Islam Undressed: Beslan, Russia and Islam
Aside from India and Israel, probably no modern industrialized nation has suffered to the degree that Russians have at the hands of Islamic terrorists. Having held the "Great Satan" title long before it was transferred to the USA, Muslim militants have taken particular glee in tormenting Russians. Muslim sites have posted movies depicting the beheading of Russian soldiers long before such acts became a spectacle to Westerns. What could collectively be described as Russia’s Sept 11th occurred late Aug, 2004. That month homicide bombers brought down two commercial airliners, a suicide bombing targeting commuters in Moscow, then a bloody hostage incident at a Beslan school killing hundreds of women and children. On Sept 3rd, 2004, Russians saw up close and personal the spectacle of children being mowed down by bombs and automatic fire at School No. 1 in the southern Russian town of Beslan. On that day the nation's worst hostage crisis came to a tragic end of gunfire, explosions, and death. Review a few heartbreaking pictures here. As crying children tried to flee through the explosions and gunfire, Ten Russian commandos died trying to prevent the slaughtering frenzy. Though the dead Islamic terrorists will be worshiped with other suicide/homicide extremists in large parts of the Muslim world, only those Russian commandos, with the parents and teachers who also died trying to save the children, will be accepted into heaven for their bravery and good deeds. Praise and worship by Muslim peers notwithstanding, the reward waiting for those cowards for their behavior was not 72 virgins, boys like pearls, mansions, riches, and unbounded food and gluttony. If it takes an eternity, the unbending demands of Justice will be fully satisfied for the horrible Men and Women who slaughtered those innocent children. All others remotely culpable for the suffering of those innocent, divinely created, and loved children of Beslan will also have their just deserts delivered by avenging angels.
Sept 1st 2004, a gang of men and women stormed into the secondary school in Beslan (North Ossetia province) during a ceremony to mark the first day of the new school year. According to The New York Times, when the terrorists took over the Russian elementary school, they shouted "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is Great). The terrorists had previously stockpiled weapons and explosives at the school in the well-planned operation. In the aftermath a cameraman for the British network ITN reported seeing around 100 bodies in the gymnasium where many of the hostages were held, mostly women and children. After three days of abuse without serious negotiations taking place, Russian commandos assaulted the school in a desperate unplanned attempt to save as many as possible. Russia's Interfax news agency reported the assault was triggered following several explosions inside the school, after which panicked hostages made a break for freedom, driven by fear and extreme thirst. The explosions went off just as the emergency personnel went to get bodies of people killed early in the raid, as had been previously agreed to by the terrorists. Then, as the desperate hostages began to flee, the Muslim militants opened fire, compelling the security forces to return fire and storm the compound.
The Interfax new agency reported some terrorists then split into three groups to blend in with the fleeing hostages, some taking refuge in a nearby home. The scene around the school was chaotic, with people running through the streets, the wounded carried off on stretchers. An Associated Press reporter saw ambulances speeding by, the windows streaked with blood. Huge columns of smoke billowed from the school from multiple explosions from terrorist’s bombs and booby traps. Windows were shattered, part of roof gone and another part charred. Four armed men in civilian clothes ran by, shouting, "A militant ran this way." Soldiers and men in civilian clothes carried children, some naked or clad only in underpants, some covered in blood, to a temporary hospital set up behind an armored personnel carrier. The children drank eagerly from bottles of water given to them once they reached safety.
Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov said 326 hostages were killed and 727 wounded during the three day siege and attack, with some still unaccounted for. Soon after Beslan, a message attributed to Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev was posted on his Kavkaz-Center Web site. In it he proposed to exchange Chechnyan independence for security, threatening more attacks. "…we are not bound by any circumstances or by anybody, and will fight by our rules, as is comfortable and beneficial for us," he wrote. He also put the ultimate blame for the school siege on Putin, and appealed to the world to recognize the righteousness of the Chechen cause.
One unidentified woman freed from the siege said that during the night children occasionally began to cry, adding: "then the fighters would fire in the air to restore quiet. Negotiators said the hostage-takers had repeatedly refused offers of food and water throughout the standoff. "They are very cruel people, we are facing a ruthless enemy" said Leonid Roshal, a pediatrician involved in the negotiations. Correspondents say many of those released were desperate for water when they came out, and some were barely able to stand. Many of the children were only partly clothed because of the stifling heat in the gymnasium where they had been held since the militants took the building. By Friday morning conditions were so bad that people could hardly breathe. Hostage Salimat Suleimanova said: "So many children lay unconscious without food and water." Others reported: "Most of kids were almost unconsciousness. Those who could move started to pee into shoes and then drink urine. They would make several sips of urine and then would stop and cry because their lips were chapped and the urine stung their skin."
