Posts Tagged “terror”
This issue isn’t really new. Wired magazine has been reporting on this particular issue for quite some time (cached). It seems anti-terror instruction in the US military has been taken over by Neocrusaders who’ve made any number of outrageous claims about Islam as a whole and are trying to inculcate hatred of Muslims generally among the ranks. I blogged about this particular influence within the FBI when Wired reported on it last year. But the influence of the Neocrusade in the military seems to be worse, more pervasive, and more extensive.
Last year the Pentagon began a review of its anti-terror training materials, and the results of that review are starting to emerge. MSNBC elaborates on an Al Jazeera report on aspects that have come to light already (WebCite cached article):
As the Pentagon reviews all military classes following the disclosure of one that advocated “total war” against Muslims, the news website Al-Jazeera reported Saturday that it had received materials from a similar course and that both were put together by the same group, a nonprofit that offers classes and workshops to military and government officials.
Al-Jazeera said [cached] it received course slides from an unnamed military officer who said “this bigoted conspiracy cabal is both disgusting and so deeply un-American.”
The slides leave the impression that Hamas extremists have infiltrated the U.S. government, media and education via U.S. Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Al-Jazeera said. …
The documents indicated the two courses were prepared by the consulting firm Strategic Engagement Group, Inc., Al-Jazeera said. The website for Strategic Engagement [cached] does include statements similar to those in the materials cited by Al-Jazeera, msnbc.com found.
I decided to nose around in Strategic Engagement’s Web site to see what they offer. The first link I clicked on was this PDF version of a Powerpoint presentation entitled “CAIR Is Hamas” (cached). It didn’t take long for me to discover that these people are spewing factual errors. For instance, slide 3 of the presentation says:
In the 1920’s, after WWI and the Turkish Revolution, Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk” became the leader of the new nation-state Turkey. He dissolved the nearly 700 old Islamic State (Caliphate) known as the “Ottoman Empire,” outlawed the wearing of hijab, the growing of Islamic beards, the call to prayer, replaced Arabic with Latin, did away with Shariah (Islamic Law) and replaced it with secular law, and built an army to protect secular Turkey.
First, while it’s true that Ataturk did establish a new, and secular, government in Turkey, his new state did not encompass all of what had once been the Ottoman Empire. That dismantled state was succeeded, in those other regions, by other less secular states, or they became colonies of western powers and only later became independent states. So it’s factually incorrect to state that “the Ottoman Empire” was succeeded uniformly by the “secular” state of Turkey.
Second, the Ottoman Empire was not really a “Caliphate.” While some of its rulers did use that title, sporadically, even when they did, it was not universally recognized across Islam. Moreover, that they did so, doesn’t really mean a lot: Ottoman rulers sometimes arrogated other titles, such as “Roman Emperor,” and that’s also difficult to take very seriously. The title that best applies to the Ottoman rulers was “sultan,” not “caliph,” making the Ottoman Empire a “sultanate” rather than a “caliphate.”
Third, Ataturk did not “replace Arabic with Latin.” Within Ataturk’s new state of Turkey, the dominant language had been Turkish, not Arabic, and it remains so. While Turkish had long been written mostly using the Arabic alphabet, it was less than ideal; Ataturk did encourage the use of a Latin-based alphabet instead. But it is simply not true that Turkey went from speaking Arabic to speaking Latin.
I hardly need to investigate these Neocrusading wingnuts any further, given their loose command of basic history. Listen, I get it. Really I do. I get that the United States has been attacked by Islamic terrorists who feel compelled to kill others — and themselves — out of a violent religiofascistic impulse. I also get that there are immature, violent Muslims who are prone to explode in insane fury at the slightest provocation. I concede there are still some dangerously fanatical Muslims out there who think their religion orders them to maim and kill. That’s very much in evidence, and only a fool would say otherwise. What concerns me are these two basic premises of the Neocrusade:
- Islamofascist terrorists are not the “fringe” of Islam, they are its heart; which means that all Muslims, not just some, are murderous fanatics.
- Only Islam has any murderous impulses; other religions, particularly Christianity, do not.
The former premise is just not true, as witnessed by the fact that there are plenty of “moderate,” non-terrorist Muslims around the world, who at this moment are fighting the terrorist element of their religion. And other religions, including Christianity, most certainly also have their own terrorizing, murderous extremists. Eradicating Islam completely — which is the Neocrusade’s ultimate goal — cannot and will never end terrorism. To assume so is not only irrational, it’s delusional. The cold fact is that nearly any religion, anywhere, is capable of inciting violence and even terrorism in its followers. None is immune to it. The sooner we understand this, the better off we’ll all be.
