The unspeakable brutality that you mentioned, Carole, however tragic, occurred 400-500 years ago. These events are occurring right now. Our media has chosen to conveniently ignore and we have just not wanted to get involved. Terror is terror, whether in political or religious form.
Here is a partial list:
Algeria has been reeling from a war between GIA (Armed Islamic Group - radical Muslim terrorists) and its established government (a more secular Muslim military dictatorship) since 1992. Gruesome reports of entire villages having their throats slit, famous pop singers assassinated for singing Western influenced music, government instigated massacres of regions whose loyalties are suspect - these have left more than 70,000 murdered over the past 9 years. GIA cells are believed to have cooperated in Bin Laden's September 11 attacks.
Libya is an Islamic dictatorship under Muammar al-Qaddafi. It has been one of the chief training centers for world terrorism, and has executed many attacks such as the bombing of a Berlin discotheque in March 1986 where US solders were murdered, as well as the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988. It has cooperated with Pakistan in the funding and development of an Islamic nuclear bomb, as well as developing chemical warfare abilities. Libya has been a main supporter of such terrorist groups as the Columbian M-19, Red Brigades, IRA, Ahmed Jibril's PFLP, Arafat's PLO etc. In the 1970's Qaddafi awarded Yasir Arafat $5 million in recognition of his terror operation at the 1972 Munich Olympics which led to the massacre of Israeli athletes.
Egypt's President Sadat was assassinated by terrorists associated with Egyptian Islamic Jihad in October 1981. This group was later co-planner of the World Trade Center bombings in 1993 and seems to have been involved in the September 2001 attack as well. Its top leader was Ayman al-Zawahiri (one of the planners of Sadat's assassination) who now functions as Osama Bin Laden's top deputy for military operations. In the 1950s Egypt originally financed, trained and ran the first terrorist raids of the fedayin, and in 1964 helped establish the PLO as a terrorist organization. Egypt was also the first Islamic country to use poison gas against fellow Muslims in the North Yemen war of 1962-67. The Christian Copts of the Egyptian Nile Valley have been subject to decades of torture, murder, raping and destruction of property on a regular basis, with a blind eye being turned by Muslim authorities.
Sudan is considered one of world terrorism's main centers. Osama Bin Laden has a strong network in that country. According to the US Grand Jury indictment against Osama Bin Laden, the bombers of the US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania were trained and sent out from that country. The Islamic dictatorship 'National Islamic Front' ruling Sudan has been overseeing the massacre, enslavement, rape and murder of the Christian and animist inhabitants of Southern Sudan, forcibly converting survivors and prisoners to Islam. Years ago the NIF proclaimed a jihad against its 'domestic enemy', and since 1983 more than 1.9 million people have been murdered or have been caused to die as a result of the actions of the NIF in southern Sudan and the Nuba mountains.
Syria and Lebanon are also a world center of terrorism, as well as of opium and hashish cultivation. Between 1975-82 over 100,000 Lebanese were killed in the Lebanese civil war between the PLO, the Shiite and Sunni Muslims, the Druze and the Maronite Christians. In the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley the Hezbollah terrorist groups train and send out forces to attack Israel. According to the US State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism's 2000 report, Syria oversees the following terrorist networks operating and training in Lebanon's Bekaa: Hezbollah, Osama Bin Laden's al-Qa'ida (Arabic, 'The Base') network, Hamas, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, George Habash's PFLP-GC, Asbat al-Ansar, and several local Sunni extremist organizations. Other sources would add the names of the Japanese Red Army and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Syria not only controls Lebanon's terrorist training camps, but allows Islamic terrorists to base out of Damascus. In February 1982 the Syrian city of Hama was subject to a 27 day siege. The Syrian Army under the command of Rifa'at Assad surrounded the city and trapped possibly 100 members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were opposed to President Assad's regime. Artillery shelling of that city caused between 10,000 and 38,000 civilian casualties. Fifteen thousand people were untraceable as a result of the massacre. In September 2001 two PFLP terrorist were arrested crossing into Israel from Jordan, having been trained in Syria to blow up the two towers of Tel Aviv's Azrieli Center.
Jordan became a base of PLO terror operations against Israel between 1964 and 1970. When the PLO tried to overthrow King Hussein's government in September 1970 to set up a terrorist dictatorship in its stead, the king responded by unleashing his Bedouin Legionnaires against the PLO. Approximately 3,500 were killed during those weeks in 'Black September', with many terrorists actually escaping to Israel to request asylum.
