No one ever said terrorism was rational

There are so many bad news stories out of Iraq that I tune most of them out. But this week I am paying attention. A previously unknown group calling itself the “Swords of Righteousness Brigade” is holding four men captive and threatening to execute them unless the USA frees Iraqi detainees.

Two of the men are Canadians. All four are associated with “Christian Peacemakers Teams”, a Chicago- and Toronto-based organization backed by the Brethren, Quaker and Mennonite churches.

The irony — though irony is not an adequate word for this situation — is this. I would characterize Christian Peacemakers Teams as having an anti-American bias. According to the organization’s own Web site:

CPT initiated a long-term presence in Iraq in October 2002, six months before the beginning of the U.S. led invasion in March of 2003. The primary focus of the team for eighteen months following the invasion was documenting and focusing attention on the issue of detainee abuses and basic legal and human rights being denied them.

Issues related to detainees remain but the current focus of the team has expanded to include efforts to end occupation and militarization of the country and to foster nonviolent and just alternatives for a free and independent Iraq.

In other words, the four captives are hostile to the American presence in Iraq. They made personal sacrifices to carry out “mission” work that ostensibly serves Iraqi interests. Despite that fact, they have been taken hostage by Islamic terrorists in a vain attempt to squeeze concessions out of the US government.

I saw a family member interviewed on CBC television Tuesday night. The family is clinging to the hope that the Swords of Righteousness Brigade will suddenly wake up to the fact that they’re threatening to execute the wrong guys. And it’s possible:  there are a couple of hopeful signs.

The first cause for hope is that Muslim leaders are among those speaking out in support of the captives. For example, according to the Globe and Mail:

In Britain, meanwhile, a Jordanian cleric jailed for links to al-Qaeda also called for the release of the hostages, saying they should not be held accountable for the policies of their governments.

“I, your brother Abu Qatada, … beseech my brothers in the Swords of Truth in Iraq, who are imprisoning the four Christian peace activists, to release them in accordance with the fundamental principle of mercy of our faith,” he said in an appeal aired on Arab television networks on Wednesday, according to a Reuters News Agency report.

(Prominent left-wing activists, including Norm Chomsky, have also called for the release of the four men. I’m sure the Swords of Righteousness Brigade is greatly impressed.)

The second cause for hope is that the execution has been delayed. The captors had scheduled the execution for Thursday, but postponed it for 48 hours.

Still, I fear the worst. It is a miscalculation to suppose that terrorists are rational people, who respect the fine distinction between “Westerners who support our people” and “Westerners who support the Americans”.

The truth is — we have seen it demonstrated over and over again — that Islamic terrorists kill indiscriminately. They do not even avoid killing fellow Muslims, in brazen disregard of Islam’s moral code.

Islamic terrorists do not regard people as human beings; they regard them as symbols. Executing four Westerners is a political statement. These four happen to be anti-American, but that’s irrelevant.

The four men are:

  • James Loney, 41, from Sault. Ste. Marie, Ontario;
  • Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, from Montreal, Quebec;
  • Tom Fox, 54, American; and
  • Norman Kember, 74, British.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Misanthrope
    Dec 09, 2005 @ 12:08:00

    It’s a shame that people who are trying to do good are used as pawns between two groups, which neither are right.


  2. 49erDweet
    Dec 09, 2005 @ 12:21:00

    Q has again spotted the grain of sand hidden in the petroleum jelly jar of life. Terrorists are not rational.

    I hope these individuals are truly Christians. The worldview expressed by their website does not give me such confidence, but then it’s not my call – is it?

    The sad part in this is that unless the terrorists react to world opinion, Darwin’s theory is once again upheld.


  3. Sadie Lou
    Dec 09, 2005 @ 12:36:00

    Oh gosh how upsetting.
    That one captive is 74? No! I’m going to be in prayer on this. Thanks for the head’s up.


  4. Cheryl
    Dec 09, 2005 @ 14:03:00

    “It is a miscalculation to suppose that terrorists are rational people…” And one of the things that makes them so dangerous is that there are so many people out there who still want desperately to believe that terrorists can be reasoned with.


  5. Q
    Dec 09, 2005 @ 14:03:00

    • Misanthrope:
    I wouldn’t say that the Bush administration and the Swords of Righteousness Brigade are morally equivalent, but I agree with the thrust of what you’re saying.

    • 49er:
    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. I suppose that’s the theme verse of this organization.

    But to be a peacemaker is not a good choice if you want to live a long and untroubled life.

    • Sadie Lou:
    The Loney family has been on TV every night, and it’s heartbreaking to see them. The Dad has been the family spokesman, but he was too overcome by tears to speak last night.

    I’m glad to know you’ll be praying about it.


  6. Q
    Dec 09, 2005 @ 22:13:00

    Oops, I overlooked your comment until now. We posted at exactly the same moment.

    And I have nothing to add anyway, except well said!


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