Patterns of Global Terrorism

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Terrorism, United States Of America Views: 8021

Total International Attacks by Region, 2001
US State Department Report on
Patterns of Global Terrorism

 

The perception of "Islamic Terrorism" is not due to any intrinsic resentment of Islam by the American people. It is understood that the mainstream of Muslims, the vast majority of them, like in every other faith, are peaceful and pay their taxes, trying to make America a better society, trying to improve relations with neighbors and colleagues. 

But images and terminology influence public opinion, and a bitter taste is left when Islam is reported in the daily headlines. The term "Islamic fundamentalism", whatever it means, has been repeated enough times in relation to violent incidents that naturally, any thinking human being has to be uncomfortable with the fact that America is home to a vibrant Muslim community. The problem stems from negative images about Islam. In the court of public opinion, Islam is guilty until proven innocent.

According to a recent US State Department report, Patterns of Global Terrorism, issued for the year 2001 - There were a total of 348 terrorist attacks throughout the world. The majority of these attacks were carried out against US interests in Latin America. These numbers represent the terrorist trend and not an anomaly, whereby the majority of perpetrators are not linked to the Middle East or Islam. The Red Army Faction in Germany, the Basque Separatists in Spain, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Shining Path in Peru and the National Liberation Army in Columbia are not viewed with the same horror as terrorist groups of Muslim background.

There is no moral justification for terrorism regardless of the ethnic or religious background of the perpetrator or the victim, but the factual basis of terrorism has been either hidden or twisted in the public's perception of this policy problem, especially in congressional hearings on terrorism. The countries with the worst terrorist records in the world are not in the Middle East either. They are not even Muslim countries outside the Middle East. They are Columbia and Germany, havens for drug lords and neo-Nazis.

The negative association of Islam with terrorism exists, but no one has ever asked "Why?". The Arab countries, both friend and foe, are run by dictators who have mostly killed more of their own people than those outside their countries. The presumption that these countries represent a threat to American interests or that any one of them can dominate the region or even rival the only remaining superpower is indeed generous. So the issue is not these countries' hegemony in their region or the world, but about who can dominate their people and exploit their resources.

The perception in the Middle East is that US policy does not serve the peoples interests; it protects Israel and friendly Arab dictators even when they violate human rights, while it slaps sanctions on and takes military actions against countries whose dictators misbehave, resulting in suffering, starvation and even slaughter, all in the name of teaching the tyrants a lesson. The priorities in the Middle East for the US are not human rights and democracy, but rather oil and Israeli superiority. Consequently, anti-American sentiment increases. This mood of the general public is then characterized as "Islamic fundamentalism", even though the resentment is not rooted in religion. When it turns violent, it is termed "radical Islamic fundamentalism" or "Islamic terrorism." The various "terrorism experts" promote linkage to the Middle East before any other possibility every time terrorism is speculated. They exploit the human suffering of the victims, their families, and the fears of the American public.

Indeed, extremists of Muslim backgrounds are violating the norms of Islamic justice and should be held accountable for their criminal behavior, but we in America should not be held hostage to the politics of the Middle East or biased reporting.

An Israeli journalist, Yo'av Karny, reporting on the events in Chechnya made a striking observation about this development: "The West will be told--and will be inclined to believe--that the oppression of the Chechens is part and parcel of a cosmic struggle against 'Islamic extremism' that rages from Gaza to Algeria, from Tehran to Khartoum. Russians will seek Western sympathy. They should not be given it." The issue is not Chechnya, and it is not even about Islam and the West. Debates about religious wars and cultural clashes only distract us from the real issue: the powerful want to continue dominating the powerless, manipulating facts to influence public opinion, hence maintaining the status quo.

