I am someone who prefers enemies to be straight-talkers. Better a Nikita Khrushchev who states "We will bury you" than a Leonid Brezhnev with his détente. Better a Saddam Hussein who blurts out his unfiltered thoughts and blunders into Kuwait than a Hafez al-Assad who disguises his views and steals into Lebanon. And likewise, it's better to face a jihadist who acknowledges his plans to take over the world than a smarmy "religion of peace" Islamist who double talks and confuses.
And you don't find a more straight-shooting jihadist than Khalid Khawaja, a bin Laden pal who calls Al-Qaeda's members "the most wonderful people of the world" and is the subject of a remarkable article in today's National Post by the redoubtable Stewart Bell (back on the beat after promoting his new book, Cold Terror: How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism to the World). Here are some extracts from Bell's interview with him, conducted in Islamabad yesterday:
On the failings of Western civilization: "Your civilization is selfish and self-centered. Just you want to live and enjoy yourselves and that is all, you don't give."
On reasons why suicide bombers would want to strike Canada. "It is very simple. As Bush says, either you are a friend or you are an enemy. So if you are not my friend, you are our enemy. So it is very simple. When you are supporting the enemy [the United States] then you are a target." And Canadians should just learn to "take it."
On Canada's treatment of Abdul Karim Khadr, the teen who recently left Pakistan for Canada for medical treatment after being wounded in a shootout that left his Al-Qaeda father dead: "Look at these Canadians. They have millions and millions of dollars to fight against Muslims, to send their troops, to send their weapons, and all of them put together, they have objections to giving treatment to this 14 year-old-boy who has been a victim of your terrorism. … So you paralyzed this boy with no thought, you paralyzed his father with no thought, now the whole Canadian nation put together, they are bothered about taxpayers' money, that this boy should not be treated with this money.
On the success of jihad: "Today you have the power in your hand. The other day the suicide bomber also has power. So you use your cruise missiles and atom bombs and all that, so he uses his power. So why do you cry at that time? When you say we are fighting a war against you, so better take it then. They are also fighting a war against you. They are fighting their way, you are fighting your way. So let's be happy. But only thing is, your faces are pulled down, you are scared, sitting in America and Canada. You are scared of a man sitting in the cave. We are not scared of you."
On the ultimate goals of jihad: "We don't believe in killing innocent people but we would certainly like to send you into the Stone Age the same way you have sent us into the Stone Age."
(May 15, 2004)