Indira Dzetskelova, the mother of one of the child hostages in Beslan, reported that "several 15-year-old girls were raped by terrorists." Her daughter "heard their terrible cries and screams when those monsters took them away." Her traumatized daughter Dzerase sobbed as she added: "When the assault started, some of us were running out through the school dining room. The terrorists started to shoot from the roof, then one of them ran into the dining room and started to shoot from the window. I saw kids and women falling to the ground. And I saw that vermin's face. I saw his smile as he killed my friends." Diana Gadzhieva, 14, was held with her sister Akinba, aged 11. She told how the rebels executed all the adult men in a room upstairs. "We saw groups of men hostages going out and never coming back." Other survivors told how screaming teenage girls were dragged into rooms adjoining the gymnasium where they were being held and raped by their Chechen captors. An 18-month-old baby had been repeatedly stabbed by a black-clad terrorist who had run out of ammunition for making noise.
A just rescued mother described the hostages' three days of hell in the Russian School Gymnasium. She told reporters of terrorists with pockets stuffed with ammunition and grenades holding up the corpse of a man just shot dead in front of hundreds of hostages, warning: "If a child utters even a sound, we'll kill another one." When children fainted from lack of sleep, food and water, their masked and camouflaged captors simply sneered. In the intolerable heat of the gym, adults implored children to drink their own urine. Hours after escaping alive, a woman who had been taken hostage with her 7-year-old son and her mother spoke of three days of unspeakable horror of children so wired with fear they couldn't sleep, of captors coolly threatening to kill hostages one by one, of a gymnasium so cramped there was hardly room to move. "We were in complete fear," said Alla Gadieyeva, 24, who spoke to an Associated Press reporter, as she lay collapsed in exhaustion on a stretcher outside a hospital. "People were praying all the time, and those that didn't know how to pray we taught them".
Alla told reporters that she and her mother, Irina, were in the school courtyard Wednesday seeing off Alla’s son, Zaur, on his first day of school, when they heard sounds like "balloons popping." She thought the noise was part of school festivities. But then five masked gunmen burst into the courtyard, shooting in the air and ordering people to get inside the building. Children, parents and teachers Alla estimated there were about 1000 herded into the gymnasium. Alla said children whimpered in fear, and all around there was screaming and crying. The hostages were forced to crouch, their hands folded over their heads. For the rebels, the first order of business was confiscating cell phones. They smashed the phones, then delivered a warning: "If we find any mobile phones, we will shoot 20 people all around you." The gymnasium was quickly transformed into an arsenal of wired bombs dangling from the ceiling, set on the floor, strung up on walls. She said they seemed to be homemade, primitive packages containing bolts and nails. On the first day, people got a tiny bit of water to drink, but no food. After that, Alla said, nothing. When she asked the rebels for water for her mother, they laughed at her. "My mother was terrified, and I thought she was having a heart attack. When I saw my son, my mother ...go unconscious, so tired, so thirsty, I wanted it all to come to an end," she said. "When children began to faint, they laughed," Alla said. "They were totally indifferent." During the ordeal, Zaur became so traumatized that he would flinch whenever someone touched him, or even brushed by him, she said. As with most of the other children, his only spells of sleep were the times he fell unconscious from thirst and exhaustion. When asked how her son would remember the ordeal, Alla replied: "How can a person ever forget it? Would you ever forget it?" As Alla spoke under a grove of spruce trees, she had not yet been reunited with her mother or son, although authorities confirmed to her that they were alive. She recounted how the hostage-takers eventually took off their masks. They had beards, long hair, and spoke with Chechen accents, she said. "They're not human beings," Alla said. "What they did to us, I can't understand."
As the battle intensified when the commandos attacked, the rebels betrayed agitation. "We'll shoot until our guns stop," a rebel announced to the crowd. "And when our guns stop, we'll blow up the building." The hostage-takers began pushing people out of the gym and into the basement. That created an opening for the hostages: They began breaking windows and fleeing. Some pushed children outside. Alla said she helped her son and mother through a window. She didn't manage to get out. For some reason, a 6-year-old boy whom she didn't know was drawn to Alla. She held him in her arms. He clung to her, she said, "as if he would never let go." A group of hostages, including Alla and the boy, finally made a rush for a set of doors in the gymnasium. As they fled, she saw bodies of captives strewn on the floor as rebels fought with Russian security troops swarming around school compound. Some Russian soldiers appeared as they reached the doors. "At first I didn't believe it," Alla said. "I thought they were Chechens." Her doubts soon vanished. It's OK, the soldiers told her. "You're home now." As Alla told her tale, townspeople kept coming up, asking her about the fate of their loved-ones. A man, around 20, asked Alla if she knew what had happened to one of the captives, a woman. “She's dead”, Alla replied. The man bit his lip, ...nodded, ...and then turned away.
Officials told FOX News that 10 of the 31 terrorists killed by Russian soldiers were Arabs. Jihadists from the Middle East are known to have joined the Chechen uprising. The tragedy and travesty, though thousands of miles away, might just as well have happened at the school in your neighborhood. Those killed and maimed students, parents, and teachers kept for days without water or food in a sweltering school building then butchered were, in essence, …our children, …our sisters, …our wives, …and our parents!
Beslan is yet another wake-up call to the civilized world. Decent human beings feel great outrage at the involvement of "peaceful" Muslim religionists in the mass killings of innocent children. Yet in Chechnya and other Muslim lands, as was the case in Palestine after Sept 11th, celebrations were enjoyed. Many not passing out sweets smile, somehow gaining sick satisfaction that the warriors of their God ‘Allah’ are having such success destroying infidels.
