When do we stop creating terrorists?

Category: Featured, World Affairs Topics: Palestine, Terrorism, Yasser Arafat Views: 15372


In the 1930s and 1940s, the Jewish underground in Palestine was described as "TERRORIST." Then new things happened. By 1942, the Holocaust was occurring, and a certain liberal sympathy with the Jewish people had built up in the Western world. At that point, the terrorists of Palestine, who were Zionists, suddenly started to be described, by 1944-45, as "freedom fighters" At least two Israeli Prime Ministers, including Menachem Begin, have actually, you can find in the books and posters with their pictures, saying "Terrorists, Reward This Much." The highest reward I have noted so far was 100,000 British pounds on the head of Menachem Begin, the terrorist.

Then from 1969 to 1990 the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, occupied the center stage as the terrorist organization. Yasir Arafat has been described repeatedly by the great sage of American journalism, William Safire of the New York Times, as the "Chief of Terrorism." That's Yasir Arafat.

Now, on September 29, 1998, I was rather amused to notice a picture of Yasir Arafat to the right of President Bill Clinton. To his left is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netan-yahu. Clinton is looking towards Arafat and Arafat is looking literally like a meek mouse. Just a few years earlier he used to appear with this very menacing look around him, with a gun appearing menacing from his belt. You remember those pictures, and you remember the next one.

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan received a group of beardedmen. These bearded men I was writing about in those days in The New Yorker, actually did. They were very ferocious-looking bearded men with turbans looking like they came from another century. President Reagan received them in the White House. After receiving them he spoke to the press. He pointed towards them, I'm sure some of you will recall that moment, and said, "These are the moral equivalent of America's founding fathers". These were the Afghan Mujahiddin. They were at the time, guns in hand, battling the Evil Empire. They were the moral equivalent of our founding fathers!

In August 1998, another American President ordered missile strikes from the American navy based in the Indian Ocean to kill Osama Bin Laden and his men in the camps in Afghanistan. I do not wish to embarrass you with the reminder that Mr. Bin Laden, whom fifteen American missiles were fired to hit in Afghanistan, was only a few years ago the moral equivalent of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson! He got angry over the fact that he has been demoted from 'Moral Equivalent' of your 'Founding Fathers'. So he is taking out his anger in different ways. I'll come back to that subject more seriously in a moment.

You see, why I have recalled all these stories is to point out to you that the matter of terrorism is rather complicated. Terrorists change. The terrorist of yesterday is the hero of today, and the hero of yesterday becomes the terrorist of today. This is a serious matter of the constantly changing world of images in which we have to keep our heads straight to know what is terrorism and what is not. But more importantly, to know what causes it, and how to stop it.

The next point about our terrorism is that posture of inconsistency necessarily evades definition. If you are not going to be consistent, you're not going to define. I have examined at least twenty official documents on terrorism. Not one defines the word. All of them explain it, express it emotively, polemically, to arouse our emotions rather than exercise our intelligence. I give you only one example, which is representative. October 25, 1984. George Shultz, then Secretary of State of the U.S., is speaking at the New York Park Avenue Synagogue. It's a long speech on terrorism. In the State Department Bulletin of seven single-spaced pages, there is not a single definition of terrorism. What we get is the following:

Definition number one: "Terrorism is a modern barbarism that we call terrorism."

Definition number two is even more brilliant: "Terrorism is a form of political violence." Aren't you surprised? It is a form of political violence, says George Shultz, Secretary of State of the U.S.

Number three: "Terrorism is a threat to Western civilization."

Number four: "Terrorism is a menace to Western moral values."

Did you notice, does it tell you anything other than arouse your emotions? This is typical. They don't define terrorism because definitions involve a commitment to analysis, comprehension and adherence to some norms of consistency. That's the second characteristic of the official literature on terrorism.

The third characteristic is that the absence of definition does not prevent officials from being globalistic. We may not define terrorism, but it is a menace to the moral values of Western civilization. It is a menace also to mankind. It's a menace to good order. Therefore, you must stamp it out worldwide. Our reach has to be global. You need a global reach to kill it. Anti-terrorist policies therefore have to be global. Same speech of George Shultz: "There is no question about our ability to use force where and when it is needed to counter terrorism." There is no geographical limit. On a single day the missiles hit Afghanistan and Sudan. Those two countries are 2,300 miles apart, and they were hit by missiles belonging to a country roughly 8,000 miles away. Reach is global.

A fourth characteristic: claims of power are not only globalist they are also omniscient. We know where they are; therefore we know where to hit. We have the means to know. We have the instruments of knowledge. We are omniscient. Shultz: "We know the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters, and as we look around, we have no trouble telling one from the other."

Only Osama Bin Laden doesn't know that he was an ally one day and an enemy another. That's very confusing for Osama Bin Laden. I'll come back to his story towards the end. It's a real story.

Number five: The official approach eschews causation. You don't look at causes of anybody becoming terrorist. Cause? What cause? They ask us to be looking, to be sympathetic to these people

Another example. The New York Times, December 18, 1985,reported that the foreign minister of Yugoslavia, you remember the days when there was a Yugoslavia, requested the Secretary of State of the U.S. to consider the causes of Palestinian terrorism. The Secretary of State, George Shultz, and I am quoting from the New York Times, "went a bit red in the face. He pounded the table and told the visiting foreign minister, there is no connection with any cause. Period." Why look for causes?

Number six: The moral revulsion that we must feel against terrorism is selective. We are to feel the terror of those groups, which are officially disapproved. We are to applaud the terror of those groups of whom officials do approve. Hence, President Reagan, "I am a contra. "He actually said that. We know the contras of Nicaragua were anything, by any definition, but terrorists. The media, to move away from the officials, heed the dominant view of terrorism.

