Is Islamic Terrorism Inevitable?

 

Those who claim Islam is an inherently terroristic religion are branding one of the world’s most popular religions as essentially anathema to freedom and any other modern value system. The result is the need for a permanent war. Islam cannot be removed from the world, and the Taliban demonstrated that it can persist in the face of overwhelming Western force. Furthermore, as it is a collection of apparently very persuasive ideas, Islam cannot be checked at a border and prevented from crossing. The answer to such a threat seems to be the suspension of our own values in the pursuit of restricting Islamic ones. But even that seems ineffective — France does not exactly play with kid gloves, but they are unable to enter vast neighborhoods dominated by Islamic forces.

On the other hand, those who claim it is essentially a religion of peace face an uphill climb in terms of evidence. Right now, anti-Jewish Islamic mobs the world over are demonstrating that terroristic Islam is seemingly spreading. England has been cowed into a position of open acceptance of Islamic violence. Policy decisions behind the ‘religion of peace’ model seem to have led us to where we are — with vast Islamic populations posing an increasing threat to a well-meaning Western world.

The lack of hope in these answers forms how I ask the question: ‘Is Islam the religion of terror?’ I don’t particularly care about whether my answer is right. I care about whether my answer can be effective.

Is there an answer that makes the world a better place?

For effective answers, we need to go to the heart of the Islamic world — Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the Gulf, and Iran. As pretty much every reader of this platform knows, the 9/11 terrorists, their money, and their inspiration came from Saudi Arabia. The U.S., not wanting to attack an ally, went after the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia, after all, had close ‘personal’ relationships with many American leaders.

After al Qaeda attacked Saudi Arabia itself in 2003, the Saudi government began a campaign meant to curtail the most extreme versions of Islam (Yes, Saudi Arabia routinely executes people and cuts off hands for theft, and yes, Saudi Arabia practices feud law between families.). The government — which is undeniably a religious government — established religious retraining camps for extremist clerics and their allies. This campaign was renewed when Saudi-funded members of daesh (ISIS) attacked Saudi Arabia itself. The Islamists attacked because the ruling family wasn’t living their even more extreme ideals. Of course, the ruling family wasn’t just failing to impose their version of Islamic law, they were personably questionable. One common theory was that the old King’s IV was pumping him full of the very finest of whiskeys.

All that said, the government campaign appears to have reduced the sheer volume of terrorism within (and originating from) Saudi Arabia. In addition, the society has become much more accepting of the canaries in the coal mine — Jews and even Israelis openly travel within the Kingdom, and the media routinely discusses making peace with Israel while criticizing Hamas.

Another more impressive example is the UAE. The UAE was formed from seven of (effectively) ten Gulf Emirates.  Their reality is indicative. The seven members of the UAE haven’t suffered from terrorism and don’t seem to be exporting it either.  The leader of Dubai has projected a very different concept of what Islam means. Yes, locals and men are definitely dominant in his society and, yes, there is slavery. But day-to-day life for many people — including much of the 85% of the population who are not citizens — is open and far more free than Islamists in Europe and the US would be likely to accept. Bahrain has followed a similar path — encouraged by its military sponsor, Saudi Arabia.

The remaining two Emirates (Kuwait and Qatar) remain dedicated to another form of Islam. Qatar is one of the world’s great centers of Islamic terrorism (Hamas has offices there for a reason) and propaganda (Al Jazeera). Islam in these culturally almost identical places has taken very, very different paths.

Then there is Iran. The government is extreme and easily outstrips Qatar in terms of practical terrorism (rather than the spread of terrorist ideology). On the other hand, the people aren’t extreme. For many, their Islam is not a central driver of Jihad and violence. They celebrate, for example, a Jewish-Persian history that is far longer than the history of Islam.

Even as extreme radicalism washes over Western Islam, that extreme radicalism is becoming far less potent in the very places where it originated.

To borrow a phrase, the swamp is draining.

The core question is: why?

