The right terminology for terrorists


by Sunny
23rd November, 2007 at 9:26 am    

In yesterday’s Guardian Timothy Garton Ash said Jihadists is the best term he can think for the current threat of terrorism, eschewing that silly term Islamofascism. Works for me.
Osama Saeed prefers Al-Qaeda inspired terrorism and says we should value accuracy. But he ignores the fact that people (including himself) like to use short-hand phrases all the time. The MCB for example uses Neo-con and Zionist quite liberally, without explaining every time what exactly they mean. Enough of the double-standards please.

Anyway, language is constantly evolving and I see this as a good development. Are you confused by all the phrases people use? Provide some examples…


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  1. Leon — on 23rd November, 2007 at 10:50 am  

    Criminals? Or if you’re military inclined how about Non Linear Combatants?

    I really don’t think Jihadists is a good term because the word Jihad means struggle and can be interpreted in a number of ways as far as I understand.

  2. Ismaeel — on 23rd November, 2007 at 10:58 am  

    Yeah enough of the double standards please, because Osama Saeed is part of the MCB isn’t he Sunny and you of course don’t believe in stereotyping all muslims or believe that the MCB represents all our views.

  3. Ismaeel — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:02 am  

    And to use Jihadist to describe terrorists is very wrong because Jihad whether military or otherwise is about overcoming the darker sides of one’s self and acting according to higher principles. The rules of miliatray jihad include many provisions banning attacks on civilians, religious buildings, clergy, women, children etc. which are not upheld by those you are talking about.

  4. soru — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:03 am  

    When you come across something new outside your normal experience, there are three fundamental choices to your attitutudes towards it:

    1. good
    2. bad
    3. alien

    At an emotional level, something is either:

    1. similar to feelings you regard as positive when you feel them yourself, or recognise them in others: courage, justice, righteous anger.

    2. similar to feelings you regard as positive when you feel them yourself, or recognise them in others: prejudice, bigotry, hatred, fantasies of power.

    3. not recognisable as any feeling you ever had – mad, foreign, incomprehensible.

    That basic framing will underly all later actions and reactions to events. The choice of words and categories used to talk about things is at least influential in selecting which one applies (though eventually, the meaning of the word tends to change to match the thing described, not vice versa).

    jihadist is an arabic loan word, so naturally tends toward the alien/foreign framing, the implication that, like suttee, thugee or seppuke, it is an incomprehensible foreign practise, which the non-specialist has no hope of understanding, and even a academic specialist very likely to get completely wrong, Orientalise.

    Meanwhile, in arabic, it has a very strong positive, implication: to declare against jihad is like being against human rights, hope, liberty, motherhood or apple pie.

    If a commitee of very clever people had met to select the worst possible word to use to describe al qaeda and co, ‘jihadist’ would, when suggested, have met with the reaction ‘good call’.

    As it happens, there is a perfectly good english word that pretty much precisely captures the al qaeda phenomenon: crusader.

    Why not use that, perhaps prefixed with ‘islamic’ if necessary to remove any possible confusion with the Knights of Malta and co?

  5. Leon — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:08 am  

    Why not use that, perhaps prefixed with ‘islamic’ if necessary to remove any possible confusion with the Knights of Malta and co?

    Why not use that? For the same reason I don’t like the term terrorist, it’s emotive and debases rational thought and discussion about the subject.

    The fight against terrorism should be a criminal justice fight not a ‘war’ (and yes it would help if all states let the ICC exist to the extent of its aims).

  6. Sid — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:30 am  

    Osama Saeed’s term is correct and probably the most exact. The fact that he “uses short-hand phrases all the time” is neither here nor there, because we live in a society where people are categorised by their allegiances into two, maybe three, racial/religious/political shorthand descriptors, usually by their detractors. I am simultaneously a “lef-wing paki” to BNP types, a “secular coconut” to Muslim extremists and a “stopper” to muscular liberals. I accept all three. ;-)

    “Zionist” and “neocon” are not pejorative terms in their own right since their ahderents use these terms eponymously on themselves.

    I dislike the term “jihadists” to describe Muslim sociopathic terrorists, since in the Islamic liturgy the word jihad has two meanings, the more significant of which has a very positive connotation. Jihad al-akbar, or the “greater war”, is the personal or inner struggle against the ‘nafs’ or soul.

    To have this term re-purposed, usually by, erm necons, to harken back to the crusades, should be resisted because it’s incorrect and elides the correct meaning of the term. Unless you’re going to use it precisely and call terrorists ‘lesser-jihadists’. But somehow I don’t see that happening.

    So I will be sticking to ‘al-Qaeda’ to describe terrorists since this is a term that they use for themselves, until a better term comes up. My mate Zafar suggests pseudo-Islamic, which isn’t bad either.

