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"Death To America!" A Declaration Of War By Traitors?

In the question of whether Islam is at war with the West, The Propagandist has always taken a consistent line: No. A religion cannot be at war with anything. We are not fighting Islam. We are fighting Islamism (or jihadism, if you prefer) and its adherents; those religious fanatics who would use intimidation, everyday violence and terror to maintain an oppressive shariah law in Islamic nations and build the same medieval foundation outside the heart of the Islamic world - over the ashes of a beaten civilization, if need be.

But this footage from Mecca showing tens of thousands of Hajj pilgrims chanting "Death to America! Death to Israel" draws attention to the scale of a horrifying problem. Muslims from all over the world go to Mecca to fulfill their religious duty. They are supposed to be taking part in a spiritual journey, not an expedited course in radicalization and political indoctrination.

No one can claim that these chants are somehow "taken out of context". They are what they are. When you call for a nation's death, that is the equivalent of declaring war upon it. And when every Hajj pilgrim makes this declaration, it becomes exceedingly difficult to sort out the terror-minded psychopaths from ordinary Muslims who just want to live decent lives, do good things for their local communities and generally make the world a better place - and not be at war with their friends and neighbors.

There is no modern-day equivalent to this ceremony for any other major monotheistic religion anywhere in the world. We simply do not see the Pope telling his audience of thousands to chant "Death to (name a country that deserves to fall into the sea)". We don't see it in Judaism. There are no calls for genocidal conquest made by the head rabbi of Jerusalem. And of course, even if the Pope or the top rabbi actually uttered such instructions, they would be condemned by their followers and the wider, largely secular public immediately as genocidal madmen.

There are equivalents to these sorts of chants. Think of Hitler's speeches at Nazi rallies. Going back much further in time, it's possible to imagine that certain death-worshipping cultures like the Aztecs, where the elites codified torture and cannibalism as a necessary parts of their society, might have also called outright for the deaths of nations at rallies outside their great temples. We would rightly recoil at these sorts of gatherings if they existed today. And that's the point. That's what the Hajj pilgrimage of Mecca has turned into.

The soft bigotry of low expectations has undermined what ought to be a deafening shout of condemnation from all over the world. "How can we criticize a religious ceremony?" asks the naive observer. "It is their culture - to threaten war and genocide. All religious and cultural practices are legitimate. If we make an exception, we risk chaos, perhaps even religious war."

Yet any such rationalization that fails to distinguish between religious practices upholding the values of life, justice and peace and those calling explicitly to make war in most treasonous fashion is simply foolish. And it is apparent that not just a mere handful of deluded false prophets have taken up that religious war. Fully tens of thousands of jihadist terrorists and a far larger pool of financiers and propagandists have already declared war upon us. And let us be clear, here, for those who do not live in the USA or Israel: the only reason other countries like the UK, Canada, Germany, Italy and a host of other countries get left out of the chants is for brevity's sake. They are all "Infidel" nations in the eyes of the Islamists.

But again, who is an Islamist? With the politicization of the Hajj, the distinction is no longer clear. And in an age of daily suicide bombings and other attempts at mass murder carried out here and abroad (mainly in Muslim countries, since Islamist terrorists are as likely to attack members of other sects of their own religion as anyone else), can we simply hope for the best that not one in 10,000 of these Hajj pilgrims will return to a Western nation and take up jihad? Is that really a risk we want or need to take?

We are in wartime. That is a fact. If, during previous wars, citizens went to a foreign nation and joined in chanting of a declaration of war against their own country - the USA, the UK, Canada, France, wherever - and this fact was discovered, surely the incident would not be taken as a harmless case of "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" - particularly if it was clear before the traveler left that they were fully on board with doing what the Romans did, in this case, behaving like a first-class traitor.

What is to be done? It is with a sad heart and a disillusioned spirit that I make the following proposal:

  • So long as the Hajj piligrimage is to be a politicized event rather than a purely spiritual one, in which participants are obliged to declare war upon the nations of America and Israel, and by extension, what we regard as the other nations of the Western world;
  • The governments of Western countries ban travel to Saudi Arabia, so as to pressure the Saudi government, as caretakers of Mecca, to depoliticize the Hajj pilgrimage and end calls for genocidal war by Hajj participants;
  • That the governments of Western countries also require of any citizens who have attended the politicized Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca to make a formal statement declaring their loyalty as citizens of their country, repudiating those Islamist extremists who would call for the death of their beloved countries.

If our honourable fellow citizens of the Muslim religion are too cowed by the threats of Islamists to fight against the lethal politicization of their holiest rituals, we cannot simply stand by and do nothing. This politicization of the Hajj pilgrimage has consequences for us all. And we are not obliged to ignore what is happening, out of political correctness, and wait for war to come home to us.

Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist.

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