The dominant approach also excludes from consideration, more importantly to me, the terror of friendly governments. To that question I will return because it excused among others the terror of Pinochet (who killed one of my closest friends) and Orlando Letelier; and it excused the terror of Zia ul-Haq, who killed many of my friends in Pakistan. All I want to tell you is that according to my ignorant calculations, the ratio of people killed by the state terror of Zia ul-Haq, Pinochet, Argentinian, Brazilian, Indonesian type, versus the killing of the PLO and other terrorist types is literally, conservatively, one to one hundred thousand. That's the ratio.

History unfortunately recognizes and accords visibility to power and not to weakness. Therefore, visibility has been accorded historically to dominant groups. In our time, the time that began with this day, Columbus Day.

The time that begins with Columbus Day is a time of extraordinary unrecorded holocausts. Great civilizations have been wiped out. The Mayas, the Incas, the Aztecs, the American Indians, the Canadian Indians were all wiped out. Their voices have not been heard, even to this day fully. Now they are beginning to be heard, but not fully. They are heard, yes, but only when the dominant power suffers, only when resistance has a semblance of costing, of exacting a price. When a Custer is killed or when a Gordon is besieged. That's when you know that they were Indians fighting, Arabs fighting and dying.

My last point of this section - U.S. policy in the Cold War period has sponsored terrorist regimes one after another. Somoza, Batista, all kinds of tyrants have been America's friends. You know that. There was a reason for that. I or you are not guilty. Nicaragua, contra. Afghanistan, mujahiddin. El Salvador, etc.

Now the second side. You've suffered enough. So suffer more.

There ain't much good on the other side either. You shouldn't imagine that I have come to praise the other side. But keep the balance in mind. Keep the imbalance in mind and first ask ourselves, What is terrorism?

Our first job should be to define the damn thing, name it, give it a description of some kind, other than "moral equivalent of founding fathers" or "a moral outrage to Western civilization". I will stay with you with Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: "Terror is an intense, overpowering fear." He uses terrorizing, terrorism, "the use of terrorizing methods of governing or resisting a government." This simple definition has one great virtue, that of fairness. It's fair. It focuses on the use of coercive violence, violence that is used illegally, extra-constitutionally, to coerce. And this definition is correct because it treats terror for what it is, whether the government or private people commit it.

Have you noticed something? Motivation is left out of it. We're not talking about whether the cause is just or unjust. We're talking about consensus, consent, absence of consent, legality, absence of legality, constitutionality, absence of constitutionality. Why do we keep motives out? Because motives differ. Motives differ and make no difference.

I have identified in my work five types of terrorism.

First, state terrorism. Second, religious terrorism; terrorism inspired by religion, Catholics killing Protestants, Sunnis killing Shiites, Shiites killing Sunnis, God, religion, sacred terror, you can call it if you wish. State, church. Crime. Mafia. All kinds of crimes commit terror. There is pathology. You're pathological. You're sick. You want the attention of the whole world. You've got to kill a president. You will. You terrorize. You hold up a bus. Fifth, there is political terror of the private group; be they Indian, Vietnamese, Algerian, Palestinian, Baader-Meinhof, the Red Brigade. Political terror of the private group. Oppositional terror.

Keep these five in mind. Keep in mind one more thing. Sometimes these five can converge on each other. You start with protest terror. You go crazy. You become pathological. You continue. They converge. State terror can take the form of private terror. For example, we're all familiar with the death squads in Latin America or in Pakistan. Government has employed private people to kill its opponents. It's not quite official. It's privatized. Convergence. Or the political terrorist who goes crazy and becomes pathological. Or the criminal who joins politics. In Afghanistan, in Central America, the CIA employed in its covert operations drug pushers. Drugs and guns often go together Smuggling of all things often go together.

Of the five types of terror, the focus is on only one, the least important in terms of cost to human lives and human property [Political Terror of those who want to be heard]. The highest cost is state terror. The second highest cost is religious terror, although in the twentieth century religious terror has, relatively speaking, declined. If you are looking historically, massive costs. The next highest cost is crime. Next highest, pathology. A Rand Corporation study by Brian Jenkins, for a ten-year period up to 1988, showed 50% of terror was committed without any political cause at all. No politics. Simply crime and pathology.

So the focus is on only one, the political terrorist, the PLO, the Bin Laden, whoever you want to take. Why do they do it? What makes the terrorist tick?

I would like to knock them out quickly to you. First, the need to be heard. Imagine, we are dealing with a minority group, the political, private terrorist. First, the need to be heard. Normally, and there are exceptions, there is an effort to be heard, to get your grievances heard by people. They're not hearing it. A minority acts. The majority applauds.

The Palestinians, for example, the super terrorists of our time, were dispossessed in 1948. From 1948 to 1968 they went to every court in the world. They knocked at every door in the world. They were told that they became dispossessed because some radio told them to go away - an Arab radio, which was a lie. Nobody was listening to the truth. Finally, they invented a new form of terror, literally their invention: the airplane hijacking. Between 1968 and 1975 they pulled the world up by its ears. They dragged us out and said, Listen, Listen. We listened. We still haven't done them justice, but at least we all know. Even the Israelis acknowledge. Remember Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, saying in 1970, 'There are no Palestinians.' They do not exist. They damn well exist now. We are cheating them at Oslo. At least there are some people to cheat now. We can't just push them out. The need to be heard is essential. One motivation there.

Mix of anger and helplessness produces an urge to strike out. You are angry. You are feeling helpless. You want retribution. You want to wreak retributive justice. The experience of violence by a stronger party has historically turned victims into terrorists. Battered children are known to become abusive parents and violent adults. You know that. That's what happens to peoples and nations. When they are battered, they hit back. State terror very often breeds collective terror.

