SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – The most troubling aspect of the beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic extremists is not his decapitation itself. We’ve seen this kind of brutality and barbarism before in the name of Allah.
The gruesome 2002 beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl by senior al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) was very much the same: a forced propaganda statement by a cowering victim, followed by a deranged appeal to Allah by his captor, culminating with the captor slowly sawing off the victim’s head with a knife.
In both the Pearl and Foley murders, the jihadis chose to maximize the pain inflicted and the duration of the victim’s suffering.
It was as much torture as slaughter. These ghastly Islamists succeeded in making medieval Shoguns, hooded executioners and guillotiners appear civilized and humane by comparison.
But as traumatic as the images are of freelancer Foley’s butchering by an Islamic State extremist, what is even more troubling is the nationality of his killer: a Brit.
When KSM hacked off Daniel Pearl’s head, there was an element of the killing that was expected, or at least unshocking. A reporter captured by a Muslim extremist from a Muslim country – Pakistan (or perhaps Kuwait) in KSM’s case.
The threat seemed a long way off.
But in the death of Foley, the killer is a Westerner. That brings the threat closer to home.
Foley was murdered in a far-off Muslim country, but he was killed by someone who, like him, had come from a First World country.
Thousands of radicalized Western Muslims – from Britain, France, Germany, the United States and even Canada – have poured into the Middle East to fight for the establishment of a Muslim caliphate, governed by harsh Sharia law and from which more terror attacks on Western targets, similar to the 9/11 attacks, can be launched.
Also, while none of these Western jihadis has yet returned to spread their poisonous ideology or commit barbarous acts back home, it is not a question of if one of them will, but when one will.
That’s the truly frightening aspect of James Foley’s murder.
British intelligence sources estimate that there are now more British Muslims travelling to Syria to sign up to fight for Islamic State (which until very recently was better known as ISIS – Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) than there are signing up for the British army.
Even though most of these Islamist recruits were born and raised in Britain (as Foley’s executioner appears to have been), they feel greater loyalty to their violent, deadly variant of Islam than to their home country or to Western values.
Voice analysis of the video made by Foley’s captors shows the masked, left-handed knife murderer who removed his head had a “multicultural London” accent. That’s the accent of someone from an ethnic community in the British capital, but likely one who has lived there his whole life.
Not all Muslims or even most Muslims are extremists. But a growing number are, including a growing number in North America.
It’s difficult for politically correct Canadian leaders to confront this threat, but they must. Leaders such as Liberal Justin Trudeau have to stop making visits to radical mosques and Muslim community centres, then brushing off criticisms as racism or unfounded hysteria.
Doubly difficult, truly moderate Muslims in Canada must confront the threat in their own midst by challenging radicals to adopt Western values and reporting those who will not to police.
The time for claims that Islam is a religion of peace is over. There are peaceful individual Muslims and congregations, but there are too many violent, radical Muslims to ignore any longer.