The USA Today headline read: "Nothing Islamic about human sacrifice ... Terrorists in the Middle East are resurrecting a blood cult."
The piece takes on special significance in the light of the brutal shooting in or near Baghdad of Margaret Hassan, a kidnapped aid worker who spent decades getting food and medicine to needy Iraqis.
The USA Today article was written by Ralph Peters, a retired military officer and the author of "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World."
In our discussions of suicide bombings, assassinations, wholesale murder of innocents, the horror of 9-11, beheadings, execution chambers and the slaying of Margaret Hassan, there is a tendency to refer to "Islamic terrorism."
Peters contends this is an erroneous concept. He writes: "The hard-core terrorists spawned by the breakdown of the Middle East quote the Koran. They wear Muslim garments. They perform the daily rituals prescribed by the faith into which they were born. But all of us, in the West and Middle East, have mistaken the identity of these butchers.
"For all of their Muslim trappings, the terrorists of al-Qaida and its affiliates have returned to pre-Islamic practices, to behaviors that Moses, Christ and Mohammed uniformly rejected. They practice human sacrifice. ... Instead of returning to a 'pure' Islam, the terrorists are building a blood cult, a deformed offshoot of their faith that revives the most primitive and grotesque of religious practices. Human sacrifice pervaded early societies from pre-Columbian America through Europe and across Asia. Yet we have grown so accustomed to gentler forms of religion that the discovery of a ritually murdered corpse in alpine ice shocks us. ... But the truth is that our ancestors bribed their gods with blood."
Peters and many others are calling for putting aside the international-relations texts that they believe have failed the world so miserably: "We must cut through the layers of intellectual nonsense piled up by academics and pundits to get at the essence of this new -- and very old -- reality. When the terrorists invoke the names of 'Allah' or 'Mohammed,' they are blaspheming and corrupting a great faith. The prophet was appalled by the religious practices of the early desert peoples. Those who murder in his name today have rejected his message even as they claim to revere it. ...
"The terrorists we face aren't super-Muslims. They're Islam's worst enemies. They don't seek to turn back the calendar to the 10th century. They're reaching back to the sordid epochs when gods drank human blood."
We hear regularly from Christian and Jewish religious figures about the moral and ethical errors of American ways and the need to alter our behavior. Far too seldom do we hear or read condemnations by Muslim clerics about the unacceptability of the "Islamic" terrorist blood lust such as Peters describes. Where are their voices of protest?
It is worth repeating that while not all or even a majority of Muslims are terrorists, those who commit acts of terrorism without fail claim a Muslim heritage. Consider the atrocities they are committing in the name of Allah and Mohammed. Where are the cries of betrayal from their mullahs?