The core Islamic argument against the West is that it is empty. I’m sure many people on this platform would agree. It is fixated on personal happiness and any sense of a greater cause has fallen by the wayside. Many in the West are focused on seeking their own personal happiness through activities as limited as sexual exploration, pronoun experimentation, or the constant measurement of wealth. They think they’ll find themselves when people are actually in a constant state of self-definition. They are seeking where there is often very little to find — or looking where there is nothing at all. Self-realization is seen as the path to fulfillment when it actually leads to a closed loop of deep misery.

At the same time, a purely material worldview is an open road to nowhere. A fundamental sign of our weakness — from almost all ideological angles — is the collapse in birthrates across society. People are living for today — not for anything beyond their own time (the only wealthy exception to this is Israel, where every group, including the secular, is well above replacement rate).

In the face of this, Islam offers meaning. Islamism unashamedly embraces a greater purpose and the pull for young people living empty lives is overwhelming. There is a reason moderate Muslims will immigrate to the West and their children will turn into terrorist radicals. There is a reason young Caucasian women from the West joined ISIS training camps and remain in those camps even now.

Qatar remains fixated on this violent approach to Islam. But the UAE has begun to refocus. Consider these famous quotes from Sheikh Zayed (the leader of Dubai):

  • “No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities.”
  • “Wealth is not in money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to build the individual, and to use the wealth which God has provided us in the service of the nation.”
  • “It is my duty as the leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert themselves in order to raise their own standards and to be of service to the country. The individual who is healthy and of a sound mind and body but who does not work commits a crime against himself and society.”
  • “It is the scholars’ duty to explain to people the essence and great message of Islam, which calls for tolerance, wisdom and fairness, so that people reject terrorism and killing in the name of religion.”

Notice the emphasis on something more than the material — but the focusing of that greater effort on something other than violent jihad. His recipe is working — there is purpose without extremism. Lacking anything deeper, many a secular Westerner visits Dubai and becomes a convert to the wisdom of Sheikh Zayed. I know Israeli Jews who have done the same.

For their part, Persians can hearken back to a long national tradition that precedes Islam. It incorporates Zoroastrianism and many local customs and ideals. Even more critically, they willingly drank the Islamist Kool-Aid and have now realized where it leads. They are, once again, redefining what it means to be Muslim.

Islam — like Judaism and Christianity — is what people make of it. Christianity certainly has its own form of Jihad — saving souls through conquest — but it has fallen by the wayside. It has become unacceptable to convert by force. Judaism was never really big on forced conversion — nonetheless, there are records suggesting that the Hasmonians (think Chanukah story) were as extreme as any Islamist today. They certainly weren’t loved by their neighborhood Hellenists (Greeks). Even today, there is an extremist fringe within Judaism.

All of this leads to a completely different answer to the question: Is Islam a Terrorist Religion?

The answer isn’t ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The answer is: what are we?

What are we providing that can give people meaning and greater purpose? So long as we have no decent answer to this question, Islamic radicalism will flourish within our societies. To push back, we need to follow the path of the UAE. As strange as it may seem, this totalitarian dictatorship offers an answer to arguably the greatest threats of the modern era.

The West needs to focus on meaning — without war and without terror.

The dark ideology of violent Islamism can only be checked when we find our purpose.

If we can find our purpose, then we can convert even our most ardent enemies to a vision greater than their own.

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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There are 17 comments.

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Outstanding article.  I learned a lot.  Thanks. 

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    The Arab nations where Islam is practiced are suffering from a massive sense of inferiority. They have nothing to offer civilization. There is not one thing they have given to progress. They are parasites on the West. Hard thing to take. 

    Iran and Turkey have past glories (like really, really, really past) and still have not come to terms with their current loser status. 

    Now, Islam offers a false hope of victory with attacking the West and hoping great things happen. It is the opposite of the teachings of Christ. Christ also preached a spiritual victory, but not on this Earth until He returned. These bozos, with their screwed up faith of violence, act like a cargo cult. They think if they do the right things, magic will happen. 

    The West should engage them in as viscous a way as they engage us. They should be brutally crushed, and taught the error of their ways, over and over, until they stop attacking us. 

    This will never end from the inside. Islamic nations have been this way since the start. Islam has been at war with the West and Christianity its whole existence. Our ancestors understood this. We are fools not too. 