Modified with new statistics from the original article by Karen Armstrong on "Islamic Terrorism"


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  38 Comments   Comment

  1. Jenna from Australia

    This article definitely echoes a strong point; muslims are not all responsible for all terrorist attacks. Yes an islamic group and I hesitate to call them 'real' muslims did bring down the world trade centre and kill many Americans but they are also attacking their own people in the name of Allah. You also have the christian supremists, the Russian neonazis targeting foreigners, pple of other cultures and even their own whom fail to take up the cause etc the list is endless...and so are the killings.

  2. TROY FRANKLIN from U.S.

    who flew aircraft into the world trade center

    where they not muslim extremists?

  3. Azahary from France

    I agreed with Sentinel , a very good fact , There is an article in French , title " Islam Le perserve Le environment " . The article had wrote about the Muslim armies in early history , when they took a country , they had very strict rules such as do not cut trees , do not kill the women & elderly , do not demolishes houses of worships and houses of ppl as the results they had help to open countries , cities, increase the population of the world , trees were not cut as it is the sources of oxgygen , which promote health & growth . with stability & peace in position , trade & development had doubled , cities & country were opened up across Asia & Europe ,,, PPl were invited to dwell in the deserted cities regardless of the religion.

    The Armies were instructed to resettled the open area outside the conquered cities so as not to replaced the cities population with new ppl & armies , not to interfere with its ongoing activities in the city ... destruction were thus minimised thus help to conserve and perserve environment & eco sys ... superb Islam ..

    They even help to rebuilt & repair the existing buildings for example when Muslims army retook Jerussalam from crusaders , Salahuddin clean & reopen the cities , repair Mosques & Synogues & houses through a special fund , Salahuddin had invited all ppls who escaped the crusaders carnage to live back in Jerussalam , thus help to promote trade & populate the city of Jerussalam.

    As the result of careful & dedicated Muslim armies ,left over Roman Cities were more seen in its natural form in Morroco , Algeria ,libya Syria , Jordan , Eygpt and Turkey than in Europe , in pre Islamic time , compare to its mother of origin , le Europe , where remains of Roman civilisation during Pre Christain era were completely none existed except few Roman baths and only poor long walls , in Italy & Greece , even Greece were preserved under prolonged Ottoman period , otherwise would also be gone under demolision force...

  4. Azahary from France

    It is a justified fact and solid proved that terrorism do not come from Middle Est and Islam , The war against terrorism was more than fighting the real issues , its war was totally deviated and unnecessary , its real reason is to dominate & fulfill the greed and its oil lust stomach at the expenses of Islam and terrorism , If Allah do not guide them , let Allah destroy them with their own weapon & plan as Allah is capable to turn & plan ... as the fate of Great Pharoah with the army were destroyed by weak element , the water that we drink!!! , great Allah donot send armies of angels , Great Allah is wisdom , he is able & capable to victor the weak over the powerful..

  5. Ravenous Hope from Canada

    Esther is completely correct...the Moors and their culture, art, language, architecture and trade were not welcomed by the spaniards who were in the middle of what is now commonly known as the dark ages...they did not promote religious tolerance, which at the time was unheard of, particularly by the jews...you cannot go to spain today and see how they take pride in moorish architecture and art and preserve it with great care, and consider it a highlight of their history...and the rule of the moors was followed by the spanish inquisition, which was definitely not a blot on christian history or a shame to the church till this day

  6. Talha from Canada

    Esther, I would advise you to read a history book or two before writing posts.

    The vast majority of Christians in the Holy Land embraced Islam only after the Crusades. Even now, the Christians who retain their faith are pro-Muslim in many crucial issues (eg Palestine, feelings about US neo-imperialism).

  7. Sentinel from USA

    Esther, you are welcome to languish in your delusions, but just so you don't complain that no one told you, here are some facts:

    1. The Moors invaded Spain in 711 and so have many races invaded many other lands many times in the history of mankind (you conveniently don't seem to want to mention the Crusades and the turmoil that they caused) It is also a fact that the Moors not only brought their religion to the region, but also their music, their art, their view of life, and their architecture. Two great examples of the latter are the Alhambra in Granada and the Escorial in Cordoba.

    2. Mehmed II 'Fatih' (1451-81) layed seige to the Byzantine capital in April 1453 because it persisted in giving refuge to Ottomans' enemies and was a main instigator of Crusades against them. Constantinople, by then was anyway a poor and largely depopulated city of ruins, with its inhabitants continuing to flee regularly.

    3. After the conquest, Mehmet Mehmed attempted to repopulate the city with people from all over the empire, and by reinstating the Greek and Armenian Patriarchs and the Jewish Chief Rabbi, ensuring that they all reside in his capital; he also encouraged Jews to come from as far away as Germany and Italy. He repaired the roads and bridges leading to Istanbul, and in 1455 issued instructions to build a Grand Bazaar and repair the aqueducts to ensure the supply of water to the capital. He built his first palace, the Eski ('Old') Saray, in the centre of the city, but then built another, the 'Yeni' ('New') Saray, later changed to Topkapi Saray ('Palace of the Cannon Gate'), which was completed in 1464. By the 1530s, the now renamed capital city "Istanbul" had become a city of almost 1 million.

    So once again, either get your history and facts correct or stop making a fool of yourself in this forum.

  8. Esther from USA

    Sentinel, the Moores invaded Spain in 711 AD. And the no more Byzantine empire consisted of Greek or Roman Christians. Today you would not see any Greek Christians in Jerusalem.

  9. kelelawar from Malaysia

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  10. Sentinel from USA

    Esther, How many times do you need to be told to get your history right before you stop making a fool of yourself at this forum because of your ignorance. I am sure you can get your hands on a 8th grade history textbook if you can put in the effort.

  11. Esther from USA

    People open your eyes. Before the Spanish Inquisition the Muslims invaded Spain in 711 AD. There are no more Greek Christians in Jerusalem. Land that belongs to the Meaditeranian people has, and is being taken by Turkey. I am glad the Romans feel, but come on Muslims did the same thing as them, the same as the fascist, and the Soviets.

  12. Omar A from UK

    Halee:

    Any idealogy's main, indeed only, goal is world domination. Whether that is Democracy, Capitalism, Islam, Zionism, Atheism .... You're a fool if you believe otherwise. Also, 'Dar' means house.

    Randy Lee:

    Let me play devil's advocate. In a democracy, the only people responsible for their country's actions are the electorate. Logically then, one could argue that attacking the source, the electorate, is the most efficient way of attacking a country. With votes comes responsibility.

    I've heard yanks describe people in the Middle East as savages. Well, this may be a childish statement, but if you treat someone like a savage they'll act like one.

  13. Abdur Razzaq from usa

    Halee: The rise of the Islamic state and its expansion during and after the time of the Prophet (saws) were mostly achieved through defensive and preventative military action (like the US is now waging preemptive strikes against POTENTIAL threats). The waging of the "offensive" jihad was against the neighboring empires who were hostile to Islam and were conspiring with Jews and Munafiquun to destroy it. Therefore they took the war to them, to remove their aggression and send terror into the hearts of the Romans and Persians. It also so happens that many of the colonialized people dominated by those empires were happy to see the Muslims (because of Persian and Roman tyranny) and not only welcomed Muslim armies, but many of those people accepted Islam. You also fail to realize that all of the Empires of that era were predicated upon expansion and conquest. Almost every dynasty that came and went was bent upon conquering the known world. To think that Islam wishes to fight the military Jihad against the entire world now is impratical and silly. Anyway, history has shown us that the best way to conquer a people is to conquer their hearts. This is were the Jihad effort should be now. May Allah make us successful in our da'wah efforts and bless the Muslims with the Fath.

  14. Ravenous Hope from Canada

    hehehe...that's right Halee, you better watch out, cause my muslim brethren and I are out to get you. And we'll convert you to our ideology by blowing up an icon of your society. Which makes us completely different from Mr. Bush, who believes in bombing nations into accepting "the american brand of democracy."

