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Barbarism and Islamic terrorism: goals and aims

Barbarism and Islamic terrorism: goals and aims

Terrorism and barbarism

A few days ago I used the term “barbarism” in reference to the Nairobi mall attack. An excellent article by Brendan O’Neill appeared today in the Telegraph making a similar point, and entitled “I’m sorry, but we have to talk about the barbarism of modern Islamist terrorism.”

We do, indeed. But there was one part of the piece with which I disagree. O’Neill writes:

What we have today, uniquely in human history, is a terrorism that seems myopically focused on killing as many people as possible and which has no clear political goals and no stated territorial aims.

In that sentence I think author Brendan O’Neill underestimates the scope of what we’re dealing with. Yes, these terrorists seem to love brutality for its own sake; it makes them feel both powerful and powerfully feared. “Feared” is a concept that’s particularly important, though, because it ties into their “political goals” and “territorial aims” in a way that O’Neill does not seem to credit.

His article mentions two recent terrorist attacks: the church in Pakistan and the Nairobi mall. But both actually do have political goals. Although in Pakistan Christians are a rather small minority, and in Kenya they are a majority, the goal of the Islamic terrorists is the same—driving them away or wiping them out, but above all scaring and intimidating them into abandoning their faith or at least the public worship of their faith, and ceding the field to Islam. The terrorists’ “territorial aims” are quite clear too, and related—although this “territory” is partly one of the mind: to ultimately install Islamic sharia governments in these and/or other countries.

A good example of an Islamist terrorist organization with these goals is Boko Haram, a group based in Nigeria that has been responsible for a series of horrific attacks there, including one this past Sunday. Boko Haram is very upfront about its political and religious goals beyond the killings themselves. From Wiki:

[Boko Haram] is an Islamist movement which strongly opposes non-Sharia legal systems, and what they deem “Westernization.” Founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2001, the organisation seeks to establish sharia law in the country. The group is also known for attacking Christians, bombing churches and attacking schools.

…The group seeks to “purify Islam”…In 2011, Boko Haram was responsible for at least 450 killings in Nigeria. It was also reported that they had been responsible for over 620 deaths over the first 6 months of 2012. Since its founding in 2001, the jihadist terrorists have been responsible for roughly 4,000 deaths comprising mostly innocent people.

But in much of its reportage on yesterday’s attack, the MSM could not quite bring itself to call these people “terrorists.” And this despite the fact that, as Brendan O’Neill writes in the last paragraph of his column (although not referring to Boko Haram itself), “even the term terrorist might be too good for them.”

Here’s what they did on Sunday in Nigeria (and also see how the NY Times dances around to avoid the words “terrorism” and “terrorist”—they are “militants,” “extremists,” “gunmen,” “attackers”):

The attackers drove into the campus of the Yobe State College of Agriculture, in a rural area just south of Damaturu, Yobe state’s capital, survivors said. A student, Musa Aliyu, 21, said Sunday that the attackers had entered the college’s dormitories as students slept and then opened fire randomly in the darkness.

The attack was the second large-scale massacre of civilians attributed to Boko Haram in less than two weeks…

In its war against the Nigerian state, Boko Haram has singled out government institutions, especially schools, for attack. One of its tenets is that Western-style education, not based on the Quran, in conventional schools is sinful and un-Islamic; the group has burned numerous schools in Maiduguri, the largest city in the region, and in early July it attacked a government secondary school in the town of Mamudo, killing 42 people, mostly students.

Sunday’s attack differs from the recent murders in Pakistan and Nairobi in that in Nigeria “almost all those killed were Muslims” rather than Christians. At first glance, this might seem bizarre, and would appear to tie into O’Neill’s theories about the lack of political aims in the strategy of such groups. But that would be wrong, because in this case the idea is to scare and control Muslims, close down schools, and ultimately to establish sharia law and even a fundamentalist Islamic state (think “Taliban”) in Nigeria and/or elsewhere. In the minds of Boko Haram members, Muslims who adopt Western ways—including studying Western methods of agriculture, or even scientific ones, as it seems these young people were doing—or who read Western books or don’t wear the proper Islamic outfits, are apostates and deserve death.

It’s not either/or with Islamic terrorists. It’s a toxic blend of “all of the above”: barbarism, terrorism, political goals, and territorial aims.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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What we have today, uniquely in human history, is a terrorism that seems myopically focused on killing as many people as possible and which has no clear political goals and no stated territorial aims.

Let’s simplify it. Their goal: the eradication of the world’s two great religions, any other religion for that matter, and the supplanting of the One True God with the demon of Islam. Their territorial aim: the whole world. Their means: jihad/terrorism for the sake of Allah.

You’d think that the mainstream Protestant leadership in this country would be rising as one to defend their co-religionists in Africa and the Middle East, to demand quick and substantial US response, and to keep this issue on the front pages as fellow Christians are beaten and…oh, wait, a Palestinian kid fell down throwing a rock at an Israeli soldier and skinned his knee.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Alex Bensky. | October 1, 2013 at 8:49 am

    They are afraid of this word: ”Crusade”. They have allowed Muslims to lie about the defensive nature of the Crusades. They think if they stand up for Christians, they won’t get the mega bucks from the Saudis and the Qataris. Meantime, Muslims watch them refuse to speak up on behalf of Christian martyrs and are emboldened to kill without impunity. When the reckoning comes, the Muslims will find out how hard it is to pay the bill they’ve been running up.