  7. Leon — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:34 am  

    Pseudo-Islamic Criminals. Hmmm that might work…

  8. justforfun — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:36 am  

    Leon – I think Soru was jesting, to make the point about how bad jihad is as a word to use to describe what are criminals, by using a familar English term like ‘Crusader’

    Any fraternatity of murders here in Britain who might go around killing Muslims would love to be called ‘Crusaders’ in the Muslim press in the Middle East. They would love it and so romantic and so wrong.

    I perhaps I’ve just got the wrong end of the stick

    Justforfun

  9. soru — on 23rd November, 2007 at 12:02 pm  

    The fight against terrorism should be a criminal justice fight not a ‘war’

    In their underground lair, the meeting of the Committee for the Promotion of Racial Holy War (CoPRaHoWa) had a few moments of appreciative silence. Then a junior member spoke up.


    Ok, jihadist is good. Everyone agrees with that. But…

    I have a better idea.

    Imagine if we could pick a word that would exclude a suicide bomber acting on the order of one of our Designated Enemy governments? I don’t need to waste time explaining how that would be useful, in promoting confusion, suppressing the effectiveness of neutral rational discussion, promoting group identification, ‘us’ against ‘them’?

    Imagine that same word described someone it was almost universally considered right to deny political rights, imprison. Large parts of the world think it is a posive good to kill them.

    Imagine if that same word logically had to be used to describe a teenager who posted on the internet writing poems praising bin Laden.

    Imagine if, just as the nazis sometimes had commissions to decide if someone was actually jewish or not before shipping them off to a death camp, we can set the terms of the debate as ‘did they or didn’t they hold those opinions, write that poetry’?

    Ladies and gentleman, I bring you the word ‘criminal’.

    ‘wild appluase, triumphant music plays*

  10. Sunny — on 23rd November, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

    Heh, soru, you crack me up.

    Oooh, I see Ismaeel is back again to play his broken violin.

    and you of course don’t believe in stereotyping all muslims

    I don’t, if you can provide examples that would be good.

    or believe that the MCB represents all our views.

    Surely even someone as slow as you can grasp that?

  11. Ismaeel — on 23rd November, 2007 at 12:46 pm  

    Sunny, you crack me up the way you can’t recognise sarcasam when it’s used against you and the subtle point about your association of Osama Saeed with MCB an organisation he has nothing to do with and then your claim you don’t stereotype muslims, and i’m the slow one…lol

    Anyways back to the topic, in the Islamic world as in the west there is a long tradition of associating a new way of thinking with it’s founder.

    The idea of attacking and killing civilians under the aegis of Islam seems to only be traceable back to Zawihiri himself as Sayed Qutb never himself advocated killing civilians in general but rather political leaders. Therefore it would not be wrong to term those who follow this rationale as Zawhirists as not all of them belong to Al Qaida.

  12. justforfun — on 23rd November, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

    Soru – nice word play but the junior member of CoPRaHoWa will remain a junior member.

    ‘us’ against ‘them’? not quite – there is no us and them with criminals. We are all potential criminals, it only takes breaking the law to become one. ‘Equal Opportunity for All’ and so ‘criminal’ is a very inclusive term and so is self evidently a good thing :-) – promoting solidarity unmongst the non-criminal. Not really promoting Holy War with this direction.

    Imagine that same word described someone it was almost universally considered right to deny political rights, imprison – touching , but I don’t think losing the right to vote is high on the mind of a criminal. – I don’t think this will promote Holy War either. Criminal 1 to Criminal 2 – “the Bastards stopped me voting Liberal Democrat” Crim 2 to Crim1 ” A small price to pay to get achieve paradise on Earth”

    nope – not convinced this will promote CoPRaHoWa’s objectives.

    Large parts of the world think it is a positive good to kill them.
    Justice varies around the world but here there is no Capital Punishment here, so that is not a good way for CoPRaHoWa to go – why else have War in the title.

    Committee Chairman to Junious Member “are you a MI5 plant”

    Justforfun

  13. S — on 23rd November, 2007 at 1:00 pm  

    I agree with TGA that the term Islamofacism is a poor description of Al-qaida and their groupies. I think it is a pretty accurate description of Hizbullah and Hamas which are more organised political groups with party like hierarchies — antisemitism, black uniforms, marchingw, big posters of supreme leader, glorification of violence.

  14. soru — on 23rd November, 2007 at 1:12 pm  

    With all respect, Chairman Bond, I think the matter of who is working for MI6 is not a question it would be in your advantage to pursue.

    With ‘terrorist’, they could at least distinguish between ‘actual terrorist’ and ‘supporter of terrorism’: ‘criminal’ will allows no such nuance.

