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Holy Smoke!

Yesterday, the Boston Globe featured a column by James Carroll, one that discussed the damage done to religious places during war -- usually by design. He uses the attacks on the Askariya Mosque in Iraq, then branches out into other incidents, including the famous Taliban destruction of the giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan.

I know it's a short column, but there are a few other incidents that, I think, bear some relevance on the matter.

  • For example, during World War II, the Nazis occupied the area surrounding (and, according to some accounts, within) the Monte Cassino monastery in Italy. The historic site commanded a very strategic location, so the Allies had no choice but to level it.
  • In Jerusalem today, Palestinians occupying the Temple Mount are digging underneath, trying to unearth and destroy all traces of the Jewish Temples that were twice built there and twice destroyed. Israeli archaeologists have recovered countless artifacts from the dump where the Palestinians are disposing them.
  • Also in the Palestinian territories, Hamas has held press conferences and displayed its military ordnance in mosques.
  • In 2002, Palestinian Muslims fled into the Church of the Nativity (a Christian church) to escape the Israeli Army (Jewish, of course) and occupied the building for weeks until negotiations finally won most of them free passage out of the region.
  • In Iraq, mosques have been used as fighting positions and ammo dumps.

Hmm... I think I sense a trend. Setting aside the first example, all the above -- and several of Carroll's points -- all revolve around the same thing: militant Muslims tend to have little or no respect for the sanctity of religious places. They freely express their contempt for the holy places of others, and use their own for militant operations.

I'm sure that I'm reading too much into this, of course. After all, Islam is a religion of peace.

Comments (36)

If I remember my law of arm... (Below threshold)

If I remember my law of armed conflict briefings, if a church/temple/mosque has weapons stored in it or has people actively shooting at you from inside it, it no longer retains the protection of a sanctuary and becomes a viable target.

Of course the Media wont see the weapons or the armed militants using it for cover, just that the US Military Blew up a house of worship to further oppress those valiant freedom fighters

Americans have a sound sens... (Below threshold)

Americans have a sound sense of fair play.
Assymetric warfare is unfair.
Democrats aren't sound Americans.

That's assymetric logic, folks.

The Mosques aren't being... (Below threshold)

The Mosques aren't being used as Jihad headquarters, they are the headquarters. We are at war with a religion of death, a fact nobody seems to want to face.

Not to worry, it's just a <... (Below threshold)

Not to worry, it's just a bumper sticker.

So when Christians and Jews... (Below threshold)

So when Christians and Jews destroy a religious shrine it's because evil people inside are using it as a hiding place. When Muslims destroy a religious shrine its because good people inside are hiding there. Good analysis JT.

By the way, you forgot the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Waco, Texas, 1993.

Leveling Monte Cassino was ... (Below threshold)

Leveling Monte Cassino was a military mistake, as it made overtaking the mountain very difficult. All of the known structures of the monastary became unknown rubble, which was easier for the defenders to hide in and defend.

"After all, Islam is a reli... (Below threshold)

"After all, Islam is a religion of peace."

Yes, and Bubba is honest, Hilliary sincere, Edwards homeless, and after Gore pollutes the air flying all over the world, he donates his book profits to big oil.... What a wonderful world!!


This is a Holy War, plain a... (Below threshold)

This is a Holy War, plain and simple. They want to kill us because of our beliefs. And for you atheists and agnostics for your unbelief. The muslims have no respect for our faith because it is not islam. ww

"So when Christians and Jew... (Below threshold)

"So when Christians and Jews destroy a religious shrine it's because evil people inside are using it as a hiding place. When Muslims destroy a religious shrine its because good people inside are hiding there. Good analysis JT."

You going to back that up with stories of large weapons caches and militant operations staged in churches or synagoges? Yeah, didn't think so.

Moron relativism.

There is a HUGE difference ... (Below threshold)

There is a HUGE difference between destroying a mosque, and destroying a church or synagogue.

Destroy a mosque and you get secondary explosions.


Your site sucks... (Below threshold)

Your site sucks

Islam is no more a religion... (Below threshold)

Islam is no more a religion than Nazism/communism was/is a religion. It is a creed designed to enslave the people and enrich the war lords and give them total control of people's lives. 17th century garbage still practiced today. Only the brainwashed, simple minded or criminals practice Islam and they do it under threat of death.

