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Islam and Muslims

Islam and Terrorism

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This entry provides a brief look at Islam and Muslims. For in-depth information we refer you to our collection of research resources.

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Islam and Terrorism

Islamic terrorism is inspired by the concept of 'lesser Jihad' (holy warfare against the enemies of Allah and Islam). As noted, Muslims disagree among each other as to what is or is not acceptable in 'lesser Jihad.' For instance, while many Muslims speak out against terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam, others approve of such acts under certain conditions (example).

Apologetics Index uses the terms, "Islamic terrorists," and "Islamic extremists" to refer to terrorists and extremists who claim to be motivated primarily by their interpretation of Islam.

Therefore, the use of such terminology is not in any way meant to convey that all Muslims are terrorists or extremists.

In an interview, Ruth Gledhill, Religion correspondent for The Times  (England), stated the following:

Muslim leaders have criticised the BBC for referring to bin Laden as an Islamic terrorist. Why?
The Muslim Council of Britain wanted bin Laden referred to as a terrorist with no reference to his faith, because they feared a racial backlash was being provoked.

Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the council, said: ''We will never accept the term Islamic terrorist. Islam does not permit such violence. The BBC should call bin Laden a terrorist, which is what he is. The BBC is not even-handed. It never refers to the IRA as a Catholic extremist organisation or IRA members as Catholic extremists.''

The BBC declined to back down, nor should it. To back down could give an impression that bin Laden's motivation is not religious, when clearly it is.
Source: Q and A: religion and war, The Times (England), Sep. 21, 2001

As recent events throughout the world have shown, Islamists - Muslims extremists - attack Muslims and non-Muslims alike, committing the most atrocious and despicable acts of terrorism under the pretense of promoting what these terrorists consider to be 'pure Islam.'

In his introduction to an article titled, "Muhammad, Islam, and Terrorism" - which documents the roots and history of Islamic terrorism - the webmaster of Answering Islam writes:

This article shows the basis for radical, fundamentalist Islam. This is not the only Islam there is. Note also, that this article is linked under the heading of "Understanding Islamic Terrorism", not under the title of "Understanding Islam".

Apart from many peaceful Muslims who are themselves unaware of the material presented below, there are also educated, moderate Muslims who do not agree with such terrorist acts and interpret these passages of the Qur'an and these precedents in the life of Muhammad differently. They would not interpret them as justifying atrocities as committed by Islamic terrorist groups.

The problem is that those Muslims who oppose the radicals are themselves in danger and fear of becoming the target of the radicals in Islam. Ignoring the "violent passages" in the Qur'an and Muslim traditions will not be the solution. The Islamic community has to confront the terrorists in their midst in word and deed, by bringing them to justice and by opposing their interpretation of Islam, if they believe it is not the true interpretation.

We call for all Muslims to unmistakenly distance themselves from terrorist acts AND by giving the real meaning of these passages and precedents presented below, to confront and excommunicate those who hold this violent Islam to be the only true Islam. As long as the Muslim community does NOT confront and stop them, they cannot complain that "the non-Muslims are misrepresenting Islam" and are biased and islamophobic.

Regarding the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks

In light of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America, it should be noted that the religion of Islam itself does not promote or support terrorism. Indeed, the vast majority of Muslims condemn such acts. See, for example, this statement from CAIR - the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

That said, it is no secret that much extremism is committed in the name of Islam, often (but certainly not always) without clear condemnation from other Muslims. This includes extremist interpretations of certain aspects of jihad, and such despicable practices as suicide bombing.

And, ironically, some Muslims and non-Muslims alike consider organizations like CAIR - referred to above - to be part of the problem:

But reporters are learning it's not easy to find leaders who can authentically speak for Muslim Americans, who represent a wide variety of ethnicities and languages, sects and political views ranging from completely secular to Islamic fundamentalist. CAIR and AMC in particular would not be chosen as representatives by many Muslims. In fact, there are those in American Muslim communities as well as law enforcement who consider CAIR and the AMC to be part of the problem, because both have been seen as tacitly -- if not explicitly -- supportive of extremist groups guilty of terrorism.

In fact, leaders from both groups have, in recent years, been quoted defending or exhorting organizations that the U.S. State Department classifies as "foreign terrorist." Steven Pomerantz, former FBI assistant director and chief of the FBI's counterterrorism section, once charged that CAIR's activities "effectively give aid to international terrorist groups." Other American Muslim leaders have raised questions about their possible alliances with radical groups, and many academics are disturbed by the groups' prominence.

But CAIR and AMC strongly disagree with such criticisms, blaming an anti-Muslim bias -- or a pro-Israel one.
Source: Islam's flawed spokesmen, Salon.com, Sep. 26, 2001

• See Also
  • Islam: The Religion of Peace (and a big stack of dead bodies) A non-partisan and pluralistic site concerned with Islam's true political and cultural teachings according to its own texts. Not associated with nor funded by any organization.
  • Organizational Learning and Islamic MilitancyPDF fileoffsite"align="bottom"/, written by Michael Kenney for the U.S. Department of Justice. The Principal Investigator "concludes this report by discussing some of the policy implications of these findings, suggesting that the real threat from Islamic militancy comes less from hyper-sophisticated "super terrorists" than from steadfast militants whose own dedication to the cause may undermine the cunning intelligence and fluid adaptability they need to survive."

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About This Page:

• Subject: Islam and Terrorism
• First posted: Nov. 20, 1996
• Last Updated: Dec. 4, 2009
• Editors: Anton and Janet Hein
• Copyright: Apologetics Index

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