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.
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 of non-combatants.
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 to hide.
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 materialist ideologies.
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.
NOT IN MY NAME
THAT WARS ARE TAKING PLACE
Life is to Love, Honour and Respect everyone around us.
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