Do you recall the fact that the Jews were never terrorists? By and large Jews were not known to commit terror except during and after the Holocaust. Most studies show that the majority of members of the worst terrorist groups in Israel or in Palestine, the Stern and the Irgun gangs, were people who were immigrants from the most anti-Semitic countries of Eastern Europe and Germany. Similarly, the young Shiites of Lebanon or the Palestinians from the refugee camps are battered people. They become very violent. The ghettos are violent internally. They become violent externally when there is a clear, identifiable external target, an enemy where you can say, 'Yes, this one did it to me'. Then they can strike back.

Example is a bad thing. Example spreads. There was a highly publicized Beirut hijacking of the TWA plane. After that hijacking, there were hijacking attempts at nine different American airports. Pathological groups or individuals modeling on the others. Even more serious are examples set by governments. When governments engage in terror, they set very large examples. When they engage in supporting terror, they engage in other sets of examples.

Absence of revolutionary ideology is central to victim terrorism. Revolutionaries do not commit unthinking terror. Those of you who are familiar with revolutionary theory know the debates, the disputes, the quarrels, the fights within revolutionary groups of Europe, the fight between anarchists and Marxists, for example. But the Marxists have always argued that revolutionary terror, if ever engaged in, must be sociologically and psychologically selective. Don't hijack a plane. Don't hold hostages. Don't kill children, for God's sake. Have you recalled also that the great revolutions, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Algerian, the Cuban, never engaged in hijacking type of terrorism? They did engage in terrorism, but it was highly selective, highly sociological, still deplorable, but there was an organized, highly limited, selective character to it. So absence of revolutionary ideology that begins more or less in the post-World War II period has been central to this phenomenon.

My final question is - These conditions have existed for a long time. But why then this flurry of private political terrorism? Why now so much of it and so visible? The answer is modern technology. You have a cause. You can communicate it through radio and television. They will all come swarming if you have taken an aircraft and are holding 150 Americans hostage. They will all hear your cause. You have a modern weapon through which you can shoot a mile away. They can't reach you. And you have the modern means of communicating. When you put together the cause, the instrument of coercion and the instrument of communication, politics is made. A new kind of politics becomes possible.

To this challenge rulers from one country after another have been responding with traditional methods. The traditional method of shooting it out, whether it's missiles or some other means. The Israelis are very proud of it. The Americans are very proud of it. The French became very proud of it. Now the Pakistanis are very proud of it. The Pakistanis say, 'Our commandos are the best.' Frankly, it won't work. A central problem of our time, political minds, rooted in the past, and modern times, producing new realities. Therefore in conclusion, what is my recommendation to America?

Quickly. First, avoid extremes of double standards. If you're going to practice double standards, you will be paid with double standards. Don't use it. Don't condone Israeli terror, Pakistani terror, Nicaraguan terror, El Salvadoran terror, on the one hand, and then complain about Afghan terror or Palestinian terror. It doesn't work. Try to be even-handed. A superpower cannot promote terror in one place and reasonably expect to discourage terrorism in another place. It won't work in this shrunken world.

Do not condone the terror of your allies. Condemn them. Fight them. Punish them. Please eschew, avoid covert operations and low-intensity warfare. These are breeding grounds of terror and drugs. Violence and drugs are bred there. The structure of covert operations, I've made a film about it, which has been very popular in Europe, called Dealing with the Demon. I have shown that wherever covert operations have been, there has been the central drug problem. That has been also the center of the drug trade. Because the structure of covert operations, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Central America, is very hospitable to drug trade. Avoid it. Give it up. It doesn't help.

Please focus on causes and help ameliorate causes. Try to look at causes and solve problems. Do not concentrate on military solutions. Do not seek military solutions. Terrorism is a political problem. Seek political solutions. Diplomacy works.

Take the example of the last attack on Bin Laden. You don't know what you're attacking. They say they know, but they don't know. They were trying to kill Qadaffi. They killed his four-year-old daughter. The poor baby hadn't done anything. Qadaffi is still alive. They tried to kill Saddam Hussein. They killed Laila Bin Attar, a prominent artist, an innocent woman. They tried to kill Bin Laden and his men. Not one but twenty-five other people died. They tried to destroy a chemical factory in Sudan. Now they are admitting that they destroyed an innocent factory, one-half of the production of medicine in Sudan has been destroyed, not a chemical factory. You don't know. You think you know.

Four of your missiles fell in Pakistan. One was slightly damaged. Two were totally damaged. One was totally intact. For ten years the American government has kept an embargo on Pakistan because Pakistan is trying, stupidly, to build nuclear weapons and missiles. So we have a technology embargo on my country. One of the missiles was intact. What do you think a Pakistani official told the Washington Post? He said it was a gift from Allah. We wanted U.S. technology. Now we have got the technology, and our scientists are examining this missile very carefully. It fell into the wrong hands. So don't do that. Look for political solutions. Do not look for military solutions. They cause more problems than they solve.

