Eric and the Islamists
Editor's Note: CNN.com is releasing excerpts from "Hunting Eric Rudolph," a new book on the case of the accused bomber that goes on sale on March 1. In this third and final installment, the similarities and differences between domestic and international terrorists are examined in a post-September 11 world.
FROM PAGE 341:
By the time Eric Rudolph came in from the wild after more than five years, America's threat seemed no longer to come from home-grown terrorists, but instead from the Islamic world. But was there really much that separated Eric Rudolph from a member of al Qaeda?
It was charged, primarily in the Moslem world, right after 9/11 that America had no room automatically to condemn the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon as religious violence, particularly as Islamic fundamentalism, when America had its own terrorists like [Oklahoma City bomber Timothy] McVeigh and Rudolph (it was usually just McVeigh, since he had been so striking in his body count at Oklahoma City). Now, that argument was usually aimed at saying it wasn't al Qaeda followers who were responsible for 9/11, an attitude that persists in some segments of the Islamic world even to this day, even in the face of overwhelming evidence and particularly since bin Laden and others involved in the planning have directly and indirectly claimed responsibility. But let's say you wipe away all the bullshit associated with that argument -- that al Qaeda didn't do 9/11 -- and come at the question again, then you frame it in a much more relevant way. Is there any difference between a Mohammed Atta, who piloted one of the planes that flew into the World Trade Center, and an Eric Rudolph or Tim McVeigh?
Yes, you start to answer, of course. Atta knew he was going to die for his cause; he was part of an organized plot, one of the leaders of it; he had been to Afghanistan, trained in the camps run by al Qaeda; had fully embraced his cause. He viewed the Jews and Crusaders (Americans) as the root of all evil. He was on a jihad, a holy war. How could you even begin to compare him to McVeigh or Rudolph. First of all, they were lone wolves -- or in the case of McVeigh, part of a very small cell. Tim McVeigh didn't stay in the truck that was parked at the Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City. Eric Rudolph, it if was him, didn't strap the backpack to his chest and detonate it in the middle of the crowd at Centennial Park. Christian Identity would surely classify all of the Islamic nation as mud people, alongside Jews and blacks. So how could there be any similarity, any commonality?
You could probably start with McVeigh on a gurney at the Federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, as the needle was being slipped into his arm and he was being given a lethal injection. It is the same fate that could await Eric Rudolph as well, should he be found guilty on one or all of the charges against him in Birmingham and Atlanta. The consequences of their actions, whether they were caught almost immediately, like McVeigh, or after a long time in hiding, like Rudolph, would surely, inevitably lead them to the likelihood of dying for the cause and their own version of God, even if they weren't chanting Allahu Akbhar, God is Great, as they crashed a plane into a building. Arguably, Eric Rudolph had far more exposure to his fundamentalist world than a Mohammed Atta, as his mother took him from Florida to North Carolina to Missouri and back. He was already converted to the world view.
Actually, if there is someone who can see the comparison, it is Kerry Noble, who lived at the CSA [Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord] compound in Missouri and was ready to take up arms against the government. Who trained with the weapons. Who sees how the ideology of both causes, Christian Identity and Islamic fundamentalism, share elements in common. The first part is easy enough to spot, since it is unfortunately what so many belief-systems share -- that the Jews are the root of all evil. The Jews and Crusaders is usually the phrase that Osama bin Laden uses, and he sees the war in Iraq as one example of America doing Israel's bidding.
Which of course is the same argument you get from the extremist right in America (and sometimes others on the left and right), which refers to the government in Washington as ZOG, the Zionist Occupation Government. Hard to miss it. Hate the Jews. Kerry Noble likes to point out the phrase - the enemy of my enemy is my friend -- has as much resonance in extremist America as it does in the Islamic world. And should you really want to indulge in conspiranoia, which is a favorite past-time of both movements, consider the case of Ahmed Huber. He is a Swiss convert to Islam, an acolyte of the Nazis who found Allah and reveres the Ayatollah Khomeini, who was on the board of a company singled out as a front for laundering money to al Qaeda and who sees it as his life's work to bridge the gap between the extreme right, particularly neo-Nazis, and Islamists.
On matters of religious doctrine, too, Christian Identity and Islamic fundamentalism share the same tendency to pervert accepted beliefs. Hence, in Islamic fundamentalism, one of the pillars of Islam becomes a duty to jihad, even though that is not one of the five pillars of the faith laid out by the Koran. And in Christian Identity, you have the two-seed theory propagated by Dan Gayman, that there are the true Israelites and Satan's spawn, that there are white Anglo-Saxons and the Bible is their history. This is all inexact. The two perversions of belief share another trait. Both see their followers as defenders of a faith under attack. Osama bin Laden's frequent calls for jihad are always couched as part of claims that the Moslem nation, the ul'ma, is being threatened. Just as CI is preaching that ZOG is controlling Washington and the dreaded United Nations is somehow poised to take over America. There is no exact one-to-one correlation where you can say Islamic fundamentalism = Christian Identity, but there are more than enough similarities to make the comparison disquieting for anyone who labors under the illusion that the beliefs which spawn religious terrorism lay far beyond America's shores.
EXCERPT NO. 1: High Times
EXCERPT NO. 2: Life in the Wild
"Hunting Eric Rudolph" is published by Berkley Books, which is the copyright owner. (Publisher's Web site)
More information on the book "Hunting Eric Rudolph" is available at online, at huntingericrudolph.com.