Tim Rutten in Saturday's Los Angeles Times was spot on in identifying the targets of the jihadists:
The places the killers struck -- luxury hotels, a railway station, a hospital for women and children, the Chabad Jewish center -- are all powerfully linked in the popular mind with the modern world. As the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy has argued, the jihadis have linked anti-Americanism, anti-British sentiment (the assumption is that London is Washington's lap dog) and anti-Semitic antagonism toward Zionism into a potent new ideology. To the extent it seems to find an increasingly sympathetic hearing in some fashionable sectors of the intellectual West, including the U.S., Levy correctly labels it "the socialism of imbeciles."Like all the totalitarian movements that have come before it, hatred of liberty and Jews is the real foundation of contemporary jihadism, and not the traditions of Islam or its canonical prescriptions.
Like all the totalitarian movements that have come before it, hatred of liberty and Jews is the real foundation of contemporary jihadism, and not the traditions of Islam or its canonical prescriptions.
Rutten then contrasts Chabad, the Chasidic Jewish movement whose Mumbai center was chosen by the Islamist terrorists as one of their targets, with the warped worldview of the murderers:
The hallmark of Chabad's approach is an openness to -- indeed, an embrace of -- the modern world, while insisting that it make a place for their deeply traditional religious devotion. Around the world, including in Los Angeles, Lubavitcher Hasidim are living precisely the sort of lives the jihadi ideology insists are impossible. Culturally, they participate fully in the pluralist democracies, while privately, they profess fully a deeply traditional spirituality. Faithful to their own long history, they are valued and good neighbors to others.
Indeed, the very openess of Chabad made it a vulnerable "soft target" for the Islamist terrorists. News reports from the Times of India indicate that the sole surviving terrorist told his Indian interrogators that he and his cohorts scouted out their target by posing as Malaysian students on tour in India, and renting rooms in the Chabad Center, known as Nariman House.