Tags: al jazeera
, christian right
, christian terrorism
, islamofascist terror
, religious right
, religious terror
, religious terrorism
, religious violence
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This is a story which, no doubt, has lifted the hearts of America’s Neocrusaders, and which will — as they see it — confirm that Islam needs to be banished from the US. As CBS News reports, the infamous “underwear bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was sentenced for his attempt to bomb a plane as it approached Detroit in December 2009 (WebCite cached article):
After a short prayer, [Abdulmutallab] said sheik Osama Bin Laden and sheik Awlaki “are alive” and the “mujahedeen are proud to kill for Allah” and that it was “exactly what we were told to do in the Quran”.
I expect violently hyperreligious nutjobs like Abdulmutallab to spew crap like this. The Qur’an is large enough for them to sift through and extract any number of passages that they view as mandating their campaign of terror and death. I’m sure that Abdulmutallab and his murderous cohorts are certain that 72 houris await them in Paradise after their deaths (his, of course, will likely occur in prison decades from now).
While Neocrusaders will view Abdulmutallab and his claim as proof that Islam must be eradicated, they will also miss the real point here, which is that any religion based solely on faith, which presumes to press itself on reality, and which considers itself mandatory for all of humanity, is going to generate murderous followers like Abdulmutallab. There are, for example, Christian groups that advocate killing, such as the Army of God. There have been bombings and killings by Christians who believe their religion orders them to be violent.
In short, this problem is not solely limited to Islam, as the Neocrusaders would have us believe. Any sufficiently religionist system can conceivably lead to terror and murder in the name of metaphysics. Yes, even within Christianity. The sooner we all understand this, the better off we’ll all be.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jerry Lemenu, via CBS News.
, detroit MI
, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
, undewear bomber
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Today is the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that killed thousands in New York City, the Pentagon, and in a field in Shanksville, PA. The mass media are running story after story about the commemorations and remembrances and lots of other aspects of this milestone. For me, this event provides an object lesson in human nature and demonstrates conclusively where we go wrong.
First, all the 9/11 conspiratorialism demonstrates that any event that involves enough details is ripe to be plucked by sanctimoniously-outraged paranoiacs of every possible stripe. Rick Green of the Hartford Courant ran a column the other day about one particular crank named Wayne Coste who stands on Hartford’s streets, railing and wailing like a street-preacher about how “9/11 was an inside job” (WebCite cached article). He uses the fact that he was an engineer as a kind of credential that — supposedly — “proves” his insane jabbering must be correct. But it doesn’t. That he has an engineering credential (in electrical engineering, not in mechanical or civil engineering or in architecture) does not automatically grant his conclusions any veracity. Lots of engineers and scientists have looked at the same evidence he has, but arrived at very different conclusions from it.
Perhaps the seminal explanation of how the World Trade Center came down — researched and written by engineers and scientists with the same kinds of credentials as Coste — was done by the venerable magazine Popular Mechanics. It’s well worth reading for anyone with any interest in this matter. Another source of information is the “9/11 conspiracies” entry at the Skeptic’s Dictionary; it lays out many of the screwy scenarios that have been proposed and picks them off one by one. Yet, in spite of these and many other such “takedowns” of all the lunatic scenarios, the wacky 9/11 conspiratorialism (aka the “Truther” movement) is alive and well and populated by all sorts of animated wingnuts like Coste.
What’s really happening with “truthers” is that their laughable “theories” grant them what they perceive as a moral license to indulge their juvenile impulses and paranoiac brain patterns. Telling them they’re wrong only enrages them more than they already are, causes the person telling them so to be viewed as a willing and integral part of the “wicked conspiracy,” and they just dig their heels in harder and cling even tighter to their insane fantasies. As R.T. Carroll of the Skeptic’s Dictionary puts it in the subtitle of his article on the matter, the “truther” movement is, indeed, very much a “war on critical thinking.”
