Chatting With My American Friend Over The Paris Incident
07 January 2015
By Khalid Amayreh
The following is an exchange of views
with an on-line American friend who got understandably
upset over the terrorist attack in Paris. The text is
published unedited for the sake of objectivity:
The American friend: The answer is no. Emphatically
no! The answer to your question is deadly radical
Muslim attacks, like the one earlier today on the
Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo,
killing 12 and injuring another seven. Christianity
grew up hundreds of years ago in a process we call the
Reformation. Islam needs to do the same. (My American
friend was alluding to an earlier article by me
suggesting that Israel might be behind the anti-Islam
marches in Germany."
Khalid Amayreh: Dear Friend: Can you dare tell me the
number of victims of Muslim and Christian wars? Do you
know that 96% of war victims in the past 2000 years
were killed by Christians? This is according to
Western, not Islamic, sources.
As far as I know, it is "Christians" that are now
waging wars on Islam in numerous countries, including
Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen,
Egypt, Mali, Sub-Saharan Africa, etc.
So, I fail to understand why is it mundane to murder
millions of innocent Muslim civilians by the Western
especially American war machine whereas it is so
unacceptable and so outrageous to kill 12 French
people, some of whom were allegedly involved in
smearing and mocking the Prophet of Islam?
The ethical attitude is to reject and condemn murder,
whether perpetrated by individual terrorists or by
Terror and murder can't be dismissed as war just
because it is carried out by F-16 and F-15 fighter
As to Israel, it did it in the past, it can do it
anytime. I really wouldn't be surprised if the Mossad
stood behind the Paris attack.
As to Islam, it doesn't need reform. You can't reform
or change what you believe is from God.
Besides, what is exactly that which needs to be
reformed in Islam?
The American friend: Khalid, The attack in Paris
yesterday has added much fuel to Europe's small
right-wing fringe, and recent election results have
introduced new right-wing parties to European
politics. For example, France's National Front,
immediately seized the attack as a means of promoting
the group's anti-Islam agenda. But perhaps more
dangerously, the attack comes amid of a wave of
immigrant violence and anti-immigrant incidents across
the continent. Europe clearly continues to struggle
with the perceived safety of isolationism and the
opportunities, as well as the risks, presented by
You, my friend, have intellectually and emotionally,
crossed over the Rubicon. The 96% number you used has
absolutely no basis in fact. A simple search of the
Internet will provide corroborated sources that
clearly show the largest pogroms of the last 100 years
have been carried out by either atheist or Eastern
religion states. The Chinese have eliminated more than
40 million people, Stalin another 10+ million, and the
wars of the last century come after those horrific
events. Further, much of that state sponsored killing
was Christian on Christian / atheists. I have also
found references that show that more than 11 million
Muslims have been killed by other Muslims in the last
100 years. Saddam alone is credited with over 1
million, and the Pakistan / Bangladesh war killed at
least another million.
Reference the Reformation, it was the 16th-century
religious, political, intellectual and cultural
upheaval that splintered what was then Catholic
Europe, eventually setting in place the structures and
beliefs that define the West in the modern era. Yes,
there were wars and persecutions but people of all
faiths ultimately learned hundreds of years ago to
respect the religious beliefs of others while
continuing to freely practice their own beliefs. You
surely know that Islam has been largely accepted in
Europe and the United States although recent events
have stained our mutual commitment to
multiculturalism. However, it is not too late. Islam
in the greater Middle East should join the West in our
mutual step forward. Muslims should freely practice
their religion, and allow others to freely practice
In summary Khalid, I am saddened by your recent
correspondence. While I believe that we both agree
that there has been way too much killing and
injustice, I no longer believe that the benefits,
history and facts I have recounted will cause you to
change your mind.
Khalid Amayreh: Dear friend, you know I don't mince
I do agree with you that what happened in Paris will
help Right-wing groups in the West.
As to crossing over the Rubicon, I believe the west,
eg, Christians, crossed over the Rubicon a long, long
time ago. You know well the west didn't prevail
because of its moral or even religious excellence, but
rather because it outmatched others in the use of
violence and terror.
"You" murdered millions of our innocent civilians
recently, you stole our ancestral homeland
(Palestine), destroyed our homes, bulldozed our
fields, and expelled millions to the four winds, and
you still accuse us of crossing over the Rubicon!!!?
The depleted uranium you left in Iraq will kill and
deform Iraqis for 50,000 years to come....and you have
the audacity of accusing Muslims of crossing over the
This is too much, coming from an educated person. That
is why I believe you need to exercise some rectitude
or intellectual honesty.
As to reforming Islam, I believe Islam doesn't need to
be reformed. The Quran, like the Bible, cannot be
changed. Period. But what is exactly that which you
think needs to be reformed.
The concept of religious persecution has always been
alien to our faith. So what is it that needs to be
reformed in Islam? Religious diversity? We are
probably the only religion under the sun whose
scriptures teach "there is no compulsion in
religion...." and "to you be your religion and to me
mine." Compare this with Talmudic texts that don't
even ascribe humanity to non-Jews.
Secularism is an in-built part of Christianity, but
not of Islam. And the West wants to impose tyrannical
secularism on our societies. That won't work. It will
only lead to an implosion or even an explosion.
The real problem is that Muslim societies need some
democracy but the west has been and is hell-bent on
supporting and sustaining Muslim tyrants in Egypt, the
Gulf and elsewhere. The west just wants to keep
Muslims to be thoroughly tormented by their own
leaders who are answerable to the west but not to
Who other than the west has been supporting the Shah,
Saddam, the Assads, the House of Saud, the Sabahs, the
Hashemites, Mubarak and Sissi? The tyranny you
supported has produced religious extremism.
Religious extremism can only be neutralized by true
democracy. But the West dreads true democracy in the
Arab world lest it produce Islamism. That is the crux
of the matter.
That is why I am convinced that the terrorist act in
France is at least in part a reaction to western
embrace of tyrannical anti-Islam regimes in the Arab
world, as in Egypt.
We don't forget what happened at Rabaa.
The west has too much to atone for.
Khalid Amayreh is an American-educated Palestinian
journalist and political commentator living in the