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Valar Qringaomis

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

On Terrorism being a Political, not a Religious Problem

Terrorism is a political problem, not a religious one, Opinion News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Paul Tobin: The article's fundamental thesis is seriously flawed.

Some examples:

(a) It says one of the major reasons for terrorism is the "the failure of these societies to integrate their minorities." Yet it does not explain similar terrorist attacks in countries such as Pakistan and Banglasdesh where the terrorists themselves are part of the majority.

(b) It says "In his open letter to the US in 2002, Osama stated that Al-Qaeda's undertaking of the Sept 11 attacks was motivated by the Israeli occupation of Palestine - this was the first reason given in his letter" This, rather dishonestly I might add, creates the impression that Osama's worldview and grievances are mainly political and secular. Yet she omitted to mention two important things:

Firstly that Osama opened his letter with these verses from the Quran, clearly presenting his views as theologicaly motivated:

"Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged and surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory" [Quran 22:39]

"Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (anything worshipped other than Allah e.g. Satan). So fight you against the friends of Satan; ever feeble is indeed the plot of Satan."[Quran 4:76]

Secondly by not defining "Palestine", she implies that this is purely West Bank and Gaza, yet Osama's letter clearly shows he means "Palestine" to include all of modern Israel as well, since he mentioned that "the creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased." His argument for the right of muslim Arabs to the land of "Palestine" (i.e. all of modern israel, West Bank and Gaza) is theological not political (you can see his letter here: Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America' | World news | The Guardian)

(c) The example of Donald Trump is the most feeble red herring I have read in a long time, I suspect, no one, including evangelical Christians, takes Donald Trump claims about Christianity (and his boast that "Nobody reads the Bible as much as me") seriously. But everyone, and certainly many many muslims who choose to join ISIS or other Jihadi groups take the theological claims of these groups seriously.

Of course, there are other dimensions, political, social etc to the problem. But to say that there is NO religious dimension (as the title of the article unambiguously states and the article implies) to the modern problem of Jihadi terrorism is pure sophistry.

Me: If it were solely a political problem, why would Muslims (and only Muslims) in other countries be upset at what happens in the Middle East - so much so that they commit terrorist acts?

If these terrorists were Arab you could pin it (unconvincingly) on Pan-Arab Solidarity. But even non-Arab Muslims are so motivated.

At a very minimum, one needs to look at Muslim solidarity, which is a religious concept.
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