A second lesson shown by Americans’ reaction to 9/11/2001 is their insular, even selfish reasoning. Too many people in the US view this country as the sole target of Islamofascist terror. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Among the other large-scale terror attacks that have taken place elsewhere in the world since then:
Note, this is only a partial list. There were many more Islamofascist terror attacks in the last ten years. The point is that none of these took place in the US, and Americans were not the targets. Other people in other countries were. The Islamofascist terrorists aren’t killing people in places all over the planet just because they hate the US and our “freedom” — or whatever. They’re doing it simply because they’re murderously religiofascist; quite frankly they don’t give a crap about anything else.
The third chief lesson of the September 11, 2001 attacks, more obviously, is that militant religiofascism can become deadly, and it must be stopped. In every one of its forms. Everywhere it occurs. All the time, every time, without letup, and without granting it any excuses. It’s one thing to have metaphysical beliefs. It’s another to believe that everyone else on the planet must adopt them. And it’s another beyond that to believe one is entitled to kill in order to make that happen. This is rather obvious; we certainly didn’t need 9/11/2001 to tell us so … but apparently there are lots of folks who genuinely were unaware of this fact — and sadly, they remain so, in spite of 9/11/2001.
A proper response to such events is for believers to concede that other people are not theirs to order around or kill because of their beliefs, and just leave them alone. What’s not acceptable is to respond to murderous Islamofascism by becoming militantly Christofascist in return and then launch a Neocrusade to eliminate Islam. This Neocrusade is merely the same sort of religiofascist impulse, just manifest within a different religion and in a different country. Of course, to the Neocrusaders, 9/11/2001 itself is the reason they think they’re entitled to destroy Islam … but this belief, while widespread, is just “two wrongs make a right” thinking and is both fallacious and immoral.
In sum, let’s all stop using events like 9/11/2001 to justify insular thinking, American exceptionalism, and “getting back at Islam” because we feel entitled to. It’s time for us all to grow up, stop “reacting” emotionally every time something bad happens, and start living like the mature adults we all ought to be. And by all means, let’s stop giving in to the idea that militant Christianism is an appropriate response to militant Islamism. It’s not. They’re really just the same thing, only packaged in different wrappers.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, 9/11 truth
, 9/11 truth movement
, 9/11 truther
, 9/11 truthers
, conspiracy theories
, conspiracy theorist
, conspiracy theorists
, conspiracy theory
, islamist terror
, new york city
, new york NY
, september 11
, september 11 2001
, shanksville PA
, tenth anniversary
, terror attack
, terror attacks
, truth movement
, truther movement
, wayne coste
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I blogged yesterday about the discovery that the Oslo and Utøya island attacks in Norway was the work of a single domestic terrorist, and not of a cadre of Middle Eastern Islamofascists. I also noted that early reports indicated the attacker, Anders Behring Breivik, may be a Christian fundamentalist.
For the record, I still am not sure to what extent his religion per se inspired him to do what he did. It’s clear, however, that he despised Muslims, feared they would take over his native country and all of Europe within decades, and wanted them out before they destroyed western civilization.
In other words, he is a Neocrusader.
The New York Times offers a profile that explains his thinking on the subject (WebCite cached article):
The Norwegian man charged Saturday with a pair of attacks in Oslo that killed at least 92 people left behind a detailed manifesto outlining his preparations and calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination, according to Norwegian and American officials familiar with the investigation. …
In the 1,500-page manifesto, posted on the Web hours before the attacks, Mr. Breivik recorded a day-by-day diary of months of planning for the attacks, and claimed to be part of a small group that intended to “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.”
He predicted a conflagration that would kill or injure more than a million people, adding, “The time for dialogue is over. We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come.”
Breivik claims, in his manifesto, to be part of a small group, although he names no one else and is strangely vague about his supposed cohorts:
The document also describes a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a Crusader military order. It says the meeting was attended by nine representatives of eight European countries, evidently including Mr. Breivik, with an additional three members unable to attend, including a “European-American.”
There are rumors he may have had an accomplice in the attacks, but so far, authorities haven’t been able to confirm this. The existence of any of his claimed cohorts has yet to be confirmed.
Breivik’s fear of Islam undermining and destroying Europe and the west is shared by many Neocrusaders here in the US, and by European pundits and politicians such Mark Steyn and Geert Wilders. However, this fear is not couched in reality. According to the research of the Pew Forum (cached), the proportion of Muslims worldwide will only grow from 23.4% in 2010 to 26.4% in 2030 — incredibly modest by comparison with extreme claims that the world will become majority-Muslim in only a slightly longer time frame.
