"We in America know the benevolence that is at the heart of Islam." Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said in 2005 at the United States State Department's annual Ramadan dinner. (I don't know why I still bother with italics as though they actually underscore something out of the ordinary, but I do.)
"Really?" I asked in The Death of the Grown-Up. "Is that what we know? Is that what history tells us? Is that what current events tell us? Rice's speechifying ... made a wicked contrast to real live Ramadan '05 headlines," which included a Muslim suicide bombing in Hadera that killed six Israelis, Ahmadinejad's promise that "the stain of disgrace" -- meaning Israel-- would be "purged from the center of the Islamic world," weeks of Muslim rioting in Paris, "and the news that a London Underground suicide bomber had been buried in Pakistan ... at the shrine of an Islamic saint."
This last bit came back to me on seeing this video at Vlad Tepes showing French police in riot gear lined up to prevent Muslim women in Toulouse, France from doing an act best described as satanic -- laying flowers at the childhood home of the monster Mohamed Merah, who notoriously confessed to having felt unending pleasure at murdering seven people recently, including three soldiers, a rabbi and three children, among them 7-year-old Miriam Monsenego (above), who ran in terror from Merah before he grabbed her by the hair and shot her in the head. Are the women who tried to place flowers at Merah's "extremists"? "Islamists"? "Islamo-facsists"? Have they "hijacked" a great religion? I regret to inform you that they are simply following its example.
Looking up the London Bomber incident to refresh my memory, I found a ghoulish update. In 2008, family and friends of the killer gathered in Pakistan on the 7/7 anniversary for a banquet to celebrate his life -- just as they had done in previous years. Shezah Tanweer, like Mohamed Merah, personally killed seven people (out of the 52 killed in four bombing attacks), terrorized masses more, and destroyed forever an aspect of the sanctity of life on this earth. He is honored in Pakistan; Merah, so far, is not permitted -- by force of riot police -- to be so honored in France. Give France time.
For the record, from the Daily Mail, July 2008:
Relatives of Shehzad Tanweer, who is buried there, staged the feast to 'celebrate his life' and 'remember him as a martyr' on the third anniversary of the terror attacks which killed 52 people and injured many more.
Yesterday the families of the victims reacted with outrage to the secret ceremony held at the village where 70 guests gathered to offer prayers and blessings for the suicide bomber whose grave is considered to be a 'shrine of a big saint'.
Bradford-born Tanweer, whose father emigrated from Pakistan and ran a chip shop in Leeds, detonated his bomb at Aldgate station on July 7, 2005, killing seven innocent people as well as himself.
Together with Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, Hasib Hussain,18, and 19-year-old Jermaine Lindsay, the four bombers blew up three Underground trains and a bus.
As thousands mourned in Britain yesterday, in Pakistan there were prayers uttered for his soul and verses of the Koran were read out.
At the commemorative dinner held by Tanweer's uncle, 42-year-old property developer Tahir Pervez at his home in Samundari, guests were treated to two courses of sweet rice and salted rice with curry and beef prepared by a renowned local chef.
And to mark the occasion, rice was distributed among villagers. For the last two years, the family gathering has been held in secret at his grave, but this year police urged the family not to hold a memorial at the site. ...
The story doesn't explain police efforts to confine the celebrations. Unseemly? Getting out of hand? Doesn't say.
The celebration happened on the same day that hundreds of mourners gathered at the four sites, Russell Square, Aldgate and Edgware Road Tube stations, and Tavistock Square, where the bombers struck.
Yesterday relatives of the victims condemned the celebration.
Pamela Bond, whose son Jamie Gordon, 30, died in the Tavistock Square blast (picture below), said: 'It's so bad I can't take it in. To celebrate a "martyr"? It's just too horrible. But we can't do anything about it.