Tuesday, April 10, 2007

They Hate Buddhists, Too

According to a report last week, a Pakistani jihadist organization affiliated with Al Qaeda recently tried to murder that noted paragon of imperialist neocon Islamophobia, the Dalai Lama.

At first glance, it is hard to understand why radical Islamists would want to kill the Dalai Lama. After all, as Dave Kopel points out, none of the usual grievances apply in this case:

What is clear that the Dalai Lama has never sold arms to Israel, stationed troops in Saudi Arabia, sent military forces to fight for freedom in Afghanistan or Iraq, reconquered Spain from Islamic invasion, drawn cartoons mocking Islamic terrorists, dismantled the Ottoman Empire, or performed any of the other acts which the apologists for terrorism claim have “provoked” al Qaeda. Yet al Qaeda is still trying to kill him — as it trying to kill everyone who does not submit to it hideous totalitarian “religion.”

Upon reflection, the fact that radical Islamists hate the Dalai Lama should not come as a surprise. Their attitude is typified by Osama bin Laden himself, who referred contemptuously to "pagan Buddhism" in his most recent audio statement, released in April 2006.

Islamist insurgents operating in southern Thailand have worked hard over the last several years putting bin Laden's hatred of Buddhism into practice. A February 25th article from the International Herald Tribune provides the details:

"Buddhist monks have been hacked to death, clubbed to death, bombed and burned to death," said Sunai Phasuk, a political analyst with the Human Rights Watch monitoring group. "This has never happened before. This is a new aspect of violence in the south."


In a report published last month, Zachary Abuza, the author of "Militant Islam in Southeast Asia," said that entire Buddhist communities have fled in a "de facto ethnic cleansing."

"The social fabric of the south has been irreparably damaged," he said.


The Muslims have complained of discrimination and attempts at forced assimilation since Thailand annexed the former Sultanate of Pattani a century ago. Armed insurgencies have risen and subsided over the past four decades, but the government may now be facing its most dangerous challenge.

"What is new about the current conflict is the level and degree of violence, the Islamist agenda of the insurgents, and their unprecedented degree of cooperation and coordination," Abuza said.

"The level of violence in Thailand's south has never been higher," he said. "Nor has it been more brutal."

He said there had been more than 24 beheadings in the past three years and as many as 60 attempted beheadings.

(Emphasis added-DD)

There are no political, social or economic grievances that explain why radical Islamists would want to murder an exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, or gleefully slaughter Buddhist monks. Rather, such acts are symptomatic of jihadists' literally murderous hatred of anyone not sharing their fanatical ideology.


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