Discussions, news, analysis and thoughts on terrorism.
If one takes a few steps back, and tries to take an objective and pragmatic look at Terrorism, free from the rhetoric of mass media and think tanks with an agenda, we find that its true magnitude is not as large as it feels.For example, consider the following:
Compare the above with the casualties of USA and Britain's invasions of Afghanistan (5,000) and Iraq (up to 100,000), the above is statistically insignificant. The above figure pales in comparison with "normal" crimes such as gun fatalities in the USA (16,000 per year), or car accident fatalities. If we venture into fatalities caused by less sensational means, such as poverty, unhealthy situations, terrorism becomes more insignificant.
Shukri Mustafa (1942-1987) was an agricultural engineer who became the leader and ideologue for a radical Islamic splinter group: Al Takfir wa Al Hijra التكفير و الهجرة.The name literally means "Declaring Apostacy and Immigration", and was not the official name, but rather a derogatory name derived from them attributing apostacy to all other Muslims, and them urging members to immigrate out of non-Islamic lands. The group adopted the name "Jama'at Al Muslimin جماعة المسلمين" meaning "[The] Group of Muslims", emphasising that they are the only true Muslims.
Ayman El Zawahri: Long time militant and Al-Qaeda ideologue.Coming soon.
Sayyed Qutb سيد قطب is the ideological father of modern militant movements in the Arab and Islamic world.
His first name could be transliterated in English as Syed, Sayyid, Sayed.
Born in 1906, he was not a radical ideologue at first, but rather someone with a social reform agenda. He visited Colorado, USA on a government program in 1949, and wrote a book titled: The America I Have Seen. Upon his return to Egypt he joined the Muslim Brotherhood before the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy in a coup d'etat by the Free Officers.
His writing focused on social reform from an Islamic perspective, as well as a literary analysis of the Artistic Representation in the Quran. It is ironic to see that modern Salafis do not approve of this latest work.
Here is an article by Waleed Ziad, in the New York Times, titled Jihad's Fresh Face. In it, he traces back violent militancy, in which current terrorist movements are grounded. The root cause is post-colonial chaos created in the Arab world that lead to the rise of absolute dictatorship. When these dictatorships are challenged, they ruthlessly and brutally suppress the opposition. This suppression did not stop at banning and imprisonement or those who opposed, but more heinous measures such as torture, continued persecution, harassment, ...etc.
Any rational person knows that a certain symptom has to be analyzed before its real cause can be diagnosed, and that a correct diagnosis is necessary before the symptom/problem can be treated or cured. Terrorism is no different. If one remembers the first few weeks after the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks, there was a lot of discussions in mainstream media about why they hate us and how America's foreign policy played a major role in that hatred. However, as you also may remember, the discussion quickly shifted into belligerent jingoism where Americans were made to believe that they are hated because of democracy and freedom, thus justifying the invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq.
V for Vendetta is a graphic comic book by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. It explores how oppression causes liberation and resistance movement to develop, and often the latter commit atrocities and abhorrent acts in the name of good causes.The hero, the enigmatic masked V spearheads a ruthless resistance movement that uses terrorist tactics. He takes under his wing a young woman that he previously saved. She begins to question the tactics used. Tagline: "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." As I discuss in another article, the comic book shows that often moral ambiguity and rationalization of atrocities are more prevalent than most people want to think, and that there is a fine line between resistance and terrorism.
By now the identities of the July 7, 2005 London suicide bombers are known from effects they left on the scene, and possibly DNA testing.
Britain seems to be in shock that they are British citizens and not foreigners. An article tries to probe how Britian's multiculturalism fits (or conflicts) with all this, and probes why there are angry young Muslims there. Partially the problem has to do with how some Muslims struggle to fit in within a Western society, how they may be alienated by racism they experience, as well as how angry they are at images of Muslim troubles worldwide, from Kashmir to Palestine to Bosnia.
Recently, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has an overall positive article urging others not to see Muslims as suspects after every terrorist attacks. He states:
"The West will do it in a rough, crude way -- by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent."
However, as usual with Friedman's articles, he has some valid points, mixed with some dubious claims or faulty conclusions. For example, he claims that Muslims do not denounce terrorism enough, and cleric are silent against it.
In the last year and a half, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi has captured a huge mind share of mainstream news media. In this article, I try to gather some info on him to put him in perspective.