Misconceptions about the purpose of terrorism

Brussels_suspects_CCTV

Brussels March 2016 suspected attackers

I’ve been suspicious for years of the canned spiel about how terrorism is supposed to make us afraid, limit our freedoms, and cause us to change our way of life.  I don’t buy it.

There are two purposes of terrorism.  One is real, regarding terrorism used by authoritarian states, or organizations on the verge of attaining enough power to become states.  The other is imaginary, based largely on urgings in the Koran, taken out of the context of the Arab army that in fact did conquer vast territory.

In the real one, the freedoms are already gone, taken by the power of the SS, KGB, Mukhabarat, Iraqi Intelligence Service, Bolsheviks, etc.  The facts of your endangerment are also pre-existing.  If you oppose, you and all your family will be killed.  The purpose of public terrorism is to communicate this to you so as to make you easier to control.  But in fact they already do control you.

There are of course “gray” areas where an organization might not have quite that much power, but through terrorism they might scare the populace enough to tip the balance.  This might be the case in Middle East conflicts, for example.

But terrorism in the U.S., France, Brussels, and especially Russia, has no such effect.  The counter-organization that matters, the governmental police and military, are not cowered by terrorism, but rather energized and more fully funded, so it actually strengthens these opposing organizations.  It would be more logical for Islamic Radicals (for example) to increase their numbers first.  Their campaigns of violence are entirely premature and doomed to backfire.  Even to induce huge negative consequences, as when the Bush administration toppled two governments at great cost after the 9/11/2001 attack.

It is well known that there are some 109 verses in the Quran that promote open ended violence (i.e. not limited to a historical context) for no reason other than to attack non-believers (Infidels).  A few of them make it particularly plain how this is connected to “terror” attacks.  For example, who is the target of terror, and why?

Quran 3:151 We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they joined others in worship with Allah, for which He had sent no authority; their abode will be the Fire and how evil is the abode of the Zalimun.

“Others” means anything worshiped other than Allah, e.g. Jesus.  And exactly what is the effect of the terror supposed to be?

Quran 8:57 If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.

In other words, the terror is not directed at the populace exactly, like the terror of Nazism or Stalin-ism.  It is for the purpose of control through fright.  But it is (1) specifically directed at the leaders (those “behind” the people one encounters in war), and not just to frighten into inaction, but to (2) remind them of the certainty of Allah’s punishment.

If such leaders are not inclined to have any belief in Allah or his punishment, then the Quran does not instruct “terror,” but simply that they all be killed.  Because without belief, there is nothing to remind anyone of.

There is a catch-22 here.  In a democracy, the beliefs of the leaders, at least symbolically, reflect the beliefs of the people.  With a large percentage of Muslim voters, one can logically presume that then the leaders would in fact be reminded, and terror would be effective.  For this reason, I support efforts to limit (not restrict altogether, but to limit below the threshold of political significance) Muslim populations in western countries.

If I start a new religion and write a holy book with instructions such as we saw above, and start attracting followers and stockpiling guns, there is no religious freedom granted to such beliefs and activity in the United States.

This has been done.  The Branch Davidians were completely exterminated a few years ago in Waco, just up the road a bit from where I live in Houston, 80+ men,. women and children burned out by tanks mounted with flame throwers.  They did not attack anyone.  They merely defended their property, shooting someone trying to climb in through an upstairs window!  In Texas, that is generally considered a right, to shoot trespassers and burglers.

Another example that comes to mind, not in the U.S. but involving Americans and an American Congressman, was the Jonestown Massacre.  They actually massacred themselves, it turned out, but in any case, after the death of the Congressman they would not have been granted freedom for their religion anywhere in the world.  Except maybe northern Iraq or the border mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is time to quit pussyfooting around with political correctness.  The beliefs of Islam would not be tolerated if restated by a new religious founder.  They violate other people’s right to their own beliefs and culture.  The promises of normal, moderate Muslims of good common sense are not sufficient.  Unless these scriptures are deleted, they will always be there to guide the disaffected toward terror and violence.

There is precedent for a change in a major religion to accommodate the requirements of entry into a free society.  When Utah wanted to become a state, the Mormons “deleted” their belief about polygamy, issuing a new law stating the law of the country superseded this belief.  To follow that model, the change to Islam would have to come from within the leadership of Islam, as it did with the Mormons.  It would not be credible if imposed from without.

I have always wondered if the Mormons gained political control of the U.S. (they have come very close to gaining the presidency), would they be obligated by their religion to change the law to allow polygamy?

Our laws have already been changed to allow sodomy and homosexuality.  Why is polygamy worse?  I view it as more benign.  In fact, if we get enough Muslims and Mormons in the U.S., would they extend the LGBT protections to those practicing polygamy, and legalize plural marriage?  It seems to me they would be ideologically obligated to do so.  I’m not sure I’d object.  But other beliefs, like slavery, and Sharia law, I’d object to strenuously.

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