In 2001, jet planes were crashed into the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, injuring and killing thousands. In the days following these
attacks-totally unexpected in their timing and method, aimed at the world's
only superpower-the world began debating the concept of terrorism that
lay behind them.
September 11 resulted in the deaths of thousands
of people, and in injuries to many more.
An atmosphere of fear and panic grew, especially in the United States.
But that didn't last long: Soon the entire world began wondering how best
to combat terrorism. No longer could any country stand apart from the
fight against terrorism and declare, "Those attacks weren't aimed at us."
Citizens of every nation realized that the dark face of terrorism could
confront them at any time, whether asleep in their beds, while watching
television, taking their children to the park, or at work in the office.
The terrorists' aim, they realized, was to paralyze society, making civilians
reluctant to venture into the street, much less use public transport or
go shopping-in short, to create a permanent climate of fear. As soon as
America recovered from the shock of 9/11, it joined with a large number
of other countries to launch a worldwide war on terrorism. Right from
the start, however, officials of this powerful coalition declared openly
that it wouldn't be enough for them to fight on the military field alone.
How should the struggle against terrorism be pursued? To answer that
question, we need to identify terrorism's roots. To do so, we must examine
the course of the past century, during which terrorism first emerged as
a major threat.
The 20th century's two World Wars, along with many regional conflicts
and various acts of local violence, made it the most bloody century ever.
In addition to that, toward the end of the millennium, constant technological
advances only helped terrorists widen their reach. Now, just one touch
of a button could kill hundreds of innocents. High-tech terrorism could
inflict billions of dollars in damage to any nation's economy and shape
world politics without ever emerging into the daylight. Clearly, after
the attacks on New York and Washington D. C. in the United States-the
world's greatest technological power-no other country can consider itself
safe from terrorism or beyond its deadly grasp. Worse still, if the necessary
countermeasures aren't taken, the 21st-century terrorism will grow even
more powerful, until one single chemical, biological, or even nuclear
attack can slaughter tens of thousands.
THE TRUE DEFINITION OF TERRORISM
With terrorism dominating the world's agenda, the definitions of terror,
terrorist, and terrorism assume a whole new importance. Many countries
define terrorism, draw up terrorist profiles, and publish lists of terrorist
organizations in the light of their own national interests. "Terrorist
organizations" to some countries are freedom fighters to others. What
one country sees as "terrorist nations," another welcomes as "loyal allies."
Therefore, who defines terrorism? Who decides-and how do they decide-what
a terrorist is? To establish a criterion, one can point out two distinct
characteristics of terrorism:
1) Targeting civilians: Any occupied country
has the right to resist an army occupying its territory. But if that resistance
includes attacks on civilian targets, any justification ceases to apply,
and terrorism begins. As we'll see later on in this book, this definition
is entirely in accord with Islamic rules on war. The Prophet Muhammad
(may God bless him and grant him peace) commanded his followers to do
battle against those who declared war on them. But he also ordered them
to never regard civilians as targets. On the contrary, every Muslim was
ordered - and still obliged - to take great care to ensure the safety
2) Destroying Peace: If no state of war
exists, then terrorism can also include attacks on military or official
targets. Attacks intended to break down peaceful relations between countries
or communities are acts of terrorism, even when aimed at military targets.
All attacks that threaten peace, or that are aimed at civilian targets,
even in a state of war, are terrorism. There can be no question of defending,
approving or justifying such attacks. There can be no question of defending,
approving or justifying such attacks. However, such violence is very widespread
in the modern world. That's why any war on terrorism needs to be wide-ranging.
Its every stage should be carefully planned, with its final aim the total
eradication of the entire concept. That, in turn, requires individuals
in every nation to totally distance themselves from terrorism. Every form
of terrorism must be unequivocally condemned-whatever its causes or aims,
no matter what its targets, where it arises, or how it is carried out.
