The inaptly dubbed “War on Terror” continues to run up an ever-higher body count. In the nearly ten years since 9-11, the so-called “Religion of Peace” has racked up over 17,000 deadly attacks, killing tens of thousands all over the globe (all carefully documented by the indefatigable folks at aptly-named site The Religion of Peace). With the body count ratcheting ever higher on a daily basis, why do many if not the majority of Muslims seem so indifferent to the carnage, or worse, even enthusiastic about the never-ending bloodshed committed in the name of Islam? In fact, Muslims have proven themselves highly resistant to the idea of criticizing their coreligionists, no matter what outrage has been committed.
For a Malaysian example of this disturbing behaviour, let’s examine the Malaysian reactions to the passing of Dr. Azahari Husin in 2005. Doctor Azahari — a former Malaysian university professor — was a committed jihadist and chief bombmaker for the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. As you may recall, he was directly implicated in both Bali bombings (2002 and 2005), the JW Mariott hotel bombing in Jakarta in 2003, and the Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta in 2004. Azahari was in fact an unrepentant mass murderer, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. But, as his family and the Malaysian media would have it, he was also supposedly a ‘genuinely warm and caring kind of guy’ who selflessly went to serve a ‘higher cause’.
Here is the kind of spin his family put on the ‘fondly remembered’ Doctor Azahari, as was published verbatim in a Malaysian newspaper at the time (link unavailable):
…in his family, he was a respected big brother whose skills in Maths and zest for sports were a source of inspiration to his nine siblings. Azahari Husin’s sister, Suraya, 45, recalled that her brother loved cowboy movies and thought girls were “soppy”. … He loved the outdoors and once hitchhiked on a lorry from the premier Malay College (in) Kuala Kangsar, where he studied, to his home in Jasin as a teenager. When he studied in Australia, he took motorcycle excursions across the desert. He loved orchids and sports cars.
And while the family found plenty of wonderful memories to share with the sympathetic Malaysian media, there was nary a trace of condemnation of the late doctor’s multi-year murder spree. Azahari’s family did have this to say about the notorious terrorist in the family:
“… our family and friends never interfered with what my brother did. That’s the integrity of our family,” said (a younger sister of Dr Azahari Husin.) … “People can say what they want, but I know my brother,” she said when pressed for comments by newsmen at her house in Jalan Chin Chin here yesterday.
Azahari also received a hero’s send-off at his funeral in his hometown of Jasin, a small town several hours’ drive south of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. The ceremony attracted some 600 well wishers, who repeatedly chanted ‘Allahu akbar’ during the funeral. Many present at the ceremony also voiced skepticism of Azahari’s role as a top terrorist. “Azahari will always have friends here. We shouldn’t be asked to believe what is written about him in the newspapers,” said one man who refused to identify himself.
These are very curious reactions all around, at the very least. Given multiple opportunities to condemn terrorism, and to pronounce how un-Islamic all this terrorism supposedly is, Azahari’s family, friends and neighbours all refused to so state. Rather the opposite, actually — in particular, Azahari’s sister said for the record that family and friends “…never interfered with what my brother did”. This is a disturbingly noncommittal thing to say about a man intimately involved in carrying out mass murder, and for conspiring to commit even more mass murder. Indeed, it could even be construed as approval.
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