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Why Muslims Kill

The murderer is the new celebrity. He emerges out of nowhere with a rags to mass murder story, and is swiftly accorded all the trappings of fame. Reporters track down anyone who knew him to learn about his childhood and his main influences. Relatives and friends both contribute fuzzy anecdotes, mostly indistinguishable from the ones they would present if he were competing on American Idol or running for president.

The disaffected form fan clubs around him. The experts discuss what his rise to fame means. Books are written about him and then perhaps a movie. And then it ends and begins all over again.

The Tsarnaev brothers, the living one and the dead one, are already receiving that treatment. Like most murderers they have already become more famous than their victims. More famous than the rescuers. The original Tamerlane is better known than any of his countless victims. The new one is already eclipsing his victims. Before long one of those Chechen bards whose videos he tagged into his playlist on YouTube will write a ballad about the Boston massacre and the circle will be complete.

That ballad, murderous and vile, will still be more honest than most of the media coverage about the two Chechen Muslims has been. The media's coverage is weighed down by its old fetish of murder as celebrity. The media covers murderers and celebrities in the same way. It writes exhaustively about them, but rarely meaningfully. The murderer, like the celebrity, is famous for being famous. And fame clips context and suppresses meaning. It becomes its own reference. A thing is famous for being known. It is known for being famous. It enters the common language as a reference. A metaphor.

In the case of the Tsarnaevs, the surface coverage, the endless rounds of interviews with friends and relatives, with anyone who ever met them or retweed them, is mandatory because it avoids the more difficult question of why they killed.

The better news outlets answer with convenient terms like "radicalization" or "self-radicalization" and much of the public, primed to react to meaningless political jargon as if it had meaning, will think that they understand. A radical, they know, is a bad person, except for a brief period when surfers and ninja turtles could use it and still be good people. They don't quite know why that is, but they also don't know why high debt is good for the economy or why Islam is a religion of peace.

Radical and extremist are convenient terms for dismissing people and subjects without discussing them. Mental shortcuts like that can be convenient. No one really wants to spend every waking moment debating the people who think that the moon landing was faked or that we are ruled over by miniature T-Rex's who somehow look just like people. But when the body count gets high enough, dismissing it as extremism or radicalism doesn't hold up. The question must be discussed.

The experts point to foreign policy, but Muslim violence began a thousand years before the United States existed as an independent political entity. The younger Tsarnaev sibling scrawled something about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, prompted or unprompted, but Iraq is yesterday's news and America is in Afghanistan because of the Muslim attacks of September 11. We can keep retracing every event and connecting it to a prior event, but the constraints of history will swiftly take us back to before Independence Hall, Columbus and for that matter the English language.

If we are to flounder looking around for a first cause, we must either fetch up against the founding of Islam or try to make a case for Islamic violence predating Islam. Neither is very tenable. Dzhokhar can claim that he and his brother were defending Islam by murdering an 8-year-old, Hitler claimed that he was defending Germany by invading Poland and Japan is still waiting around for South Korea to thank it for protecting it from Western imperialism.

Prisons are full of 300 pound men who beat their 90 pound wives to death in self-defense and spree killers who felt bullied and misunderstood and defended themselves with killing sprees. The kind of evil we see in movies, the serial killer who gleefully whisper about demonic pacts and the joy of killing, are a rarity. Even human monsters are human. They explain things in terms of their egos. They are always defending themselves against some form of oppression and looking for someone to sympathize with their outrage.

Muslim terrorists are no different. The Taliban just poisoned a girls school as part of their campaign to defend Afghanistan from women who can read and write. Hamas fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus in defense of Palestine. Tamerlan Tsarnaev put down a bomb next to an 8-year-old boy in defense of Islam.

Islam, as one of the great world religions, has a long history of needing to be defended against small boys, blind female poets and elderly cartoonists. Sometimes Muslims have to defend Islam against each other, the way they are now doing in Syria. Other times defending Islam requires demolishing its archeological sites, the way that the Saudis are doing. Either way defending Islam is difficult work.

Everyone in a war usually claims to be defending against something. But the younger Tsarnaev was not really angry about Afghanistan or Iraq. He wasn't defending them. He was defending Islam. If you want to defend Afghanistan, then all you have to do is board a plane to Pakistan and then make the right contacts and find your way across the border to join a band of likeminded fellows fighting to defend your new country from women who can read. But to defend Islam, you can stay at home in Boston and kill little boys..

