Ok, check out this article by Ralph Peters on how the bombing in Jakarta shows that we're winning the War on Terror. It's ok in some respects; yes, the fact that terrorists are reduced to bombing hotel lobbies instead of flying passenger jets into skyscrapers is good. He goes on to laud the Indonesians' apathy towards terrorism, but claims that they now recognize that the threat of terrorism cannot be ignored. I think my previous post refutes that.

Anyway, the main reason I am pointing out this article at all is because of this sentence:

Certainly, Indonesia has a strong minority of Muslim fundamentalists - as the United States has millions of Christian fundamentalists - but none of the country's major religious organizations has established ties to terrorism.
As a writer, Ralph Peters should recognize the power of words, and should also be aware that the same word can mean different things in different contexts. Just because the label "fundamentalist" is applied to both groups of Christians and groups of Muslims doesn't indicate that there is any similarity between the groups. "Fundamentalist" is a modifier which indicates that the group in question places great importance on the foundational tenets of their beliefs; the foundational beliefs of Christians and Muslims are radically different, and so the parallel Ralph Peters draws is entirely nonsensical.

More than that, it's quite insulting to me as a Christian -- even though I don't really consider myself a fundamentalist. He makes the comparison to imply that because there are groups with the "fundamentalist" label who don't blow people up for fun, it's absurd for anyone to think that Indonesians have terrorist sympathies just because many of them are fundamentalist Muslims. However, it's precisely fundamentalist Muslims who have been blowing up planes, buildings, ships, and themselves, for decades now. Fundamentalist Christians sure haven't been, and it's ridiculous that Ralph Peters would try to garner credibility, honor, and respectability for Muslims by trading in on Christianity's reputation.

(Link to Ralph Peters from Bill Hobbs.)



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