Who are the attackers in Mumbai?
According to AFP, they're "militants" and "extremists."
According to the Press Trust of India, they're "terrorists."
According to the Indian Foreign Minister, they're backed by "elements in Pakistan."
AP speaks of "suspected Muslim militants," and the Jerusalem Post dares to write about "Islamic terrorists," but in general in the mainstream media there is the expected reticence about identifying the attackers as jihadists or as Muslims at all, and no discussion whatsoever of the Islamic texts and teachings that almost certainly inspired them to this spree of murder and mayhem.
And some will say: what does it matter? There are "extremists" in every religious tradition. You are intent on identifying these attackers as Muslims and jihadists solely out of some irrational hatred for Islam, or racism, or bigotry, or some such.
The response to this is that it is impossible to defeat an enemy one does not understand. Islamic theology and law provide innumerable insights into the behavior and priorities of the jihadists -- and that may be why the Organization of the Islamic Conference is so intent on getting the UN to criminalize any critical examination of Islamic texts and teachings, even for counter-terror purposes. It is not "insulting to Islam" to notice that the Mumbai attackers identify themselves as "mujahideen" -- that is, jihadists, and jihad is an Islamic religious, legal, and political concept. That concept is in play here in numerous ways, and this story reveals another: the Mumbai jihadists set free their Muslim hostages, almost certainly because of Islamic strictures against fighting against one's fellow Muslims (cf. Qur'an 4:92, which prohibits a Muslim from killing another Muslim).
MUMBAI: When faced with a volley of gunshots, while sipping coffee at the Oberoi Hotel on Wednesday night, Ali Arpaciouglu, a Turkish citizen on a business trip to Mumbai, chose to escape through the hotel kitchen and down a flight of stairs that opened onto the road outside.
This was probably one of the best decisions he took. On the other hand, his business partner, Meltem Muezzinoglu, and her husband, Seyfi, both Turks, when faced with the same situation, decided to dash out of the restaurant and head upstairs instead. When terrorists laid siege to the hotel, the Muezzinoglus were held hostage....
The Muezzinoglus, however, found themselves in a hostage situation, along with a group of foreigners. That night, they shared a room with three foreigners - all women. Two machine-gun-wielding terrorists stood guard over them the whole night.
All the hostages were asked to reveal their religion. When the Muezzinoglus said they were Muslims, their captors told them that they would not be harmed. The other three Caucasian women were removed from the room next day, and the terrorists informed the Muezzinoglus that they had been shot....