What is this thing called Islam? We can call it a religion, but that doesn't tell us much. Defining religion is a famously tricky affair. The bombmaking instructions in Al Qaeda's Inspire magazine begin by telling the would-be defender of Islam that the key ingredient in building a pressure cooker bomb, like the one used at the Boston Marathon, is trust in Allah. There is a kind of faith in that, but it's more like the kind of prayer you expect to hear Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson utter to a god that they made in their own murderous image. Serial killers praying to a patron deity of serial killers to help them murder little boys in defense of a religion whose faith is in the murder of little boys.

But the whole thing need not be all that mysterious. Western man spent much of the last century threatening to fight to the death over the political and economic system that he would live under. Dispense with the label of religion and the sight of two angry young men setting off bombs in an American city is not all that alien. Neither is their motive.

There are two Islams that we can conceive of; the private and the public. It is it not difficult to see which of these the Tsarnaevs were defending. Despite the morbid fantasies of the real Islamophobia industry, practiced by CAIR and the left, no one was holding down either of the brothers and shoving pork in their mouths or forbidding them from reading the Koran. The government has carved out broad swaths of entitlements for Islamic religion in a country where Iftar is celebrated in the White House and the Department of Justice sues any store that thinks twice of frowning at a Hijab.

It's the public Islam that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar were defending. The private Islam forbids Muslims to eat pork or drink liquor  The public Islam bars pork or liquor from being sold. The private Islam tells women to cover their hair. The public Islam establishes an entire system of police and judges to compel them to cover their hair.

Western liberals like to think of Islam as a private religion, in the tradition of most of its extant religions, but it isn't. Islam cannot function for very long as a private religion just as Communism could not function for very long as a private experiment on a few communal farms. It is an all or nothing system. Its fundamental expression is public. In private, it withers and dies.

The private Islam need not be defended with bombs. The public Islam must be. And as with so many totalitarian systems, when it speaks of freedom, it means slavery, when it talks of peace, it means war, and when it claims defense, it means attack.

Why did Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonate bombs at the Boston Marathon? They were engaged in an old disagreement over political systems. Terrorists of the left set off bombs to force a political revolution. Their Islamist fellow-travelers are doing the same thing. Dig away enough of the trappings of the celebrity murderer and you come to the ideas buried underneath all the rubble.

The Tsarnaevs are not the first terrorists to kill Americans in the name of a political idea. If they are radicals and extremists, than so are the likes of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. What difference is there between the radicals who detonated bombs to impose the rule of the left and those who detonate bombs to impose the rule of Islam?

When it comes to the Weather Underground, the media is eager to discuss their ends, but not their
means. And when it comes to the Tsarnaevs, the media will discuss their means, but not their ends. Dealing with the violence of the left would only make the left look bad. And dealing with the agenda of the terrorists would make the left's plan for a multicultural society seem unworkable. It would make it clear that terrorism is not random, but a violent means of imposing an idea. And it is the idea that is the issue.

If we are going to discuss Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, let us spend a little less time on their endless parade of relatives and former friends, and a little more time on the idea in whose defense they chose to kill and maim so many. Let us discuss Islam, not just as an abstract idea, but as a concrete political system. Let us discuss it the way that we discuss the plans and platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties. Let us look at Saudi Arabia, at Pakistan and at the new Egypt to see what this thing that the terrorists would like to impose on us is.

Despite thousands dead, a searching examination of that sort is exactly what the media would like to avoid. It does not want another "Better Red than Dead" or "Better Dead than Red" debate. It wants us to speak of foreign policy as an isolated American act and of random violence as arising from thin air. It does not want us to understand the nature of the struggle. It does not want us to know why we die. It is determined to keep from us the reason why Muslims kill.


  1. I must admit, the whole thing has become ridiculous, like some sort of a Monty Python skit. Something obvious is happening but the talking heads will say anything other than blame Islam. I understand all of their reasoning, so many of their plans and reputations would bite the dust if they just came out and admitted the obvious. It only slightly more puzzling why the populace accepts it to the degree it does.

    These two "boys" were fairly attractive. Girls liked them. I said "How could you not" when referring to having a crush on the younger one. The older one was athletic, a snappy dresser, and drove that class c mercedez that he had acquired by means unknown. But in general Muslims are not baby seals. So why, from Sweden to Canada they are accepted no matter what they do?

    There was an observation I read recently that I will change and paraphrase because it wasn't really about Muslims. Slowly, almost imperceptibly the motivation for defending their right to do anything they want changed from them being too weak to them being too strong.