Please help reinforce, strengthen the framework of international law. There was a criminal court in Rome. Why didn't they go to it first to get their warrant against Bin Laden, if they have some evidence? Get a warrant, then go after him. Internationally. Enforce the U.N. Enforce the International Court of Justice, this unilateralism makes us look very stupid and them relatively smaller. Q&A

The question here is that I mentioned that I would go somewhat into the story of Bin Laden, the Saudi in Afghanistan and didn't do so, could I go into some detail? The point about Bin Laden would be roughly the same as the point between Sheikh Abdul Rahman, who was accused and convicted of encouraging the blowing up of the World Trade Center in New York City. The New Yorker did a long story on him. It's the same as that of Aimal Kansi, the Pakistani Baluch who was also convicted of the murder of two CIA agents. Let me see if I can be very short on this. Jihad, which has been translated a thousand times as "holy war," is not quite just that. Jihad is an Arabic word that means, "to struggle." It could be struggle by violence or struggle by non-violent means. There are two forms, the small jihad and the big jihad. The small jihad involves violence. The big jihad involves the struggles with self. Those are the concepts. The reason I mention it is that in Islamic history, jihad as an international violent phenomenon had disappeared in the last four hundred years, for all practical purposes. It was revived suddenly with American help in the 1980s. When the Soviet Union intervened in Afghanistan, Zia ul-Haq, the military dictator of Pakistan, which borders on Afghanistan, saw an opportunity and launched a jihad there against godless communism. The U.S. saw a God-sent opportunity to mobilize one billion Muslims against what Reagan called the Evil Empire. Money started pouring in. CIA agents starting going all over the Muslimworld recruiting people to fight in the great jihad. Bin Laden was one of the early prize recruits. He was not only an Arab. He was also a Saudi. He was not only a Saudi. He was also a multimillionaire, willing to put his own money into the matter. Bin Laden went around recruiting people for the jihad against communism.

I first met him in 1986. He was recommended to me by an American official of whom I do not know whether he was or was not an agent. I was talking to him and said, 'Who are the Arabs here who would be very interesting?' By here I meant in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said, 'You must meet Osama.' I went to see Osama. There he was, rich, bringing in recruits from Algeria, from Sudan, from Egypt, just like Sheikh Abdul Rahman. This fellow was an ally. He remained an ally. He turnsat a particular moment. In 1990 the U.S. goes into Saudi Arabia with forces. Saudi Arabia is the holy-place of Muslims, Mecca and Medina. There had never been foreign troops there. In 1990, during the Gulf War, they went in, in the name of helping Saudi Arabia defeat Saddam Hussein. Osama Bin Laden remained quiet. Saddam was defeated, but the American troops stayed on in the land of the kaba (the sacred site of Islam in Mecca), foreign troops. He wrote letter after letter saying, Why are you here? Get out! You came to help but you have stayed on. Finally he started a jihad against the other occupiers His mission is to get American troops out of Saudi Arabia. His earlier mission was to get Russian troops out of Afghanistan. See what I was saying earlier about covert operations? A second point to be made about him is these are tribal people, people who are really tribal. Being a millionaire doesn't matter. Their code of ethics is tribal. The tribal code of ethics consists of two words: loyalty and revenge. You are my friend. You keep your word. I am loyal to you. You break your word, I go on my path of revenge. For him, America has broken its word. The loyal friend has betrayed. The one to whom you swore blood loyalty has betrayed you. They're going to go for you. They're going to do a lot more. These are the chickens of the Afghanistan war coming home to roost. This is why I said to stop covert operations. There is a price attached to those that the American people cannot calculate and Kissinger type of people do not know, don't have the history to know.

Eqbal Ahmad, Professor Emeritus of International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, also served as a managing editor of the quarterly Race and Class. A prolific writer, his articles and essays have been published in The Nation, Dawn (Pakistan), among several other journals throughout the world. He died in 1999. He was an anti-war activist and strongly critical of the Middle East strategy of the United States as well as religious fanaticism in such countries as Pakistan.

Eqbal Ahmed is one of those rare intellectuals whose writings are timeless. Following is a presentation he made at the University of Colorado, Boulder, October 12, 1998.

Courtesy: University of Colorado

  Category: Featured, World Affairs
  Topics: Palestine, Terrorism, Yasser Arafat
Views: 15372

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Older Comments:
Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
Sir.'m From India. Here will leave an Islamic institution. The poor children to teach those of us who go to seminary or school can not be poverty. We are married to the extremely poor girls, whose poverty Due to the fear of going into the wrong hands. you all to appeal to the Helpline. Help the poor to come forward, and the heart of the Help should open.

We stop creating terrorist until the world is just

T FROM AU said:
I really think we have to stop talking in terms of east and west and
us and them!as an American Australian Muslim I'm tired of being blamed
by everyone for all the problems in the world!There's good and bad
people everywhere. and

"Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they
change it themselves (with their own souls)" From 13: 11

A great piece at that. Mind control, deception, and the mainstream media has put truth, logic and reason upside down. Still that most of the people are not aware that there is a war on our mind. Achieving the Illuminati elite's sinister goal comes closer every passing day.

It took between 4 and 7 million Ukrainians starved to death by orders from Stalin during the early 1930's through the means of forced grain appropriation to make them into Collective Farmers. In Poland, by 1956 the farms were given back, possibly with different number of hectars, to the private owners. Since 1956, 70% of the total Polish farm land was in private hands, and sell of plant produce, and by 1976 of meats except for the time of The Marshall Law, on free market was allowed. This is why, I do not remember a time, when in my native City Bialystok (1/3 into a city of, at present, over 300,000 people, if suburbs are counted), the farmers did not sell produce such as potatoes or eggs, or the orchard owners did not sell such produce as apples, strawberries, tomatoes, or honey.
Yes - being highly individualistic is both national and ethnic Polish thing.
This is why I am forced to ask: is using the dead simply as an excuse is the present-day Jewish thing? Is it simply part of the Jewish Culture?
Sincerely, Robert Kolakowski son of Stanislaw son of Jozef; born 28DEC1973; out of Eugenia Kolakowska nee Zielinska "Ski vs Ska"
Elizabeth, NJ, 07202
[email protected]