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    JosephCox:

    The core Islamic argument against the West is that it is empty. I’m sure many people on this platform would agree. It is fixated on personal happiness and any sense of a greater cause has fallen by the wayside. Many in the West are focused on seeking their own personal happiness through activities as limited as sexual exploration, pronoun experimentation or the constant measurement of wealth. They think they’ll find themselves when people are actually in a constant state of self-definition. They are seeking where there is often very little to find – or looking where there is nothing at all. Self-realization is seen as the path to fulfillment when it actually leads to a closed loop of deep misery. At the same time, a purely material worldview is an open road to nowhere. A fundamental sign of our weakness – from almost all ideological angles – is the collapse in birthrates across society. People are living for today – not for anything beyond their own time (the only wealthy exception to this is Israel, where every group including the secular is well above replacement rate). 

    In the face of this, Islam offers meaning. Islamism unashamedly embraces a greater purpose and the pull for young people living empty lives is overwhelming. There is a reason moderate Muslims will immigrate to the West and their children will turn into terrorist radicals. There is a reason young Caucasian women from the West joined ISIS training camps and remain in those camps even now.

    I am optimistic. I do not think we have to reach the pinnacle of finding a unified, accepted-by-all meaning for our life to enable us to live in peace. That’s a good thing because it will never happen. Argument seems to be a need for human beings as powerful as the need to breathe. :) 

    What I have seen over my lifetime is what I think of as a civilizational seesaw. In times of crisis, I have seen great leaders emerge and peace following soon afterward. Granted, back to the point I made in the preceding paragraph, their ability to lead weakens quickly because we human beings just can’t ever see the other guy’s point of view. :) But the tidal surges of violence tend to become ebb tides as people resume their work to meet their biological needs (see Abraham Maslow :)  ). 

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    JosephCox: Islam cannot be removed from the world

    I’d still like to try . . .

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I’m not optimistic about the West finding meaning. People are too obsessed with the material, and incorporating meaning in one’s life can be difficult. Why not just take the easy route?

    • #5
  6. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    JosephCox: If we can find our purpose, then we can convert even our ardent enemies to a vision greater than their own.

    I appreciated your detailed history and geography lesson. 

    But… the final post quote is  fantastical and wildly unrealistic.

    • #6
  7. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    There is much to muhammed’s initial spiritual “revelations” (and in following years) that is dark and demonic, otherwise attempted to be described in medical terms.  This is the conclusion to Chapter 11 of Joel Richardson’s book Will Islam Be Our Future? A Study of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology

    “In the final assessment, we see that the revelations of Muhammad – the seeds out of which Islam sprouted, began amidst a violent and dark encounter with some form of spiritual being in the cave of Hira. We have also seen that Muhammad’s life contained periods of either significant delusion or blatant spiritual oppression. It is this dimension of Muhammad’s life that should indeed be noted as we develop the greater theme of this book. Also, when attempting to discern the primary spiritual source of Islam, it is essential to not only see the dark nature of the initial seed from which Islam sprouted but even moreso its ultimate vision of the future – its fully mature “fruit”. The demonic and anti-biblical revelations that began in the Cave of Hira find their culmination with the killing of every Jew, Christian and non-Muslim in the world.”

    • #7
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    JosephCox: Islam cannot be removed from the world and the Taliban demonstrated that it can persist in the face of overwhelming Western force.

    The Taliban never really faced overwhelming force.  And they knew they could outwait us, especially when we told them just how long it would take.

    • #8
  9. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    JosephCox: On the other hand, those who claim it is essentially a religion of peace face an uphill climb in terms of evidence. Right now, anti-Jewish Islamic mobs the world over are demonstrating that terroristic Islam is seemingly spreading. England has been cowed into a position of open acceptance of Islamic violence. Policy decisions behind the ‘religion of peace’ model seem to have led us to where we are – with vast Islamic populations posing an increasing threat to a well-meaning Western world.

    England and France – and other parts of Europe – face the reality that, by not having enough children to even replace themselves, all the Muslims have to do is wait until they can just vote themselves into power, in the end.

    • #9
  10. MikeMcCarthy Coolidge
    MikeMcCarthy
    @MikeMcCarthy

    Great post.

    Finding our own purposes is a great good.