Similarly, anyone sincerely opposed to terrorism should show the same
empathy for the thousands of innocent victims it has slaughtered-not only
at the World Trade Center, but in attacks in Japan and Spain, in East
Turkestan and Indonesia, in the massacre of more than half a million Hutus
in Rwanda, in the murder of defenseless people in Palestine, Israel, and
all across the globe.
Once every form of terrorism is fiercely condemned, then no longer will
its perpetrators receive support from any country, or be allowed to seek
shelter inside its borders. Quite literally, terrorists will have nowhere
Terrorism is currently costing lives in
many countries across the world. In the fight against it, terrorism's
ideological foundations must be torn down. To this end, everyone
who believes in peace must pull together.
THE IDEOLOGICAL FOUNDATION OF TERRORISM
Before the war against terrorism can come to any definitive conclusion,
its underlying philosophy must first be identified, along with the means
to be employed. This book, therefore, deals with terrorism's basic starting
point, as well as the disasters to which it leads. Its starting point
is the assumption that violence is a virtue in itself and a powerful means
to solve social or political problems. While killing the innocents, damaging
public order, and disrupting peace, any terrorist acts under the influence
of ideas that have been imposed on him, coaxing him to believe that he's
engaged in a justified struggle. Terrorism can be healed only when such
people understand the mistaken illogic of any ideology that inspires terrorism
and incites to violence---and when they realize that going along with
it can never get them anywhere. Until those ideologies' errors and contradictions
are revealed, all measures taken against terrorism can be short-term only.
Soon terrorism will emerge again, in different places and under different
circumstances, behind a different mask.
We can put an end to terrorism only by destroying its ideological infrastructure.
In later chapters, you'll see that modern terrorism's ideological foundations
in fact go back to Social Darwinism and the materialist tendencies derived
from it. People exposed to this indoctrination believe that life is a
field of struggle, and that only the strong survive. The weak are condemned
to be eliminated. Man and, in fact, the entire universe, are both products
of chance. Therefore, no one is responsible for his actions to anyone
else. These and similar ideas inevitably coax people into leading an animalistic
form of life, where ruthlessness, aggression and violence are regarded
as acceptable or even virtuous.
Anyone who resorts to terrorism, maintaining that violence is the only
way to achieve his aims, is actually under the influence of Social Darwinism
and materialist thought, no matter what his religion or race, or what
group he belongs to. Modern terrorist groups that claim to act in the
name of religion are also under Darwinism's influence and materialism,
even though they claim to carry out their terroristic acts in the name
of religion. This is because for anyone who lives by the morality of religion
revealed by God, it's impossible to approve of violence of any kind, much
less achieve a "higher" aim by murdering others. Those who resort to such
methods are therefore pursuing the exact opposite of the moral values
upheld by religion, carrying out their actions under the influence of
In Islam Denounces Terrorism, it was made clear that Islam fiercely
rejects all forms of terrorism, no matter whom it may be directed against.
In the light of verses from the Qur'an, it was explained how religion's
morality calls people to peace, tolerance, and convenience. Also stressed
was the dishonesty of condemning only those acts of terrorism directed
against one's own side: Such an attitude only weakens the fight against
terrorism; and anyone living according to Islamic morality needs to fight
terror in all its all forms. The foundation of that intellectual struggle
is based on revealing the true morality of religion.
Today's politicians, political commentators and academics agree that
by itself, military force isn't enough to root out terrorism. This book
concentrates on the only way it can be eradicated: by means of peace,
tolerance, and love. All the divinely-inspired religions that God sent
down by means of His messengers are helpful guides. This book offers examples
from the Qur'an as well as from the Bible (even though the latter has
been partially distorted) to show how each of the three divine religions
forbids the use of unjust violence. It also gives examples to show that
the only way to fight terrorism is to heal the root causes through the
love, affection, compassion, humility, forgiveness, tolerance and concepts
of justice that religion's morality instils in people--whom, following
the verse from the Qur'an (10:25): "God calls to the Abode of
Peace... " Such fortunates will do their utmost to build a world
full of peace and love.