When I did turn to Islam, and became a Muslim, I did learn that there are some desperate Muslims who do wrong in their fanaticism and/or insanity and/or desperation. Myself, being a long time borrower from Nietzsche and Machiavelli, I disagree with them both as a Muslim and because of my (not Nietzsche's or Machiavelli's) personal philosophy: I do believe in survival.
However, even the suicidal bomber has never used the fact that the Last Prophet, the Seal of All Prophets, Allah (God) Bless Him and Keep Him, was poisoned by a Jewish woman, and later on, from human perspective, died because of the long term effects of the poisoned. Not even the Muslim fanatic stoops down to the deplorable level of using the death as an excuse. This kind of ethics and morality is below even a suicide bomber.
This is where I must ask it: is using dead simply as nothing more than an excuse part of the present--day Jewish Culture at large, or is she just an aberration?
There are such thing as Polish things--really because there are such things as National Psyche's and derived from them ethnic subcultures.
Except when something greater is at stake, such as being in the military, or a greater benefit can be achieved only by working together such as in sports, the Poles are the most individualistic people on Earth with great respect towards private property, and much lesser towards communal and governmental property.
It took between 4 and 7 million Ukrainians starved to death by orders from Stalin during the early 1930's through the means of forced grain appropriation to make them into Collective Farmers. In Poland, by 1956 the farms were given back, possibly with different number of hectars, to the private owners. Since 1956, 70% of the total Polish farm land was in private hands, and sell of plant produce, and by 1976 of meats except for the time of The Marshall Law, on free market was allowed. This is why, I do not remember a time, when in my native City Bialystok (1/3 into a c

Yesterday, at circa 1745, I did see her: a woman that I did hear stories about.
I was passing in between the Library and the Union County Court when she emerged from the side of the Union County Court walking towards Rahway Avenue.
A white Olive--skinned woman in her 40's or early 50's with dark hair, and a few extra pounds. I heard stories that her favorite excuse for human research is 6 million dead Jewish men, women, and children who died during the Holocaust. This time I was about to hear it first hand. She was on a cell phone talking about "what happened to those poor people in Poland."
I can understand it, but I cannot relate. I can only be a phony, and sympathy is the most high form of self--deception and phoniness. However, empathy is the greatest form of honesty.
Here, I cannot be empathetic.
I do come from a very specific Polish area: the area of the Greater Bialystok City in Podlasie Province of Poland: with nearly as many Eastern Orthodox Churches as Catholic Churches as well as a Synagogue and two Mosques: ethnic and rarely 'national' Belorussians, Tatars, and Jews.
When raised to be a Roman Catholic, I was never taught to use the dead in my family as an excuse, but to honor their memory. My father's youngest sister got murdered in a hospital because she suffered from a sever seizure disorder. Her parents, my grad parents had no choice: either let her die at home, or risk that stories of murder by doctors were true, and get her killed at hospital or cured. She was murdered.
My father, however, has never told me to use her death as an excuse to do wrong to Germans, or doctors. He never told me to use it as an excuse in something as banal as human research. Such a thought would never cross my mind: her life and her death, and most especially, she as a human being deserves more respect than to be used just as an excuse. In the Polish culture, our values and ethics are well enough to honor our dead better than by using them as an excuse.

Assalam Aleikum;
How do you think the palestinian conflicts with the israelis can be resolved?
Your cooperation will be highly appriciated.
Your's sincerely
brother Ali.

Justness of a cause matters. That of the Jews was just. That of the PLO--the eradication of Israel--is not.

Justness of means matters. Regard for innocent human life, therefore, matters. Your terrorists have no regard for innocents and in fact target them. They hide among them, thus endangering them. They use them as shields, knowing that they have given their enemies no choice but to attack or surrender. The death of every innocent Palestinian is the result of the devious disregard for their safety by your self-righteous, self-absorbed terrorists. The death of every Iraqi is the result of Saddam Hussein's tyranny and dissembling ways. There is no honor among your "warriors," and that is why they are the terrorists.

thank you, a voice of reason, may your words be heard.

RUBA said:

this is such a good article; it seems hurried but it is right on point. i would like to add that the influence of multinational corporations initiated in the US and by capitalism play a big role in the terror that the US and its allies impose on the third world...its a sad cycle of dominating and exploiting resources that native or non industrial populations don't even understand that they have, or the value of these resources. big business wants cheap labor/resources and if a country doesn't comply, then the US exerts military pressure under various guises. Oil is a perfect example - the Saudi royal family cooperates and so we support their corrupt regime in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. On the other hand, we just removed our representative to venezuela, a big oil producing country who is speaking out against the US actions of terror in afghanistan...how soon will we declare war on them? And afghanistan...if we want Osama why do we recklessly bomb innocent afghanis? why are we destroying the whole country? Because we want to put an oil pipeline from the caspian sea to the sea of arabia and/or to china (who, after 15 years we suddenly let them into the WTO on sept.13). the taliban - who i think are wicked but that's besides this point - wouldn't cooperate despite the fact that we wined and dined them in texas just a few years ago. and anyone who looks into cheney's background will find that he has largely been involved in getting oil from the middle east his whole carrer. And to think that George Bush senior, ex president and ex head of the CIA has had major meetings with the Saudi's in 2000, doesn't have his bloody hands in this "war on terror" would be ludicrous. as the abused child abuses when he grows up, we are effectively breeding terrorist of the angry, desperate, starving type with nothing to lose. It's time that the US realizes that the Sept. 11 attacks have a cause other than propaganda "they hate our freedom". they hate our oppression

a well balanced article.

How could you keep steping on someones toes and ask what is he angry about?

If the countries around the world are sick of the United States, they should stop asking for our help every time they need it.

If you want isolationism, you can have it. The world would go hungry, gangsters would run wild, hatred would end up in a world we all would rather not see.