    Read up on the true intent of Islam before talking about it...and it's not on CNN, or in the words of Bin Laden.

  15. Ahmed from Morocoo

    halee

    We are tired of ignorant ppl like you.where do you ppl grow up ? what kind of education do you get? what kind of books do you ppl read ?

    infact, what world do you live in ?

    You must be a very informed and subjective person! Islam want to

    take over the World! It must be a conspiracy! The Muslims sure are devious! They have been plotting to control the western governments for years and have succeeded in planting their operatives in very influential positions. They have taken control of your banks, media, and politicians. The "Protocols of the Elders of Islam" must be true then!!

    Give some answers.will you please!!!

    1. How many Muslims are meddling in the affairs of America or European nations. When was the last time they appointed a dictator to insure that their interests are preserved in the west?

    2. When was the last time the Muslims claimed they had vital interest in the distribution and control of the natural resources of western countries? Did they at any time proclaim "Just wars" to protect these interests?

    3. Did the Muslims help cleanse a European nation or American state from its indigenous population to plant a foreign county among their midst?

    (MAY ALLAH REST YOUR SOUL IN PEACE SISTER RACHEL CORREY).

  16. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Regarding civilians, how can a terrorist know what is in the heart of a stranger? Beyond that, why should I, as a Muslim, expect Allah (who is unequaled and without partner) to dismiss any claims (against me) by anyone who would be placed at risk, so that I could call myself a Muslim (or simply express my opinion) without exposing my family to danger?

    Also, those Muslims who wish to convert non-Muslims by the sword might do well to reflect, for example, on a little (pre-Islamic) Roman and Moghul history: Allah (who is alone deserving of praise) is served even when it's the victors who are the ones converted by the sword. Surely, there are none who could prevail against the will of Allah.

    As Salaamu Alaikum.

  17. Musa from USA

    It is time to talk about the Christian terrorism also after what they did to the rest of the world in the last 2000 years. They have the worst record in history.

  18. Tim Bilodeau from USA

    In the interest of fairness, to use the term "Islamic" terrorist is too broad. There are different sects involved in Islam, such as Shi'ite and Sufi. The Islamic terrorists seem to grow from Wahhabi soil, and perhaps this should be emphasized. To illustrate, the Irish Republican Army has used terrorism towards their goals, but to refer to them as Christian terrorists would be considered extremely insulting by other Christians, especially by Catholics, from whom this group claims its roots.

  19. David Stincelli from USA

    People of the Islamic faith are welcomed and protected here in the USA. 9/11 has proven there is a concerted effort to attack our people. Some of those in the towers were Islamic. The Islamic militants/fanatics and those who support them are not welcome here and should be exposed by true followers of the Islamic people. And yet they are supported and hidden by some of the people who try to say their religion is one of peace and love. There are extremests in all faiths that blemish the name of God. They should be rooted out, exposed, and punished. We should be tolerant of those who come together in peace and understanding. Look where pointing the accusing finger of unbridaled hate has gotten us so far. Both sides of the world must look within for answers. Not just one side.

    Sincerely,

    David Stincelli

  20. MirronOnTheWall from America

    You know, dim-wits like Halee should really check their "basket case" before they have the nerve to come to an Islamic site, preaching to Muslims about what Islam is. Is this what the so called "Western world" has become now? To find the 'real' cause of terror they find an easy scapegoat in Islam, while estatically denying the seeds of hatred that they have planted around the world. To these maniacs, their gov't is incapable of doing anything wrong. They see the problem as not their gov't, but the 'ingrateful', 'envious', 'backward' WORLD; not realizing they are themselves a part of it.

  21. Ace from US

    There are a every kind of people in the world, good, bad, indifferent. And one should not deduce Randy Lee that all people are bad. Likewise one cannot deduce that all are good. The fact is the majority of them are indifferent.

