Ralph Peters Unhinged

By Andrew G. Bostom
FrontPageMagazine.com | 9/13/2006

Writing what can only be characterized as an unhinged column in the September 7, 2006 New York Post, military analyst Ralph Peters lashed out at those he labeled “Islam haters”. In a breathless series of vicious calumnies (summarized concisely by blogger Lawrence Auster), Peters claimed that those he lacked the courage to name, were: “an enemy within”, represent “the most repugnant trend” in the current debate on Islam, are more “destructive” than the anti-American left, are members of an ugly “domestic insurgency” among “right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism”, believe that “all Muslims are evil and subhuman”, believe “that Muslims are Untermenschen”, are promoting “the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca”, are “just the Ku Klux Klan with higher-thread-count sheets”, are “heirs of the creeps who once told us Jews can never be real Americans and JFK will serve the Vatican”, are “inveterate haters … whose personal disappointments have left them with a need to blame others (sounds like al Qaeda to me…)”, and are “bigots [who] might like to try to kill a billion Muslims”.  


Robert Spencer has posted an eloquent rebuttal to Mr. Peters article at Jihad Watch (here). My response focuses on Peters follow-up appearance to discuss his calumniating article on the Friday, September, 8, 2006 Laura Ingraham Show.


During his interview with Ms. Ingraham, Peters, in his trademark uinformed manner, held up Indonesia “the world’s most populous Muslim country” as a paragon of moderate Islam. This is the same Indonesia

that in the mid-1960s, Sukarno fatwa in hand, waged a murderous jihad against its own Chinese non-Muslim population which killed at least 100,000 ethnic Chinese. In the 1980s a frankly genocidal jihad was waged by the Indonesian government against the Christians of East Timor, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. For at least the past decade, there have been intermittent Indonesian jihadist pogroms against the Christians of the Moluccas which have also killed thousands.

The current Indonesian government released the jihadist leader Bashir after a trivial sentence despite his role in the Bali bombings. As MEMRI reports, this popular Muslim thug wants Indonesia

to become, officially, a theocratic “Allah-cracy”. Moreover, during a  recent state sanctioned visit to Indonesia, Iranian President Ahmadinejad was welcomed by throngs of adoring Muslim Indonesian college students.

And for five centuries ongoing, Aceh has been a hotbed of irredentist jihadism. Here is what the great Dutch scholar Hurgronje (who lived in Aceh and was a sympathetic, but thoroughly honest student of Acehnese culture) wrote at the beginning of the 20th century (1906) about Aceh:


From Mohammedanism (which for centuries she [i.e., Aceh] is reputed to have accepted) she really only learnt a large number of dogmas relating to hatred of the infidel without any of their mitigating concomitants; so the Acehnese made a regular business of piracy and man-hunting at the expense of the neighboring non-Mohammedan countries and islands, and considered that they were justified in any act of treachery or violence to European (and latterly to American) traders who came in search of pepper, the staple product of the country. Complaints of robbery and murder on board ships trading in Acehnese parts thus grew to be chronic


Lastly, with regard to Indonesia, in present day Aceh, where Sharia Law officially prevails, this past week Muslim mobs razed a church in response to a forged (i.e., by a Muslim) advertisement inviting Muslims to a Christian revival service. Here is a published account of what transpired:


Witnesses said there were over 100 {Muslim] men present, many of them carrying swords. The mob poured gasoline over the building and set fire to it; they also attempted to burn a second building that was used as a church kindergarten. Some of the attackers came looking for Saragih and Netty at their home, which is nearby. The couple escaped into the nearby jungle and stayed hidden in the undergrowth. Many thought the couple had been consumed in the flames of the church buildings, but a friend found them at around 4 a.m. Christians in a neighboring province have provided shelter for Saragih [the pastor of the Mission Church which was attacked] and his wife, following reports that local police and Muslim leaders are still searching for the couple. It is uncertain when – or if – they will be free to return home.


But it was Mr. Peter’s confabulatory response to an e-mail question asking him about the number of fatwas issued to condemn the forced conversion of kidnapped Fox News reporters Centanni and Wiig, that was most revealing. Peter’s stated, that he didn’t know of any such fatwas issued, specifically, but he was certain there must have been many.


I have written about the forced conversions of Centanni and Wiig, (here) and the same day Mr. Peters appeared on the Laura Ingraham Show, my essay describing the burgeoning problem of violent Muslim Jew hatred in Western Europe was published. It is ironic (and depressing) that what I called for (Vatican II style reforms of Islam itself) is reiterated by Mr. Peters himself , in a slightly different (and less specific, less informed) idiom, “The long overdue liberal reformation within the Islamic world can only be carried out by Muslims themselves”.  Yet for expressing the same sentiments as Peters’, his repugnant innuendo labels unnamed others as hatemongering bigots, fomenting genocide.


Finally, I have two questions for Mr. Peters regarding the obscene immoral equivalence he made in a February 2006 essay published in the Weekly Standard, glorifying jihad terrorists. Peters wrote,


We write off the suicide bomber as a criminal, a wanton butcher, a terrorist. Yet, within his spiritual universe, he’s more heroic than the American soldier who throws himself atop a grenade to spare his comrades: He isn’t merely protecting other men, but defending his god.


1) Who is Peters to say that the American soldier’s act of true self-sacrifice isn’t “defending his god” by Loving His Neighbor?


2) Is saving comrades really comparable to killing and maiming innocents, the latter in pursuit of an imagined heavenly harem of compliant Muslim virgins?


Peters comparison of jihad terrorists and American soldiers in this thoughtless essay is as heinous as it is dangerously unhinged—about as unhinged as the crude innuendos in his New York Post piece, which the jihadist front Council on American-Islamic Relations enjoyed enough to include in its “American Muslim New Briefs” of 9/8/06.


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Andrew G. Bostom is a frequent contributor to Frontpage Magazine.com, and the author of The Legacy of Jihad, and the forthcoming The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.



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