Expert explains disturbing logic of beheadings by Muslim extremists

Expert explains disturbing logic of beheadings by Muslim extremists


The recent beheading of American Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia by Muslim extremists is not simply an attack against Americans but one in a stream of attacks against Christians and “infidels,” says Paul Marshall in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard.

The senior fellow at Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom and Islam expert wrote an article on the subject, called “War against the Infidels: The message behind the beheadings.” It appears in the July 5 edition of the publication.

In his article, Marshall states that the extremists, whose beheadings of two Americans and one South Korean have made headlines recently, have many more enemies than the Americans and a much larger goal than simply crippling the oil industry in Saudi Arabia. Their goal is to rid the Muslim world of “infidels” or unbelievers of Islam, argues Marshall.

This goal is clearly expressed in a quote that Marshall cites in his article. He reports that the man who claimed responsibility for Johnson’s death, Abdelaziz al-Muqrin, said: "We renew our determination to repel the crusader forces and their arrogance, to liberate the land of Muslims, to apply sharia [Islamic law] and cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of infidels."

Al-Muqrin, who was reportedly killed June 18, also claimed responsibility for the May 29 massacre of 22 people in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

Marshall’s article includes excerpts from a chilling interview with a Saudi terrorist about the massacre in Khobar, published in full on the al Qaeda-linked Web site, Sawt Al-Jihad, and translated from Arabic by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

In the interview, the Muslim extremist recounts how the terrorists dragged a British man naked behind a car, shot an American businessman in the head, slit the throats of a South African, an Italian and several Hindus, beheaded a Swede and put his head at the gate, and cut the throats of several Filipino Christians, dedicating them “to our brothers the Mujahideen in the Philippines.”

“That same day, we purged Muhammad's land of many Christians and polytheists,” the terrorist was quoted as saying.

Beheadings not about Iraq, foreign policy

Extremists have killed those they consider “infidels” or “polytheists”, regardless of their involvement in the coalition in Iraq, says Marshall in the Weekly Standard.

The author of “Islam at the Crossroads” points out that most of the Islamist terrorists' victims are Asian and Middle Eastern Christians, Muslims, and Hindus. For several years, extremists have also victimized Muslims who do not share their vision, writes Marshall, citing the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat in Algeria and Sudan's National Islamic Front.

These killings are not about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Israel, U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, or current foreign policy, writes Marshall in the Weekly Standard, but rather, “an apocalyptic war to purge the world of all but [the extremists’] version of Islam.

“Al Qaeda's enemy is anyone who opposes its program for the restoration of a unified Muslim ummah, … organized to wage jihad on the rest of the world,” writes Marshall in the Weekly Standard.

“The lesson of Riyadh, Khobar, and Paul Marshall Johnson is that we can resist this program, in which case, tragically, we may well see more videos of beheadings. Or we can acquiesce to this program and see a great many more beheadings,” he writes in the Weekly Standard. “These are the choices.

“We are in a war we must win,” he continues. “Everything else is wishful thinking.”

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