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The Real Face of the Terrorists Who Act in the Nam

Those who believe and do not mix up their belief with any wrongdoing, they are the ones who are safe… (Qur´an, 6:82)

All these examples reveal that organising acts of terror against innocent people is utterly against Islam and it is unlikely that any Muslim could ever commit such crime. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for stopping these people, removing ´mischief on earth´ and bringing peace and security to all people all over the world.

It is not possible to talk about ´Christian terror´, ´Jewish terror´ or ´Islamic terror´. Indeed, an examination into the background of the perpetrators of these acts reveal that the terrorism in question is not a religious but a social phenomenon.

Crusaders: Barbarians Who Trampled Their Own Religion

The true message of a religion or a system of belief can be at times distorted by its own pseudo-adherents. The Crusaders, whose period constitutes a dark episode in Christian history, are an example of this type of distortion.

The Crusaders were European Christians who undertook expeditions from the end of the 11th century onwards to recover the Holy Land (Palestine and the surrounding area) from the Muslims. They set out with a so-called religious goal, yet they laid waste each acre of land they entered spreading fear wherever they went. They subjected civilians along their way to mass executions and plundered many villages and towns. Their conquest of Jerusalem, where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived under Islamic rule in peace, became the scene of immense bloodshed. They massacred all the Muslims and Jews in the city without mercy.

Under Muslim rule, Muslims, Jews and Orthodox Christians had lived together in peace in Jerusalem. When the Crusaders invaded Jerusalem (as seen above) they carried out terrible acts of slaughter. The Crusaders continued on to sack many more towns and murdering civilians as they went.
In the words of one historian, ´They killed all the Saracens and the Turks they found... whether male of female.´16 One of the Crusaders, Raymond of Aguiles, boasted of this violence:

Wonderful sights were to be seen. Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one´s way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are normally chanted ... in the Temple and porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.17

In two days, the Crusader army killed some 40,000 Muslims in the barbaric ways just described.18

The Crusaders´ barbarism was so excessive that, during the Fourth Crusade, they plundered Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), a Christian city, and stole the golden objects from the churches.

Of course, all this barbarism was utterly against Christian doctrine. Christianity, in the words of the Bible, is a ´message of love´. In the Gospel according to Matthew, it is said that Jesus said to his followers, ´Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you´ (Matthew, 5:44). In the Gospel according to Luke, it is said that Jesus said, ´To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.´ (Luke, 6:29) In no part of the Gospels is there any reference to the legitimacy of violence; thus murdering innocent people is unimaginable. You can find the concept of ´murdering the innocent´ in the Bible; but only in the cruel Jewish King Herod´s attempt to kill Jesus while he was a baby.

If Christianity is a religion based on love that accommodates no violence, how did Christian Crusaders carry out some of the most violent acts in history? The major reason for this was that the Crusaders were mainly made up of ignorant people who could better be defined as ´rabble´. These masses, who knew almost nothing about their religion, who had probably never read or even seen the Bible once in their lifetime, and who were for the most part completely unaware of the moral values of the Bible, were led into barbarism under the conditioning of Crusaders´ slogans which presented this violence as ´God´s Will´. Employing this fraudulent method, many were encouraged to commit dreadful acts strictly forbidden by the religion.

On September 12, 1204, the Crusaders entered Constantinople, which was held by their fellow Christians. They sacked and looted the city even to the extent of ripping the gold out of the churches.
It is worth mentioning that in that period, Eastern Christians - the people of Byzantium, for instance - who were culturally far ahead of Western Christians, espoused more humane values. Both before and after the Crusaders´ conquests, Orthodox Christians managed to live together with Muslims. According to Terry Jones, the BBC commentator, with the withdrawal of the Crusaders from Middle East, ´civilized life started again and members of the three monotheistic faiths returned to peaceful coexistence.´19

The example of the Crusaders is indicative of a general phenomenon. The more the adherents of an ideology are uncivilised, intellectually underdeveloped and ignorant, the more likely they are to resort to violence. This also holds true for ideologies that have nothing to do with religion. All communist movements around the world are prone to violence. Yet the most savage and bloodthirsty of them were the Red Khmers in Cambodia. This was because they were the most ignorant.