Oh, and by the way, one other thing consistent with the barbarism of these attacks.

In every country in which the US has intervened, the White House has chosen to aid the side of the barbarians.

    Observer in reply to JOHN B. | October 1, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Well Barry did tell everyone in his book that in a clash of civilizations, “I’ll side with the Muslims.”

    And that may be the only promise Barry Hussein Obama has ever kept.

      DriveBy in reply to Observer. | October 1, 2013 at 8:34 am

      If you are going to spread information to increase awareness, try to spread accurate information instead of bullsh*t:

      “quote from “The Audacity of Hope” [pg. 261]: Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

        Juba Doobai! in reply to DriveBy. | October 1, 2013 at 8:56 am

        Wherein is he in error? Has Obama stood up for anybody else but Muslims? He has asked the Jews of Israel to take it easy on terrorists while making onerous demands of the Jews. He has been silent on Christian slaughter by Muslims. When did Obama ever speak up on behalf of the Pakistani, Egyptian, Nigerian, Syrian, or other Christians? The legal maxim is silence betokens consent; therefore, we must conclude that Obama consents to the slaughter of Christians. Whom would he import into the USA from Syria? Muslims.

        When Observer extrapolates from B. Hussein’s words on immigration to Obama’s general fecklessness and fidelity only to Muslims, how is he wrong? You have not and cannot prove it.

        Lady Penguin in reply to DriveBy. | October 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

        Seems to me the arming of the Muslim Brotherhood by Obama has certainly signaled his willingness to support radical Islam. You do remember #Benghazi don’t you?

          DriveBy in reply to Lady Penguin. | October 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

          Look, I am not here to in any way defend anything about this incompetent Worst President Ever. I just do not appreciate it when people post things and put them forth as fact, but in reality those things are not factual at all.

          There are so many (factually) negative things that can be said about Obummer, why make stuff up and/or spread false rumors? The situation is bad enough as it is.

          Phillep Harding in reply to Lady Penguin. | October 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm

          “There are so many (factually) negative things that can be said about Obummer, why make stuff up and/or spread false rumors? The situation is bad enough as it is.”

          You sure are good at not mentioning them.

There is really not a whole lot new, here. As long as moslems are kept weak, they are quaint and tractable. When they gain power, they go on the warpath. This has been the situation since the Mo (Fleas be upon him.) was a camel thief.

It is getting more and more difficult, as they ramp up the horror, to avoid thinking that genocidal solutions are appropriate.

Until the Islamic terrorists score direct hits on their own homeland, they’ll continue to live with delusions which minimize their understanding. Right now, most of these horrific events are occurring off their shores, in the belly of Africa, so the white European doesn’t see nor feel the danger, but their time is coming.

It appears that radical Islam is like a tide, inexorably moving.

You are so right to note that this is barbarism and terrorism with a Purpose.

There is one other thread running deep through all of these attacks. Virtually all of the Sunni groups engaged in terrorism are Wahhabi Salafi groups, with their version of Islam ultimately pouring out of Saudi Arabia. The people who engage in this barbarity and murder are not perverting their version of Islam. To the contrary, they are true believers in all of its doctrines. Until that bit of reality is recognized, one, the barbarity will continue, and two, those in Islam who would counter this obscenity and reform their religion are left cowering in corners.

    Sadly not too many generations ago the Wahabis were ignored and held in contempt.

    I personally see the end to this Salafist/Wahabi nightmare. Generally convultions such as this rarely last more than a generation (unless they prove successful).

    The arab/muslim world has gone through some upheavals since the mid 19th C when they realized that they had been surplanted on the world stage by the “backward” infidels from the north (Europeans).

    First they tried to import technology and technocrats (19th C); then they turned to scientific socialism (Nassar) and starting in the late 1970s Salafists of different stripes started to gain prominence.

    This is not to say the Muslim Brotherhood, or Salafist organizations (or the Wahabis) didn’t exist long before the 1970s. They did. But after the “failures” of importing western technology and the failure of socialism the trumpet of call of returning to the “true” islam gained favor.

    I think we’re about half-way through this insanity. (I could be 100% wrong but I don’t see this stupidity lasting forever.)

    This doesn’t mean we ought to cave in. It means we should be ever more diligent in promoting the ideals of individualism and free-markets and confident that “this too shall pass.”

Are these people barbaric? Yes.
Are they unusually barbaric (compared with the history of war)? No.

I’m sorry, but only recently and only in Western civilization has warfare been civilized.

Do your homework.

    You have a point – but we’re living in today’s world. I would compare 9/11 with Pearl Harbor in that it was a military strike intended to cause significant harm to an opponent.

    In both cases the US was not aware they were at war until afterwards. The analogy breaks down in that the Japanese “obviously” attacked Pearl Harbor but there was no “obvious” state to go to war with post 9/11.

    I also see surprise attacks on military installations as different that “bravely” attacking a mall or shooting up school children.

    Yes the US and Britain bombed Dresden but the purpose was to cripple the German war machine.

    Yes the Nazi’s bombed London. Were the bombings state-sponsored terrorism in that it’s purpose was to put the fear of God into England and it’s leaders; and have them ready to sue for peace. One could *argue* the point but I would call that sophistry.

    There is something particularly distasteful at having grown men attacking school children. And particularly contemptible in that they conceive of themselves as brave warriors pushing back the tide of the evil west (whatever).