If the world is tired of the United States being so helpful, stop asking for help. Your shallow minds have no idea how much money I send to help people I don't even know. I expect very little in return. I ask that you stop hurting our friends, try to better yourself and get up out of the gutter of poverty and one day, hopefully, feed yourself.

Let freedom ring. Can you pay the price?

That's why the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. I don't see any other country coming to the aid of the poor, the wretched, the people yearning to be free. Freedom isn't free. The price of freedom is something we have learned in America. We're just trying to let everyone else be free.

your piece of writing is great. I wish more muslims can be like you, well educated and understanding. As one does not know Allah or Islam if he has no knowledge. And you have knowledge and I thank you for sharing it with us.

your article was interresting. thankyou. but iam so very sick of muslims always blamming america for everything.who did the muslims blame things on before america exsited? all countries do bad and good things. i feel that america should ignore the middle east and stop helping the middle east because the middle east does not appreciate the help so america should stop feeding and medicating them and ignore their presense cause the midle east always causes trouble. i feel sorry for the midle east children cause they are taught so much hate and evil, those poor children are raised learning to blame all the muslims problems on everyone else. in america the jews and muslims do not war against eachother, but in the middle east they do, why is that? iam american and i love this free country and this country has done many good things for others, america has also made lots of bad misstakes but so has each country. the arab news source in the middle east is telling many lies and those lies are fueling the hate. arabs are not stupid people they have a right to know the truth and hear other sources of news but they are brainwashed into beleiving that only their news is the correct news and all others are liers, that is a form of mind controll and abuse. so now in this modern times of the internet many arabs do get the chance to hear others news sources but by now they are sp brainwashed into believing that only arabs news is the truth. there is many good sources of news from each country. america is a wanderful country that was blessed by God. america is a new country and all ready it is the worl power, why is that? cuase america was blessed. many bad people came to america to do harm like enslave people and take the indians land but there was also many good people in america who fought against the enslavement. and the good people ended up wining and enslavement was stopped. iam a proud american indian(cherokee) and i love this country and its freedom.Jesus has blessed USA

The attack on the WTC was motivated solely by jealousy and envy for the wealth and power of the United States. These blessings were bestowed upon her, by God, because Americans follow him more closely than any other westernized society. And Western society, the dominant, and rightfully so, in my opinion, because of its liberty and tolerance, was originally Christian. What does this mean? I can't say. but we should all think about it. God bless.

For Pete and others who judge, conclude, and say after listening to CNN only. Even though I have nothing against americans, most are friendly people, but I am amazed that the people of a country with such a high literacy rate do not know or even care to know what is outside of US. For you guys, its almost like the world starts from california and ends at newyork. And the rest is a big desert with nothing. This isolation, ignorance, and narrow mindedness is one of the areas the Americans need to work on. So I urge you and others for their own sake to realize that there are two sides of a coin. Please watch something other than CNN and do some research before you argue about something.

As a starting point, I would STRONGLY suggest that you listen to Noam Chomskey's speech on "www.democracynow.org". He is a professor in MIT and a renound political scientist. This topic is MUCH more deep and political than you think bud, and you'd have to do more than watch football and drink beer on weekends to understand the problems in todays world and why everytime the west says PEACE, it turns out, to the east, that what they actually meant was PIECE.

So now we hear load and clear the Islamic call for a holy war from Jane Doe (I'm sure a real name). She decries the immorality of the West while ignoring the mistreatment of Islamic women, while ignoring the fact that certain "self-procraimed" Moslim holy men have 30 or 40 wives, while innocents, including Moslems are destoyed in the world trade center. She points at our immorality and ignores her own. She is not jealous of our health acre, our scientific exploration, our trade, our charity to the rest of the world. She doesn't realize that the capacity for morality as well as for terrorism resides within each one of us and she has taken her side. To quote the good doctor, ". Look for political solutions. Do not look for military solutions. They cause more problems than they solve". Hopefully the next lecture can be called "A move toward peace - coming together".

Thanks for this opprtunity. I am muslim and do appreciate the very balanced piece the late brother
cleverly diluted. May he rest in peace.
What this very beautiful World of crazy people needs is not peace. It needs JUSTICE. Because it seems all those who sign the "Peace Treaty" are now resting in peace in the cemetery. Yitshak Rabin and others.
Wickedness has to be stopped by these corrupt and organized criminal groups called "government." Else the whole of humanity, both the good and the bad will pay a heavy price for an unbriddled sense of recalcitrance. The Quran says:"And fear the Fitnah(Afflictions and trials)which affects not in particular(only)those who do wrong(but it may afflict all the bad and the good people), and know that Allah is severe in punishment-Chapter8 Verse 24.
Dr Marthin Luther King once said that: "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing." That is do nothing to deter evil.
And nothing is painful and unacceptable than the death of innocent women and children. I do suggest that, when two crazy factinos want to fight,they should be sent far away out of town.Big trenches dug in readiness for those who will perish in that war. Innocent people should not pay a price for these silly cowards who are bent on achieving political goals. No matter who they are.European, Afrikan, Asian, American or whatever.
Why too many arms in the world when others cannot get enough food or water to live on? Who is making the weapons and why? Who buys them and why? Who uses then and why?
Good Morning.

for people still awaiting an apology from the Muslim population for the events for Sept 11th, go back to sleep. It is your total ignorance and selfishness that has created various uprisings all over the world. Mohammed (p.b.u.h) would NOT be embarrased with the present situation, because all faithfull Muslims feel PITTY and disgrace at the misuse of power and wealth be it in the hands of any government and people. There is no need for Muslims to envy the setup of westernized societys, as these are the breeding grounds for immoral, selfish people, who are blind to the destruction done by their leaders. Here is my prayer to all...muslims and non-muslims who trully want to see peace and harmony in the world all over. May God guide us on the right path of those, on whom HE has bestowed his favour and not of those of whom HE has sent us HIS wrath. Ameen