Continuing to practice Al-taqiyya, spokespersons speaking in Russian and English condemned the attacks. They and their families in unison later raise their fists with the usual Friday chants as Clerics and Imams praise the terrorists as martyrs and call for more Jihad against the ‘decadent’ West. The hypocrisy dripping from the words, as obvious as blood flowing from an open wound to us, can not be seen by any in primitive cultures steeped in Muslim violence. On Sept 7th, President Putin angrily responded to reporters questions regarding possible inquiries and negotiations saying: "Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace?" Putin later said in a meeting with foreign journalists: "You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers?" Across Russia's 11 time zones, hundreds of thousands rallied to denounce terrorism, as if such words could have any impact influencing Islamists to abandon methods perfected in 1400 years of Jihad. The Urals city of Yekaterinburg saw its largest-ever public demonstration as 20,000 people took to the streets, while Russian television showed several thousand massing in driving rain in the Pacific port of Vladivostok. At least 100,000 people joined a rally in Moscow bolstering Putin against critics of the authorities' handling of the bloody siege. Putin, in an unprecedented burst of candor told the Russian people, "We were weak, and weak people are beaten."
The southern town of Beslan buried more of the 335 people -- half of them children. Every few meters a new grave was being dug or filled with a coffin in a new cemetery created to deal with the deaths. "The whole town is crying, wailing for the pain that can never ease," said Masha, neighbor of four-year-old Rada Solkazanova and her mother Larisa, buried together Tuesday. "Now all people want to do is find their loved ones and bury them. Can you imagine the pain of never knowing what happened and never burying your children?" she added. "They're not people, they're animals," said Assiya, another neighbor. "They call themselves Muslims, but what have they got to do with any kind of religion if they can kill children?".
The innocent children were the chosen victims of a global Islamic terror network, and all Russia watched in horror, day after day, as they were shot, stabbed, raped, and then blown-up, along with their helpless parents and teachers, while other little ones perished in slow agony from thirst, dehydration, and heat stroke inside a Russian school. A school where the water fountains ran but dying captives were not allowed to drink anything but their own urine. One thing is now clear, not just local Chechens, but also international Islamofascist barbarians with imperial designs were imported to carefully plan and execute the attack on the children and mothers of Beslan. The child rapes and executions demonstrate that the operation was planned as a suicide mission from the beginning.
In the bloody summer of 2004, millions of Russians learned the same hard lessons Americans learned on September 11: That we are at war with a vicious global enemy, an Islamist enemy that hates not just Jews, but also Secularists, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists, Feminists, Liberals, Communists, Republicans, Democrats, and even progressive Muslims. Russians found that Muslim militants are an enemy that cannot be appeased, bought off, or safely accommodated. To prevent having our own heads severed, or our childrens cut off and handed to us, civilized nations must unite to cut them down first.
The macabre act of Islamic terror in Russia is both immoral and illegal. Article 51 of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Convention prohibits combatants from using civilians to: "shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations." Moreover, the International Criminal Court considers "conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years, or using them to participate actively in hostilities in both international and non-international armed conflicts" to be a war crime. Thus, even if other attacks that deliberately slaughter civilians are excluded from the equation, Islamic terrorist organizations, and the Muslim leaders and lay people (read: the nearly invisible ‘Moderate Muslim’ having no tongue) that tolerate them, are war criminals twice over. It is long past time to unbind the corset of political correctness that suffocates so much of our public discourse, and to state some self-evident truths. How can any human being with a shred of conscience dismiss what occurred in that school as anything less than pure evil? At its root, the attack in Beslan was not really about Russia's war against noble separatists in Chechnya fighting for an "Islamic" state. Words like 'separatists', and 'freedom fighters' simply provide the immediate 'feel good' cover words accepted by sympathizers in the media worldwide. In fact the fight is all about simple, profound religious bigotry and the rule of the Caliphate, versus Russian nationalism and territorial integrity and the rule of democratic law based (since the 1990’s) on equality and human rights. Its not about intolerant and undemocratic Russians trying to prevent Chechens from practicing religion or be free, …but it is about intolerant and undemocratic Chechens trying to eliminate all religions but Islam, to conquer and govern the land and enslave infidels. In other words, Russia is fighting the same threat faced by non-Muslims all over the world, with full moral, national, and territorial justification.
Update: Reuters - Aug 26, 2005 - Moscow, Russia - Shamil Basayev, the man behind Russia's Beslan school siege, has been appointed the new first deputy prime minister in Chechnya's outlawed separatist government. Basayev considers Russian civilians legitimate targets and makes common cause with Islamic fundamentalists elsewhere. Basayev has claimed openly that he organized the raid on Beslan, in southern Russia. Russia's most wanted man, he describes himself as "a bad guy, a bandit, a terrorist". He was also behind dozens of other violent acts, often targeting Russian civilians. In an interview aired by U.S. television network ABC News Aug 2005, Basayev said he accepted he was a terrorist but said his violence was justified.