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Religiously-motivated terrorism

Terrorism by Muslim extremists

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The most distressing feature of certain extremist groups in Islamic fundamentalism is that that they believe they have the right to take human life. The assumed right to kill is derived from traditional Islamic rules concerning apostasy. It is especially the theological framework developed by the Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb in the 1950s and 1960s that made the killings committed by these fundamentalist groups seem reasonable and necessary to them. Sayyid Qutb himself was hanged in 1966.

One such group claiming the right to kill is Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (a.k.a. Hamas), which is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist militant organization, listed as terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Hamas attacks Israel. Some are large-scale suicide bombings, such as that of the Netanya hotel in 2002, in which 29 people were killed and 133 were wounded. Hamas has used female suicide bombers, including a mother of six. In recruiting the bombers, Hamas leaders maintained that the perpetrators of suicide missions would receive in heaven seventy virgins and seventy wives (some put the numbers at seventy-two), and that their families would receive a cash payment that used to be worth 12 to 15 thousand US dollars. In 2002, funds from Iraq and Saudi Arabia doubled this amount.

The Shi’a Iranian leader and holy man Ayatollah Khomeini is quoted by Amir Taheri 1 to have said:

"Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country of the world. But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those (who say this) are witless. Islam says: Kill the unbelievers just as they would kill you! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured? Islam says: Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter. … Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! … Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thank to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other psalms and Hadiths urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who made such a claim."

Iran (together with Syria) control the Shi’a terrorist group Hezbollah (a.k.a. Hezb Allah and many other transliterations).

The religiously motivated bombings and terrorist attacks by radical, violent, extremist Muslim groups are too numerous to be listed here. Among those resulting in a major loss of life were:

bullet 2005: Delhi bombing (over 60 killed, over 180 injured); Sharm el-Sheikh bombing (64 killed); London Underground bombing (53 killed, nearly 700 injured).
bullet 2004: Beslan school occupation by Chechens (344 civilians killed, including 186 children); Madrid trains bombing (191 killed, 1460 injured).
bullet 2002: Bali nightclub bombing (202 killed, 300 injured).
bullet 2001: World Trade Center and Pentagon hit (nearly 3,000 dead).
bullet 1998: U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania bombings (225 dead, over 400 injured); Lockerbie crash (killed 259 aboard the plane, 11 on the ground).
bullet 1983: U.S. Embassy in Beirut bombing (63 killed); Beirut U.S. military barracks suicide bombing (241 killed); Beirut French military barrack suicide bombing (58 killed).

Not covered here is the fighting within Islam itself, such as between the Sunni and the Shi'a in Iraq and Pakistan. This conflict is a clear expression of extreme religious intolerance. Such a theme would require an author who is a specialist in Islamic matters, with a thorough familiarity of the problems involved.

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Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update this essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Amir Taheri, "Holy Terror. Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism," Adler & Adler, 1987." Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

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Copyright © 2006 by Vladimir Tomek
Originally posted: 2007-OCT-02
Latest update: 2007-OCT-02
Author: Vladimir Tomek

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