    If we can persuade them to lock up people who peacefully state their views about violence, we win: violence would be an entirely natural response to such oppression.

    On the other hand, if we can persuade them that those who fantasise about mass murder are completely blameless, a cause worth supporting, we win too: their media is powerful and persuasive, an idea it consistently pushes as glamorous and edgy will be unstoppable.

    Either way, our victory is certain.

  15. Sid — on 23rd November, 2007 at 1:22 pm  

    The idea of attacking and killing civilians under the aegis of Islam seems to only be traceable back to Zawihiri himself as Sayed Qutb never himself advocated killing civilians in general but rather political leaders.

    Political leaders are not civilians?
    Are you oblivious of Khaled Istanbuli and the Muslim Brotherhood who’s actions predate Zawahiri’s by about 2 decades and are firmly rooted in Qutbism?

  16. justforfun — on 23rd November, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    When does a ‘supporter of terrorism’ become a ‘actual terrorist’? Surely that nuance is built into the ‘criminal’ law and the terms used in criminal law to describe the actions taken?

    If a man plants a bomb and kills 1 person and is caught, is he convicted as a murder or as a terrorist?

    Justforfun

  17. Morgoth — on 23rd November, 2007 at 4:24 pm  

    How about “Islamic terrorism”. After all, no Islam, no terrorism. Its as simple as that.

  18. Sid — on 23rd November, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

    you means its “as simpletonian as that”.

  19. Morgoth — on 23rd November, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    Sid, Buddhists or Anglicans aren’t well known for flying airplaces into Skyscrapers.

    Ask the terrorists themselves – and they will tell you – its about Islam. There is no need for half-baked western liberals to foist their own prejudices onto the likes of Atta and co.

  20. Sid — on 23rd November, 2007 at 4:40 pm  

    Morgoth, I know it’s out of your cigarette paper-thin comfort zone to consider this, but terrorism didn’t start and end on September 11. Ask Lord Mountbatten and Margaret Tebbitt, to name two victims of non-Islamic terrorism.

  21. Sid — on 23rd November, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

    And then consider whether it’s fair to make the statement “After all, no Christianity, no terrorism. Its as simple as that” without appearing a total credulous prat.

  22. Morgoth — on 23rd November, 2007 at 4:51 pm  

    Ask Lord Mountbatten and Margaret Tebbitt, to name two victims of non-Islamic terrorism.

    True, but they weren’t attacked by chaps called Muhammed, y’know.

    IRA terrorism was limited and rational in its degree, methods and ains and (it pains me to say this as someone who had very close relatives murdered by the INLA but it has to be said for the sake of honestly) you cannot compare those to Islamic terrorism whose aim is to “raise the blag flag of Islam across the entire planet”.

    And its not helped by simple minded people like yourself who automatically apply “slightly pinkish skin bad, darker skin good” to *everything*

  23. Sid — on 23rd November, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

    True, but they weren’t attacked by chaps called Muhammed, y’know.

    They’re dead or crippled. Do you think they care?

    IRA terrorism was limited and rational in its degree

    How is a bomb blast that kills innocents rational? Are you on downers? Take a look at the breadth and frequency that mainland Britain experienced IRA terrorism in this BBC timeline.

  24. Morgoth — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    They’re dead or crippled. Do you think they care?

    Yes.

    How is a bomb blast that kills innocents rational?

    Compared to Islamic Terrorism, it is perfectly rational.

  25. Sid — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:04 pm  

    go fuck yourself, you are a complete waste of time.

  26. Morgoth — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

    Ah yes, Sid reverting to true form. I know it wouldn’t take long.

  27. Sid — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

    Well, you are the PP’s resident idiot now Morgoth, so I think it’s fair to declare open season.

  28. ZinZin — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

    Morgoth, I wouldn’t want to be part of your elite.

  29. Morgoth — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:23 pm  

    The feeling is mutual, Zinzin.

  30. soru — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

    I hear some people think that CoPRaHoWa was something I just make made up to illustrate a point.

    If so, how come there is an actual member dropping the secrecy and showing up and posting here?

  31. Rumbold — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

    ‘Islamists’ seems the best term to me, because it implies a distortion of Islam while at the same time recognising that these terrorists draw their core ideology from a very selective reading of the Qu’ran, Hadiths and some fatwas.

  32. The New Centrist — on 23rd November, 2007 at 5:48 pm  

    “And to use Jihadist to describe terrorists is very wrong because Jihad whether military or otherwise is about overcoming the darker sides of one’s self and acting according to higher principles. The rules of miliatray jihad include many provisions banning attacks on civilians, religious buildings, clergy, women, children etc. which are not upheld by those you are talking about.”

    Back in the 19th century anarchists were saying the same things:

    “Those people blowing up theatres and such are not *real* anarchists. Anarchism is about changing society, not blowing people up.”