At this point it sure looks as though Breivik was motivated more by his own apparent mental illness than anything else. However, his illness seems to have latched onto this anti-Muslim fervor, and he bought into it so completely that he was willing to kill innocents over it, and — if his manifesto is to be believed — to martyr himself for it.
Allow me to be very, very clear here: At this point I am not willing to claim Breivik’s religiosity drove him to this. Nor am I blaming what he did on people like Steyn, Wilders, or any other Neocrusader. What I am saying is no more nor less than what I said in the previous paragraph: He seems to have latched onto this raging anti-Muslim fervor, and coupled with his apparent mental illness, this became an impulse to kill and possibly be killed. At the very least, it’s time we all take a serious look at these anti-Muslim Neocrusading scare campaigns. Is it really worthwhile to keep up them up?
Photo credit: 2083- A European Declaration (Screenshot) via International Business Times.
, 2083 a european declaration
, anders behring breivik
, anders breivik
, andrew berwick
, geert wilders
, knights templar
, mark steyn
, oslo bombing
, oslo norway
, utoya island
, utoya shooting
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The twin terror attacks in Norway yesterday were horrific beyond description. As is quite understandable in such cases — since they’ve been behind many other terror attacks in Europe in recent years, e.g. the March 11, 2004 bombings in Madrid and the July 7, 2005 attack in London — the immediate assumption was that Islamofascist terrorists had been behind this. Apparent confirmation of this assumption came when a previously-unheard-of jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attacks, as reported widely yesterday, and as included, for example, in this New York Times story on the attacks (WebCite cached article):
Initial reports focused on the possibility of Islamic militants, in particular Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or Helpers of the Global Jihad, cited by some analysts as claiming responsibility for the attacks. American officials said the group was previously unknown and might not even exist.
But it turns out this atrocity may not have been carried out by Islamofascist terrorists. Norway’s Verdens Gang and other outlets are reporting, now, that there’s only one suspect for both the Oslo bombing and the Utøya shootings, and it’s a Norwegian nationalist (WebCite cached version; translation to English courtesy of Google Translate, presented as-is):
VG has received confirmation from several independent sources that it was Anders Behring Breivik, who was arrested by armed police after the mass killings of Utøya Friday. VG was also present when the emergency squad took action against the flat 32-year-old susceptible west of Oslo. Several foreign media have also named Breivik as the perpetrator.
A profile of the reportedly-nationalistic Breivik is also available courtesy of the (UK) Telegraph (cached):
The blond-haired 32-year-old appears to have set up accounts on the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter just a few days ago.
Although police have not officially named Breivik as the suspect, Norwegian media identified him as the gunman. Police say the suspect is talking to police and was keen to “explain himself”.
In a remarkable twist on the original assumption that Islamist terrorists had been behind these attacks, it seems Breivik may be a Christian fundamentalist instead:
On the Facebook page attributed to him, Mr Breivik describes himself as a Christian and a conservative. It listed his interests as hunting, body building and freemasonry. His profile also listed him as single. The page has since been taken down. …
Police officials have also said that the suspect appeared to have posted on websites with Christian fundamentalist tendencies.
I should caution that it’s far too early yet to be sure of Breivik’s motives. But Norwegian authorities are certain that he is the culprit, and are equally sure that Islamism had nothing to do with it. Whether or not this is an example of Christian terrorism … well, at the moment it seems a possibility, but that’s about it.
Photo credit: Verdens Gang / Frode Hansen.
Tags: anders behring breivik
, ansar al-jihad al-alami
, helpers of the global jihad
, oslo norway
, utoya island
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I know I’m going to get complaints about this, so let me straighten this out, right at the start. There are many sorts of “terror” in the world. Only a little of it is what we generally connect with the word “terror” — i.e. suicide hijackers and abortion-clinic bombers. By using the word “terror” in the title of this post, I am not, by any means, asserting any kind of equivalence among these events. “Terror” does not always mean “killing many innocent bystanders at once.” Many sorts of threats can constitute “terror,” even if those threats are never manifested in violence. There are degrees of terror, some much worse than others. But still, they all remain “terror” in some way or another.
Which brings me to the topic of this post. Most Christians — especially of the fundamentalist sort — will not accept this as an example of “terrorism.” They don’t view it that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s anything other than a form of terror by threat.
