Nothing new. The West is only now realizing the real face of muslims. For centuries they have shown no regard for life. None of their past rulers have died a natural death. Taking life is OK with them weather it is their daughters or others. We stopped cannibalism in Africa some time ago, may be we can stop this. How do you teach people to respect life? I do not know. But unless one can do this there is no hope for peace any where in the world. I think the problem is not confined to just Al Qaeda: this runs deeply in the psyche of the muslim community. Maybe God has a purpose of putting people like these on Earth. Just like the mosquito I do not know the purpose.
A2hellosis, just as today Islam is plagued by its own "terrorists", so also was Christianity once plagued by such evil. Remember how the Trinitarians wiped out the Gnostics in the first few centuries after Christ, the murder and torture committed by Roman Catholics in the Spanish Inquisition, or the witch burning by the Puritans in Massachusetts. As gglvr8 pointed out, today these same kinds of apes (I hesitate to call them human) sit on the laps of blind-folded men while they cut their living heads off with knives, and then they stand up clutching the dismembered head by the hair and laugh about it! They hide behind hundreds of innocent children in a school within Russia and blow their little bodies to kingdom-come. They put bombs on their nine year daughters and send them to kill Israeli soldiers. In fact, there's not much difference between these baboons and the Viet Cong of decades past; but did Kerry tell that to Congress in his testimony back in the 1970s? The fact of the matter is that Kerry couldn't handle barbarians like these back then and can't now. He says we need to exercise a more sensitive war. War isn't sensitive. It's death. The only thing murderous Neanderthals like these understand is overwhelming and unremitting strength. Bush comprehends that. Hanoi Jane is incapable of such understanding, no matter how "noble" his motives.
I would wager that more people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other single name. In his own words:
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn" 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
Mohammed and Karl Marx compete for a close second-place with Adolph Hitler in third. Such is the sad commentary of fanaticism.
As Robert Heinlein wrote, "All is fair in love and war - what a contemptible lie!" I hate the war in Iraq and the continued violence in Afghanistan and Israel. Millennia ago, mad-men like Antiochus Epiphanes had only swords and spears with which to murder innocent men, women and children; today�s megalomaniacs (Osama Bin Laden, the Ayatollah, Kim Il Jong, etc.) may yet gain access to nuclear weapons (or already have) and use them without hesitation. Such fanaticism must be stopped.
The classical world in the mediterranean predated the Romans by 500 years, and constituted the "downtown" area of the western world. All classical learning, philosophy, architecture, and most law later claimed by others was developed here. The Romans simply moved in on a going enterprise when they took it over BCE 200. They stumbled onward to the year AD 600, when the nomadic tent-living bedouin horse soldiers the Romans used as border guards suffered a mass delusion, and revolted, taking Africa, Spain,Turkey (what we now know as), and the mideast, because their self-motivated religiously berserk troops could slaughter unwilling Roman peasant conscript footsoldiers at will. This was Islam. Islam simply moved in on the heartland of the classical world, with no conception of how to develop such a civilization themselves. They burned the Alexandria library, which contained 1000 years worth of knowlege, to stoke their heated baths, and in general began to ruin their ill-gotten classical territory as soon as they won it. Forget the Ottomans. Same old same old. They simply continued the long classical downslide until 1917. (Meanwhile classical China had maintained continuous governance from 200 BCE until 1910, so the time frame is curiously alike, West & East) Let us never accept our own forgetful hustling by the disloyal bedouin horsetroops that they ever "had a Civilization". If they did, it was Greek. Conquered Greek. (In fact most high government officials of the Ottomans were Greek, and many so called Islamic military geniuses were Serbian, and philosophers Jewish). Does this answer your question? In short, they never knew how to build a world civilization, and simply tribalized the one they stole. Bereft of positive vision, their neolithic reactionary philosophy holds its victims motionless, fearful, ignorant, forever. This is Islam. Thus, the beheadings, the assassinations, and the capture of schoolchildren.