    That argument did not go over too well. Today, in most folks minds, anarchism is a movement associated with political violence and assassination rather than a libertarian branch of the 19th cent. international socialist movement.

    Another example, communism was supposed to be a glorious utopia where goods and services were distributed “from each according to ability, to each according to need.” This never materialized. Instead, people experienced decades of totalitarian rule in the name of this utopian ideology. How is communism considered today (by most people), as it actually existed or as the theory of Marx and Engels?

    The crux of this is who determines what people are called? The people themselves, outsiders, some combination of the two? I suspect the last. IMHO, we should at least consider the term that these groups use to refer to themselves. Do they call themselves Jihadis? Salafists?

  33. soru — on 23rd November, 2007 at 6:09 pm  

    ‘Islamist’

    I don’t want to dwell on past successes, but that really was our finest hour. It was always obvious that sooner or later, someone would come up with a reasonable enough academic description of the sociology and ideology of the political movement we have been quietly sponsoring.

    It was nothing less than a stroke of genius to preempt this, and pick a name for the new concept that was not only three letters different from ‘Islam’, but has a misleading linguistic parallel in ‘Catholic/Catholicism’.

    Who will be able to take any politician seriously if they say ‘I have nothing against Islam, just Islamism’?

    Especially when they botch the argument, as they inevitably will, by blaming the various faults of mainstream traditional Islam on our creation.

    CoPRaHoWa internal memo, author unknown

  34. Ravi Naik — on 23rd November, 2007 at 6:22 pm  

    “And to use Jihadist to describe terrorists is very wrong because Jihad whether military or otherwise is about overcoming the darker sides of one’s self and acting according to higher principles”

    This is the problem when bad people hihack a term, in this case Jihad, and make it an evil word. The swastika, for instance, is another example.

    Jihadists, islamofascists – they sound to me buzzwords for Bush’s “war on terror” ™ or Hollywood movie villains. If you refuse to be “terrorised” by these people or the Daily Mail, then let’s call these people for what they are: criminals, or in the case of the NHS gang, dumb criminals.

  35. septicisle — on 23rd November, 2007 at 6:26 pm  

    I prefer “jihadist takfirists” or “takfiri jihadists”, as even if both are a little technical, it best describes the nature of suicide terrorism which doesn’t care who gets kills or why. If you start using just jihadist you risk bringing Hamas and the insurgent groups in Iraq that don’t support attacks on civilians into the equation; you might not agree with their ideology or their politics, and I certainly don’t, but putting them in the exact same bracket when their strategy is nationalist rather than global, as al-Qaida’s is, seems to me the wrong thing to do.

  36. Don — on 23rd November, 2007 at 6:33 pm  

    Soru #4 and jff #8,

    Spot on. Jihadist is a terrible choice, Garton Ash is clearly thinking about what will play in Peoria rather than the wider question.

    If we are going to use a loan word, is taqfiri more appropriate? Anybody with expertise have a view on that?

  37. Jai — on 23rd November, 2007 at 6:44 pm  

    Okay, here’s my suggestion:

    “Members of the Al-Qaeda cult”.

    Strips the ideology of any genuine affiliation with organised Islam or any associated religious sanction, emphasises the lack of any real spirituality involved, dissociates it from “mainstream” Muslims, and results in people not having to deal with it using kid gloves when dissecting and discrediting the ideology (if people are normally wary of doing so due to concerns about “offending religious sensitivities”).

    If Bin Laden wants to be some kind of latter-day David Koresh — because a cult leader is really what he is — then perhaps it’s about time that he was treated as such, along with any people believing in the associated tenets and false claims of divine justification.

  38. Jai — on 23rd November, 2007 at 6:53 pm  

    dissecting and discrediting the ideology

    Eg. the whole “72 virgins” issue, belief that killing innocent civilians (regardless of whether you sacrifice your own life simultaneously, eg. via suicide bombings or hijacked airliners) results in one going to Paradise, etc etc.

    It’s as nonsensical as believing that undertaking these actions will result in a UFO hiding behind a comet suddently rescuing you at the critical moment, as a reward for your actions.

  39. Ravi Naik — on 23rd November, 2007 at 7:00 pm  

    “Eg. the whole “72 virgins” issue, belief”

    Maybe make them realise that it is much better to have 72 sluts who know what they are doing?

  40. Jai — on 23rd November, 2007 at 7:09 pm  

    Are you speaking from personal experience, Ravi ? ;)

    (just kidding).

    I meant that they should realise that they are essentially living with the fairies if they think they’re going to get dozens of willing women in some kind of Afterlife. Or, at least, that they should be treated as such. Don’t give them the credibility and respect of a genuine theology — their beliefs are superstition, and murderous superstition at that. Like burning witches at the stake, child sacrifices (or sacrificial virgins), and so on.

