04/17/2007, 00.00
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Islamic terrorism, a disease within the Muslim world

by Samir Khalil Samir, sj
The West is not the only victim of Islamic violence, it also targets Buddhists, Hindus and other Muslims, Sunni and Shiite. Islamism and Shariah are the unjust wounds of which Islam must be healed

Beirut (AsiaNews) – There are those who often attempt to justify Islamic violence by labelling it “a reaction to attacks from the Western world”.    In reality, islamist violence is a disease within the Muslim world.  It has its origins within the same Muslim world that is within the Koran and Sunnah, when they are read in a literal way and supported by the so-called radical Islamism.

Manifestations of Islamism

The evil produced by this position is plain for all to see.  At a political level there is despotism, dictatorships and – in the best cases – authoritarianism and absence of democracy.  It suffices to see the ease with which people are put to death, or – at best – put in prison…in a similar way it’s what we see in countries governed by communism or by “scientific atheism” or by the more banal, tribalism.  

On a moral level, there are injustices or  there is a lack of freedom, but above all the desire to impose good and prevent evil,  such as when the Koran demands “good to be ordered and evil forbidden”  (al-amr bi-l-ma’rûf, wa-n-nahy ‘an al-munkar). The scourge of islamist regimes is seen in the stoning of adulterous women (but not of the men who according to the Koran and Sunnah, should be subjected to the same punishment, even if the Koran never actually provides for lapidating in this case); in the hanging of homosexuals beneath the gaze of the Shariah enforces; in the condemning to death of apostates; in the amputation of thieves limbs (opposing hands and feet, as provided for by the Koran in certain cases).

The most aggressive violence with which Islamism manifests itself today is terrorism.  There is terrorism against non believers: in such cases Islamism willingly uses propaganda to incite hatred against the Jews and Christians: Jews are described as “apes” and “pigs”, with reference to the Koran 5:60 (also see Koran 2;65 e 7:166), and Christians as “crusaders” (salîbiyyûn). There is also terrorism against the West, grouped together as being atheist and immoral.

The West’s overtures to Islam

Often in the West, so called “progressives”  are heard to say - and I have always wondered what progress they have brought about in the analyses of the situation and reflection on the phenomenon -  that one must not simply stop at terrorism but search for it’s cause.  Which, of course, is true.  According to them the cause is found in imperialism, colonialism, the state of Israel, economic liberalism, etc.. in short the West.  But in their analyses they fail to include the corruption of customs – homosexuality, cohabitation outside marriage, sexual freedom, abortion, pornography and a widespread sexualization of society, etc – which certainly deeply offend the spiritual sensibility of the Muslim world …. But these seem to be “progressive virtues”. 

But if it were true that Islamic terrorism was simply a reaction to Western injustices, then how do they explain the terrorism carried out against the Buddhists.  Why then have islamists slaughtered thousands of Buddhists in Thailand? And how do they explain the destruction of some of the most ancient giant statutes of Buddha in Afghanistan? Why is there violence against the Hindu in India?  How do they explain what we see every day with our own eyes, the terrorist violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq? Has it all really been caused by American Imperialism? And how do they explain the 150 thousand Algerians systematically massacred in Algeria in the ‘90’s? Was it really caused by French colonialism?  And the violence unfolding in Palestine between Hamas and Fatah, is that really the result of Israeli cruelty?  

No: with utmost certainty, the terrorist violence of the islamists, contrary to what many believe in the West, is not a reaction to “western aggressions”.  The cause is found within a certain current of Muslim thought.  

Islamic terrorism is caused by Islamism

The truth is that Islamic terrorism is caused by Islamism that is by a certain reading of the Koran and Sunnah, which has spread throughout the most famous Islamic schools and universities such as Cairo’s Al-Azhar. Islamic terrorism is caused by Salafism Salafism, that is a blind adherence to the tradition of the ancients, of those who went before us (salaf), a literal and immoveable reading, without life, without soul.  This with regards to the Sunni world. 

In the Shiite world, the Khomeini theory of the “wilâyat al-faqîh” – according to which the ideal state is that which is governed by the most gifted faqîh, a shariah specialist – opened the door to the all forms of extremism, in the name of shariah, by deciding the daily life of the people and of society.  

It is important not to confuse Islam with Islamism, but it is just as important to urge Muslims to reject Islamism a san alteration of authentic Islam and to counter this violent and invasive tendency.   


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