The Bedouin Character in the Qur´an

In the period of the Prophet Muhammad, there existed two basic social structures in Arabia. City-dwellers and Bedouins (desert Arabs). A sophisticated culture prevailed in Arab towns. Commercial relations linked the towns to the outer world, which contributed to the formation of ´good manners´ among Arabs dwelling in cities. They had refined aesthetic values, enjoyed literature and especially poetry. Desert Arabs, on the other hand, were the nomad tribes living in the desert who had a very crude culture. Utterly unaware of arts and literature, they developed an unrefined character.

Islam was born and developed among the inhabitants of Mecca, the most important city of the peninsula. However, as Islam spread to the rest of the the peninsula, all the tribes in Arabia embraced it. Among these tribes were also desert Arabs, who were somehow problematic: their poor intellectual and cultural background prevented some of them from grasping the profundity and noble spirit of Islam. Of this God states the following in a verse:

The desert Arabs are the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy, and more fitted to be ignorant of the limits which God has sent down to His Messenger. But God is Knowing, Wise. (Qur´an, 9:97)

Bedouins were nomadic tribes of the desert at the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Because of the harsh conditions in which they lived, they came to possess a hard and rough culture.

The desert Arabs, that is, social groups who were ´worst in disbelief and hypocrisy´ and prone to disobey God´s commands, became a part of the Islamic world in the Prophet´s time. However, in later periods, they became a source of trouble for the house of Islam. The sect called ´Kharijis´ that emerged among the Bedouins was an example. The most distinctive trait of this perverse sect (which was called ´Kharijis´, the ´rebels´, because they greatly deviated from Sunni practices), was their wild and fanatical nature. The ´Kharijis´, who had little understanding of the essence of Islam or of the virtues and the values of the Qur´an, waged war against all other Muslims basing this war on a few Qur´anic verses about which they made distorted interpretations. Furthermore, they carried out ´acts of terrorism´. Ali, who was one of the closest companions of the Prophet and was described as the ´gate of the city of knowledge´, was assassinated by a Kharijite.

In later periods, ´Hashashis´, another brutal organisation, emerged; this was a ´terrorist organisation´ made up of ignorant and fanatical militants bereft of a profound understanding of the essence of Islam and thus who could be readily influenced by simple slogans and promises.

In other words, just as the Crusaders distorted and misinterpreted Christianity as a teaching of brutality, some perverted groups emerging in the Islamic world misinterpreted Islam and resorted to brutality. What is common to these sects and the Crusaders was their ´Bedouin´ nature. That is, they were ignorant, unrefined and uncultivated, lacking a true understanding of their religion. The violence they resorted to resulted from this lack of understanding, rather than from the religion they claimed to espouse.

A Terrorist is Without Pity Whose Only Purpose is to Destroy

The founder of Russian Anarchy, Michael Bakunin and his disciple Nechayev define an ideal terrorist in this way:

The whole work of his [a revolutionist´s] existence, not only in words, but also in deeds, is at war with the existing order of society, and with the whole so-called civilized world, with its laws, morals and customs, he is an uncompromising opponent… He knows only one science; the science of destruction. (The Alarm Newspaper Article, ´Bakunin´s Ground-Work for the Social Revolution,´ 1885 Dec. 26, p. 8)

As understood from these words of Bakunin and Nechayev, terrorists are people who sever their relationship with every material and spiritual institution thereby rejecting every moral value, and who view these institutions as impediments to their designs. Bakunin also said, ´Day and night dare he [a revolutionist] have only one thought, one aim: the unmerciful destruction; while he, cold-blooded and without rest, follows that aim, he himself must be ready to die at any time and ready to kill with his own hands any one who seeks to thwart his aims.´ In his Ground-Work for the Social Revolution, there is this description of what kind of person a terrorist must be:

Michael Bakunin
Stringent with himself he must also be to others. All weak sentiment towards relation, friendship, love and thankfulness must be suppressed through the only cold passion of the revolutionary work.

These words lay bare the dark face of terrorism and show that it is completely opposed to the religion of Islam which is founded on peace, tolerance and love. In this verse, God reveals that peace is the real salvation of humanity and that pursuing the opposite, that is war and conflict, is to walk in the steps of Satan:

O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you. (Qur´an, 2:208)

The Mass Psychology of Terrorism

Another important characteristic of terrorists is that they act with a collective spirit. Within this spirit, individual ideas and personal choice are disregarded as everyone is directed toward one single goal. Those who act within this collective spirit may do ...
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