    Treat their beliefs as being part of a cult, not a religion.

  41. Edsa — on 23rd November, 2007 at 7:11 pm  

    Some weighty opinions have been expressed and I am impressed. But, if I may say, the field of discourse has been rather narrow. Why just latch on to the wisdom of one Garton Ash? Why can’t we open up the discussion wider?

    If we are discussing terrorism, let’s start at the beginning. What is terrorism? Are we agreed on a working definition? Why are westerners never terrorist despite their heinous crimes worldwide?

    In this regard, I found the views of the late activisy and lucid thinker Eqbal Ahmad very enlightening:
    Ahmad makes a clear classification:

    * State terrorism committed by nations against anyone – other states, groups or individuals, including state-sponsored assassination targets;

    * Religious terrorism like Christians and Muslims slaughtering each other during Papal crusades; many instances of Catholics killing Protestants and the reverse like in Northern Ireland; Christians and Jews butchering each other; Sunnis killing Shiites and the reverse; and any other kind of terror violence inspired or justified by religion carrying out God’s will as in the Old Testament preaching it as an ethical code for a higher purpose;

    * Crime (organized or otherwise) terrorism as “all kinds of crime commit terror.”

    * Pathology terrorism by those who are sick, may “want the attention of the world (and decide to do it by) kill(ing) a president” or anyone else.

    * Political terrorism by a private group Ahmad calls “oppositional terror” explaining further that at times these five types “converge on each other starting out in one form, then converging into one or more others.

    Nation states, like the US, focus only on one kind of terrorism – political terrorism that’s “the least important in terms of cost to human lives and human property (with the highest cost type being) state terrorism.”

    The current wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine underscore what Ahmad means. Never mentioned, though, is that political or retail terrorism is a natural response by oppressed or desperate groups when they’re victims of far more grievous acts of state terrorism. Also unmentioned is how to prevent terrorist acts Noam Chomsky explains saying the way to get “them” to stop attacking “us” is stop attacking “them.”

    It is clear that compared with the state terrorists, the Muslim jihadists are really minnows and the west focuses all attention on them. Should we?
    Let’s go for the big fish.

  42. Don — on 23rd November, 2007 at 7:33 pm  

    ‘If we are discussing terrorism, let’s start at the beginning. What is terrorism? Are we agreed on a working definition? Why are westerners never terrorist despite their heinous crimes worldwide?’

    No shortage of western terrorists, Edsa, however you define it.

    My own definition has the targeting of civilians as a deliberate policy as the key point. An armed group targeting another armed group may be many things, but I would not say that was terrorism.

    A callous or reckless indifference to civilian casualties would lay a group (state or not) open to the charge.

    ‘Christians and Jews butchering each other’

    AFAIK, that was a one way street.

    ‘…the Muslim jihadists are really minnows and the west focuses all attention on them.’

    Are you familiar with the term ‘whataboutery’?

  43. Morgoth — on 23rd November, 2007 at 7:37 pm  

    many instances of Catholics killing Protestants and the reverse like in Northern Ireland

    Terrorism in NI was territorial/nationalistic-based, there was comparatively very little theological input into the Troubles.

  44. Don — on 23rd November, 2007 at 7:45 pm  

    Very succinct, thank you.

  45. soru — on 23rd November, 2007 at 9:46 pm  

    It is clear that compared with the state terrorists, the Muslim jihadists are really minnows and the west focuses all attention on them. Should we?
    Let’s go for the big fish.

    Well, Saddam was one of the more enthusiastic proponents of state terrorism against his own populace of recent times. So I am not sure that is the strongest of grounds on which to criticise the US.

  46. Sunny — on 23rd November, 2007 at 9:57 pm  

    Terrorism in NI was territorial/nationalistic-based, there was comparatively very little theological input into the Troubles.

    Of course, which is why most of the conflict was divided across Protestant-Catholic lines.

  47. Kismet Hardy — on 23rd November, 2007 at 9:59 pm  

    ““Eg. the whole “72 virgins” issue, belief”

    Did you know that bit was mis-transliterated? It’s meant to be raisins, as a treat for good people because raisins, at the time of the Qu’ran where like truffles and caviar of today

    Not a lot of people know that

    There’s gonna be some seriously disappointed horny dead jihadist up in pearly gates

  48. Kismet Hardy — on 23rd November, 2007 at 10:01 pm  
  49. soru — on 23rd November, 2007 at 10:13 pm  

    Are they chocolate coated?

  50. Justforfun — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:08 pm  

    OK – Kismet we believe you, but I’ve never really ever doubted you; but for once give us the link to your goat fucking claim. Is it somewhere else in Herr Luxenberg’s book? I hear Ephrem the Syrian was a real joker and always liked putting hidden riddles into his work.