The Palestinian Authority continues to engage in open terrorism. Of the 176 Jewish terror victims in the past year, 71 of them were committed by members of the PA security forces. Calls for a jihad against the Jewish people and for the destruction of the State of Israel are regularly broadcast on PA controlled radio and television. On September 11, the day of the World Trade Center bombing, the PA controlled newspaper al-Hayat al-Jadida declared, "The suicide bombers of today are the noble successors of the Lebanese bombers, who taught the US Marines a tough lesson. These suicide bombers are the salt of the earth, the engines of history. They are among the most honorable people among us." The PA appointed Mufti Ekrima Sabri gave a sermon at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in late August 2001, in which he called on Allah "to destroy the United States and Great Britain, as well as those who help the two countries".
Saudi Arabia continues to bankroll many terrorist groups, though the funding mostly comes through private individuals. Many terrorist organizations receive substantial chunks of their funding through the government-tolerated generosity of the Saudis. Jews are forbidden to set foot in Saudi Arabia, and anti-Jewish literature is readily available. Christian houses of worship are illegal, and Christians who are discovered practicing their faith are often arrested, tortured and sometimes beheaded.
Iran is the center of Shi'ite Islam, and a world leader in exporting terrorism. It is a haven for many terrorist organizations, and funds Hezbollah's and Islamic Jihad's activities against Israel. Iran also supports and offers safe haven to Algeria's GIA, Egypt's Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, PFLP-GC, Kurdistan Worker's Party, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, etc. Iran's government held US embassy personnel hostage for 444 days in 1979-80, and has been linked to many top terror attacks around the world. It has continually called for the destruction of the Great Satan (USA) and the Little Satan (Israel) through jihad. Hezbollah's former leader is Imad Mugniyeh, the planner and mastermind of Hezbollah kidnappings, suicide bombings and many especially violent airplane hijackings. He is also the man who oversaw the torture to death of William Buckley (the CIA station chief in Beirut) and the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aries in 1992. At present he resides in Iran and in recent months has had significant contact with Bin Laden's top leadership, including Ayman al-Zawahari. The September 11 hijackings show strikingly similar tradecraft to Mugniyeh's methods.
Iraq is perhaps the most well known country which both exports terrorism and murders its own citizens. In March 1988 Sadaam Hussein launched a chemical warfare attack against the town of Halabja in northern Iraq. Mustard gas and nerve gases were deployed. Between 5,000 and 12,000 Iraqi Kurds were killed immediately, and an estimated minimum of 40,000 were injured. His brutality against the Kurds, the Iranians and the Kuwaitis have earned him the Arabic title 'the butcher of Baghdad'. Sadaam has stirred up riots across the Muslim world by his declarations that he is leading a jihad against the forces of the godless West and of Israel. His drive to obtain non-conventional weapons (atomic, biological and chemical) coupled with his cruel invasion of Kuwait, triggered the Gulf War of 1991. Sadaam was one of the few world leaders who publicly applauded the recent attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.
Afghanistan's non-Arab country is ruled by the Islamic Taliban dictatorship. It is a center for training some of the most radical and violent Islamic terrorists, and the center of Bin Laden's al-Qa'ida network. The cruelty of this Islamic regime against its own people is internationally known and documented. Eight Christians working for the humanitarian aid organization "Shelter" are facing the death penalty for the alleged crime of sharing their faith with Afghanis.
Pakistan is a non-Arab Muslim country. Christians accused of sharing their faith in Pakistan have been jailed, tortured and lynched. Osama Bin Laden has many contacts with Pakistan's intelligence community and has received active support from many sources in Pakistan. Over 30,000 Pakistanis fought as jihad warriors against Russian forces in Afghanistan. Recent violent anti-American riots and calls for jihad against the West show the volatile nature of many Pakistani Muslims. Recently President Musharraf publicly accused Hindus and Jews of plotting against Pakistan. This was partially done in an effort to divert Muslim anger away from Pakistan's leaders, who are cooperating with America against fellow Muslims in Afghanistan and the mujahid Bin Laden.
Indonesia, a non-Arab Muslim country, has recently seen horrendous Muslim instigated riots against Indonesian and immigrant Chinese Christians. A campaign of targeted rapes, murders and church burnings throughout Indonesia has garnered world media attention.