EDITORIAL: The Islamist pyramid scheme

Extremists seek to erase history and create the future

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Radical Muslims want to tear down Egypt’s pyramids and take over the world. The least the rest of us can do is take them seriously.

Islamist political victories in Egypt have invigorated the debate in certain circles over what to do with the country’s historical sites, or as the extremists call them, the symbols of pagan idolatry. The most pious Muslim theologians do not see the ancient statues, carvings and pyramids as important tourist destinations so much as affronts to their beliefs. Bahraini Sunni leader Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud called on the Egyptians to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what [Egypt’s Muslim conqueror] Amr bin al-As could not.” Abdel Moneim Al-Shahat, a leading member of Egypt’s radical Nour party, suggested that should the pyramids be too difficult to dismantle, structures that have stood for five millennia ought at least be covered in wax to hide them from view.

Others plan to bring this same degree of common sense and tolerance to the rest of the world. This week a group called the United Muslim Nations International released a 23-page pamphlet entitled “The Global Islamic Civilization: The Power of a Nation Revived” which outlines a plan for Islamic world domination. The group’s leader, Sheik Farook al-Mohammedi, writes in the plan that “Christianity should be destroyed and wiped from the face of the earth,” along with all faiths other than Islam. He maintains that “submission to Allah” will be the future of the “Islamic State of America” and “Eurabia” and other parts of the world not currently under the sway of Shariah. This type of grandiose vision is certainly nothing new in radical circles, as al Qaeda has been pursuing its global domination plan for years. Although Sheik Farook al-Mohammedi is a lesser-known extremist with a miniscule following who is unlikely to surmount the Caliph’s throne, he’s still dangerous. The best and the brightest likewise scoffed at misfits like Hitler, Lenin and Mao — until the secret police arrived.

Where fanatics hold sway, they implement their plans as well as they can. In dusty Timbuktu, Mali, militants have systematically destroyed tombs and shrines that they consider idolatrous. Eight of 16 ancient mausoleums in the city have been torn apart by local radicals of the Ansar Dine group. Ironically the destruction is taking place at the 14th century Djingareyber mosque, which shows that not even Muslim sites are off limits, if they happened to be erected by insufficiently orthodox Islamic sects.

The world was also horrified this week by a viral video showing a Taliban executioner shooting a burqa-clad woman nine times as a mob of men chanted “God is great!” The woman was allegedly accused of adultery, but may have simply been the victim of a Taliban leader’s jealousy. What the video showed is the rule, not the exception.

Lest anyone dismiss the notion that any government would be so foolish as to destroy the only surviving ancient wonder of the world, the threat is real. The Taliban set the modern standard when they ruled Afghanistan. In 2001, they dynamited the monumental, 1,500-year-old Buddha statues carved into a mountain face at Bamiyan. If the radicals ever are allowed the chance of fulfilling their ultimate dreams, Mt. Rushmore won’t be far behind.

 The Washington Times

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