Friday, December 09, 2005

Part 10

Is Islam the cause of terrorism and the large anti-Americanism felt in the Arab world and indeed throughout the Muslim World? Is there a Clash of Faiths? Do Muslims dislike Americans because we are predominantly Jews and Christians? To begin with Islam is not the cause of all terrorism. The IRA of Northern Ireland is a terrorist group and so is the MTA, the Basque separatists of Spain, and neither is affiliated with Islam. But is Middle Eastern Terrorism against the United States caused by Islam? We do call it Islamic terrorism and we call the perpetrators Muslim fundamentalists so it is linked to Islam. But how? To be sure what we call Islamic terrorism is not necessarily directed against all non-Muslims because many Arab countries have large Christian populations so that 10% of Egypt, 10% of Syria, 50% of Lebanon, 5% of Jordan and about 25% of Sudan is either Christian or animist. Even though these countries have sizeable Christian populations, the vast majorities of people whether Christian, Muslim or other are generally anti-American. There are serious grievances between Arabs and Americans and they generally transcend religion and go beyond personal beliefs and matters of faith. While Arab opinion of the United States is negative independent of religion, the terrorists that have committed the acts of September 11, 2001 do speak of Islam as their driving force; they speak of fighting infidels and tend to come from Islamic movements. A closer look, however, clearly demonstrates that terrorism predates the current tide of Islamic terrorism. In August 1943, Yitzhak Shamir, a future prime minister of Israel, wrote “Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can be used to disallow terror as a means of war... We are very far from any moral hesitations when concerned with the national struggle. First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today...” This quote unmistakably articulates that terrorism is a tactic for political gain of Jewish groups in the 1940s and it is exactly the same for Muslim groups today. Islam is simply a tool for the implementation of the strategic goals through the use of terrorism but its ideology does not condone terrorism whether conducted by Jewish groups or Muslim groups. Islam is simply a unifying force for Middle Easterners who are in need of a force of liberation to address many grievances including the region’s dictatorial and cruel governments, the question of Palestinian liberation, Iraq’s instability and the United States’ historical and ongoing obstruction of these goals.