Extremism and Terrorism

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, people form within the Muslim community have come out against the acts. This includes Imams as well as normal Muslims. I applaud this. It is about time! But some of what they have said is a little weird. Are these shooters and extremist really not Muslims? Because the motive (images of the prophet) is an explicitly Islamic motive. To blame it on a country’s foreign policy seems a little weird.

The argument seems to go that there is always some percentage of the population susceptible to indoctrination for extremist causes. Perhaps they are frustrated people desperate to be justified in violence; perhaps they are nihilists desperate to cling to some sort of purpose.

“If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

Martin Luther King Junior

I think this is a dangerous idea to spread. But it must approximate to what people think the terrorists are thinking. It’s not about ideology, it’s about me.

And this argument isn’t without merit. We see people with no clear link to Islam or ISIS joining ISIS from the UK. And ISIS aren’t the only indoctrinating body. There are Muslims fleeing the Central African Republic because of Christian militias and the IRA in Ireland also got a fair number of supporters. (Although, unlike ISIS, a quick Google search doesn’t show people joining the movements without a prior affiliation.) Is this really what is going on? Is a movement that is aesthetically Islamic recruiting non-Muslims from the population.

This should be a claim we can investigate. We should be able to expose people to a fictional but extremely violent movement to see whether we get people joining. After all, the claim is that some percentage of the population is just crazy enough to join; apparently it’s got nothing to do with the actual ideology. I don’t know how to get the ethical review for such a study past a board, but it must be a knowable thing.

I doubt that the people are separate from the ideology, though. Yes, some percentage of the population probably is mental enough to join violent movements for the sake of purpose or to indulge in violence. But, based on the clear relationship between the origins of an ideology and the profile of the activists, I suspect the violence-indulging nihilists are the minority. ISIS is composed of Muslims, the Charlie Hebdo shooters were Muslim, the Irish Republican Army was composed of people who were republican before they joined.

Muslims, thank you for speaking out against the terrorists and those representatives of your religion that don’t fit in a society. It is important to have that voice. I understand that it must be difficult. You probably have to deal with the personal consequences of being a Muslim and would rather not have the attention, given the racial tensions effected by the UKIP-voters and racists. But your voice is important. However, the terrorists are Muslims. That is precisely why the Muslim voice against terrorism is so very important.

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15 thoughts on “Extremism and Terrorism”

  1. I find it very interesting how so many people come at this issue of violence done in the name of Islam as some kind of abnormality that requires an explanation outside of islam.

    When one considers the violence done by Islamic governments against other muslims in the name of Islam, none of the favoured explanations fit. The blogger convicted of blasphemy, fined a quarter of a million dollars, sentenced to ten years in prison, and punished by receiving 50 lashes for each of the next 20 weeks simply doesn’t fit the narrative so many in the West presume must be true, that Islam as a religion that is being followed isn’t directly responsible. Why does the crowd watching the lashing chant ‘God is Great’ if the punishment has nothing to do with Islam?

    The same is true of this bizarre notion that the West is somehow responsible through colonialism for muslim violence… as if this violence was a response rather than a religiously inspired initiative. For example, targeted violence carried out in the name of Islam against sizable minority christian and peaceful populations in Pakistan occurred long before the British ever arrived. The same koranic verses were used to justify the violence.

    Boko Harem carries out the same violence using the same koranic justifications daily in Nigeria… and has done for years. The same is true for violence carried out against Shiites. Again, this kind of Islamic religious violence doesn’t fit the narrative so popular here in the West: that either we’re somehow partly responsible and/or that the instigators are some fringe element using and abusing the religious justification. Both of these versions of the same narrative are simply wrong.

    Islamic violence is a result of Islam and its source is the koran… the perfect word of god let us never forget. And the 109 verses containing more than 500 commands by god to do violence is not just a fringe interpretation of a few disgruntled ‘bad apples’ but the very heart of a religion that has been packaged and advertised to be some fictional religion of peace; this willingness to do violence in the name of defending Islam is very much part and parcel of the fulfilling the core tenets of the faith.

    I say all of this because expecting muslims to gather and demonstrate what is in fact against their own religion is a crazy expectation. You may find fringe elements – a few ‘bad apples’ in muslimspeak – in the religion willing to continue to believe that the religion is fundamentally peaceful and who fervently believe that the call for instigating violence is abnormal but we need to remember that these well paraded folks are entirely misguided. They are used to sustain the false narrative. And most muslims know this because the honest measurement of how good or poor an muslim is in the eyes of other muslims is how closely one adheres to following the commands of the koran.

    And that means we have to deal with the koran as the central cause of Islamic violence and criticize it without respite. We need to force muslims to face taking responsibility for their faith and – like christianity before it – undergo a transformation. And we do not help bring about this necessary transformation by believing the religion itself isn’t directly responsible for motivating people to follow its violent commands.We need to make this understanding the default one and then do our part. And this starts by putting aside our delusional narratives.