Hey Scrap,I see yo... (Below threshold)

Hey Scrap,

I see your analysis (with which I wholly agree) and raise you some clarity (as I see it, of course): Under Western definitions, Islam is not, nor has been, a religion. It's an ideology; since it does not separate church from state (which is why it is so important to do so, and why the Framers made a big to-do about it).

I do think that there are good muslims in the world; just as there are good people in most faiths. It's just that, with any religion, when you run into a fundamentalist interpretation of such, you get all of this silliness. Especially silly when the doctrine/dogma/ultimate goal lends itself to a definition of world domination.

I don't believe that only the brainwashed, simple minded and/or criminals follow Islam; it's just that those people are the only ones who are willing to use Islam as a weapon (of mass destruction, I might ... just to give Lee something to wet himself over) to strike out against their inability/unwillingness to fit into the modern world.

You see the same crap with the David Koreshes of the world.

Islam, as a religion, is akin to Christianity prior to the reformation -- it's still not quite baked yet. There's hope, but we need to eliminate the fundamentalists who are retarding the spiritual growth of such.

Over a fairly long peroid, ... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Over a fairly long peroid, Lenin confiscated many churches for museums and destroyed others in a campaign to eliminate religion.

Mao did the same and isn't it odd that Iran - ground zero for islamic fundamentalism - now accepts aid in the form of arms from China, the place that would have none of it.

Apparently it is better to have no religion than to have the "wrong" one.

Whoa, YO!Islam is ... (Below threshold)

Whoa, YO!

Islam is NOTHING like Christianity, even prior to the Reformation, which was an overhaul of the Roman Catholic Church and its corrupt practices (such as the sale of indulgences and had NO connection with anything in the Bible), not Christianity per se.

I'm sure the US and the Bri... (Below threshold)

I'm sure the US and the British missed every church during the carpet bombing of German in WWII, and all Japanese temples were protected from the atomic blasts.

Let's not even get started on sacred Indian lands.

You missed the WHOLE point ... (Below threshold)

You missed the WHOLE point Barney. Duh. War is war. Stop the terrorists (Hitler, Osama, Saddam) and you'll stop the bombing of buildings by BOTH the bad guys (Hitler, Osama, Saddam) killing innocent people and the good guys (US, Briton, and many more) stopping them.

It's really sad when the bad guys have to be defined for the liberals in here.

That's right steak we don't... (Below threshold)

That's right steak we don't hide in churches we just torture people.

Barney,would you rat... (Below threshold)

would you rather be tortured by:
Water boarding or electrocution?
Loud Music or burned with hot irons?
wearing womens panties or having your flesh striped off your body?
Miss treatment of an alleged Holy Book or having your head sawed off your body while you are still alive? (Your aware when they start too!)
YOUR CHOICE, But you only get one chance to choose which side you would prefer to be captured by.

Hell the guys who go through the Air Crew Survival training are subjected to worse than those individuals that are at Gitmo.

Ah, Barney. Here to equate ... (Below threshold)

Ah, Barney. Here to equate a few soldiers playing naked arab jenga with terrorists beheading people.

Moron eqivalence.

I also see you're trying to change the topic from Islamists using religious places deliberately for military purposes to blaming America for.. well, everything, as usual.

I'm nominating you for Biggest Douche in the Universe Award. I'm sure they'll be along shortly to collect you.

(Sorry, I couldn't find the SP clip, but this will do.)

Goddess,from the s... (Below threshold)


from the stand-point of beliefs and the like, I'll agree that two "religions" aren't alike - even though Islam (in my opinion) is based on a moshed rejiggering of the Torah and Bible, and is, at its essence, a convenient religious do-over which allowed Mohammad to twist the belief system of tribal folk into a force for a dynastic, and bigoted power grab - but I digress.

So, no ... Islam and Christianity aren't alike, on that level, but the tactics used by the RCC, and the control the church wanted over the population, then, is much like the desired goal that we're seeing from Islamists, today.

They'd very much like to see something akin to (only larger than) the Holy Roman Empire, and, at times, use the same tactics to attain their goals.

My main point being that Christianity has matured beyond all of that silliness while Islam, for the most part, has not.

Of course there are religio... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Of course there are religious structures being destroyed. This is primarily a civil war between Sunni and Shia forces for control of the country, and since these are terrorists they'll target places which will cause the greatest emotional trauma to their enemies.

