Thanks to reader Alex Stein for forcing me to write a post I hate to write with every fiber of my being. An Indian news report claims that many of the Mumbai hostages were tortured before being killed and that the Chabad hostages were tortured most brutally of all. IF (and I stress “if” because stories like this must be confirmed and reconfirmed before they are accepted as truth) this story is true, it could set back Jewish-Muslim relations years if not decades. Not to mention, that it will further alienate Israeli Jews from believing it is possible to live in peace with the region’s Muslims.
Further, if it is true, then I will have to withdraw my earlier claims that anti-Semitism was an ancillary part of the strategy involved in this attack. If the Jewish victims were tortured savagely, then it will lead me to believe that there are much stronger links to Al Qaeda than I previously believed. Until now, I’d never thought that Pakistani militants hated the west and Jews specifically as Al Qaeda does. I’d thought their cause was more locally-determined. If the news is correct, then I think Pakistan, India and the entire region have a much bigger problem on their hands then previously thought.
Further, if the hostage torture indeed occurred it makes the Indian authorities decision to fight the terrorists slowly and deliberately a completely tragic and wrong-headed one. If they had attacked early, then it might have given the terrorists less time to commit such mayhem.
Finally, I would urge that when and if they find the mastermind of this attack that he should be tried before an international tribunal. The horror of these acts needs to be addressed not by the justice system of a single country, but by international justice. The world needs to universally condemn such brutalism.
I don’t wish to offer unsolicited advice to my Muslim readers, friends and others, but the Mumbai attack appears to have been done in the name of Kashmir, Palestine and Muslim suffering in general. Now, much like after 9/11, it is critical that the world hear from sane Muslims that this is a way they reject utterly and absolutely. To do so does not mean that Muslims must renounce their criticism of, or grievances against conditions they face. It means they must ostracize those who kill in the name of Islam or Muslim suffering.
I have been dedicated to Muslim-Jewish dialogue for many, many years. This horrific story will not deter me from my commitment. But it will set back all of our good work by so very much. I simply cannot understand the bestial savagery that lurks in the human mind (and note I said “human” mind and not “Muslim” mind–since the beast lurks in all of us).
Finally, I want to again emphasize that Alex provided only a single Indian source to confirm the torture claim. The Times of India, one of the nation’s most respected papers doesn’t mention this story [see UPDATE below]. Further, that news source does not name any of the doctors it quotes. Unnamed sources in this situation should not be considered reliable. Other previous elements of the Mumbai terror story were shown to be false on further investigation. It’s entirely possible that this claim too will prove false, though I fear it may not. If anyone can confirm that this report is false, please let me know ASAP.
UPDATE: Thanks again to Alex for pointing me to this Times of India story that acknowledges the possibility of torture, but in a very preliminary and tentative way, unlike the Rediff story.
UDPATE I: The Jerusalem Post casts doubt on the veracity of the torture claims after interviewing a Mumbai doctor who examined the Israeli bodies and judged they had not been tortured.