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In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

In the aftermath of another terror attack committed by the savages of ISIS (or as I like to call them, KIL), yet again people like to link their actions to all of Islam and Muslims. Politicians use such attacks to smear all Muslims with the sins of its criminal fringe and hide behind “dispensing with political correctness.” With wall-to-wall coverage of the crimes of groups like ISIS, it is easy to think that Islam is somehow behind the terror we see in its name.

Yet, listen to those who are truly experts on terrorism, and the truth is very different. Joshua Holland, writer for The Nation, wrote a piece back in December about ISIS’ real motives:

Despite the existence of a good deal of research about terrorism, there’s a gap between the common understanding of what leads terrorists to kill and what many experts believe to be true.

Terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda are widely seen as being motivated by their radical theology. But according to Robert Pape, a political scientist at the University of Chicago and founder of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, this view is too simplistic. Pape knows his subject; he and his colleagues have studied every suicide attack in the world since 1980, evaluating over 4,600 in all.

He says that religious fervor is not a motive unto itself. Rather, it serves as a tool for recruitment and a potent means of getting people to overcome their fear of death and natural aversion to killing innocents. “Very often, suicide attackers realize they have instincts for self-preservation that they have to overcome,” and religious beliefs are often part of that process, said Pape in an appearance on my radio show, Politics and Reality Radio, last week. But, Pape adds, there have been “many hundreds of secular suicide attackers,” which suggests that radical theology alone doesn’t explain terrorist attacks. From 1980 until about 2003, the “world leader” in suicide attacks was the Tamil Tigers, a secular Marxist group of Hindu nationalists in Sri Lanka.

What’s more, Professor Pape spoke about the motivations of suicide terrorism in particular:

What 95 percent of all suicide attacks have in common, since 1980, is not religion, but a specific strategic motivation to respond to a military intervention, often specifically a military occupation, of territory that the terrorists view as their homeland or prize greatly. From Lebanon and the West Bank in the 80s and 90s, to Iraq and Afghanistan, and up through the Paris suicide attacks we’ve just experienced in the last days, military intervention—and specifically when the military intervention is occupying territory—that’s what prompts suicide terrorism more than anything else.

You can read the rest of the entire article here. In fact, as Lydia Wilson (also of The Nation) found when she interviewed ISIS fighters, many of these “holy warriors” have no idea what Islam is all about:

They are woefully ignorant about Islam and have difficulty answering questions about Sharia law, militant jihad, and the caliphate. But a detailed, or even superficial, knowledge of Islam isn’t necessarily relevant to the ideal of fighting for an Islamic State, as we have seen from the Amazon order of Islam for Dummies by one British fighter bound for ISIS.

“But,” I can hear people saying, “these terrorists use Islam as the justification for their barbarism. These terrorists use Islam’s holy texts as proof that what they do is truly ‘Islamic.'” No. They twist the teachings of Islam to sanctify their crimes. They are no different than a gang or a drug cartel, but – and this is what enrages me the most about them – they garb themselves in the clothing of Islam and religion to hide who they truly are: psychopathic and bloodthirsty savages.

So, when we say that ISIS has “nothing whatsoever to do with Islam,” we are not “whitewashing the truth” or “being politically correct.” We are telling the truth about who they really are.

 

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