450 discussion topic and reply (450w1)


 “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle”. Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In order to combat terrorism, one needs to understand the problem set. Review the video and the readings in your week one content.

We need to understand the origins and motivations of terrorism before we can tackle the problem in a meaningful way. Consider what is said and provide an analysis of some of the driving factors behind Islamic terrorism. 


1.  This weeks discussion talks about knowing ones enemy and more specifically knowing and understanding the driving factors behind Islamic Terrorism. Looking from the outside in, Islamic Terrorism is a group of people within the religion of Islam who hold extremist views and are radicalized to become martyrs or fighters to commit violent acts against the perceived enemies of Islam. These enemies are often the Western first world countries and the Jewish communities in Israel who the Islamic Terrorists see as the puppeteers behind their adversaries. From the inside however, we are offered a different viewpoint, one that shows that Islamic Terrorism isn’t just a group of extremists within the religion, its something that’s ingrained into every aspect of their culture (Mizrahi, 2006). The fundamentals of Radical Islam are something that allegedly every Muslim is taught and it pervades their everyday lives. Muslims are taught to hate the Christians and Jews from effectively birth and this is not a facet of Islamic culture in only Iraq or Afghanistan where US soldiers are located, its in every Muslim country. Even in the US we see this sort of radicalization and the spread of the internet has only accelerated the amount of extremist views being shared. Jihad is seen as a duty within the Islamic culture and the calls of men who are seen as champions of the Muslim world like Osama bin Laden are widely heard and respected. Combined with generations of hatred being bred into the minds of the followers of Islam and the constant education that the West is to be seen as the “invader” makes radicalizing these jihadist’s extremely easy for terrorist organizations. What the West has to realize that Israel already has, is that we’re not fighting a group of radicalized extremists, but rather we’re combatting a culture that has, since its inception, been militantly against foreign persons and anyone that does not share their faith.

2.  Islamic terrorism is defined as any terroristic act or campaign which is committed by individuals or terrorist organization who openly proclaims Islamic motivations behind their acts. How does a religion become the driving factor to commit such heinous acts? In the article “The Development of a Jihadist’s Mind” Tawfik Hamid talks about how ideas of radicalization began while he was in grade school. While being young and impressionable he explains that the kids would pick on the Christians because they ate pork therefore damming them to hell. This shows the hatred towards any other religion that is not theirs. A common theme throughout the article is the interpretation of the Karan and how they wanted to satisfy Allah by punishing all non Islams. These ideas push Islamic extremists to perform acts to secure themselves a spot in heaven and live out the afterlife in paradise. They fear that any impure act will bring the wraith of Allah against them.  Another factor that behind Islamic terrorism is the sense of belonging. Tawfik talks about how the Islamic group Jamaah Islamiyah took over his school and everyone was joining. Belonging to a group is a way to get liked and to make friends. This group brought young impressionistic males into their ranks. Once they have their hooks into them, they start feeding the followers with ideas only the group will follow. When looking into this idea, I found another article that lists the motive of one of the Boston Marathon Bombing suspects. In “The Brothers” the lawyer for Johar Tsarnaev states that “Tamerlan traveled to Dagestan after a failed boxing career. Being poor and having no sense of belonging he found a group of men who are full of sense and their own importance.” Someone who felt like a nobody can claim greatness and earn a place in history by committing an act of terrorism.

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