  2. It was "one said", not "I said" in the above.

  3. Muslims are organized sociopaths - terror is intrinsic to Islam both as a philosophy and as a method of rule.

    Vladimir Lenin would have admired it. Here is pure terror to subjugate the will and enslave the person. Islam has perfected it and to it freedom is an alien concept.

    It rejects democracy and all the plethora of rights and privileges subsumed under it. It only knows constant warfare and never ending death.

    To Islam, the ideal society is a hierarchical one in which all men are subordinated to Allah, then to Mohammed His Messenger and then to Islamic clerics underneath him. Its not known as a religion of mercy.

    We can either submit to the pitiless violence of the harsh desert or take a stand to preserve our freedoms. In our day, the lines between night and day have never been made more clear.

  4. It is time a campaign is started that restores actual World History to our education system. So much of history today is glossed over and sugar coated or just outright missing from the books. When kids learn about the Ottoman Empire today, the word Muslim or Islam is usually missing from the test book. Then they tend to gloss right over the vicious and brutal traits of this Empire. No mention of slaving raids on Western Europeans. No mention of forced Jiyzas paid by Western Nations for false hope of safety. A Sugar coated brief review of two of the most important wars in US History. I challenge anyone reading this, to approach a teenager you know, and ask them if they know who the Barbary Wars were fought against. And if you yourself don't know this answer, look it up first and teach them.

    I am amazed peeking in on the blogosphere to see the opinions of mainly the Left in this country and how absolutely ignorant they are on matters concerning the Middle East. It is inexcusable, the fortune our Nation has wasted on public education and how absolutely ignorant the masses are. We should all be demanding our money back. Knowledge is the greatest power in the world, and the United States of America has been rendered practically powerless.

  5. Anonymous24/4/13

    you said of Islam - "Vladimir Lenin would have admired it."

    Read the Koran - and then read "Mein Kampf".
    Was Hitler a plagiarist?

    But then again, Hitler was very widely read, he read everything, way more than most people know.


  6. Let us look at Saudi Arabia, at Pakistan and at the new Egypt to see what this thing that the terrorists would like to impose on us is.

    And let me add Iran, Sudan, Turkey (just to mention the big ones), etc.

    This is the real point, the one we must focus on or fall into the trap of having to admit that every society and nation use force to maintain order, so how is Islam different?

    Islam has had 1400 years of controlling large populations and powerful nations, and if it had succeeded in producing a genuinely humane and spiritual society, it could show it off.

    The problem with Islam is the goal, not just the means to the goal.

  7. Well said Daniel and the commenters as well! It is like Hitler and the Nazis all over again but on a much broader scale already! Why do people find it so hard to believe when evil people plainly state their goals to take over the world.

  8. How can we learn to trust an enemy whose history and faith despises us for the simple act of being? This is the dilemma Israel faces. Now we hear that the Chechnyan American murderer is suspected of slaughtering three Jews in Boston - this adds an even more frightening dimension to the saga as doing this was not about vigilantism but personal religious revenge (slitting throats as an act of religious validation)!


  9. B-b-b-but I just read this morning that these gentle brothers were subjected to living for awhile with their family on WELFARE, which no doubt damaged their fragile psyches.


    NOW at long last we have the definitive and unquestionable cause-and-effect linkage necessary to determine the motivation and reason as to why (O dear God, WHY??) these poor, tortured souls resorted to their performance-art means of communicating their inner angst and longings.

    (Not to be confused with the ubiquitous “Death to the Infidels!!” longings of those deluded misunderstanders of the Religion of Pieces (a piece of an arm here, a piece of a hand over there, a piece of an eyeball…), peas-and-carrots-be-upon-them.)

  10. Anonymous24/4/13

    Good grief. I'm watching HLN Morning Express right now and they're interviewing two employees from the store these terrorists bought fireworks from. The only thing that seemed out of the ordinary to them was that the men spoke with a Russian accent.

    So now we have to worry about accents. Yet another case of the media dumbing down the situation by interviewing people whose only information is that they're willing to talk to the media.

    Then there's the mantra "If you see something say something." We already know the source of the problem. On a practical level the gov't should be talking more about CERT training (I attended a brief lecture on it). It's a lot more practical than worrying about accents.

    What is the answer to this mess? Knowing what behaviors to be on the look out for? Heavy immigration reform? Military state? Heavy online surveillance? All of the above? We all know the source of the problem. What do we do about it?