    1. In the wake of the long series of wedding bombings in Pakistan, people from within the British and American communities have come out against the acts. This includes bloggers as well as readers. I applaud this. It is about time! But some of what they have said is a little weird. Are these soldiers really not British? Are these drone operators really not American? Because the motive (oil pipelines) is an explicitly Anglo-American Axis motive. To blame it on a country’s safety concerns seems a little weird.

      The argument seems to go that there is always some percentage of the population susceptible to indoctrination for extremist causes. Perhaps they are frustrated people desperate to be justified in violence; perhaps they are nihilists desperate to cling to some sort of purpose.

      And this argument isn’t without merit. We see people who have never been anywhere near Afghanistan signing up to aim drones at houses where children sleep. There are Pakistani fleeing their villages because of British militias, and even people with Middle Eastern roots have been recruited to murder their distant kin. Is this really what is going on? Is a movement that is aesthetically Anglo-American recruiting non-whites from the population?

      This should be a claim we can investigate. We should be able to expose people to a fictional but extremely violent movement to see whether we get people joining. After all, the claim is that some percentage of the population is just crazy enough to join; apparently it’s got nothing to do with the actual ideology. I don’t know how to get the ethical review for such a study past a board, but it must be a knowable thing.

      I doubt that the people are separate from the ideology, though. Yes, some percentage of the population probably is mental enough to join violent movements for the sake of purpose or to indulge in violence. But, based on the clear relationship between the origins of a national ideology and the profile of the activists, I suspect the violence-indulging nihilists are the minority. Britain is composed of Britons, America is composed of Americans, Tony Blair was a Brit, the American Congress is full of Americans, and the American armed forces are composed of people who were American before they joined.

      Britons, Americans, thank you for speaking out against the terrorists and those representatives of your tribe that don’t fit in a society. It is important to have that voice. I understand that it must be difficult. You probably have to deal with the personal consequences of being a rich white coward and would rather not have the attention, given the racial tensions effected by regularly blowing up houses with small children inside. But your voice is important. However, the terrorists are Anglos and Americans. That is precisely why the Anglo-American voice against terrorism is so very important.

        1. Except you’re not using the term ‘fit’ in its evolutionary context… pop or otherwise. You’re using the religious sense of the term meaning ‘strength by violence’ which is ever so typical of those who have to misrepresent the science in order to justify criticizing it. You’re so predictable, higharka… glued as you are to your imaginary fixations. Why you made the rambling comment to mine is unknown because it has nothing to do with what I said and everything to do with what you believe.

          And here’s the thing: when you fail to comprehend the commentary, you impose your beliefs on what you think it means in its place. This is a methodological failure on your part. The criticisms you then make on what you believe the commentary is about are no longer addressed at the writer but yourself and highlights your own failure to comprehend. You really should stop doing this because after many clarifications offered to help you out, your rejection of this help invites contempt. And that’s where I am regarding your contribution to various conversations: I see your handle and feel contempt and that’s both unnecessary and counterproductive to an exchange of honest communication.

    2. Tildeb, saw this recent comment (filled with a whole lot of crazy) and thought of you. Link to the post below:

      Last week , France was stroke by terrorist attacks made by 3 homegrown Muslim fundamentalists.

      As a French Christian , I am devastated by the brutality of their murderers and mourns the death of the innocents : the 3 police officers and the 4 hostages who died in the Hyper Casher market.
      But the media did not notice that many French don’t support Charlie Hebdo because the paper spread atheism and the material was often racist.

      In France , Charlie Hebdo has a right to publish whatever it wants , and never hesitated to reinforce racial hierarchy and bully minorities whenever it can.
      The deceased journalists who put lipstick on sexism and racism are victims and martyrs ( of atheist mythology ) but not innocent.

      This is not a racial war : the Kouaci brothers shot a French Muslims cop named Ahmed Merabet in cold blood. The victim who has died in the street before a camera , and the murderers are both French Arabs.
      Their accomplice is a Black Muslim : Amédy Coulibaly killed a Black police officer from Western Indies.

      It is not even a religious war : many Jewish hostages were saved and supported by Muslim employees like Lassana Bathily , the Malian who hide 7 Jews before the police stormed the Hyper Casher market.

      It is an atheistic plan to provoke a civil war : the slaughter is the result of years of vile insinuations to incite the white French to bully minorities under the pretext of free speech.

      I support freedom of speech , not hate speeches.

      Je ne suis pas Charlie.

      https://itsnobody.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/reasons-for-viewing-atheists-as-subhuman-beings/?cpage=1#comment-28651

  2. I find it very interesting how so many people come at this issue of violence done in the name of the Anglo-American Axis as some kind of abnormality that requires an explanation outside of Great Britain and its colonies.

