While the world reacts with outrage and horror to the unconscionable actions of ISIS, including the beheading of two Americans, no attention is paid to another country that resorts to this form of punishment. Ironically, that country is one of America’s principal Arab allies in the region, and a partner in the fight against ISIS.
That country is Saudi Arabia, which beheaded at least 19 men in August 2014 alone. Saudi Arabia is led by a Sunni regime that opposes ISIS only because its growth could threaten the monarchy.
There are certainly differences between the two, ISIS is murdering innocent civilians in an effort to intimidate the United States while it pursues a violent jihad across the region with the goal of restoring the caliphate. The Saudis behead people they accuse of crimes, but they too seek Muslim domination by sponsoring terrorists such as Hamas and the PLO, and funding schools and mosques that teach their radical brand of Islam.
World leaders should not lose sight of the danger radical Islamic jihadists pose to the West. The current obsession with ISIS, for example, has distracted attention from the far more dangerous fundamentalists in Iran, who have not given up their goal of building nuclear weapons, and have strung along negotiators for months without any sign they will compromise their “right” to enrich uranium.
For 50 days, Western leaders were concerned with the radical Islamic jihadists in Gaza. Hamas, like ISIS, does not conceal its goals of destroying Israel and global Muslim domination. Most of the leaders, however, seemed less concerned with the danger posed by these extremists than Israel’s efforts to defeat them.
Another dangerous group of radical Muslims is Hezbollah. These Lebanese Shiite terrorists essentially took over Lebanon and now are fighting in Syria to keep open their arms supply line provided by Bashar Assad’s regime. A proxy for Iran, Hezbollah has a similar ideology and carries out terror attacks on a global scale. Most people have forgotten that, excluding 9/11, Hezbollah has killed more Americans than any other terror organization. The perpetrators of those murders have never been brought to justice.
For those who thought that radical Islamic jihadists are a Middle Eastern phenomenon, the U.S. attempt to assassinate the leader of another murderous group in Somalia was a reminder that Islamist terrorists are spreading across the world. In fact, they are all over North Africa now, from Egypt with its Muslim Brotherhood to Libya to the Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Radical Islamists have become a growing problem in Europe as well, where a number of attacks have been carried out, especially against Jews. Most intelligence services have known this for a long time, but only limited information has been disclosed to the public. European leaders are starting to speak out as the danger has grown.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, for example, raised the terror threat level to the second most serious rating and proposed new measures to deal with the growing problem of Europeans going to fight with the jihadis in Iraq and Syria and then returning to their home countries more radicalized and trained to carry out terror attacks.
Speaking to Parliament, Cameron declared that “we will stand up for our values, we will in the end defeat this extremism and we will secure our way of life for generations to come.”
The question is whether he and other leaders will have the will to stand up for freedom and democracy and do what is necessary to defeat radical Islamic jihadists in their midst and abroad.
Dr. Mitchell Bard is the author/editor of 24 books including After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine and Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews.