I claim the privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of my own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may — so long as doing so does not injure people intentionally.
I could care less if people pray at the Wailing Wall or roll out a prayer rug five times a day. I don’t care if they worship no God at all. People need to make decisions for themselves and that is the proper order of things.
France and England, notably in the West, have allowed Islamic ghettos to be created wherein national law is set aside in favor of Sharia. There are costs to doing that as the French have learned and the British are figuring out for the first time. Honor killings and beating women seem to follow the practice of Sharia. In Egyptian communities it often also includes genital mutilation of young women. Those practices of intentional injury, whether cultural or religious, violates my own and hopefully everyone else’s personal axiom of religious tolerance.
Over the weekend, a senior Japanese diplomat described the beheading of the two Japanese nationals by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as Japan’s 9/11. “It is time for Japan to stop daydreaming that its good will and noble intentions would be enough to shield it from the dangerous world out there. Americans have faced this harsh reality; the French have faced it, and now we are, too.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to make the terrorists pay. “No country is completely safe from terrorism. How do we cut the influence of ISIL, and put a stop to extremism? Japan must play its part in achieving this.” Abe said the Self Defense Forces must have the mission of rescuing Japanese citizens overseas. Abe also said Japan will not join the US-led coalition fighting ISIL.
The ISIL executioner is responsible for precipitating a cultural clash whose implications and ripple effects are enormous, but not yet determinable. What is especially outrageous to the Japanese is that the ISIL executioner said on the video that he was killing the hostages because Japan was a member of the US-led coalition against ISIL. Japan has never participated in the US-led fight against ISIL in Syria or Iraq in any fashion.
Actions, especially lies, have consequences. Prime Minister Abe has the support of the people for seeking revenge, but in a Japanese way. Japan will join the nations determined to kill ISIL, but not the US-led coalition. Japan will send assassins.
Many of us have speculated about what set of circumstances or sequence of events would re-awaken Japan’s martial spirit. Ironically and naively, US policymakers and planners have struggled for decades to persuade Japan to increase its defense budgets; to take on a greater share of responsibility for its own defense, and to participate more in multilateral, global security operations by committing self-defense forces.
Some experts judged that North Korean missile shots and nuclear tests would heighten Japan’s concern for its own defense. They were partially correct. Japanese forces, acting in self-defense, have developed the defense plans for attacking North Korea. They could and would quickly destroy North Korea’s puny nuclear weapons and missile infrastructure without US help, should the occasion arise. Japanese leaders have the will to attack North Korea in self-defense. Oddly, the North Koreans do not seem to appreciate Japan’s capability to destroy North Korea – as a place suitable for human habitation.
Other experts judged that China’s pretense to be the regional hegemon and its assertion of sovereignty over Japanese-claimed islands would be the catalysts for Japanese nationalism and militarism. They also have been partially correct because Abe’s government has identified China as a threat; increased the defense budget; has sought amend the Constitution; and has committed to building an aircraft-carrier based maritime self-defense force.
Another impetus for steady, but slow rearmament has come from recent operations. These include naval support missions based in Mumbai, India, during the US fight to overthrow the Taliban; anti-piracy patrols off Horn of Africa; naval exchange visits with India, and participation in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.
None of those, however, have had the effect of the two beheadings in arousing Japanese nationalism and the national outcry for revenge. The ignorant Islamists who call themselves jihadists have done more in a single weekend to awaken the Japanese military spirit than anything North Korea, China and the US have done in seven decades. They have awakened a sleeping giant that is extremely dangerous.