  11. Anonymous24/4/13

    The mainstream media are the propaganda agents for the administration, and more broadly for the entire Leftist/liberal/progressive movement. Everything they publish or broadcast is devoted to advancing the same anti-American cause.

    If you have kids in school, watch their curriculum like a hawk and intervene as needed. Or homeschool the kids.

  12. When people lose a sense of personal efficacy. they will watch, and be entertained by, any character who takes sudden decisive action, even if that character, and the action, are evil.

    Hence the popularity of stories, either fact or fiction, based on gangsters, serial killers, or their mystical equivalent, vampires, the living dead, etc.

    Another giant intellectual step down is the graphic, 'torture porn', genre steeped in blood and stupidity.

    If you look at movies from the 30s, 40s, and to some degree the 50s, they were built around characters, often good people, who had exciting opportunities fraught with difficulty, who faced real moral dilemmas. and who had a sense that life is a grand adventure.

    This kind of story telling is now passé since according to the Left, no one is supposed to have any values on which to base their actions. For the Leftist subjectivist, everything is simply a matter of opinion.

    And adventure requires opportunity to act and a chance to make your own choices, concepts which the Left is out to destroy.

    So the only real characters allowed in most modern stories must be crippled by drugs, alcohol, or the latest 'hot' abused substance.

    We live in a society that is, thanks to the efforts of the Left, increasingly authoritarian.

    Even the most obtuse among us have a sense, perhaps subconscious, that we are losing all personal efficacy and are simply supposed to wait for the crude authoritarian of the moment, read elected officials, to tell us what to do.

    Hence our escape to any story that shows anybody doing anything. Such an escape is a momentary relief from a real world that is a dull faded remnant of what life was once like in America.

  13. Anonymous24/4/13

    The fact that for days the lead story on virtually all media outlets pertains to the perpetrators of the Boston bombing is problematic. The concurrent loss of life in the Texas fertilizer plant explosion got very limited media follow-up ... yet in it several times more people were killed. It is as though the media considers a terrorist death (at least in America) as ascendant news.

    Perhaps we need simply to have a universal acceptance of the horror of such acts; and to recognize that our commentary focus on the act and not on the actors (and this goes for the nuts that perpetrated the horrid acts of the French, Russian and Chinese Revolutions). Several things might follow:

    1. ANONYMITY: The actual name of evil men (both the given name or pseudonyms like Lenin or Stalin) should be stricken from use under penalty of punishment. In other words, the press and historians would go to jail if they make reference to an actual name. Perhaps we'd develop a number to identify one from the other. These nuts need to know in advance that they will be completely erased from history.

    Think a moment about the fact that for every person that can name a cabinet member of Lincoln's administration, perhaps 10 to 50 people can name his assassin. Certain anonymity would surely be to a deterrent to at least some degree.

    2. PUNISHMENT. The legal system needs adjustment. First, the crime itself should be the only matter in consideration. Whether one was a religious fanatic or legally insane or an enemy combatant should be irrelevant; at least through a determination of guilt. And second, there ought to be "prompt execution" policies which would require that caught-in-the-act perpetrators be executed within some limited number of days following the crime (10 or not more than 30 days). It is simply nuts that lawyers enrich themselves parsing for dozens of months events or personalities surrounding the Colorado cinema killer or the Ft Hood shooter.

    3. ASSOCIATION: Over time if a pattern develops such as that most of the killers are Muslim Fanatics, then the civilized world's response should be directed, in part, to where ever or what ever hosts, encourages or engenders Muslim fanatics. And mere boycotts are not what is intended. More, such as complete suspension of foreign aid and denial of travel into or within the civilized world; and more preferable: bombing of the infrastructure of whatever can be tied to the perpetrators.


  14. Anonymous24/4/13

    Excellent commentary .
    I wish i had a gift for words like Mr. Greenfield does. But alas i do not so i'll use other's words.

    "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
    Anne Lamott

    "The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true."
    J. Robert Oppenheimer

    "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."
    H. L. Mencken

  15. Anonymous24/4/13

    I understand what you're saying Doug. However during WW II there was a blend of stories from the positive, light Hollywood musicals to the very dark black and white films coming from script writers/directors/producers who fled Eastern Europe.

    We do live in a world of light and dark, good and evil. I like to watch the dark horror films from the 30s as they seem much more in tune with what was happening in the world at the time. I would much rather watch horror at the movies than go through volumes of accounts of actual horrors in the world.

