Friday, July 08, 2005

Open Up!

I've been waiting to post on the London bombings because I didn't want to do a purely emotional rant that offered feel-good emotions but little else.

Civilized nations face a challenge that is quite different from those in the past. We fight an enemy without uniforms, without a nation, without a population to defend.

We fight an enemy without tanks and bombers and battleships. We fight an enemy, that while claiming to be driven by a Higher Order, believes in bloody executions, the targeting of civilian populations, and the slaughter of innocents.

We fight an enemy that has hijacked a religion, and uses our tolerance for divergent religious beliefs against us. The terrorists, while claiming the mosques to be sacred ground, use them as war room and weapons caches.

I wonder if it is time for civilized nations to openly acknowledge that this is a religious war and that one of the world's oldest religions has declared war upon all other religions. In this light, I honestly have to wonder how many tons of weapons would be uncovered if every mosque in London were to be served with a search warrant?

And therein lays the problem. Not all Muslims are terrorists. In many ways, Muslims are just as much victims of this terrorism as the non-Muslims. So the issue is more about where you put the line than it is about crossing the line.

How would I feel if a segment of my religion, claiming to represent me, was engaging in terrorism? How would I feel if I found out that the local police department raided my church? But wait a minute, this isn't about feelings. This is about terrorism, beheadings, bloody subways, and the attempt to force change through terror.

It is time for the mosques to be searched. Not a smash down the door, break the windows and trash the place search. I'm suggesting a respectful, video graphed search with a bare minimum of damage. It needs to be a search that determines if the facility down the street from your home or office is a place of worship or a place of terrorism. Is this bound to be patently offensive to the good Muslims? Yes, it would be. But it could also be liberating, because if the police search that mosque, and find that it is truly a place of worship, then that can be the starting point for dialogue and communication. It can be the move that breaks down the barriers of fear between the Muslim and non-Muslim. Non-Muslims will have an opportunity to interact, without fear, with people whose religion they don't even begin to understand. What happens if weapons are found? It can still be liberating because it gives the religious Muslims the opportunity to reclaim their mosque from the terrorists acting under the guise of being Muslim.

Still, it is a terrible though, the idea of police entering a place of worship and searching through it. Yet, the concept harkens back to Vietnam. For years, the communists used Laos and Cambodia as their private sanctuaries. They would cross the border, attack us, and then cross back. We weren't supposed to attack them because both countries were "neutral." Untold American's lost their lives and their body parts because we played the game by a set of rules that the other site routinely ignored.

So screw the ACLU. Screw Teddy Kennedy and the blame America first crowd. We can talk about religious tolerance after we make sure that the mosques are not arms caches. And when the Catholics or Mormons get hijacked for terrorism, we'll raid their places of worship as well.

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