  22. UncleSam from US

    Ms. Armstrong's article is eye-opening! I never could have imagined that Christians/Jews were the greatest groups responsible for global terrorism. Esp. those of Latin America. I guess, Ms. Armstrong took away another argument of Racist "stupid-white men" who like to blame Muslims for their state of affairs. Amen to Ms. Armstrong! Amen!!!!

  23. mebrocky from USA

    Karen Armstrong is a terrific author. This article like her books is well researched, impartial, and very knowledgeable. The goal of Islam is not to take over the world. If any religious group could be accused of that, it is Western Christians. Our history of persecution within the various sects of our own religion, not to mention the persecution of Jews and Muslims is well documented. As a Christian, I feel no responsibility for this; I would never support or condone this type of behavior, any more than most Muslims support terrorism. For thousands of years the worst things imaginable have been done in the name of religion by men who twist it to fit their agenda. This is a sad fact considering Christians, Jews, and Muslims all worship the God of Abraham, and all are taught to "treat their neighbors as they would like to be treated themselves." It is wonderful to beleive your religion is the best way to be; the problem comes from beleiving it is the only way to be, and all others are wrong.

  24. Rahmatoola Rujeedawa from Canada

    Assalaam u alaikum

    Indeed, as Allah has mentioned in the Quran "the unbelievers are plotting, but God is planning and He is the best of planners".

    Yes, America is the only superpower for now. We should also cast our eyes towards the East, to China which is poised to be the next superpower.

    One more reason for the planned American invasion of Iraq is, as we know, the first step to controlling the Middle East and it's oil as a means to block the development of China into a force to rival Uncle Sam.

    Had God not allowed for the creation of the Soviet Union after World War II, despite its official atheism, America would have exerted it's hegemony more harshly seeing that many of the small countries with resources were still colonies. In efect the legacy of the Soviet Union lies in the massive post WWII deconolization.

    Allah also mentions in the Quran: "We always set on earth one power to check another power,lest there be too much mischief".

    We see how mischief making is at work. However, in whatever is happening I see the signs of God.

    I see it in the manner George W. Bush was elected. It seems he has been sent to create turmoil in the world. But the greatest turmoil will be in the USA, as it is one of the most indebted countries in the world.

    God knows best.

    Wassalaam

    Rahmatoola

  25. john norman from uk

    Yasir: No, Islamic fundamentalism is the product of Islam and no-one and nothing else. But keep your blinkers on: the world is moving on without you.

  26. john norman from uk

    Smokey: you should keep off the pot, for a few days at least.

  27. Smokey from USA

    Halee and "Randy Lee" nice to see students of mythology. Halee your afraid and jealous of Islam b/c your own religion is a dismal failure. If you're so worried about world conquest go fight the Christian and Jewish terrorists salivating for war..

    "Randy Lee"...you're quite a piece of work. If these Arab friends of yours are so bad, why not call the FBI ? That is, if you're being truthful.

    Both of you kids are petty racist hacks with not an iota of knowledge or maturity. Ms.Armstrong's analysis is as usual factual and without the burdon of mythical polemicism the likes of which you 2 clowns were raised on.

  28. Sr Dabarsh Albizu from usa

    It is a relief to know that there is still people with their senses working good enough to recognize

    the truth even if it hurts them.

  29. Sentinel from USA

    John norman and Halee; it is one thing to be misinformed and a totally different thing to willfully expose your ignorance to the whole world. Go back and read even the most basic history and you will see that there was only one religion ever that was spread by bloodshed, for periods of entire centuries. And that religion was not Islam.

  30. Zara from Canada

    Randy and Halee, Your information is incorrect, Muslims have never wanted a "dar-ul-Islam" on earth, thats what the Day and Judgement and Heaven are for. To be a Muslim is to believe in One God and serve God and people.

