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Islamic Fundamentalism Exists, But That Doesn’t Mean All Terrorists Are Muslim

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By Shruti Sonal

It has been repeated time and again by analysts and media persons alike that while not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims. The statement has been carefully used by those who claim they’re not equating terror with religion. However, the term ‘Islamic’ has almost become a prefix of the word terror. Challenging this notion, an article was published by Daily Beast in January 2015, which pointed out well-researched evidence that a majority of terror-related cases are carried out by non-Muslims. In fact, less than 2% of the terrorist attacks over the past 5 years were committed by Muslims. A report released by Europol last year highlighted that vast majority of terror attacks in Europe were perpetrated by separatist groups such as France’s FLNC and Greece’s left-wing Militant Popular Revolutionary Forces. Other non-Muslim terrorists’ organizations present in other parts of the world include, among others, Lord’s Resistance Army (Uganda, Sudan), Aum Shirnikyo (Japan) and New People’s Army (Philippines).

Image source: WordPress
Image source: WordPress

Even as America led the global war on terror, an FBI report stated that between 1980 and 2005, 94% of terror attacks in the U.S. were committed by non-Muslims. While Latino groups accounted for 42% of the attacks, left wing extremist groups made up 24% of the total. Wired reported that “Since 9/11, 33 Americans have died as a result of terrorism launched by their Muslim neighbours. During that period, 180,000 Americans were murdered for reasons unrelated to terrorism.”

The above data and evidence highlights the way mainstream media chooses to define terrorism and also focus on certain events, while ignoring some others. In the absence of a universally accepted definition of terrorism, such projection of the term inevitably leads to Islamophobia, influencing people’s perception that all bearded Muslims are potential terrorists. It also favours the geopolitics led by USA, as the “clash of civilisations” showed post 9/11. Not only did it help justify grave violations of human rights at home but also legitimised the intervention in the Middle East and Afghanistan in the name of “War Against Terror”. Additionally, it also prevents adequate attention being given to acts of atrocities committed against Muslims in places like Myanmar, where Rohingya Muslims are under threat from Buddhist extremists (which is generally considered a peaceful religion).

While it cannot be denied that Islamic fundamentalism is a phenomenon that needs to be dealt with, one must be careful while defining acts of terror. While white non-Muslim shooters in America often get away with being labelled as a “deranged or mentally disturbed lone shooter,” each act of violence committed by a Muslim is judged by the yardstick of being a part of a wider network of Islamic terror. Similarly in India too, the acts of violence by Hindu extremist groups are seen as isolated incidents, not coming under the purview of religiously motivated terrorism. This, unfortunately, allows different public sentiments to be created around, say the incident of Chapel Hill shooting and Charlie Hebdo shooting, or the hanging of Yakub Memon on one hand and cases revolving around Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi on the other. Terrorism, understood as a deliberate use of force to attain political ends, must be understood in a context broader than Islamic fundamentalism to allow a truer understanding. It will allow a non-biased analysis of incidents of violence relating to race such as the recent shooting in Charleston, and thus, expand the notion of politically-motivated terror beyond the realm of religion.

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  1. B

    Thanks for the article. Extremism exists among every religion and community, but the western media selectively highlights Islamic extremism to malign the image of Muslims and Islam. This is the same media which selectively publishes news and pays a fortune to manipulate it. Otherwise why is there nothing on the over 400,000 Muslims displaced in Central African Republic, genocide of Burmese Muslims is not covered by the media, the United States killing 2 million Iraqis was not news, Obama droning innocent children in Pakistan was not highlighted by the media, United States slaughtered Muslims in Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon Pakistan, Somalia, Panama, Palestine and it was not news. Where is international media when the U.S. kills Muslims, sheds their blood, rapes their women, takes their land, mocks their religion, destroys their livelihood, and slaughters their children? The U.S. murders innocent children in Islamic countries and no one raises an eyebrow. There are no televised discussions. No one mourns. It does not make headlines. It is not news.

