There are two questions need to be answered: first, is there any link between London blasts and Iraq? Second, why are most terrorists Muslims?
Since the end of the cold war, the collapse of the communism and emergence of the free world as victorious, the civilized world has been confronted with another dreadful threat, this time it is coming from the terrorism. It is called Islamic terrorism, simply because it is committed by Muslims and in the name of Islam. And the latest spate of terror was London bombing which many analysts try to connect it to Iraq.
Let us first address our first question, the link between Iraq and London bombing. Anti-war campaigners are desperate to link London blasts to Britain’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I disagree with this notion for the following reasons:
1- Islamic terrorism, particularly that carried out by Al-Qaeda organization, started before the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
2- Terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre in New York in 1993 and the American embassies in Nairobi and Darussalam in 1998.
3- September 11, 2001 attacks on America took place before the toppling of the Taliban’s and Saddam’s regimes. Indeed, the war on these two regimes was the result, not the cause of 9/11. So if these attacks had happened after the war on Iraq and Afghanistan, they would have said they were linked to these two wars.
4- Besides, there are many countries which did not take part in the war on Iraq and Afghanistan but have been targeted by the terrorists, like Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Indonesia and many other countries.
In the 1990s, Paris underground trains were hit with waves of blasts by Islamic terrorists in spite of the French government’s appeasement to the terrorists and its good relations with the Arab and Muslim states.
There are other politicians who try to take advantage of terrorism for their own political gains. Terrorists commit their atrocities and the politicians and writers try to find excuses in order to serve their own purposes. For example, they bring other burning issues in the world like, Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir etc., in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, as causes of Islamic terrorism. If this is the case, then most of the terrorists involved in the West must be from these countries, but they are not. Those involved in the London bombings were all Pakistanis except one who was a convert from Jamaica.
Others attributed terrorism to poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, colonial repression in the past and lack of integration of the immigrants into their hosting countries. Although these are important issues, they have nothing to do with Islamic terrorism and, in particular, the attacks on London, for the following reasons:
1- If it is poverty, then most of the terrorists should have come from the 18 poorest African countries which the G8, in their last Summit in Scotland, decided to help them financially. Indeed, there was not a single terrorist from these poor countries. Ironically, 15 out of 19 terrorists involved in 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, the richest country in the Arab world. Also Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi citizen, is a billionaire and the rest of his close men are rich.
2- It is not ignorance or illiteracy behind terrorism, as some people claim, because most of those who carried out September 11 attacks were post-graduate students in western universities. Aimen Al-Zawahiri, the second man in Al-Qaeda is a qualified surgeon from a rich and well educated Egyptian background.
It is not due to segregation or lack of integration of the immigrants, because those involved in terrorism, particularly the latest bombings in London were well integrated. Also, one can argue that there are many other immigrants, from different faiths, living in the same circumstances as Muslim communities in the West, but they haven’t produced a single terrorist, while all the terrorists are Muslims.
This brings us to our second question, that is why most terrorists are Muslims? I believe, there should be some elements unique to Islam which make some Muslims more vulnerable to become terrorism.
What are these elements?
These must be in Islamic teachings, particularly three of the four London bombers on 7/7 had attended Madraseh (Islamic schools) in Pakistan. We, as Muslims have to face the reality no matter how harsh it is. Islam, as any other monotheistic religion, has verses advocating violence. There are many verses in Quran and many Hadiths (the prophet Mohammed’s sayings), which advocate violence for the sake of Islam, slurring and denigrating other religions even justifying killing of people from other faiths. But I would like to mention one verse, one hadith and quote one Islamic scholar, in order to shed light on why some Muslims become terrorists.
- First, the Quranic verse: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to ALLAH), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).”(III: 85).
- Second: Hadith: The Prophet Mohammad said: “I was ordered (by God) to fight people until they say: No God but Allah, and verily Mohammad the messenger of Allah, and any one who says it saves himself, his property and his blood from me”.
- Third: An influential Wahhabi scholar in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Saleh Al-Fozan, (Member of the Grand Ulama) and the author of many books in Islamic teachings, says in one of his books: (The belief of the Monotheistic, Pages 93-95): “The Jews and Christians are not people of the book, but they are infidels (kuffar) and we must fight them until they adopt Islam. If they refuse to become Muslim, they forsake their lives, their properties and their families to Muslims, who have the right to take them as slaves.”
The author has included Muslim Shias with the infidels. This book and hundreds of others of the same tune are freely or cheaply distributed among the Muslims, instigating hatered against non-Muslims and even non-conforming Muslims. The Muslim clerics inculcate the Muslim youth with the teaching that Jihad (the holly war) is their divine duty. If they get killed, they are martyrs, and within a fraction of a second they will be in paradise, received by 72 virgins for each martyr.
This ideology is the very cause behind Islamic terrorism which needs to be addressed. If Muslim scholars do not address this ideology and wrong interpretation of Islam (the verses and hadiths) to fit with the modern and the civilized world of today, more disasters are likely to happen and in the end the Muslim world would be isolated from the rest of the civilized world.
* The writer is an Iraqi political analyst and author, campaigning for democracy and modernity for the Middle-East, lives in England .