Since it is my choice drew,... (Below threshold)

Since it is my choice drew, I choose to be captured by the Swedish Bikini Team.

Damn, I forgot about... (Below threshold)

I forgot about them
Curse them and thier curvacious, tanned, oiled, skantily clad ...um err ah what were we talking about?

Yo, your comparisons are fa... (Below threshold)

Yo, your comparisons are fairly ignorant. A violent minority of muslem fanatics destroy cultures and declare that infidels must die because Islam is the one any only true religion. I believe a majority of muslims quitly agree with that assuption and some of them want Islam to prevail no matter what. I have yet to see ONE anti terrorists rally of significance in this country by muslims. Not one. Why is that? ww

WWFEAR... (Below threshold)


"we don't hide in churches ... (Below threshold)

"we don't hide in churches we just torture people."

Barney, "we"? why do you torture people??? I don't.

well, maybe with the truth.... (Below threshold)

well, maybe with the truth....


ww,I don't see the... (Below threshold)


I don't see them as ignorant, I'm either not stating my argument properly, or you may simply not agree.

Of course a majority of Muslims want Islam to win out (as it were); but, then, so do a lot of Christians. People will always side up with whatever matches their belief system.

And, in this "clash of civilizations" who do you want to win? Like me, you want Western Civ to win out, but what is Western Civ if not a Judeo-Christian concept?

The fact that we're not seeing anti-terrorism rallies from the moderates only feeds into my point that Islam, as an ideology and as a foundation of belief, simply has not progressed out of the dark ages.

They want their side to prevail, which is understandable, but they're willing to accept barbarism as a tool to achieve such, which is not acceptable - based on our belief system(s).

Goddess's point re: the Roman Catholic Church is well founded. The Reformation was enacted to push out corruption of the church. In short: a CTRL+ALT+DEL on Christianity.

Islam needs one of those. It's high time that Muslims take a long look at what the fanatics are doing, and what the moderates are allowing and see how that fits into this modern world of various religions; and make changes accordingly.

If anything, I was complimenting Christians for being able to make the necessary changes, and for doing so centuries ago.

Christians no longer accept burning people at the stake whereas Muslims don't all think sawing someone's head off with a butcher knife is all that bad.

'Peace' ? I thought it was ... (Below threshold)

'Peace' ? I thought it was 'peas'. Damn those homonyms! That doesn't really make any better sense though.

how easy it makes the lives... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

how easy it makes the lives of so many to make simple value judgments..In wars and occupations it is always the civilians and their property that die, suffer and is destroyed...
Because we are a really recent nation we have been spared much of this ...outside of course of our conquering and destroying the tribal nations here...and the burning of Atlanta..

Fanatics are found in every culture and religion..
Destruction is their purpose...is there any difference between Tim Mcveigh and those who were responsible on 9/11?

Islam, Judaism and Christians all share the old Testiment...eye for and eye crap...

As humans we are all capable of magnificent kindness and we are all capable of unimaginable horror...as I believe in evolution..I am optimistic that we will evolve beyond the unimaginable horror...

is there any diffe... (Below threshold)
is there any difference between Tim Mcveigh and those who were responsible on 9/11?

So "why" doesn't matter?

Islam, Judaism and Christia... (Below threshold)

Islam, Judaism and Christians all share the old Testiment...eye for and eye crap...

Nogo...you've misinterpreted this biblical line...what it actually refers to is that the eye of a wealthy, powerful man is just as important as the eye of a poor man. It really is meant to show that we are all equal. It does NOT mean that you should blind a man for blinding another. This is a misinterpretation.

Don't try to talk politics ... (Below threshold)

Don't try to talk politics or religion to the lefties. It just confuses the daylights out of them.

For as bad as Saddam's regi... (Below threshold)

For as bad as Saddam's regime was they weren't targeting religious institutions with bombings like this. Yes, they cracked down, arrested, harassed the Shia but didn't destroy their mosques.

Where is the public outcry by Muslims about what al Qaeda and their affiliates are doing in Iraq?

Where is the public outc... (Below threshold)
Dumb Question:

Where is the public outcry by Muslims about what al Qaeda and their affiliates are doing in Iraq?

It takes the form of bullets and bombs.






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