Please, let us dispense with the niceties and the politically correct statements and admit that terrorism has a religion — and this religion is Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism. The terrorists, for the most part, if not all, come from these different faiths.
One must add “Racist Nationalism” is also a religion, albeit secular in nature, but it has deep roots in religion. None of the Abrahamic religions, including Hinduism, are innocent.
The rise of modern-day Islamic Terrorism has its roots in Saudi Arabia, with the November 1979 attack on the Holy Mosque in Mecca by Juhayman al-Otaybi, and the discovery by Saudi intelligence services that they have a “problem”.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a ‘windfall’ for Saudi Arabia and many Arab countries to export their “Jihadists” to Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands were recruited and joined the Jihad with active and full support from the United States.
This is the time when Saudi religious and political establishment pushed for more conservative restrictive religious measures and theology, which it exported to all four corners of the world. All this came to an abrupt end with the ascension of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who dared to redefine the new message of the religious establishment.
The recent horrific massacres in Sri Lanka and the wanton murder of innocent people by an “Islamist” group is clear evidence that terrorism does have a religion, and in this case it is Islam, or at least the version of Islam that has been promoted and well-funded by the Salafi “duaat” for the last 40 years, ever since the Mujahedeen war against the Soviets.
The practice, the theology, and ideology did not change. Of course in those days, the Pakistani intelligence services made good use of terrorism, transforming the Mujahedeen into Taliban.
The suicide bombing in Occupied Palestine, which became a norm for a while, was also motivated by religion which was directed against an Israeli-Jewish occupation, which also was motivated and justified by religion.
The US is far from being innocent; and in fact, did play a major role in the rise of “Islamic Terrorism” from Afghanistan to present-day Iraq and Syria. The US recruited religious officers from the ranks of Muslim Brotherhood, the likes of Ahmed Azzam, Sheik Omar Abdul-Rahman, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, among others.
Until recently, and after orders from political leaderships, Muslim preachers who used to curse Infidels – Jews and Christians during Friday prayers – stopped doing that and began to preach a new message of peace, harmony and tolerance.
The attack on Jewish worshipers in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh by Robert D. Bowers, a White Nationalist, was also motivated not only by White racism but by religion.
For a long time and since the Reagan years, with the rise of Evangelical Christianity and the Un-Holly Alliance between Jewish Zionism and Evangelical Christianity, there has been many cases of what should be defined as “state terrorism” committed by a number of American soldiers, whether in Iraq or in Afghanistan; and individual acts of terrorism here in the United States committed against Muslims, as well as against Blacks.
Attacks by Christians terrorists and White Nationalists became the mainstream, with the likes of Franklin Graham, who has millions of followers calling “Islam Evil”, adding “Islam is evil and wicked”, and in referring to his issues with Obama, said “the problem is that he was born Muslim”.
Other megachurch Christian preachers like Pat Robertson referred to Islam as ”not a religion”, calling for ”the total shut down of Muslim entities in the US.” Jerry Falwell Jr, in a student convocation at Liberty University attended by over 20,000 cheering students, called for everyone to “buy guns; we could end those Muslims before they walk in”.
Those incitements of hate and incitement of theological terrorism became the mainstream within the US military during deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. With chaplains in a military airbase declaring “Christians in the US armed forces serve Satan and are grossly in error if they support service members’ right to practice other faiths.” Such incitement was widely practiced by the invading US Army in Iraq. Former President Bush was not shy when he declared that the war a “crusade”.
The same is true of the attacks on mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand by an Australian White Nationalist, certainly motivated by religion, since he sees Islam has no place or space in his Christian world.
Not only Christians and Muslims are terrorists, but Jews as well. They too are motivated by religious ideology and believe that the life and existence of a non-Jew is a burden on humanity. This contempt for Gentiles (“Goyim”) is engraved in Talmudic traditions.
The late Israeli Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef incited hate and called for genocide, relying on language in the Torah,
“The Lord shall return their deeds on their heads, waste their seeds and exterminate them, devastate them and vanish them from this world. It is forbidden to be merciful on them, you must send missiles to them and annihilate them”
Incitement of hate and terrorism is actively promoted in many Yeshivas in the colonized West Bank, with many of the colonial settlers forming terrorist organizations that promote the idea of committing mass murder, as was the result for New York-born Jewish Rabbi Baruch Goldstein, who on February 25th, 1994, shot dead over 30 Muslim worshippers during the early morning prayers and wounded more than one hundred.
The West Bank Rabbi, Yitzhar Yeshiva, was author of the “King Torah”, which sought to legitimize the killing of non-Jews as part of the Halachic adjudication of non-Jews. This religious hate was confirmed with the recent appointment of the IDF Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim, who declared “It is acceptable to rape non–Jewish women during war time to improve morale”, declaring that ”Jewish laws remove restrictions on soldiers and the Torah permitted the individuals to satisfy the evil urge”. I would not doubt that Alan Dershowitz might use this argument in defense of Harvey Weinstein.
The Legacy of the Irgun
Jewish terrorism preceded the creation of the State of Israel, with Jewish agents blowing up Jewish places of worships in Iraq and Egypt; and blowing up public facilities of the US and other European facilities in Cairo (Lavon Affair), and with numerous terrorist acts committed by the Irgun and Haganah. Jewish terrorist organizations used terrorism as an efficient means to drive Palestinians out of their homes; and were successful in that.
In modern day Israel, Israeli colonial settlers commit daily terroristic attacks on Palestinians, which run the gamut from running over Palestinians with their cars, and going back and forth to make sure the person’s head is completely crushed; to pouring gasoline down the throat of a Palestinian teen and setting him on fire; to burning down the Church of the “Loaves and Bread” in Tabgha-Tiberias, with Jewish terrorists writing Jewish prayers in red spray-paint that urged the “cutting down of idol worshipers”.
Hindu terrorism is another story, and for a future article.