The nearby Torrington Register-Citizen ran a story today about the heatwave which is gripping much of the country (WebCite cached article). It included a picture of a Torrington church’s sign:
Mike Agogliati / Register Citizen / A sign of the times. This sign at the First Assembly of God Church on New Harwinton Road offers advice for keeping cool in the summer heat. Their 'loving' message? 'Think it's hot here? Imagine Hell.'
I can think of no better example of what is wrong with fundamentalist / evangelical Christianity, than this sign. It carries the threat of this particular religion, which claims that, if one fails to believe precisely what it teaches, one will be condemned to an eternity of torment.
Those who adhere to this sort of thinking haven’t the slightest clue how horrific it is. To them, it’s “fact,” and its ramifications don’t matter to them. They do not realize theirs is a campaign of terror: “Believe what we order you to believe, or you will FRY with the Satan’s demons in ‘the Lake of Fire’!”
Consider if what they believe is true … that their angry, sin-hating, almighty God will condemn people to eternal torment merely because of what they happen to believe. Why should mere “belief” provide relief from eternal perdition? What being worth worshipping should care so much about what the beings he ostensibly loves “believe” rather than what they “do” or what they “are”? How does this sort of threat differ from any other kind of extortion?
To put it bluntly — it doesn’t. It’s a threat. Nothing more, nothing less. Any being who feels the need to threaten people, in order to coerce their adoration and worship, is not worth adoring or worshipping. Period.
Photo credit: Mike Agogliati / Torrington Register Citizen.
, christian fundamentalism
, christian fundamentalist
, christian fundamentalists
, eternal damnation
, evangelical christian
, evangelical christianity
, evangelical christians
, first assembly of god church
, psychological terror
, psychological terrorism
, torrington CT
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We’re finally getting more information about the death of Osama bin-Laden. First, it turns out he wasn’t in the wilderness between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rather, he’d been living in style, deep in the heart of Pakistan, not far from Pakistani military installations, as the New York Times reports (WebCite cached article):
When the end came for Bin Laden, he was found not in the remote tribal areas along the Pakistani-Afghan border where he has long been presumed to be sheltered*, but in a massive compound about an hour’s drive north from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. He was hiding in the medium-sized city of Abbottabad, home to a large Pakistani military base and a military academy of the Pakistani Army.
This raises a lot of questions, not the least of which is how bin-Laden could have been right under the collective nose of the Pakistani government for quite some time. They are — supposedly — our allies. It’s clear they aren’t quite as “allied” to us as they might like us to think.
Pakistan is a deeply troubled country with a large number of Islamofascists … such as the crowds who gave “rock star” treatment to the man accused of killing the Punjab provincial governor because he criticized that nation’s blasphemy law.
While it’s great news that Osama bin-Laden is dead, clearly we face a continued struggle around the world, not just against the kind of Islamofascism that bin-Laden and his supporters promoted, but against all forms of religiofascism, everywhere. It will remain a problem for many years to come.
I close with this video of President Barack Obama announcing bin-Laden’s death to the United States and the world, courtesy of CNN:
* Yes, I admit it, I was one of those who believed this.
Photo credit: Michael Appleton / New York Times.
, barack obama
, bin laden
, osama bin laden
, president barack obama
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At long last, after some 9.5 years of him hiding like a craven little sissyboy coward in the wilds of the Pakistan/Afghanistan frontier — being helped by local Islamist fundamentalists — the world’s current most-famous and infamous religiofascist has died. ABC News reports he was killed in a US military strike (WebCite cached article):
Osama bin Laden, hunted as the mastermind behind the worst-ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil, has been killed, sources told ABC News.
His death brings to an end a tumultuous life that saw bin Laden go from being the carefree son of a Saudi billionaire, to terrorist leader and the most wanted man in the world.
The rest of the article describes this horrific cretin’s putrid, sniveling life, but I need not go into that here. Details of this strike — or of bin Laden’s death — are also not offered, here or in any other breaking story I’ve seen so far.
This is the sort of news that speaks for itself, so that’s what I’ll let it do.
Update: My next blog post is a follow-up to this story.
Photo credit: PsiCop alteration of original AP photo via ABC News.
, 9/11/2001 attacks
, al qaeda
, bin laden
, islamic fundamentalism
, islamic fundamentalist
, islamic fundamentalists
, islamic terror
, islamic terrorist
, osama bin laden
, september 11 2001
, september 11 2001 attacks
, us military
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