Much has been bandied about the recent attack against insurgents in Fallujah who withdrew into a mosque. Al Jazeera and other anti-American networks have used the images of American and coalition forces attacking the mosque in Fallujah to further foment anti-American hate in the Middle East and in America.
Robert Stewart's comments in Newsday on this subject which ran in yesterday's Viewpoints are on point. Rules of engagement are not suicide pacts. Thus, when the Fallujah insurgents began using the mosque as a fortress, it's holiness as an Islamic house of God limited to prayer became a fact of the past.
No legitimate interpretation of Islamic law or any international law would condone the use of a mosque for active military engagement. Muslims hold their places of worship with the same holy sanctity as those of other faiths. A mosque may never be used for such unholy purposes. Fanatic Islamists will do so, not out of holiness but out of hate, vengeance, dishonesty and lawlessness.
Those so-called Muslims who would exploit a religious structure for protection while they fire from it defile their faith, their community, their character, their honor and the house of God. Those who would fire from a mosque have thus completely removed the designation of "mosque" from the building and deserve a full response from our forces. Let's not forget the measure our forces took earlier in the war to protect one of the most holy sites in Shi'a Islam from any destruction at risk of their own safety.
We certainly cannot expect our forces to provide more respect toward the buildings their enemies use to fire from at them willfully than they do themselves. Sadr and his ilk follow the pattern of all radical Islamists of exploiting religion in every way to viciously attack our forces and achieve a political goal at the complete disgrace of their supposed faith of Islam.
All those Arab and Muslim media outlets, such as Al Jazeera, who know the facts surrounding the mosque in Fallujah and the sniper fire that came from the minaret, should also revisit their understanding of Islamic rules of engagement in war and their own exploitation of religion in their reporting.