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Mosques: reality vs fantasy

“Militants inside the Al Qadir Al Kilami mosque fired small arms, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades at U.S. forces…” – from this news item

The entire Muslim conquest resulted in the destruction, or appropriation, of synagogues and temples and churches. Many think it all happened long ago. They flip through a book on Islamic Art and discover that the first mosque known to have been built in India was built over what remained, after destruction by Muslim conquerors, of a Jain temple. Hindu scholars have compiled a two-volume work, its pages filled merely with a laconic list of the thousands of Hindu temples, and vast temple complexes, with their artwork as well, destroyed by the Muslims, their carved stones quarried for the erection of mosques.

All over the Christian world, too, tens of thousands of churches and Christian libraries and other structures were destroyed, or were turned into mosques if the structure was famous enough. Think of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, built partly on what was once the Church of John the Baptist. Think of the Hagia Sophia, its crosses ripped out, its wall-paintings vandalized, itself turned into a mosque until finally Ataturk managed to make it into a museum. (But suggest to even the outwardly most advanced, most secular Turks that Hagia Sophia should be returned to use as a church, and they look at you as if you were completely mad -- and in a sense, they are right). Think of the hundreds of churches in Constantinople alone, destroyed. There is a maquette of Constantinople in 1453, showing all of those churches on the second floor of the Museum of Greek and Roman Antiquity in the Topkapi complex. Few visitors ever go there -- the day I went, I was the only one. But there you will see those churches, and a list of all those known to have once existed and then wiped from the face of the earth by Muslims.

But that was then, some will say. That was in the bad old days. Those things don't happen now.

Don't they? What about the Hindu temples in present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh? What about the Hindu temple razed just last month in "moderate" and "forward-looking" Malaysia, the big economic success story in the Muslim world? (Its success, of course, is owed to the Chinese and Hindus who are forced to pay, through the Bumiputra system, a disguised Jizyah to the Muslims.) What about those synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem, every single one of them destroyed by the Jordanians when they held that city from 1948 to 1967, in addition to their razing of the entire Jewish Quarter? (That is why, when you visit it, you notice that it consists almost entirely of new buildings, though done in the old manner.) What about the ancient tombstones in the old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, ripped up and used to line the Jordanian army latrines?

What about the destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries in Bosnia and Kosovo, wherever Muslims have been able to have their way? And what will happen if they get full control of formerly Serbian areas, as they may get because of the idiotic appeasement of local Muslims by the American and the other Western governments? All of those governments should be standing by Serbia, at this point, all the way.

The American soldiers who went off to Iraq did not know that mosques would be centers from which they would be attacked. They did not know that mosques were used as barracks -- as places where, the Muslims understood, they could exploit the innocence of the Infidels and their desire not to offend. They knew that the Infidels had made the choice not to offend, and to treat mosques as merely "houses of worship" rather than as what they are -- centers for the promotion of the duty of Jihad, places where people are not given sermons using words such as "charity" and "mercy" and "hope" and "love" but rather different words -- "struggle" and "war" and "Infidel" and "umma al-Islamiyya" and "Jihad" and "Jihad" and "Jihad." This happens today in so many mosques, in too many mosques, in so many places, in too many places, for it to be merely a matter of this or that singularly fanatical imam.

Start seeing mosques for what they are. They are far more than "houses of worship." Far more, and therefore far less entitled to be treated as if that is what they are. If Hizballah holes up in a building, that building is not sacrosanct. Sunnis blow up Shi'a mosques, and Shi'a blow up Sunni mosques, in Iraq and in Pakistan. Mosques are attacked all the time, from those who seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca in November 1979 (which hastily-converted French troops finally managed to dislodge), to those who attack the mosques of their political, sectarian, or ethnic rivals whenever the spirit moves them. And it so often moves them.

American soldiers in or returning from Iraq now know what they should expect from inside those mosques. And so do the security services who have raided, and who have monitored, and who keep under surveillance mosques in England, mosques in France, mosques in Italy, mosques in Germany, mosques everywhere.

Stop pretending that a mosque is merely an innocent "house of worship." Stop fooling yourself, and others.