Rather long-winded. The simple truth is that there are terrorists everywhere. Only Muslims will not apologize for those bringing terror in the name of Allah. Muslims should be grateful for how we tried to help them in Kosovo and Somalia. Ultimately Al quaeda's form of terror will result in the US relying on its own energy, and leaving Middle Easterners, Indonesians and African Muslims to their own cultures and technological sophistication. A lot of what motivated Muslim terrorists was jealousy. They see our Freedom, our Science, our Technology, our Lifestyles, our Medical care, and our Social welfare systems and realize that they have nothing in comparison. They blame us. They haven't made any efforts in their own countries to develop these things (just look at women's rights under the Taliban) but it's easier to blame us than to try to develop their own country. So eventually the US will leave these countries alone to fight among themselves and when they realize that they want what we've got, there'll be lots of revolutions in Muslim countries. Lots of "royal families" will find that their people are not so happy without an adequate sewage and water system. Right now, Muslims should be apologizing long and loud for terror done in the name of Allah. But I don't hear it. I think even Mohammed would be embarassed. Enjoy the Stone Age.

Terrorism will not be eliminated. It is a fall back option embedded in the psyche of mankind. It is the last resort for obtaining that to which rightful ownership is in dispute. Warfare itself is terrorism; do not belligerents strive to overcome the enemy by all means, including instilling fear in their hearts? What is in question is the use of terrorist tactics against established, sovereign, peaceful nations and the assertion that it is a legitimate form of redressing grievances. The use of terrorism by criminal gangs to subdue a citizenry and hamper law enforcement, as well as the use of terrorism by groups with political agendas who attempt to extract their demands by illegitimate means from legitimate governments are the forms of terrorism which must be suppressed. Mr. Ahmad's treatise is well reasoned, but threat of force is simply a tool which will always be in the toolbox of legitimate governments. The enemy is not terrorism per se, if we are to acknowledge all definitions of terrorism as Mr. Ahmad suggested, the enemy is those illegitimate groups which employ terrorist tactics in order to subvert legitimate governments and peaceful people.

I have a different and much simpler definition of Terrorism. Terrorism is selfishness that has grown up. When a child doesn't get what it wants, sometimes it lashes out in anger. In the same way, as this paper indicates, Osama bin Laden didn't get what he asked for, so he lashed out in anger and killed many people. God is in control and those that love him and patiently wait for His plans to be fulfilled will prevail. The position of the United States has always been "In God We Trust" and God has provided abundantly because of that. Israel is God's chosen people, and as such they have been protected from total annihilation. They rejected God's son, so therefore they have been persecuted, but not forgotten by God, and one day they will be lifted up by God, but until then I am praying for Osama bin Laden to repent and come to know Jesus Christ as God and his personal friend and to understand that He is the son of God who is very alive and active in the world today. For those Muslims reading this, who reject the idea that Jesus Christ can be God while still being one deity, know that God is pure and cannot come near sin, and sin can only be made pure with innocent blood, and Jesus was absolutely innocent without sin and his blood makes it possible to be with God, so Christ is the only way to be with God because all have sinned. Adam was made "in the image of God". Jesus Christ is the human image and spirit of God and refers to himself both as the Son of Man and the Son of God. It is similar to the way that a light shining on a rotating object generates a thousand different 2 dimensional silhouette images without changing the original object. He who has ears to hear let him hear.

It is an opinion which is extremely interesting, and which should be reflected upon very carefully , by us, westerns. If we don't do that, i am afraid that we will end up in a war of culture, whihc is the worst. And that is exactly what the terrorists want. I still do think that terrosrism (of course) should be eliminated. But I think that in order to dot hat we will have to understand the fears of the muslim community. And they will have to make an effort to understand how our democracy works. it is maybe not the best of civilizations but it is certainly far better than regimes who abolish freedom (like the Taliban). And that i would like the moderate muslims to condemn a little bit with more viguor.
Also the basis of terrorism is frustration. And the frustration in the Arabic world has been created by the confilct between Israel and palestina, and the fact that the USA take theside of Israel too obviously.
And again let's read this document AND PLEASE REFLECT and stop the bombing now, because I think there is nothing more to bomb.


The issue of terrorism demands both a definition and a review of the causes. May I posit these thoughts for debate seeking greater understanding and a beginning to the end of not only terrorism, but also the causes.

A defenition, in my mind, would be a militaristic action not officially recognized or sponsored by a national government that primarily targets civilians and civilian property with the goals of loss of life.

Under this definition, governments can support terrorism if they do not claim responsibility. Are western nations capable of terrorism under this definition, yes.

The causes of the current wave of terrorism are numerous, but tend to focus (whether soundly or not) on religeous bases. Nobody who knows the history of Isreal and the plight of the displaced Palestinians can argue that great pain was inflicted on the refuges. Clearly there must be resolution of this issue, but what that entails I do not know.

The injustices of the world political theater are definitely one of the causes. However, the greed for power is also underlying the terror.

In the case of bin Laden, many parallels have been drawn to Hitler. The financial incentives to a starving population long suffering from the affects of civil war, the transfiguration of physical pain into the angry passions of war and the twisting of a philosophy (for Hitler, Nietsche)/ religion (for bin Laden, Islam) into the basis for battle. In looking at illiteracy rates in Afganistan, I can hardly believe that the majority of the population has been able to read the Quran. Therefore, they must rely on someone to read AND INTERPRET these writings.

Is there any value in these perceptions? I do not pretend to be an expert and am open to hear the opinions of others better versed in issues.

