raging against the enemies of Islam, al-Baghdadi mentioned Russia, America (twice) and the Jews (three times; the most – obviously).
Isn’t there a major power he missed out? Isn’t the European Union supposed to be a player these days? I’m so used to Britain being a third-rate power that I even get a little twinge of pride when an angry mob in some dusty, third-world hellhole burns badly-made Union Jacks, but how relevant can a United Europe really be if no one outside its borders considers it a threat or enemy? Shouldn’t the EU be asking: why don’t they hate us?