    Which is not to say I don't utterly enjoy beautiful music and many beautiful and deeply spiritual things in the world.


  16. Anonymous24/4/13

    Quoting your blog: "It does not want us to understand the nature of the struggle. It does not want us to know why we die. It is determined to keep from us the reason why Muslims kill."
    Where is it written in the Islam faith any of this violence you allege is part of the faith? It would be easier to accept what you claim if you had anything to back it up that is a formal, written part of Islam. The Koran does not advocate violence. Have you read it? I am not a Muslum - I have little use for any formal religion but I am willing to listen to good arguments based on facts. Yes, the Muslims oppress women but so do many cultures and religions. The Middle East and Europe have been at war long before either the Christian or Muslim religion were invented. Sociopaths are 1 in 25 in the human population around the world - they are born that way and they account for much of the evil in the world. Please present me with a cogent argument.

  17. Anonymous24/4/13


    Come out, come out. Islam is a religion of peace. Nothing to be frightened about.


  18. " The actual name of evil men (both the given name or pseudonyms like Lenin or Stalin) should be stricken from use under penalty of punishment."

    No. You have to remember what they did.

    People kill because as Jeremiah says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

  19. Anonymous25/4/13

    For a cogent arguement, go to "thereligionofpeace.com." For extra credit, read "The Legacy of Jihad" by Andrew Bostom. Those students scanning the blog "Creeping Sharia" at least a few times a week will find that most of the material that will be on the final exam is covered there.

    Naivete' is no excuse for a low grade. Those who claim not enough time for preparation will not receive extra time to prepare.

  20. Who says it better than Mr. Greenfield?

    Mr. Greenfield, I read all your articles, but I don't comment much, because all I can say is that you're absolutely right, everything you write is a new timeless quote, and you're the greatest political writer alive.

    May G-d bless you and your work. Keep spreading the truth, and if I knew any better way to support your message than sharing it on facebook and with family, I would.

    You are a hero of truth and a scholar, may your words be one day read by many millions.

  21. Gaucho26/4/13

    "Mr. Greenfield, (...) you're the greatest political writer alive."

    I agree!

    "if I knew any better way to support your message"

    112, have you noticed the tip cup drawing on the upper left under 'SUPPORT' ? You can donate to him on PayPal there. Also, I suppose if we use the Amazon links on this page he gets some cut.

  22. Well done article.

    Linked it to my site through American Thinker. Things have certainly gotten out of hand here.

    Obama's ideology led to the policies that let the terrorists operate with impunity.

    That is the big coverup we are seeing. All politics, all the time in this administration.


  23. Anonymous28/4/13

    I find it incredible that we are glamorizing the Boston Butchers! Both the Tsarnaev Brothers should be loathed as the evil, criminal murderers they are. But, they already have their fans. FREE DJOHKAR T-shirts are already available on the internet. Maybe DJOHKAR will replace CHE as the quintessential college dorm "poster child." We celebrate EVIL. WE are enamored with killers, butchers and oppressors of women. It's what Liberal Socialism is all about. What's good is bad, what BAD is GOOD.

  24. Anonymous28/4/13

    it's the unintended consequences of a long struggle by the left. this video will explain it all.


  25. Anonymous28/4/13

    You hit the nail on the head perfectly with this:

    "Its fundamental expression is public. In private, it withers and dies."

    Don't know if anybody's ever said it better.

  26. Anonymous28/4/13

    Islam is not a religion. It is an ideology. Avery nasty ideology as it gives the Muslims check list of how they view life and the world around them. I once said there are no moderates in Islam: the 'moderate' holds the feet while the radical chops off the head. Called a bigot on that one. Have you ever heard one peep or read a line calling the 'rads among us' out by 'a moderate' Muslim? Me neither.

  27. Great article Mr. Greenfield! Now to the real problem: How do we deal with a government so incredibly obtuse re Muslims?

  28. Anonymous28/4/13

    if yours were a healty society there should have been an all-out anti-muslim rage like the ones in Burma where buddhists didn't sit down waiting for their government to crackdown on them for being islamophobes, or to be blow up in pieces like Americans these days.

  29. As an infidel dog, you must now be beheaded on You Tube.

  30. Rod Freeman5/5/13

    "When it comes to the Weather Underground, the media is eager to discuss their ends, but not their
    means. And when it comes to the Tsarnaevs, the media will discuss their means, but not their ends."

    The clearest summary of the media's response to terrorists I've read yet.


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