May all of us be blessed and find peace and cooperation toward a better world.

An intresting article, and I do agree with the most of what was written. I must admit that I dont like US imperalism, and didnt have anything against that terrorist organisations blow up diffrent US military facileties. Actualy I supported it. But when 2 planes where used as misiles to destroy WTC, I found out that Bin laden and his group wasnt any better than the americans and israels. Actualy they where worse, america, israel and the rest of the west are democratic nations. In the midle east very few nations are democratic, so I decided to support the americans. Because if the nations in the midle east won a war against the west, would I stil have my freedom? or would I have to obey a king from saudi arabia??

Its better that half of the world population have freedom, than noone at all.

Hopefully after USA have won this war, the US will see its mistakes and go for a politic that dont force a situation like this to happen again.

DEATH said:

Refreshing change... appreciate the perspective!!!! People do talk about terrorist crimes... not many look at the core causes.... glad soemone finally did!!!

I can understand that the death of innocent people is a tragedy which is unfortunately a part of war. However...

We did not ask to be hijacked and to have our buildings leveled to the ground. It is a little hard to forget when people have to jump to their deaths in order to avoid bieng cooked alive VIA exploding aircraft. Osama bin laden has repeatedly stated that the entire muslim community needs to kill anybody who isn't...

ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD! They have no right to pass final judgment on anybody...

The muslim community needs to rise up againts anybody who "hijacks" their religion by misinterpretation of the scriptures. Life is precious in the sight of God and the way that the women are being treated in afganistan needs to change...It is severly beginning to irritate me.
Thank you for giving me the chance to voice my opinions and on this note...I depart

It is comforting to find divergent views on the internet on the day when five major networks kow-towed to the corporate criminals and their political henchmen, by "voluntarily" agreeing to censor any future statements by Mr. Bin Laden. Unfortunately, the web is still a rather elite form of news-gathering, and I fear for the worst, now that the line has been drawn: If you're not with us, you're against us!

The lack of a definition for terrorism is deliberate, and makes it possible for the registered and incorporated terrorists on Wall Street to set their murderous sight on anyone who doesn't toe the party line.

Professor Ahmad's speech at an American University would be unthinkable today, only three years later, and all of us are the poorer for it.

Thank you, Islamicity, for being a lonely candle in the wind.

A very informative article indeed. In a sad way it puts the events of the September 11 in perspective.

So Bin Laden didn't like American Troops in Saudi Arabia, and he started killing Americans. Over 6000 most recently. I was born and raised in what was then Czechoslovakia, a country invided in 1968 by Soviet (mostly Russian) troops. They went far beyond being merely "stationed" in Czechoslovakia, like they have been in Saudi Arabia; they installed a pupet government and turned the country into a de-facto colony of the Soviet Union. In Prof. Ahmad's way of thinking, it would have been legitimate for Czechs and Slovaks to bomb the Red Square in Moscow; to hijack planes and crash them into the Kremlin. Nobody did!!! Parliamentary delegations, one after another, negotiated - in a peaceful way - until the last Russian soldier was out for good. There is more into Bin Ladens terrorism than politics. It's fanaticism based on an abuse and misinterpretation of a peace-loving religion!

many duas to my brother-in-peace, dr. eqbal ahmed !!

I Feel that the comments are very practical,very connected to our situation in india,eventhough iam a hindu but we lack sanity because we all in the world adopted model of hate,competition and all about who is strong and rich for which we are all paying now in form terrorism and war

so very very true - I am finding the hypocricy of the stance against terrorism by Bush too much to bear. Regards Ginny

This is the most brilliant essay that I've read on the subject of terrorism. Thanks again Islamicity.com!

this was a good lesson for those who have a good ears

This is a great article.
Very interesting !!
Jazakumlahu Kheiran ! Thank you for sharing it with us.


To echo the comments posted already, I too feel the article is very well written, & goes into in depth about the various forms & definitions of terrorism which must be clearly understood. Ironically, this article was written a few years ago, it is a shame & ideed very regretful if perhaps our elected officials heeded Prof. Eqbal Ahmed's advice just maybe the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 could have been avoided.

After reading Dr Ahmad's dissertation of how he appears to justify terrosim, it is quite apparent he left out a key element in our relgion and practice and that is not to things in extreme. His views were totally to the left and he really didn't make a clear point. This is just recently printed material and to read what cannot justify terroism or have us to believe that terrosim is a noble cause and effort.
Sounds to me that he was a sympathizer that remained neutral. True America has it's hand in everybody's affairs , but what country doesn't. Bottom line all of these countries' government has seedy and corrupt machines that operate. From drugs, modern day slavery and yes slavery , in Muslim countries as wel as other non Muslim countries. So who has the right to do attack another country and kill innocent people and say that they did it in the name of Allah and give our religion a bad name. DON'T let Bin Laden or anyone else pimp us and become his or Amercia's pawn!

Alhumdulillah, this is a very good article discussion. Very well thought out and well researched. For once a person does the research to find out why this has happened and not is so quick to attribute a face to attack to make all else feel better.


A brilliant piece that not only defines what terrorism is but also sheds a light on it's cause.
May Allah rest his soul in peace.

I think this article is great and well reasoned article about terrorism and its phenomena. It is very objetive and thought provoking. I wish every western reader especially american people read it so that they can have greater picture and understanding about what terrorism means and why it become a complicated matters in todays world. The definition of terrorism itself is very vague and changes with time. One time they are an ally and the next time they are terrorists.
Mr Eqbal Ahmad is a great political/social scientist and writer. I read one of his book and I like it because it is informative, has a good writing style. I didn't know if he passed away and I think it is a great loss for muslim community world wide especially.