June 05, 2017
One has to wonder why terrorists like those
who struck on Saturday night in London, and earlier in Manchester, launched their
attacks now. It is difficult not to infer that their violence was timed to
influence the UK election this coming Thursday.
Those behind the attack – whether those
carrying it out or those dispatching the terrorists – want to have an effect.
Terrorism is the use of indiscriminate violence for political ends. It has a
logic, even if it is one we mostly do not care to understand.
What Do These Terrorists Hope To Achieve?
Based on prior experience, they will assume
that by striking now they can increase fear and anger among the British
population – intensifying anti-Muslim rhetoric, justifying harsher “security”
responses from the British state and shifting political support towards the
right. That is good for their cause because it radicalises other disillusioned
Muslim youth. In short, it brings recruits.
Islam is not exceptional in this regard.
This is not a problem specifically of religion. As experts have repeatedly
pointed out, disillusioned, frustrated, angry (and mainly male) youth adopt
existing ideologies relevant to them and then search for the parts that can be
twisted to justify their violence. The violent impulse exists and they seek an
ideology to rationalise it.
Once Christianity – the religion of turning
the other cheek – was used to justify pogroms and inquisitions. In the US,
white supremacists – in the Ku Klux Klan, for example – used the Bible to
justify spreading terror among the black population of the Deep South. White
supremacists continue sporadically to use terror in the US, most notably
Timothy McVeigh, who was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
Terrorists can exploit secular ideologies
too, on either the far-right or far-left. Just think of the Baader Meinhof Gang
or the Symbionese Liberation Army, back in the 1970s. The latter famously made
a convert of Patty Hearst, granddaughter of publishing empire magnate William
Randolph Hearst (aka Citizen Kane). After she was taken hostage, she quickly
adopted the group’s thinking and its violence as her own.
The Islamic terrorists of our time believe
in a violent, zero-sum clash of civilisations. That should not be surprising,
as their ideology mirrors the dominant ideology – neo-conservatism – of western
foreign policy establishments. Both sides are locked in a terrifying dance of
death. Both believe that two “civilisations” exist and are incompatible, that
they are in a fight to the death, and that any measures are justified to
achieve victory because the struggle is existential. We use drones and
“humanitarian intervention” to destabilise their societies; they use cars,
guns, knives and bombs to destabilise ours.
The dance chiefly takes place because both
sides continue it – and it will not be easy to break free of it. Our meddling
in the Middle East dates back more than a century – especially since the region
became a giant oil spigot for us. The tentacles of western interference did not
begin in 2003, whatever we might choose to believe. Conversely, a globalised
world inevitably entails one where a century-long colonial battlefield can
easily come back to haunt us on our doorsteps.
The solution, complex as it will need to
be, certainly cannot include the use by us of similarly indiscriminate
violence, more “intervention” in the Middle East, or more scapegoating of
Muslims. It will require taking a step back and considering how and why we too
are addicted to this dance of death.
Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special
Prize for Journalism. jonathan-cook.net
Muslim extremists use Quran 9:29 to condemn non-Muslims and
demands Muslims to fight against them.
Let’s meditate the verse below:
Quran 9:29 (Mohsin Khan translation), “Fight against those
who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that
which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (صلى الله عليه
وسلم) (4) and those who
acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the
Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing
submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
Muslim extremists might even use Quran 9:19 to support that
Allah even condemns non-Muslims. The
following is the extract:
Quran 9:19 (Mohsin Khan translation), “Do you consider the
providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of
Al-Masjidal-Haram (at Makkah) as equal to the worth of those who believe in
Allah and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah? They
are not equal before Allah. And Allah guides not those people who are the
Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).”
