On April 13, 2009, two young lovers attempting to elope were shot to death by a firing squad during a public execution outside a mosque in southern Afghanistan.
Abdul Aziz, 21, and Gul Pecha, 19, had fled their village, planning to start a new life together. The Taliban, an organization of Islamic extremists, put the young couple on trial for crimes against Islam and executed them shortly thereafter.
"It was a very bad thing for these people to escape from their homes without permission and it is right that they should be punished according to Sharia law," explained Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, spokesman for the Taliban movement..
Welcome to life on Planet Earth in the enlightened year of 2009.
In the year 610 AD, the prophet Muhammed received a divine message from Allah. He was commanded, by Allah, to start a new religion that believed in a single God. Thus, the religion of Islam came into being.
Monotheism is the doctrine or belief that there is only one God. Eventually, Islam would become the third major monotheistic religion in the world, along with Christianity and Judaism. A Muslim is an adherent to Islam.
Over the next 22 years, Muhammed spoke for Allah and the Muslim empire overtook the Arabian Peninsula.
After Muhammed's death, the Muslim empire continued to expand over the centuries.
In the 1500s, Christianity and Judaism accommodated the modern world by conceding the separation of the church and state. Western civilization soon flourished under individual rights, economic freedom and rule of law.
By the 1600s, the Muslims were the greatest military force in the world. They conquered vast territory in the Middle East and Southern Europe, and in the process converted millions to their religious dogma.
By the 1700s, the West achieved military superiority. Soon, the West began repelling Muslim expansionism.
In 1769, Russia defeated the Turks (Ottoman Empire), the first major setback of the Muslim world.
In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte of France led an expedition into Egypt. Over the next century, France seized and occupied Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco; while Britain occupied Aden (modern Yemen) and Egypt.
In 1911, Russia gained control of vast areas of Persia (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran) and Italy annexed the city of Tripoli, leading to the establishment of Libya. By the end of World War I, France and Britain had conquered the entire Muslim empire and occupied various portions of the region as part of their spheres of influence.
While many Muslims gradually adapted to the Western ways of fast-paced modernization and industrialization, others rejected them and yearned for the rigid ideology and traditional laws of the Koran.
Islamic radicalism was born in Egypt in the 1920s. Hassan Al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, predecessor to modern day Hamas and Al Qaeda, which reverted back to the strict teachings of Muhammad.
The radicals felt Allah was angry with Muslims for straying from their true religious path. They perceived the Western influence to be a prison of the true believers, a punishment by Allah for betraying their religion.
The Muslim Brotherhood soon formed armed cells that attacked the "secular" government and its supporters. Today, this organization has hundreds of branches in over 70 countries worldwide.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Sayyid Qutb of the Muslim Brotherhood invoked Jihad, a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty. He wrote, "The very purpose of this movement is to set human beings free from the yoke of human enslavement and make them serve the One and Only God."
In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew Iran's regime and established the first modern Islamic Republic.
By 1983, Islamic radicalism spread to Lebanon, torn by bloody internal conflicts, killing 241 U.S. Marines.
In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people.
In 1993, Islamic radicals attacked the World Trade Center.
On September 11, 2001, they finished the job.
This treachery of Muslim expansionism and indoctrination by force has been taking place for 1,400 years.
A radical faction of the Muslim religion has declared Jihad (holy war) on the rest of the world. Their goal is to create a worldwide Islamic paradise. And If it means killing every "non-believer" in sight, so be it.
You cannot negotiate with or surrender to or hide from this type of insanity. These extremists don't want jobs or benefits or concessions of any sort. They're mindless bigots, determined to kill everyone who isn't them.
They lay low and attack mercilessly, indiscriminately murdering innocent men, women and children, often sacrificing their own lives in the process thereby earning a special reward in Islamic heaven.
Defeating such an enemy, small cells of mass murderers on a rampage, won't be easy and it won't end soon.
But madmen are attempting to exterminate us. We have no choice; we must prevail. It's called self-preservation.
Man never does evil so ruthlessly and cheerfully as when he does it for religious conviction.
To kill for a religion is easier than living a morally courageous life.
Quote for the Day -- "Come forward as servants of Islam, organize the people economically, socially, educationally and politically, and I am sure that you will be a power that will be accepted by everybody." Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and a mind of his own. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111