WHO CARES ABOUT a few strippers in the context of the slaughter of 6,000 innocent people? Actually, the strippers--together with some booze, some hookers, and maybe even a little gambling that some of the hijackers enjoyed before September 11--could help the United States win one of the minor battles in the broader war on terrorism. The Bush administration has gone to great lengths to reassure Muslims at home and abroad that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam. It's a key distinction, and one the terrorists and their friends are trying to blur. They insist the killing was all done in the name of Allah. So devout were the 19 hijackers, we are told, that they gave their lives for their religion. The last-night instruction sheet found in some of the terrorists' luggage even promised some pretty good times with Allah after the September 11 attacks: "Know that the gardens of paradise are waiting for you in all their beauty and the women of paradise are waiting, calling out, 'Come hither, friend of God.' They have dressed in their most beautiful clothing." But some of the hijackers couldn't wait for the "women of paradise" in "their most beautiful clothing," so they settled instead for the women of the Olympic Garden with no clothing at all. Weeks after their mid-summer trip to that Las Vegas strip joint, several terrorists paid to gawk at similarly clad, or unclad, women at the Pink Pony Strip Club, in Daytona Beach, Florida. And according to the Boston Globe, four of the hijackers--Marwan Al-Shehhi, Fayez Rashid Ahmed, Mohand Alshehri, and Satam M. A. Al Suqami--did some prostitute pricing on September 10. The prices were too high for them. The previous day, some of their fellow hijackers had better luck. A driver for a Boston-area escort service said he took a hooker to visit Wail Alshehri and Waleed M. Alshehri. One of them paid $180 for a 20-minute session. A group of terrorists--reportedly including a representative from each of the four hijacked planes--met in Las Vegas as many as six times before the September 11 attacks. Authorities there are currently interviewing strippers, bartenders, and prostitutes in an effort to learn more. Investigators have asked casinos to review old surveillance tapes for signs of the terrorists. In piecing together the hijackers' activities in their last months, FBI agents find themselves in very unreligious places, where very unreligious people do very unreligious things. The regime harboring the man behind the attacks executes women for prostitution. Not only are women forbidden to dance for money while showing some skin, they're forbidden to dance. And they're forbidden from showing skin--any skin. Men caught with a prostitute would be beaten, at least. Same for men without beards or men who watched movies. Suffice it to say, the hijackers would be in big earthly trouble for violating Islamic law. Whatever these terrorists were, they certainly weren't good Muslims, at least in the way the Taliban and other fundamentalists understand it. Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.
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