Thursday, July 21, 2005

"Moderate" muslims and Mecca

There has been much discussion lately about the reaction of "moderate" muslims to the possibility that America might attack Mecca if the Islamists nuke Manhattan. Al Qaeda supposedly has nuclear weapons already in place in the U.S. and is waiting to use them. Several commentators have raised the possibility that we would provoke the "moderate" muslims if we attacked Mecca.

I have discussed Mecca as a military target here.

Some of us seem to assume that there is this vast reservoir of "moderate" muslims that remain up for grabs like the fictitious "undecided voter" that appears every four years in American presidential elections. While there is much that we don't know about Islam, I suspect that "moderate" muslims, if they exist, care little about Mecca. I suspect that many muslims might be muslims in name only (like many nominal Christians in the West) whose "faith" plays little role in their lives. This is just speculation on my part, but it is educated speculation. Look at the pictures from the Cedar Revolution this past spring (most of which I lifted from

At least one of the ladies in the photo at left is a Lebanese Christian, but at least one of them is supposedly Muslim.

Maybe I just need an excuse to post pictures like this, but I think these pictures tell a story. Do you think any of the women in these photos (or the men in their lives) care much about Mecca? Remember, Mecca is not simply a place to which one travels, hears services and prayers, takes photos and buys a religious trinket in the nearby gift shop. Mecca is steeped in ritual, tradition and discipline. No non-muslim has been permitted to visit that city in centuries (although a few (or at least one) did so in disguise in the 19th century).

Mecca's very survival (and that of the Kaaba stone) is offered as proof of Islam's invincibility. The Kaaba stone's destruction (even with conventional weapons and little loss of life) would send a powerful signal to the fanatics that they may be giving their lives for nothing. It would also send a signal to the "moderates" that they have nothing to fear from Allah and that the Islamification of the world is not inevitable.

Think of the photos as you consider the words of Mark Steyn:
But, you know, we've been told ever since 9/11 that the allegedly seething ''Muslim street'' was about to explode, and for four years it's remained as somnolent as a suburban cul-de-sac on a weekday afternoon. Invade their countries, topple their rulers, bomb their infrastructure from the first day of Ramadan to the last, arrest their terrorists, hold them at Gitmo for half a decade, initiate reforms setting the Arab world on the first rung of the ladder to political and economic liberty, and the seething Muslim street gives one almighty shrug.

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