    Not supporting the war, does not mean one supports Saddam Hussein. He is a horrible leader and person, though as former governor Ramsey, said Bush has killed far more people in American prisons, in Afghanistan, in Palestine and now in Iraq, than Hussein could ever possibly kill.

    Muslims do not support Osama Bin Laden either, but I do beleive his greivances were real; the policies of the American governments in supporting dictators, (Hosny Mubarak is just as bad as Hussein), bombing countries, imposing brutal sanctions on countries, orchestrating coups on foreign governments and supporting countries such as Israel, which has violated over 30 UN resoultions, among others.

    OBL's reasons were political, they had nothing to do with Islam, unfortunately he used false Islamic rhetoric to stir up support for these political injustices. He then commited acts that are completely against Islam when he allegedly attacked civilians.

    Islam only allows war or acts of killing in self-defense, murder is the ultimate sin.

    Even in defensive wars, Muslims are prohibited from killing women and children and from destroying vegetation.

  31. Noreen

    Karen Armstrong is only one of the few that are able to see past media propaganda that is counting on and building the vast ignorance of its viewers.

    In this world, any type of rasicm, bigotry, and stereotyping is wrong, even though many will have you believe its perfectly acceptable against Arabs and Muslims.

    Only yesterday the man who is charged with the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, was referred to as a "religious fanatic" not a Christian fanatic, though he was a Mormon.

    Not surprisingly anyone with a Muslim name or origin is immediately linked to Islam, such as the man charged with the sniper shootings, who is alleged to be part of Nation of Islam, which has nothing to do with Muslims.

    The media and the American government have effectively dehumanized Arabs and Muslims, since this makes it far easier for them to commit genocide in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

  32. Halee from Canada

    Karen Armstrong fails, or simply refuses to see, the true intent of Islam: to make the whole world "Dar-Ul-Saalam" - "The abode of Islam." That has been Islam's intention from its founding and they have been achieving that at the cost of destroying everything and everyone that does not adhere to their totalitarian creed.

  33. Yasir from Ireland

    Too bad some people have a colonial mentality - "When the slave rises up he's the one at fault". The recent rash of so-called Islamic fundamentalism is a product of European colonialism and neo-colonialism. People are tired of being treated like second class citizens. To say that Kashmir and Chechnya are smoke-screens is indeed ignorance as is believing that Islam is about totalitarianism. Unfortunately, some people have agendas that force them to hold firmly to their ignorance even when presented with facts like in this article.

  34. Randy Lee from USA

    I've Arabs friends who are among the nicest people I've met. Everytime the subject of violence by "Islamic terrorist" cames up, they always says that is not true Islam. Inspite of this however, I still see them rooting for Bin Laden and every bombing of innocent civilians by Islamic terrorist and suicide boimbers. There are so many extremely wealthy Arab countries that if they all choose to, they can easily finance the economic development of impoverished Islamic countries such as Palestine and make those countries stand up in equal footings with the west. Instead, they choose to finance violence against innocent civilians. Now their hero is Saddam Hussien who killed and tortured countless Muslims in Kuwait (during occupation) and in Iraq.

  35. Smokey from USA

    Great article. Karen Armstrong has always been a voice of reason and sanity. Pity bigots like "john norman" dont have the clarity to recognize this. What else do you expect from neurotic jews terrorists and their rabid supporters....

  36. john norman from uk

    Karen Armstrong misses the point entirely. Of course, Basque separatists and Tamil Tigers are not viewed in the same way as muslim terrorists. They have a specific local grievance. Islamic fundamentalists, on the other hand, are intent on spreading Islam through force. The issues of

    Kasmir and Israel/Palestine are simply smokescreens to cover their totalitarian design.

  37. Shahida from USA

    I am so upset and disturbed to see such injustice and oppresson of innocent people. This article has so much truth and very touchy. How do we overcome this problem? I think as long as the OIL is there, the greed is there and the title'terroists' is there.