Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Iyar 5764 - April 28, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Opinion & Comment
Moral Depravity Cannot be Limited or Directed

Last week Saudi Arabia was shaken when a suicide bomber blew up a police station in the capital city of Riyadh, murdering five people, injuring many more and destroying the building.

A hitherto unknown group called the Brigade of the Two Holy Mosques claimed responsibility a day later, but authorities could not confirm this claim. With rhetoric that resembled Al Qaida's, the announcement said that the attack rained devastation on the "criminal, apostate" Saudi government and warned of further strikes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were not supportive. "May Allah curse you, you vermin, you people of filth and not jihad," read one comment in response to the claim. The writer helpfully attached a picture of coffins draped in American flags with a comment, "This is jihad."

Most Saudis are horrified at the Islamic-based violence at home, but strongly supportive when it is directed elsewhere. The same day that the criminal bombers struck in Riyadh, the el-Enzi family in Al Kharj, a town just south of Riyadh, was basking in admiration and even envy as the news spread that their son had been killed in a firefight in Iraq with American marines.

Abdullah al-Enezi, a brother, told The New York Times that his older brother had been training to be a computer technician. "He went to Iraq seeking martyrdom because of the recent events there," he explained. "America's unjust policy toward the Muslims is the main reason. Everyone feels this humiliation; he's not alone, there are so many young men who wish they could cross over into Iraq to join the jihad, but they can't. Thank Allah he was blessed with the ability to go."

Mr. Enezi said he was unaware of any particular cleric swaying his brother. He simply left one day about a month ago, entering Iraq from Syria, "just like any other tourist crossing to Iraq," said Mr. Enezi. He called periodically to check in, and then his friends called to say he had died in a firefight with American marines. He was buried there.

"People are calling all the time to congratulate us -- crying from happiness and envy," Mr. Enezi said.

Neither the Saudis, nor the US reporter, nor the news organization publishing the report seem to realize that indiscriminate destruction of civilian targets is not a result of religion, of politics or really of any sort of principled or ideological behavior. Any appearances to the contrary are the result of deliberate or, in many cases, unwitting deception. It is simple moral decadence.

Morality is not something that can be turned on and off. It is not something that can be ignored today and practiced tomorrow. It is not possible to behave without any moral restraint in one country and then to maintain resonable standards somewhere else.

The moral depravity and absolute lack of any restraint that allows one to send or be a suicide bomber who destroys the lives of innocent civilians is only found among a relatively small number of the hundreds of millions of Arabs. But the the widespread tolerance that is reflected in opinion polls, and official support in places like the Palestinian Authority, are deadly and will eventually do as much damage to innocent Arabs as to anyone else.

The lusts and urges to murder that are condoned and even encouraged will not be limited by geography or ethnicity. If the initial targets in the West become harder for those crazed murderers to reach they will surely turn to easier targets closer to home.

The spectacular coordinated attacks against the Spanish railways several weeks ago were surely much less of a priority than a megalomaniac attack in the USA or the UK. A large bomb in Iraq recently murdered dozens of schoolchildren. The bomb in Saudi Arabia murdered innocent civilians.

As the West becomes more careful and more practiced at frustrating these murderous attacks, these accomplished murderers can be expected to try to find outlets that are easier to reach for their skills and lust for blood. Ultimately, these depraved lowlifes do not care if they murder soldiers or civilians, Westerners or Arabs, adults or children.

Our best defense -- and it is a very good one -- is to strengthen our own relationship with Torah and mitzvos, and to make sure that the barriers that keep out the rot of the modern world have no leaks. After that we can have confidence that with siyata deShmaya we will be protected.

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