    Seriously – perhaps ‘goat fucker’ would be a good term. Of course Newsreaders would have to be trained to keep a straight face when reporting the latest bombing, but it might dissuade a few attacks if they knew that they were going to be reported as goat fuckers …. or perhaps Pheasant Pluckers for pre 9pm watershed broadcasts. Of course this demonizes the existing, innocent and legitimate goat fuckers; but we have no proof yet that they actually exist.

    Is there any place for humour, embarrassment or ridicule in The War Against Terror? Just asking?

    Justforfun

  51. Morgoth — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:36 pm  

    Of course, which is why most of the conflict was divided across Protestant-Catholic lines.

    Not really. The only people who occasionally focused on religious grounds were the absolute crazies on both sides (the INLA, c.f. the Darkley Massacre, and the UFF, c.f. the Greysteel Massacre). Religion had comparatively little influence upon the proceedings. For all the shouting of Paisley on one side, and various catholic theological luminaries on the other, the fact remains that the conflict in NI was almost wholly geopolitical, not religious.

  52. Leon — on 23rd November, 2007 at 11:53 pm  

    Compared to Islamic Terrorism, it is perfectly rational.

    That’s the single most stupid thing I’ve seen today.

  53. Morgoth — on 24th November, 2007 at 12:38 am  

    Islamic terrorism has as its goal the complete domination of the world by Islam. IRA terrorism was comparitively speaking, measured and rational in its goals.

    The problem with you liberals is that you are still trying to foist your own prejudices onto Islamic terrorism, and you’ll be still doing so the day they take you up to the tops of the tall buildings and chuck you off them. Its why liberals cannot be trusted to deal with terrorism at all.

  54. Sunny — on 24th November, 2007 at 1:27 am  

    The problem with you liberals is that you are still trying to foist your own prejudices onto Islamic terrorism,

    Of course we are Morgoth, of course we are… you know us so well.

  55. douglas clark — on 24th November, 2007 at 2:17 am  

    Newsflash:

    Tora Bora

    Osama Bin Laden has decided that running a Liberal Blog in the UK will be the next stage in his master plan to establish a global caliphate. He said:

    “I thought it needed to be done with planes and bombs and stuff, but I was wrong. It will be far easier to turn the Western world into quivering jellyfish by writing a sensible blog.”

    He added, and analysts are still working on this remark:

    “And, anyway, my beard needs a bit of a trim.”

  56. Thunker — on 24th November, 2007 at 7:51 am  

    So Jihad is about patriotism and apple pie? Many Israelis feel the same about Zionism. To which many Arabs reply “we judge ‘the Zionists’ by their actions, not their words”. Is it any surprise if some say the same about ‘the Jihadists’?

    “You talk about patriotism and apple pie but we see the dead and dying. Not only are you an evil Zionist/Jihadist, but you try to deny that your beliefs are intrinsically evil?! Alien!”

  57. Jai — on 24th November, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    Don,

    Are you familiar with the term ‘whataboutery’?

    Very good point ;)

    Edsa,

    Whataboutery aside, do you agree that members and supporters of Al-Qaeda are actually part of a man-made cult — like the “Heaven’s Gate” cult, amongst numerous others — who are not actually Muslims at all in the genuine sense of the term, but are people who have hijacked, co-opted, and grossly twisted Islamic terminology and tenets in an attempt to validate their cult’s ideology and promote their agenda ?

    Something to consider is that, despite the veneer of Islam that these non-Muslims have given to their beliefs, in reality they are no different to, for example, the Aztecs (as depicted in the film “Apocalypto” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypto ) whose priests would rip out the hearts of living captives on top of pyramids due to a belief that such actions would “please the gods”.

    When Al-Qaeda “jihadis” kill unarmed civilians because they think that such actions will “please God” and gain them entry to Paradise, what they are actually doing is performing human sacrifices, just like the aforementioned Aztecs and just like various other cults throughout human history. The method may be different, but in many ways the goal and the mindset is the same. This gives a clear indication of how barbaric these actions — and the associated pseudo-religious beliefs — actually are, and how very far removed they are from any genuine spirituality or divinity.

    Something to think about, perhaps.

  58. El Cid — on 24th November, 2007 at 1:45 pm  

    I think jihadists is an insult to islam.
    Islamofacism, on the other hand, discriminates between moderate and traditional forms of islam from more extreme and virulent forms. So I prefer it. Sorry. You and Timmy have failed to make a compelling case.

  59. El Cid — on 24th November, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

    For a member of the elite, you’re not very good at making your point Morgoth without pandering to base prejudices.
    Take this for example:
    After all, no Islam, no terrorism. It’s as simple as that.

