Unhappy Anniversary

It was a big week for anniversaries in Islamic terror.

With all the “Occupy movement” mayhem dominating the news last week, along with the media salivation over sexual improprieties ascribed to Herman Cain and Justin Bieber, and the continued fallout from Kim Kardashian’s divorce announcement diverting media attention from the hell being unleashed in the name of Islam in Nigeria, three grim anniversaries in the clash of Islam and the West passed last week with little-to-no public fanfare.

On October 31 a year ago, five members of al Qaeda scaled the walls of Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation Cathedral and opened fire on the congregation, leaving 42 martyred and wounding more then 100 in the massacre. The dead included three children, two priests and a pregnant woman. Survivors later said that the attackers told them they were “infidels” and “had to be killed.” The terrorists blew themselves up, but others who planned the attacks were later arrested.

Asked why they did it, their response was curiously devoid of the political grievances and poverty so often assumed to be the motivations for terrorism in the name of Islam. “You (Christians) are all ‘kafara,’” came the answer. “That is, ‘infidels,’ and we (Muslims) cannot coexist with you.”

The worshippers killed were remembered as martyrs, and prayers were offered up on behalf of Iraq’s still besieged Christian community in an intimate memorial mass held at Rome's Santa Maria della Concezione Church. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Vatican official in charge of Eastern Catholic Churches, honored the memory of the victims and expressed hope for better times:

This situation in the Church is difficult — being a minority and being the object of terrorist attacks and violent acts even within the very church walls. But, it has also brought with it, on the other hand, the fact that the blood of those who have died will certainly be the seed of hope and life for the future.

On November 4 two years ago, jihadist and United States Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, shouting “Allahu Akhbar” as he methodically mowed down dozens, wounding over thirty and killing fourteen (among the thirteen adults was a soldier three months pregnant). In the buildup to that preventable massacre, the military brass shamefully turned a blind eye to Hasan’s increasingly and overtly radical behavior.

In conversations with other soldiers he questioned whether the “war on terror” was actually a war on Islam. Fellow students said he suggested that shariah trumped the Constitution, and that he also attempted to justify suicide bombings. He gave a PowerPoint presentation that inexplicably focused not on his field of medical expertise, but on jihad. His obsession with “violent Islamic extremism” was known to his superiors, who simply whitewashed it in the name of multiculturalism and diversity. Indeed, in the aftermath of the shooting, Army General George Casey said that “as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” Worse.

Hasan’s trial is set for March. Meanwhile, no public memorials were planned at Fort Hood to mark the second anniversary of the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation, an act that the Obama administration and military officials have done their best to avoid even labeling as terrorism. Instead, some of the victims’ families met informally in a small private ceremony outside the fence now surrounding the boarded-up building where the shootings occurred. A large public ceremony isn't necessary, they say, as they find their own ways of honoring their relatives. “The thing I've heard a lot of families who've lost people in Iraq and in Afghanistan (say) is that they just don't want people to forget,” said Kerry Cahill, whose father was murdered trying to stop Hasan:

People don't bring it up because they don't want to remind you — well, I remind myself every day. I don't want people to forget that it happened, and I don't want people to forget my father.

On November 4, 1979 – exactly thirty years before the Fort Hood shooting – Iranian students inspired by the America-hating Ayatollah Khomeini stormed the United States embassy in Tehran, taking 66 Americans hostage and holding 52 of them for 444 days in a diplomatic crisis that only ended at the moment Ronald Reagan completed his inaugural address after being sworn in as President.

It was America’s first real showdown with Islamic fundamentalism, and then-President Jimmy Carter blinked. First came a series of increasingly humiliating concessions and failed negotiations. Then came an ill-fated rescue mission that almost literally never got off the ground, in the wake of which Khomeini's prestige skyrocketed as he credited divine intervention from Allah for it. Meanwhile the hostages were treated abysmally, despite being reassured by their captors that they were “guests of the Ayatollah” (the title of Mark Bowden’s riveting book on the subject).

Since the Iranian revolution and the taking of the embassy hostages, Iran has gone on to become the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and is currently racing toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons, with which it threatens to wipe Israel from the map, utterly upend the balance of power in the Middle East, and hold America hostage anew to its apocalyptic madness. (Despite this, when presidential candidate Ron Paul was asked recently what he thought was the best way to deter Iran’s nuclear program, he said “maybe offering friendship to them.”)

Unlike the Baghdad massacre of Christian infidels, which was commemorated with “an intimate memorial mass,” and the Fort Hood massacre, which was remembered in a private ceremony, the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis passed virtually forgotten. If only all three grim anniversaries had attracted more public attention, perhaps they would serve as sobering reminders that we are locked in an existential conflict with Islamic supremacism – something that too many in our government and media would rather ignore.

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