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The Terror-Tourists Visit Bombay

In the last three decades of the 20th century, Baby Boomers and Generation X Westerners benefited hugely from the prosperity and freedoms of the West. They were able to put on backpacks at will, to travel overland through India, Afghanistan, and Iran, to wander around Europe, and to take advantage of a relatively safe international environment. But tourism has gotten more exotic; along with ecotourism, extreme tourism, disaster tourism, ghetto tourism, and medical tourism, the world is now witnessing a surge of terror-tourism. Muslim jihadists visit “cosmopolitan” venues (to use Christopher Hitchens’ term) and destroy both innocent people and cultural treasures—in New York City, Madrid, London, Bali, and now, Bombay (Mumbai).

Of course, Christians are not blind to the sins associated with “cosmopolitan” centers, the widespread godlessness and hedonism of a Bali or Bombay. But followers of Christ don’t purposely vandalize architectural treasures or mutilate innocents in the name of the Lord. That is increasingly a Muslim specialty, as is widespread accommodation of those who perform these heinous acts. While Christians prefer to be salt and light, many Muslim “culture warriors” turn to plastique and nails.

You would think that the press and politicians could connect the dots decisively, but they seem to be running away from this responsibility. As Daniel Pipes noted in the wake of the 2004 attack on the grade school in Beslan, Russia (where 186 children were killed), the press performed linguistic contortions to avoid calling the murderers “Muslim terrorists.” Instead, they labeled them “activists, assailants, attackers, bombers, captors, commandos, criminals, extremists, fighters, [a] group, guerrillas, gunmen, hostage-takers, insurgents, kidnappers, militants, perpetrators, radicals, rebels, and separatists.”1 And as Steve Emerson has observed, the U.S. government is rife with like-minded sensitivity police: “Last year, the Departments of State and Homeland Security issued an internal memorandum that henceforth no one could use the term ‘Islamic terrorists’ and could only use the generic term ‘militant’ or ‘extremist.’”2

How does the West, and indeed the world, get relief from this wave of Muslim terror-tourism? One might begin by calling it what it is. The disoriented multiculturalists, relativists, and appeasers may be unable to muster the strength or wisdom to do this, but Christians should have no problem with speaking truth prophetically. This is what the family of faith does, century after century.


Daniel Pipes, “Still Asleep after Mumbai: Afraid to Name the Enemy,” Free Republic Website, December 9, 2008, (accessed December 12, 2008).


Steve Emerson, “They’re Winning,” The Daily Beast, December 2, 2008. Available at UK Copts Association Website, (accessed December 12, 2008).