Last week in Saudi Arabia, terrorists affiliated with Al Qaida took more than 50 foreigners captive at one of the major foreign worker compounds situated in Khobar on the Persian Gulf. Before Saudi commandos could counter-attack, twenty-two of the hostages were killed, of which nine had their throats cut when they tried to escape. One captive was murdered and his body dragged for a mile behind a car.
An Iraqi-American was spared after being asked to prove he was Muslim. “Don’t be afraid, they told me. We won’t kill Muslims — even if you are American,” reported Abu Hashemed in the New York Post.
The favorite method of killing infidels — Christians, called “Crusaders” by the terrorists, and Jews — is apparently by ritual throat slitting. That was done in Pakistan to Danny Pearl and in Afghanistan to Nicholas Berg, both of whom were videotaped having their throats slit by their killers for worldwide distribution.
Where is the worldwide condemnation of these latest killings by the political and religious leaders of Muslim countries? Where are the U.N. resolutions sponsored by France and Germany condemning what occurred? Can you imagine the denunciations from world leaders if the U.S., Britain or Israel perpetrated acts even half as savage? Of course you can. The vilification of the U.S., in addition to the opprobrium directed at the individuals who actually perpetuated the tortures at the Abu Ghraib prison, continues week after week with pictures old and new in nearly constant rerun — not only in the Arab media, but on American television by American reporters and commentators.
We are appalled at what took place in our name at Abu Gharib and the U.S. military command is bent on identifying and punishing all who participated in the tortures, from top to bottom. Compare how the Muslim world reacts to outrages committed by their own.
Not only are terrorists often not punished by Moslem governmental authorities, they are to the contrary treated as freedom fighters by hundreds of millions of Muslims throughout the world. There are more than a billion Muslims, and the hundreds of millions who regard Osama bin Laden and his followers as heroes may still be a minority. Nevertheless, it is shameful that Muslim governments permit the teaching of hate against foreigners in schools and mosques, which leads to the killing of innocent civilians simply because of their religion.
Edward I. Koch, who served as mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989, is a partner in the law firm of Bryan Cave.