Islamic Terrorism: An Oxymoron

I’ve seen enough articles since 9/11 about how Islam is a religion of peace – even the word Islam comes from the root work “salaam” which means peace. I’m not going to repeat what other people have written. I’m not sure if those articles made any difference. Regardless of how Muslims try to explain that Islam is not a religion that promotes violence, all that falls on deaf ears.

Since 9/11, Muslims world over have been put on the defensive. They desperately try to defend their faith from being labelled as one that promotes hatred and violence. I was one of them, but I had since taken a step back to reflect and I no longer see why I should have to defend my faith. I know for a fact that Islam is a religion of peace. Why should the whole Muslim ummah (a population of more than one billion people on planet earth) be made to feel guilty for the action of a few wackoes who just happened to be Muslims?

At a time when the Christian Serbs were herding Bosnian men to concentration camps, torturing them to death, and gang raping Bosnian women, nobody ever brought up religion as an issue. Just imagine what the headlines would be like if the situation were reversed and it was the Muslim Bosnians who were carrying out the ethnic cleansing. And I’ve never come across a Christian who is apologetic for what the Serbs did.

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: the IRA plants a few bombs in London underground tube stations and the bombs explode during rush hour, killing a few hundred people. Considering that Britain is a very close ally of the US, would Bush bomb Ireland in order to put a stop to IRA’s terrorism once and for all? After all, hasn’t the IRA done enough damage and killed enough innocent civilians over the years? I doubt that would happen. Not in a million years. They wouldn’t hesitate to shower bombs on people they consider less civilized than themselves (e.g. the Afghans), but they wouldn’t do it to their own kind. Ever noticed how the IRA has never been labelled Christian terrorists, or Christian extremists, or Christian militants, or other such labels?

Since 9/11, Muslims travelling by air have been subjected to prejudice and tighter security checks. An acquaintance was subjected to a two-hour interrogation upon arrival in Hawaii. Apparently, the head scarf she wore made her a potential terrorist. Personally, I’ve never encountered any problems while travelling abroad but what happened at Heathrow last year was rather amusing.

I stopped by in London to visit friends on my way home after attending a conference in Greece. The immigration officer bombarded me with questions. Why are you here? How long are you staying? Where does you friend work? Where was your flight from? What were you doing there?… and so on. I answered all of his questions politely, all the while flashing my innocent, charming, sweet smile.

Then he asked, “What conference did you attend?”. Again, I answered him politely but by then I was thinking, “Well… what do you think? Bin Laden’s conference? And if it was, do you think I’d tell you?”.

Did he really think that by bombarding me with questions he’d be able to determine if I was a terrorist. If I were a terrorist on a suicide mission, what were the odds I would drop subtle hints by saying something like, “Oh, by the way, I’m flying a plane into Big Ben tomorrow. Just thought I should let you know.”. Duh!

At a conference dinner in Bangkok, conversation stirred from technical issues to world affairs. Before long, we were discussing what was happening in Iraq. A gentleman from Alaska insisted that the reason the Iraqis are fighting back is because in Islam there is a strong motivation for jihad. I said to him, “Suppose the US attacks North Korea – a non-Muslim population. Do you think the North Koreans would just sit back and do nothing while their country is attacked? No way! They’d fight back – in the same way that the Iraqis are fighting back. Any people anywhere would do the same. It has nothing to do with race or religion”. His response to what I said was stunned silence.

As far as I’m concerned, the Iraqi fighters can call their fight a jihad if they wish (after all, Bush initially called his fight against terrorism a crusade until corrected by his politically correct advisors), but no Muslims in their right mind would be able to justify the kidnapping and beheading of civilians because in Islam the end does not justify the means.

Likewise, I think any Christians in their right mind would have trouble justifying the attack on Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. Jesus said (Matthew 5:39): “Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other one.” Exactly which part of Jesus’s command were Bush and Blair obeying when they sent troops into Afghanistan and Iraq?

The only people who didn’t expect the Iraqis to fight back were Bush and Blair. They were deluded enough to believe that the Iraqis would be eternally grateful to them for ousting Saddam – a monster they helped create. Throughout history, the conquered always fought back in order to drive away the conquerors.

Given Britain’s colonial history, Blair of all people, should be aware of it. There are ample examples of how people colonized by the British fought back to regain their independence regardless of how brutally the colonial master tried to suppress the freedom fighters. But then again, this brutal and ugly side of British history is probably not taught in British schools – unlike the glory of how the sun never set on the British Empire.

Islam and Muslims have been around for more than one thousand years. If Islam really were a religion that promotes violence and Muslims really were a bunch of blood thirsty people, why is it that we have never heard of the so called “Islamic terrorism” until about a decade ago? If these allegations were true, then shouldn’t world history be filled with tales of wars and destructions wrought by the Muslims? On the contrary, if one takes the trouble of studying world history, one would see that the people behind the worst atrocities and tragedies were people who considered themselves more civilized than others.

Let us look at just a few of the greatest atrocities that have tainted humanity. Who gained Peru from the Incas by massacring five thousand people in cold blood? Who started World War 1 and World War 2? Who herded a few million Jews to concentration camps and gassed them to death? Who made indiscriminate use of chemical weapons in Vietnam and Laos causing not only civilian deaths, but also health complications to survivors and their descendents (hint: not Saddam)? Who was behind the Sabra and Shatila massacre? Who masterminded the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia?

I can tell you for certain who were not responsible for all that. Definitely not the Muslims.

Related links:

19th September, 2004


3 thoughts on “Islamic Terrorism: An Oxymoron

  1. Pingback: Norwegian Muslish Gunman’s Islam-Esque Atrocity – Mazliza Othman

  2. Pingback: Terrorists and Barbarians – Mazliza Othman

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