    • #10
  11. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Stad (View Comment):

    JosephCox: Islam cannot be removed from the world

    I’d still like to try . . .

    I am sure someone out there is working feverishly to bring about a potent new biological  menace that can target only the genetic codes of Indians, Pac Rim people, Arabs and Palestinians.

    One problem in this approach is that those who have genetically analyzed the DNA of Palestinians find that is rather identical to that of the Jews who had also remained in the Holy Land over the millennia.

    Another problem is that if this biological super weapon is turned loose on the world, Bill Gates’ replacement will be insisting we all need the vaccine for it.

    Already one out of eight people over the age of 60 who were recipients of the COV vax program have died from that specific “miracle remedy.” (This study eliminated those who had  died of heart attacks in those w/ cardiac problems, those who had various factors for stroke, people who had cancer at the time of their vaccination, car accident victims, etc.)

    The Powers that Be want humanity down to a level of 500 million. It is part of Agenda 2030. They like being ahead of schedule. Their desire to have 350 million immigrants from the developing nations flood Western societies with so many new warm bodies, in order to fracture our  Western world, is already 2 years ahead of schedule.

    • #11
  12. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Terrorism is not inevitable, it is not justifiable, but it is predictable.  Two of India’s Prime Ministers were killed – one by her bodyguards who had been subverted by a terrorist group, the other (her son) by a suicide bomber (who survived).

    • #12
  13. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Some belief systems are far more inclined towards violence.

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    JosephCox: All of this leads to a completely different answer to the question: Is Islam a Terrorist Religion?

    The easy answer is “yes.”  A more subtle answer is that it’s a religion easily perverted to become terrorist . . .

    • #14
  15. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    JosephCox: Islam cannot be removed from the world

    I’d still like to try . . .

    I am sure someone out there is working feverishly to bring about a potent new biological menace that can target only the genetic codes of Indians, Pac Rim people, Arabs and Palestinians.

    One problem in this approach is that those who have genetically analyzed the DNA of Palestinians find that is rather identical to that of the Jews who had also remained in the Holy Land over the millennia.

    Another problem is that if this biological super weapon is turned loose on the world, Bill Gates’ replacement will be insisting we all need the vaccine for it.

    Already one out of eight people over the age of 60 who were recipients of the COV vax program have died from that specific “miracle remedy.” (This study eliminated those who had died of heart attacks in those w/ cardiac problems, those who had various factors for stroke, people who had cancer at the time of their vaccination, car accident victims, etc.)

    The Powers that Be want humanity down to a level of 500 million. It is part of Agenda 2030. They like being ahead of schedule. Their desire to have 350 million immigrants from the developing nations flood Western societies with so many new warm bodies, in order to fracture our Western world, is already 2 years ahead of schedule.

    Good God, you need another hobby horse to beat to death…..

    • #15
  16. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    Great article! I think the real point is that Islam seeks to convert or enslave the entire world population. The intolerance to other religions is core to their beliefs. Unquestionably, there was a period when Jews were accepted and even made officers in their governments in Babylon and Spain and parts of North Africa. However, tolerance was very limited and grew far more so. A major difference between Islam and Christianity has to do with their origins. As the author of this piece pointed out correctly both major religions, and in the case of Judaism to a lesser extent, have histories of violence being used as a means of conversion. The essential difference, though, is that at its origins Christianity is meant to be peaceful. The teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are filled with gentleness and tolerance, not violence. Islam, on the other hand, has the conquest of all of Dar al Harb as it goal and the choice of conversion or slavery or death as its options from the very source of their beliefs. 

    Man is a violent animal, no question. Christianity seeks at its core to calm that violence and turn it to brotherly love. Islam, perhaps, wants the same ultimate goal, but is far more willing to revert to the sword with those who will not bend the knee in submission. So long as its adherents believe that their religion allows, in fact, demands the use of violence when needed, fanatics will find the justification they need for days like October 7th, 2023. 

    • #16
  17. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

     Much of the problem lies with a theologically voluntaristic view of nature of God…a little intro:

     

    https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-voluntarist-personality.html#:~:text=The%20voluntarist%20may%20believe%20that,act%20if%20intellectualism%20is%20true.

    • #17
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