Where is the OIC when mosques are attacked?
Dr Walid Phares
WASHINGTON: According to the Associated Press, Jihadi terrorists “stormed a mosque in Rawalpindi, killing at least 36 worshippers, including six military officers, during Friday prayers as they sprayed gunfire and threw grenades before blowing themselves up,” Pakistani officials said.
A military statement said four attackers hurled grenades and then opened fire as they rushed toward the mosque, located on Parade Lane in a military residential colony, just a few miles from the capital. Two Jihadists then blew themselves up inside, while the other two terrorists were killed in an exchange of gunfire. Seventeen children and 10 civilians were killed.
The dead included a major general, a brigadier, two lieutenant colonels, one major and a retired major as well as three regular soldiers, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said. Witnesses said two of the militants entered the mosque, which had up to 200 worshippers inside, while others ran into buildings nearby.
Per the AP, “Nasir Ali Sheikh saw the attackers at the mosque as he walked there to pray. He said they were dressed in traditional Pakistani clothing of loose pants and a long tunic and carried hand grenades, automatic weapons and ammunition belts slung around their shoulders.
“They were killing people like animals,” he said. “I couldn’t understand what was happening.” Television footage showed that the mosque’s walls and prayer mats were covered in blood and shattered glass lined the floor.
What horrifies observers around the world is the unethical Jihadi behaviour in terror operations. The sheer, open and cold blood massacring of children, women, elderly and civilians in general, even when they coin these horrors as “martyrdom operations” (amalyyat istishadiyya), they qualify unarguably as war crimes.
The Jihadi Salafists have been perpetrating these types of international law breaches since the early 1990s in Algeria, where more than a hundred thousand civilians, mostly women, children, older persons and cultural personalities have been butchered for ten years. Salafi Jihadism has been among the most barbaric levels of violence produced by radical ideologies in the modern history of the Arab and Muslim world.
Intellectuals and politicians in the region have long ago indicted this “movement” as catastrophic. Moderate Iraqi, Jordanian, Bahraini, Kuwaiti, Pakistani, Lebanese and Egyptian writers and commentators have appeared on air and wrote often about the necessity for their governments to forcefully condemn not only the perpetrators but also the ideology and the doctrines allowing such mayhem.
Heavy silence of the OIC
But what surprises me and many other observers is the heavy silence of the largest club of governments and regimes in the world, just below the United Nations: The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
With a membership exceeding 50 countries and a dizzying economic power embodied by many of its oil producing regimes, the OIC should have been at the forefront of fighting the Salafi Jihadist method.
Since the massacres in Algeria in the 1990s, the OIC has refrained from expressly denouncing the movement and ideology behind these perpetrators. If we put aside the Jihadist massacres of 9/11, Madrid, London, Beslan, Mumbai and those perpetrated in southern Sudan, arguing that these societies are non Muslim (not that this should justify the bloodshed) but even when the al Queda, Taliban and other Salafist terror groups had targeted Muslim societies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, and Pakistan, still the alleged representative of the one billion Muslims dodged the ideology behind the murder of Muslim women, children and elderly. The question is why?
The OIC was overwhelmingly active to get a vote on the so-called “defamation of religion” at the United Nations but ran away from indicting the doctrine that kills people of its own religion. One would at least expect that the OIC would narrow its indictment of Jihadism to focus on what many Arab Muslim governments coin as “Takfirism,” that is the so-called hot headed fringe within the Islamist web. But that never happened; why not?
Then mosques have been attacked by Jihadi terrorists, while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan and now in Pakistan. Where on earth is the OIC when the very worship places it is supposed to protect are targeted by militants claiming “Jihad.” We’ve seen the OIC bureaucracy thoroughly investigate any possible criticism of the ideology of Jihadism coining it “Islamophobia” while the Jihadists murder Muslims inside their own mosques.
The OIC, whose member states are mostly authoritarians, is busy fighting the Swiss democratic referendum on the shape of the minarets in the Alps, while mosques are ravaged in one of the most populated Muslim countries in the world: Pakistan. Something is utterly wrong here.
OIC bureaucrats must first of all rush to the defence of the children and women executed by the Jihadists inside the Masajid, Shia or Sunni, Pakistani or Arab, and openly condemn the savage behaviour of those who are claiming themselves as the soldiers of the new Jihad. In refraining from coming to the rescue of their own populations and civil societies””including their own houses of worship””these bureaucrats would be sending a message to a billion people that petrodollars are protecting the murderous ideologies instead of protecting innocent civilians.
Dr Walid Phares is the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies..