Why do they hate us? (and why do we care?)

Israel Insider, Israel
Aug 4 2004

Why do they hate us? (and why do we care?)
By Patrick D O’Brien August 4, 2004

Originally published by IsraPundit.

This is a topic that doesn’t relate directly to Israel, although it
does affects people’s attitudes about the morality of Israel’s (as
well as the United States’) defense of its citizens against Islamic
terror. So to preclude any confusion, henceforth when I use the term
“we,” it will be in reference to both Israel and AmericaĂ‘two nations
united in democracy and strong western values like freedom, justice,
love of life, and opportunity.

I believe that now more than ever, many Americans are acutely aware
of the special affinity between our nation and Israel. I think that
some Americans are starting to “get it” when it comes to the deadly
menace of Islamofascism which Israel has been up against for decades.
I am somewhat ashamed that it took a cataclysmic event of the
magnitude we saw in the 9/11 attacks, but I honestly feel that many
of us now have a much greater appreciation for what our brothers and
sisters in Israel have been living with for so long.

As human beings, we instinctively think causally. It’s absurd to
assert that anything “just happens.” So, we automatically look for
the causes of the effects we see around us. The stunning effects of
terror cry out deafeningly out for a reason. As far as I’m concerned,
terror is the pinnacle of man’s depravity. As for the definition of
terror, I use Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d), which

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated
violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational
groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an

The term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving the
territory or the citizens of more than one country.

Ă‘ The term “terrorist group” means any group that practices, or has
significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.

When we here in the west are faced with the monstrous nature of
terror, we are forced to somehow make sense of the senseless. We
search for a reason behind this madness; we search for the now
proverbial “root cause.” I think sometimes we naively forget that,
irrespective of grievance or cause, there is no excuse for the
intentional murder of unarmed innocents. Be that as it may, for
practical reasons of academia and governmental policy, terror must be

The perennial question falling off the lips of many intellectuals
since 9/11 has been, “Why do they hate us?” More often than not, this
query comes from those on the left, because most on the right are
quite beyond trying to understand “root causes” by the time buses are
being blown up and a pregnant woman and her children are being shot
dead in her car. If you think about it, such a question answers
itself as far as the leftist is concerned. If this question is
seriously asked, it is already presupposed that there must be
something we do that enrages these people so greatly that they are
willing to immolate themselves with high explosives in order to kill
us. I personally believe that no one deserves to suffer the demonic
attacks of terror that are increasingly hitting western targets
outside of Israel. Asking this question also erroneously ascribes the
concept of sense and legitimacy to acts of terror. But still, it is a
fair question to ask, since terror doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

One of the most famous caricatures of the western liberal is that of
someone who wants to throw a lot of money at social ills in the hopes
of buying a solution. In register with such thinking, many pundits
and academics on the left have posited that Islamic terror comes from
the desperation of economic deprivation. Many of us here in the west
buy into this idea. I almost did, but thankfully Daniel Pipes saved
me from that folly. Subscribing to this notion says far more about
the western mind than it does about the cause of Islamic terror. It’s
a bit presumptuous of us to think that what the Islamic world needs
and wants is material gain. We are projecting our secular values onto
a quasi-religious problem. Of course everyone likes to eat and to
receive basic medical care, but that is not what this is about.

If you begin looking into just who gets involved in terror groups and
who carries out suicide attacks, you will see that it is not the
disenfranchised and impoverished. It is usually intelligent young men
from middle class (or higher) backgrounds, with college educations
(often at western universities). They are devout Muslims who are well
versed in many aspects of their faith. It’s definitely not about
money. It’s about Islam and its doctrine.

Westerners are flummoxed when they encounter a problem of such
Herculean dimensions that can’t be solved with money. We have become
complacent in secular democracy. We are sometimes unmindful of our
vast freedoms (because we are free to be) and how precious they are.
It is only through our hard-won freedom that we were able to conceive
our western secular democracy which protects these freedoms. It is
the freedom afforded us by secular democracy that has resulted in
great achievements in art, science, technology, and other areas of
human endeavor.

Islam, on the other hand, has contributed nothing to science and
reason in the last millennium due to its static and grindingly
intolerant state. Islam is a totalitarian ideology which affects
every minute aspect of the Muslim’s life from personal hygiene, to
mundane everyday matters, to how man should be governed. The west has
outpaced and surpassed the Islamic world as sensationally as it has
because we have moved on and separated religion from state, thus
effecting a secular environment in which science, the humanities, and
reason may thrive. These priceless assets which many of us take for
granted are impossible under shari’ah.

Additionally, we see here how President Bush’s notion that “they hate
us for our freedoms” was somewhat misguided. Muslims do not want our
“freedom” because it is anathema to them. The most repugnant sin to a
Muslim is what is known as “shirk.” Shirk, while often used to denote
polytheism, really means putting anything on the same footing with
God. Man-made law is shirk, since Muslims were given the revealed
word of God as concerns how they are to be governed. So, no, they
don’t hate us for being free per se, but they do hate us for being
free in an unIslamic way.

Also, Islam causes economic malaise. Before the west taught the Arab
world how to extract and process its oil, the Islamic world was still
back on its heels over the western primacy after the industrial
revolution. The recent phenomenon of Islamic terror began with the
Muslim Brotherhood and the newly enriched Wahhabi/Salafi sects in the
K.S.A. around the same time that Arabian oil fields opened up. It was
further exacerbated during the last oil boom in the seventies.

So, if they don’t hate us over economic disparity or because we’re
free, then why the heck do they hate us? What on Earth could drive
people to detonate bomb vests in a crowded restaurant or bus; or saw
someone’s head off while droning “God is great,” or fly planes full
of passengers into skyscrapers full of people trying to go to work?
Again, justification for such ignoble acts aside, when a Jew watches
someone he loves blown into several hundred bloody pieces before his
eyes, or when a mother watches her son’s severed head or other body
parts being displayed as gruesome trophies for the video camera, or
when a country reels with the deep psychic shock of witnessing its
citizens being murdered en masseÑwhen confronted with such sheer
madness, it is only natural to want to know: Why do they hate us?

Well, I know why they hate us. And it’s not even because we and the
“evil Zionist entity” are complicit in the ongoing “occupation” and
“oppression” of the Palestinians (although this ruse is a useful red
herring to the Arab world). They hate us because according to their
scriptureÑwhich they view to be inerrantÑit is the entitlement of
Muslims to lead all of mankind and to establish God’s kingdom on
Earth (Khilafah); and we have spectacularly robbed them of that
absurd notion with the awesome power of secular, liberal democracy
and capitalism.

Before the west put the capstone on the edifice of capitalism and
industrial power, Muslims were always successful, powerful, and to
their minds, superior. We’ve ruined all that now. Even the oil
doesn’t help them, because until they can effect Khilafah, they will
settle for the devil they know (corrupt, local despots) over the
devil they don’t know (shirk, secular democracy). This provides
another reason to hate us. We are seen to be in league with the
tyrants who oppress and exploit the umma (the Muslim community). We
may secure transitory geopolitical alliances with these thugs (the
shah, Saddam, Mubarak), but to Muslims (and their western enablers),
we’re a big part of the problem, if not the entire problem. We are
Satan to them.

So, it doesn’t really matter what economic stratum a Muslim comes
from. What matters is that it is categorically obligatory for any
able-bodied Muslim male to engage in jihad when jihad is waged. As
for the western Muslims who aren’t out on the field of battle killing
infidels, they are engaged in da’wa (calling the infidels to Islam)
and taqiyya (lying about the faith) here among us. And anyway, I
submit that anyone who doesn’t actively oppose terror is condoning
it, if only tacitly.

A worldwide Islamic state is the goal of Islam. Islam is a dystopian
nightmare, which its adherents think is utopian. So, rich or poor,
when they are met with our flat refusal to accept the notion of their
theocracy, there is conflict, and as we’re beginning to see here in
America, it gets deadly. Muhammad’s hordes, who raged out of the
Arabian Peninsula conquering nations from the Atlantic to the
Pacific, were wealthy menÑvery wealthy. They did if for Islam. They
did it because the Qur’an and the hadith say that it is their right,
and this scripture is God’s revealed word.

Islamic terror is really about the establishment of God’s law on
EarthÑeverywhere on Earth. That is more important to a Muslim than
material comfort. As westerners, we are baffled by such an idea, and
so the more “progressive” among us think that a fusillade of money
might be in order to get those angry young men with that faraway
glint of suicide explosions in their eyes to stop killing us. Because
we deserve it. All the money in the world won’t solve this problem,
though. It’ll only fund more terror. And who wants money when you
have a mission from God? Many wealthy and “westernized” Muslims are
just as convinced that Khilafah is the pinnacle of man’s mission on
Earth as their destitute brethren. They can do their part by
contributing to Muslim “charities.”

When we begin to understand that we are dealing with a
quasi-religious ideology that can take a wealthy and educated
profligate like Osama bin Laden (who once enjoyed sex, drugs, and
rock and roll in the discotheques of Beirut) and turn him into the
scourge of God, then we begin to understand the true power of this

For Israelis, there is the added dynamic of the virulent
anti-Semitism endemic to Islam and the Arab world. The privations,
pogroms, and humiliation visited upon the Jews living in dhimmitude
in Arab nations is well documented throughout the ages. The Jews are
depicted in the Qur’an and several sunna in an extremely unfavorable
light, which is easily interpreted as grounds to indulge in lurid
hatred and persecution against them. In the Arab press, all manner of
lies and slander about the Jews and Israel are presented as fact. To
the Arab/Muslim sensibilities, it is an affront that not only did the
despised Jew return to claim his homeland, but he additionally
brought democracy and developed the means to defend it. I think the
fact that the Jews can fight back nowÑmore than effectivelyÑbothers a
lot of people, actually.

Alan Dershowitz also reminds us that another “root cause” of terror
is that it works. Our open media are used against us in mass coverage
terror acts. Western governments often respond to terrorist demands,
caving in when pressured by their populace. Any quarter given to
terrorists is exploited as weakness in their cruel calculus. Even
when terror groups do not get what they’ve demanded, they gain much
when the whole world pays attention to what they’ve done. To quote
the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s chief observer at the
United Nations, Zehdi Labib Terzi, “The first several hijackings
aroused the consciousness of the world and awakened the media and the
world opinion much moreÑand more effectivelyÑthan twenty years of
pleading at the United Nations.” So, it is clear that when terrorism
is rewarded, it causes more terror. Any parent of a three-year-old
could tell you as much. The Turkish Armenians and Kurds were ignored
when they tried to use terror to make their case, so you don’t ever
hear about Armenian or Kurdish terror. There’s a reason.
Additionally, you don’t hear too much about Tibetan Buddhists, and
many other groups who have genuinely been wronged, resorting to
terror out of desperation and financial woe.

In the end, I really don’t care why the degenerate Islamic killers
hate us. I happen to think that the United States and Israel are not
what is wrong with this world. But even when there are legitimate
hardships for Muslims, murder is the wrong way to go about expressing
your outrage. As far as I’m concerned, the minute you murder
innocent, unarmed civilians to advance your “cause,” you have shown
me that whatever your grievance was, it is no longer relevant in any
sense. That’s not desperation or fighting for freedom. That is
murder, and it is evil.

Soon the more liberal-minded among us here in the west will get it.
Frankly, they will have no choice. I am sure that it was a bitter
pill to swallow for many leftists in Israel when they had to face the
fact that Islamofascism cannot be appeased. But when murderous fiends
are killing your family, your friends, and your countrymen, despite
your most honest, magnanimous, and lofty efforts, it’s time to face

No, I don’t care that they hate us. I have an functional moral
compass, and I’m not in thrall to relativism. I know that we’re in
the right here.