Tuesday, July 03, 2007

In Their Own Words

For those that minimize the role of religion in some terrorist causes, you simply must read this article from the Daily Mail.

When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network - a series of British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology - I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.

By blaming the Government for our actions, those who pushed this "Blair's bombs" line did our propaganda work for us.

More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.


If we are to believe this writer, we can plainly see that there is a religious component involved here. That doesn't mean there isn't a political one, it just means there are some that truly want to establish theocracies, in place of stable democratic republics. It's not about justice. It's about empowerment and oppression, as outlined in some medieval interpretations of metaphoric texts. But most importantly, it is about enslavement of mankind.

So, the next time someone says this is an economic cause and uses some descriptive analysis of unjust economic conditions in the Muslim world to illustrate it, you can at least have this article (written by a former jihadist) in the back of your mind to aid you in your search for the truth.

16 comments:

Greg said...

the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.


Like, duh.

ms. miami said...

las- hmmm, i wonder what sparked this post... ;)

again, we probably won't see eye to eye on this topic, but i'll just pose these questions: why do these extremist groups want a theocracy? why are some of these groups holding up the 10th century as a model?

a theocracy would let them set the rules, instead of the current powers that be. claiming god as the source of your 'rules' is a great road to unlimited power (medieval church, anyone?)

these groups are looking to the past because it was a time when the muslim world was the economic and political power (with china), a time when europe was the weaker power.

i do believe that some extremists sincerely believe that their motives are religious, but i also believe that these people are doing little in the way of self-analysis.

(of course, being cynical about all religious motivation- christian, muslim, whatever- it's pretty easy for me to dismiss claims of piety. i see economic/power motivations as the biggest force behind the irish conflict, the balkan conflicts, the darfur conflict, shia/sunni conflicts, etc.)

Greg said...

ms. miami: I know that, for some reason only liberals understand, it would make you feel better if we could blame islamic supremacism on colonialism or some other western crime against the muslim masses. But the fact is, anyone who knows bin Laden will tell you he is a sincerely "pious" man, a "devoted Muslim".

And what's the first thing you hear about any terrorist after he has attempted to or succeeded at mass murder? "He was a very religious boy."....

It's the ideology. That's how they get people to commit suicide while murdering women & children.

LASunsett said...

MsM,

//i wonder what sparked this post... ;)//

I'll never tell ;)

//we probably won't see eye to eye on this topic//

Maybe, maybe not. Let's look at it.

//a theocracy would let them set the rules, instead of the current powers that be. claiming god as the source of your 'rules' is a great road to unlimited power (medieval church, anyone?)//

I cannot say that I disagree with this. It's an important component, just as important as the use of religion to accomplish it.

//i see economic/power motivations as the biggest force behind the irish conflict, the balkan conflicts, the darfur conflict, shia/sunni conflicts, etc.)//

In these conflicts you cite, all have a common denominator. Religion. Some are merely differences in doctrinal theology of the primarily the same faith, others are more pronounced differences from entirely different faiths.

Whenever one faith asserts power over another because of the differences that exist between the two groups, it stands to reason that one group will be the more privileged and the other will be less.

I have no doubt that your argument has some merit. Groups that want this power over others target those disaffected and usually that means those in the less powerful group. Why? Because they are the ones that have the least to lose. One doesn't need to have religion as a main component to see this, just look at the Communist revolutions, to see this principle in play.

But the point I want to make clear is this. In the case of Radical Islamists, they are using religion as a primary recruiting tool to persuade those that are disaffected by their lack of empowerment. Why else would a young man or woman strap a bomb on, for the specific purpose of killing those around them? A faulty promise of an afterlife with virgins and paradise does much to brainwahs those that already feel they have no hope, in this earth.

Although this may be more suitable on PPTOG than here, I will say it anyway. I think this is a primary difference from those that profess Christianity and others. There is no religious component in true Christianity. This is where the medieval Roman Church failed greatly and others still fail today.

Christ is attributed with saying that His kingdom was not of this earth. So, in my mind, politics has no place making Christianity or any other religion a mantra of political thought and ideology. Nor does Christianity (or other religions) have any right to politicize their causes.

Make no mistake, I do believe in the separation of church and state. For many reasons, some of which are the reasons you have stated. All religions should be free to practice. All should be able to advance their message using the powerful art of persuasion, not by the sword. And all should be free to accept or reject those messages, without hear and regret.

There, that wasn't so bad. Was it? ;)

ms. miami said...

It's the ideology. That's how they get people to commit suicide while murdering women & children.

greg- yes, we won't be seeing eye to eye either ;)

i agree that it's the ideology, but question what is driving them to adopt such ideology. the only way to get to the root of the problem is to make the ideology less appealing.

as i brought up on the other blog, i highly recommend this article from fareed zakaria:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19389332/site/newsweek/

LASunsett said...

CORRECTION

without hear and regret.

should read:

without fear and regret.

Greg said...