It is erroneous to read Quran 9:19 & 9:29 without
reading other verses in the book of Quran. Quran 9:12 mentions that it was the fault of
pagans in the past that fought with Muslims with disapproval and criticism and
that caused it to have no choice to fight defensively against non-Muslims as
mentioned in Quran 9:19 & 9:29. The
following is the extract:
Quran 9:12 (Mohsin Khan translation), “But if they violate
their oaths after their covenant, and attack your religion with disapproval and
criticism, then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief (chiefs of Quraish pagans
of Makkah) - for surely their oaths are nothing to them - so that they may stop
As the phrase, if they..attack your religion with
disapproval and criticism, in Quran 9:12 implies that pagans in the past were
violent. The phrase, then fight
(you..pagans of Makkah), in Quran 9:12 implies defensive fighting from Muslims
Quran 9:13 (Mohsin Khan translation, “Will you not fight a
people who have violated their oaths (pagans of Makkah), and intended to expel
the Messenger while they did attack you first? Do you fear them? Allah has more
right that you should fear Him if you are believers.”
The phrase, intended to expel the Messenger, in Quran 9:13
implies that pagans in the past had the intention to expel the Prophet. The phrase, they did attack you first, in
Quran 9:13 implies that pagans in the past fought with Muslims even though
Muslims did not fight with them.
Quran 9:4 encourages Muslims to maintain peace treaty with
non-Muslims if there is one.
Quran 9:4 (Mohsin Khan translation), “Except those of the
Mushrikun (see V.2:105) with whom you have a treaty, and who have not
subsequently failed you in aught, nor have supported anyone against you. So
fulfil their treaty to them for the end of their term. Surely Allah loves
Al-Mattaqun (the pious - See V.2:2).”
As Quran 9:4 encourages Muslims to have peace treaty with
Muslims, it is irrational to assume that Quran 9:19 & 9:29 would promote
battle between Muslims and non-Muslims.
The reason is simply that Muslims should continue to fight with
non-Muslims even though there is peace treaty if Quran 9:19 & 9:29 are
meant to promote war between Muslims and non-Muslims.
From the above analyses above, it would come to the
conclusion that the reason for Quran 9:19 & 9:29 to be against non-Muslims
was pagans in the past were violent.
As non-Muslims in this contemporary world are no longer
violent as in the past and many would like to live harmony with Muslims, it is
erroneous to use Quran 9:19 & 9:29 to encourage Muslims to fight with
Muslim extremists abuse Quran 48:29 to demand Muslims to
kill non-Muslims. The following is the
Quran 48:29 (Mohsin Khan translation), “Muhammad (صلى الله عليه
وسلم) is the Messenger of
Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful
among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer),
seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of
their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of prostration
(during prayers). This is their description in the Taurat (Torah). But their
description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its
shoot, then makes it strong, and becomes thick and it stands straight on its
stem, delighting the sowers, that He may enrage the disbelievers with them.
Allah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow
Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله
عليه وسلم till the Day of
Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward
Muslim extremists simply use the phrase, He may enrage the
disbelievers with them, to support that Muslims should kill non-Muslims without
reading Quran 48:22 & 48:25 as follows:
Quran 48:22 (Mohsin Khan translation), “And if those who
disbelieve fight against you, they certainly would have turned their backs;
then they would have found neither a Wali (protector, guardian) nor a helper.”
The phrase, if those disbelieve fight against you, in Quran
48:22 implies the possibility of the danger of Muslims in the past was to face
direct persecution from violent pagans.
Quran 48:25 (Mohsin Khan translation), “They are the ones
who disbelieved (in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) and hindered you
from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) and detained the sacrificial animals from
reaching their place of sacrifice. Had there not been believing men and believing
women whom you did not know, that you may kill them and on whose account a sin
would have been committed by you without (your) knowledge, that Allah might
bring into His Mercy whom He wills - if they (the believers and the
disbelievers) had been apart, We verily would have punished those of them who
disbelieved with painful torment.”
The phrase, hindered you from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah)
and detained the sacrificial animals from reaching their place of sacrifice, in
Quran 48:25 implies that violent pagans might fight with Muslims to the extent
to hinder them from proceeding to Al-Masjid-al-Haram at Makkah.
As a result of the violence from pagans in the past, Quran
4:29 demands defensive fighting against them since pagans in the past were a
danger to Muslims.
Quran 4:29 could not be applicable to this contemporary
world due to modern Muslims are not violent as compared in the past and some would
live in harmony with Muslims.