    You should write a book: How not to influence people

    And its not helped by simple minded people like yourself who automatically apply “islam bad, non-islam good” to *everything*

  60. Derius — on 24th November, 2007 at 3:25 pm  

    I personally use the term “violent Jihadists”, as “Jihad”, only means struggle, and a differential should be made between those who use violence to achieve their goals as opposed to those who do not. I also do not understand why some people believe that using the word “Jihad” is an insult to Islam. It is just a term and nothing more.

    As for the phrase “Al Qaeda inspired terrorists”, I would just like to ask Osama Saeed what he thinks actually inspires Al-Qaeda. Nothing at all? Did they just wake up one day and decide to start killing civilians for no particular reason? A nonsense term, and as Sid quite correctly points out, there are precedents long before Al-Qaeda were on the scene.

  61. El Cid — on 24th November, 2007 at 3:35 pm  

    Derius
    Jihad an insult to Islam? I dunno if you are referring to what I said but if you were, I suggest you read comment #57 and the first line of this post again.

  62. Ravi Naik — on 24th November, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

    “How about “Islamic terrorism”. After all, no Islam, no terrorism. Its as simple as that.

    Sorry Leon (#52), but I vote this to be the most stupid thing written in this thread by a mile.

  63. Morgoth — on 24th November, 2007 at 6:17 pm  

    And its not helped by simple minded people like yourself who automatically apply “islam bad, non-islam good” to *everything*

    I can also apply “nazi-party bad” to everything as well. After all, they’re equivalent in their ideologies, methodologies and aims. Mohammed had a good pupil in Adolf.

  64. El Cid — on 24th November, 2007 at 6:33 pm  

    I hope the rest of you can appreciate the difference in the selective way i link Islam and fascism and the undiscriminating way Mongo does.
    In many ways it goes to the heart of this thread.
    Often it’s not the words that matter but how they are meant.
    To just put a blanket ban on words/terms risks throwing out more than just the dirty water. It can also kill debate.
    It’s difficult trying to steer a middle path but I prefer it to the self righteous extremes of the liberal left and the hateful intolerance and ignorance of the right.

  65. Ravi Naik — on 24th November, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

    I can also apply “nazi-party bad” to everything as well. After all, they’re equivalent in their ideologies, methodologies and aims. Mohammed had a good pupil in Adolf.

    Morgoth, what pisses me off is not your hateful intolerence, but rather your ignorance at the most basic level.

    Let’s start with ‘ideology’. Nazism is an ideology, but “Islam” is not. Different groups – who might share the same religion – have different ideologies: some very extreme, others very moderate. Since you are ignorant about muslims, can you honestly say that all Christians share the same ideology from the KKK to the Catholics? So we have established that your comment about “Islam” being equivalent to “Nazism” does not even merit discussion, because you are basically comparing oranges with apples.

    Next. The methodology. The dictionary says that it is “a body of practices, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline; a set of working methods”. So, unless muslims have put non-muslims in concentration camps, and gased and executed millions of them, you are just plain lying.

    Next, the aims. If one equated the goals of Islam with nazis, that would mean they want to rule the world, and kill non-muslims. A minority of extremists probably believes in that. So they are the rare exception, not the rule. And again, there is no one ideology in religion, and since different ideologies may have different aims. So, again your comment has absolutely no merit.

    See Morgoth? Your logic and analysis is just crap.

  66. Leon — on 24th November, 2007 at 9:05 pm  

    Sorry Leon (#52), but I vote this to be the most stupid thing written in this thread by a mile.

    No apology needed, you’re right.

  67. douglas clark — on 25th November, 2007 at 8:55 am  

    Why is the ‘talking to God’ comments shut? I happen to agree with you, but debate is good, is it not?

  68. douglas clark — on 25th November, 2007 at 10:32 am  

    Now, it has completely disappeared. WTF?

  69. douglas clark — on 25th November, 2007 at 10:47 am  

    OK. I only imagined there was a God. I only imagined there was a thread to discuss it. Leon, talk to me please! Lest we think of you as a godlike creature, indifferent to opinion.

    Why did you write what you did, and why did you take it down? Your friends, me for instance, want to know.

  70. Jai — on 25th November, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

    I would just like to ask Osama Saeed what he thinks actually inspires Al-Qaeda. Nothing at all? Did they just wake up one day and decide to start killing civilians for no particular reason?

    Entire tomes have been written discussing this subject post-9/11 (visit your local friendly Waterstones for more information), and the complex psychology behind the driving factors depends on the specific individual. In many cases, I expect the motivations are the same as in plenty of other scenarios where the perpetrator has psychopathic tendencies and a desire to dominate, subjugate, and possibly “punish” others.