    When one considers the violence done by the U.K. and its colonies against their own people in the name of the Crown or the White House, none of the favoured explanations fit. The child accused of being foreign, sentenced without trial to be killed in the street by a hail of bullets, simply doesn’t fit the narrative so many in the East presume must be true, that Anglo-Americans as a culture that is being followed isn’t directly responsible. Why do the overweight bloggers of the west excitedly type “atheists are smarter” if the punishment has nothing to do with neoliberal economics?

    The same is true of this bizarre notion that the darkies are somehow responsible through genetic predisposition for increased urban violence… as if this violence was a response rather than a genetically inspired initiative. For example, targeted violence carried out in the name of the United Nations against sizable minority Iraqi and peaceful populations in Africa occurred long before Boko Haram ever arrived. The same White Man’s Burden and joint stock companies were used to justify the violence.

    America carries out the same violence using the same capitalist justifications daily in Somolia… and has done for years. The same is true for violence carried out against Sunnis, Shiites, one-year-old babies, and basically everyone else in the world. Again, this kind of western violence doesn’t fit the narrative so popular in the East: that either Great Britain is a superior nation that doesn’t murder people and/or that the instigators are some fringe element using and abusing the business profits justification. Both of these versions of the same narrative are simply wrong.

    Western violence is a result of capitalism and its source is “Wealth of Nations”… the perfect word about an Invisible Hand let us never forget. And the hundreds of pages containing innumerable commands by the Invisible Hand to do violence to obtain profits are not just a fringe interpretation of a few disgruntled ‘bad apples’ but the very heart of a society that has been packaged and advertised to be some fictional wealthy paradise of democracy and peace; this willingness to do violence in the name of taking oil away from sand niggers is very much part and parcel of the fulfilling the core tenets of the faith.

    I say all of this because expecting westerners to gather and demonstrate what is in fact against their own religion is a crazy expectation. You may find fringe elements – a few ‘bad apples’ in doublespeak – in the region willing to continue to believe that the west is fundamentally peaceful and who fervently believe that the call for instigating violence is abnormal but we need to remember that these well paraded folks are entirely misguided. They are used to sustain the false narrative. And most westerners know this because the honest measurement of how good or poor a westerner is in the money they have and how closely one adheres to following the commands of the London Metal Exchange or the White House.

    And that means we have to deal with those two countries as the central cause of western violence and criticize them without respite. We need to force westerners, especially snotty ignorant racists on WordPress.com, to face taking responsibility for their faith and – like the Boer Wars before it – undergo a transformation. And we do not help bring about this necessary transformation by believing the countries themselves aren’t directly responsible for motivating people to follow its violent commands. We need to make this understanding the default one and then do our part. And this starts by putting aside our delusional narratives.

    1. Until you provide a reasoned argument for how that is Anglo-American culture, you are simply wrong to compare them. The Qur’an explicitly teaches that blasphemy, apostasy and infidels are real things that needs a Hunan response. No part of being British or American relates to an ideology of (what you seen to assume is xenophobic) war. Same due warning as always: address these issues or this isn’t a conversation as this i won’t respond.

      1. Until you provide a reasoned argument for how that is Muslim culture, you are simply wrong to compare them. Britain was founded on murder, slavery, and genocide, and its laws explicitly taught that the ruling classes and noble blood are better than everyone else and that needs a Human response. Every part of being Britain for more than a thousand years has been xenophobic war, constant warfare against someone or somebody different, murdering other people and taking control of their natural resources. Same due warning as always: you don’t want to address these issues because you revere your tribe, are racist towards other tribes, and want to rant about darkies instead of having a conversation.

        1. Well, imagine for a minute that you’re not yourself. Imagine, instead, that you’re a different human being who lives upon this planet.

          Maybe, instead of being a fleshy, comfortable westerner who is pleased by winning debates on the internet, you’re a starving man in Somalia, whose land has been under attack from the Anglo-American Axis for more than a hundred years.

          It’s all well and good for a well-fed, educated person like you to enjoy winning an internet debate, but what about people for whom the debate is not over? People for whom your racism and arrogance has a deadly effect every year? People who just can’t “quit” and feel superior, but who are starving, or being bombed or shot, by your tax dollars? People whose grandparents were murdered by British soldiers, and whose children were murdered by American soldiers?

          They don’t have the luxury you do of plugging their ears and signing, “I can’t hear you!” No, unfortunately, only people like you have that ability to be smugly pleased; to respond to major world events with the arch, detached condescension you can muster on your blog.

          Let’s make a deal: I’ll stop engaging with you on your blog, if you stop your filthy, murderous army from engaging with Africa. Deal?

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