MsM, Zakaria doesn't tell us why people join a murderous death cult, only what we can do to beat it. I agree with him that islamic supremacism is so internally flawed that it is bound to destroy itself. But he isn't specific about how to take advantages of those flaws. Other comments by him make me generally dismiss him as one of the "blame America" crowd.

In other articles by him, I've read that oppressive middle east regimes contribute to the rise of islamic supremacism because the mosque is the only place where people can congregate. So, I guess he's a neo-con like me, believing that liberalizing muslim society is the way to exploit those internal flaws in the ideology. But you can't possibly agree with that! That would make you a neo-con! :)

Greg said...

Ugh, too bad I can't edit my post. Nix the reference to the "blame America crowd". I can't remember anything specific he said along those lines.

Anonim said...

Hello LA.

//All should be able to advance their message using the powerful art of persuasion, not by the sword. And all should be free to accept or reject those messages, without [f]ear and regret.//

Amen to the "without fear and regret" part. As for the "powerful art of persuasion" and "sword," bear in mind that, to the fundamentalist, these two are one and the same. That is, absent a firm secular order, these two concepts would probably be indistinguishable. Although the situation appears to be manifestly so in the Islamic realm today (no concept whatsoever of freedom from religion except for dhimmitude for other peoples of the book, and worse for free-thinking born-Muslims or bookless peoples), I think, it wouldn't be much different in the West, either. I mean, when I walk by street picketers where I live, I feel safe and non-threatened not thanks to good nature of these picketers but thanks to the secular laws that bar them from touching me. They may well be good natured, but without laws to check them, the next set of picketers may be different. I have no urges whatsoever for hypothesis testing here. You probably can guess where I'm coming from: there is an unbearable pressure in Turkey for my kind to engage in hypothesis testing of this dangerous sort. I say no thanks, alas, to no avail it seems.

Anyway, happy 4th everyone.

ms. miami said...

greg- the reasons he cites for people adhering to extremist movements were alienation, humiliation, & disempowerment.

much analysis has been done on this taking place within the middle east under dictatorial-type regimes as well as within muslim minority groups in europe (however, much less in the u.s.).

his recipe for improving this situation is to find ways of making these groups feel less like victims of modernization.

of course, your education should make you a wiz at textual analysis, i'm not sure why his article seems so confusing.

greg, i challenge you to look through my commentary on any blog and find where i've ever said that 1) there is one cause of muslim extremism, and 2) america is that cause.

i know that it's easier to put this strawman argument in my mouth, then "knock it down." however, i think that you and i both know that you continually misrepresent my arguments...

Greg said...

If Zakaria thinks that the reason people join is "alienation, humiliation, & disempowerment" then he is indeed totally wrong. While there are undoubtedly some jihadis this describes, there are just TOO MANY it does not describe to use it as the general rule.

Eg., bin Laden, born into the elite of his country with more money than God. His right-hand man, a physician. The would-be killers from GB this weekend, all highly educated, privileged people. Mohammed Atta, a gifted architect. They cannot possibly be described as alienated, humiliated or disempowered.

In fact, if this is what Zakaria believes, then he is simply repeating the lie of the jihadi brainwashers, who feed their flock of sheep a constant diet of stories about western agression against and humiliation of Muslims. It's a big fat lie. Grievance theater at its best.

I think what happens is simple. People go to the mosque, and if it's the supremacist type, some number of them start to believe the garbage, and join up. Thereupon, they are further brainwashed in preparation for suicide and murder. They become jihadis in much the same way that ordinary Germans were turned into SS assassins of civilians.

As for "misrepresenting" your beliefs, don't be so insecure. Everyone else can read what you write and dismiss me if they think I'm doing that.

LASunsett said...

Hi Anonim,

//As for the "powerful art of persuasion" and "sword," bear in mind that, to the fundamentalist, these two are one and the same. //

Whereas persuasion consists of a seller selling an idea and a buyer making a decision to buy it or not, one that uses the sword is not a persuader, but a coercer.

You state well that these people see it in the same light, though. Of course we know that coercion has many difficult levels to it, the sword being the harshest form of it.

Thanks for stopping by, sir.

A.C. McCloud said...

Radical Islam seems more like a cult than anything else. It's always the weak-minded who end up blowing themselves up.

The Barbary Pirates claimed they were raiding ships in the name of Allah, when in fact they were raiding ships for booty and using that excuse to ease their guilt, increase their treasury. There are some differences with today but by and large the people blowing themselves up are not much different that those manning the pirate ships.

LASunsett said...

AC,

//Radical Islam seems more like a cult than anything else.//

You mean something like, the Manson family gone global?

Always On Watch said...

Several verses in the Koran promote acts of terror against any who are not Muslim. And in the name of Allah.

Really, the matter is quite simple, isn't it?

Always On Watch said...

When I attended the lecture by Dr. Tawfik Hamid, Muslim reformer, on June 29, I gained some insights I hadn't previously understood, although I had some inklings. See this. The emphasis on damnation in hell and the Islamic path to eternal life is so significant as motivation for jihadists. I'm not sure that we Westerners, mostly secularists, understand the strength of that motivation.