    https://youtu.be/3DOgWuGYGeo

  2. B

    Why do Muslims have to defend their faith for the actions of its people. I didn’t see Christians having to defend their faith and its teachings when its government killed 2 million Iraqis, 500,000 of which were children. No one talked about Christianity when innocent civilians were horrendously tortured and raped in prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, when the U.S. supplied Israel with 3.5 billion dollars in aid to kill innocent Palestinians, no one blamed Christianity for the U.S. led bloodshed in Iran, the bombing in Somalia, the slaughters in Libya, the butchering in Syria, the brutal killings in Lebanon, and the list is endless. I, for one, certainly do not blame Christianity knowing that the U.S. government has been murdering Muslims since decades for money, oil, and power. Blaming a religion for the actions of its people is like blaming a car for an accident.

    https://youtu.be/HOrrOu8uV8o

  3. B

    Article by John Pilger:

    For centuries now, Christian nations have been busy beating up one Muslim nation or another. In the Middle Ages they came as crusaders. Then they colonized many Muslim countries and tried to destroy their cultures and religion. During their struggle for independence some Muslims had to suffer terrible violence. The French killed about a million Muslims in Algeria because they wanted independence. In Lebanon, when Christians were in the majority there was war, but when Muslims became the majority there was peace except in the South of the country where Christians helped a foreign enemy against their own countrymen.

    What will the Christian be if the tables were turned and their lands were first colonized by Muslims and then bombed or maligned or ethnically cleansed? If the past is any guide, the answer is clear: There will be a vicious reaction and given the chance an attempt at almost total destruction of the Muslims. For in Spain Muslims lived for about 850 years as rulers. They lived with Jews and Christians for the most part in a spirit of tolerance and cooperation in promoting science and culture to the point that their work prepared for the modern scientific revolution with all its benefits for mankind. But the moment Muslims became weaker, the hate in the Christian heart came out with a vengeance. Muslims were either killed, converted, or forced to leave Spain and their heritage was as fully destroyed as was humanly possible. Before Palestine and Kosovo, there was Spain.

    Above, I have mentioned only what the Christian nations have been doing or are doing to the Muslims. But when we look at what they have done to each other or to other people any validity in their claim of being people of love and peace vanishes. The horrible treatment of the heretics and witches in the Middle Ages probably inspired the tyrants of later centuries. The native peoples of the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand bear a tragic witness to what Christian nations can do to other nations and with the blessings and assistance of Christian churches. In this century alone the Western nations have fought two world wars with tens of millions dead and untold misery for the living. For each victory in these two wars the church bells rang in the victorious countries.

    https://youtu.be/Sj7VDMJZB_s

  4. B

    See this article

    Horrendous Torture Techniques Sanctioned By American Government In Afghanistan Prisons

    http://www.chowrangi.pk/torture-techniques-by-americans-in-afghanistan-prisons.html

    https://youtu.be/akm3nYN8aG8

  5. B

    Obama droned Pakistan to kill thousands of innocent civilians and terrorize hundreds of thousands in North Warizistan to maim and murder, and send them in a frenzy of anxiety. Imagine living when drones are flying over your head twenty-four hours, not knowing when one would end your life. It remains a fact that 98% of victims in drone attacks were innocent civilians, as the sole intent behind the deadly act was to terrorize, maim, and murder.

    98% innocent civilans murdered by Obama’s drones

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/10/19/267614/threat-of-death-looming-over-pakistan-us-drones-in-pakistan-kill-98-civilians/

    https://youtu.be/6yMOzvmgVhc

  6. B

    In prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, which is still functional today, innocent victims are tortured, abused, sodomized, forced to listen to blaring music on headphones while they are handcuffed for hours on end, given food to eat you would not feed animals, bitten by dogs, urinated upon, deprived of sleep for hours, kept in complete isolation, whipped, beaten with rods and cables, and some techniques too horrible to even describe. All the torture techniques are sanctioned by the U.S. government.

    https://youtu.be/fRZEvNnyqlA

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