    However, personally I don’t see what the difference is between some Aztec “priest” dragging a captive to the top of a pyramid and decapitating him in front of the assembled masses, and some Al-Qaeda (or “Al-Qaeda inspired”) psychopath dragging a hostage in front of a video camera with a live feed to the internet and decapitating him in front of the assembled online masses……Considering that both scenarios involve the perpetrator claiming divine support and undertaking these actions in an attempt to appease or ingratiate themselves with their god.

    To give just one example.

  71. Bert Preast — on 25th November, 2007 at 2:51 pm  

    That’d be the Aztec religion that the christians wiped out?

  72. Sahil — on 25th November, 2007 at 3:00 pm  

    The term Islamist has done soo much damage, because it assumes that OBL is actually following a strain of Islam that justifies his actions. Even Whabbis look like bambi compared to these murdering bastards. They need to be called murderers because that’s all that they are, nothing special.

  73. Jai — on 25th November, 2007 at 5:27 pm  

    That’d be the Aztec religion that the christians wiped out?

    Yep. Re: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sacrifice_in_Aztec_culture

    Like I said, I don’t see much difference between ritualistic human sacrifices and the AQ obsession with “separating heads from shoulders”.

    because it assumes that OBL is actually following a strain of Islam that justifies his actions.

    Well, exactly. OBL and his admirers have just made up their own cult and misappropriated the label “Islam” (and various associated buzzwords and out-of-context scriptural quotes) in order to give the veneer of authenticity & credibility to their own psychopathic ideas and actions.

  74. Bert Preast — on 25th November, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

    Of course there’s a strain of islam that justifies his actions.

  75. douglas clark — on 25th November, 2007 at 7:39 pm  

    Sahil,

    I agree with you. The things that are done with religion as a pretext are beyond reason. So Bert, any religion can and is, or was, used to justify inhumanity. It’s the label on the tin, is it not?

  76. Morgoth — on 25th November, 2007 at 9:08 pm  

    Ravi Naik, judge Islam on what it has *done* and what it *does* and what it *says*, not what you would *like* it to have done, do or say.

    Your post is simply yet another example of a liberal trying to foist their own prejudices onto something.

    And yes, I do consider Christianity to be almost as dangerous as Islam, and yes, most Christians *are* nowt but wannabe-KKKers.

  77. sonia — on 25th November, 2007 at 9:25 pm  

    that ‘strain’ of “Islam” being the history of the Caliphates presumably.

    and all the dar-al-islam business would quite legitimately cause one to wonder.

    of course, luckily, most muslims don’t seem to really look to Islam’s past ( most of us having been brought up happily to think islam never had anything to do with Empire or nasty things, apart from the things that have been done to us so one could argue that it doesn’t really matter. Still its worth considering the historical record. And i’m not talking about the behaviour of some empire or other, of course all empires were barbaric, but empire masquerading as religion, is pretty much what we are talking about here no? religion has always been good for empire, look at the Holy roman empire. and many would argue that unless we want to say our scholars were wrong, that the ‘perfect Muslims’ were wrong, we cannot really fault their imperial behaviour.

    Of course one could argue, and many do, for example Irshad Manji ( or so i took her comments about islam to be) that looking at ‘Islam’s history and texts, certainly whilst the history implies those people took certain aspect of the texts literally, throughout the ages one does not have to do so and one can interpret the texts in a different way. she points out that there are many woolly nice bits, as there are nasty bits, so we can – as ‘reformist’ muslims focus on the nice bits.

    which is fine, because it actually acknowledges a bloody past and interpretations of the text which have clearly been used to justify practically all of that bloody past. And that creates a problem for this so-called ethical God. now irshad’s approach seems to be ( to me anyway) that as she believes in her god and she thinks that god is Good and wants her to speak the justice ( nice and messianic, i’m sure Mohammed would have appreciated that) and clearly there is a clash between a good god and all the nasty stuff, and what it means for us, is that we must use our brains. ( which is always a good thing!)

  78. Sid — on 25th November, 2007 at 9:38 pm  

    Your post is simply yet another example of a liberal trying to foist their own prejudices onto something.

    And yours isn’t?

  79. soru — on 26th November, 2007 at 10:58 am  

    And yours isn’t?

    Well no, he is not a liberal. Choosing the name of Tolkein’s god of evil should be a bit of a clue as to his politics: he’s a Goth.

    Probably just pissed off that HuT and co are muscling in on his territory, pasty-faced teenagers called Kevin dressing up as muslims instead of vampires.

  80. bananabrain — on 26th November, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

    i like jai’s take on it. in fact, pace trey parker and matt stone, i think we should call it “OBL’s fruity little cult” – the Super Jihad Club, if you like. because of their FLC, they are making like the aztecs and will, no doubt, end up the same way, insha’Allah.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

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