Monday, November 16, 2015

Were the Paris Attacks Motivated by Islam?

Including two excellent, brief commentaries by William DiPuccio:
  • More Thoughts on Paris: Are Acts of Terrorism Islamic?
  • Islam's Rule of Numbers —Again

(Anne Sophie Chaisemartin via AP)
In response to the Paris terrorist attacks, political and religious leaders around the globe have been issuing statements. Always rich with condolences, when it comes to actual responses to such horrific levels of bloodshed, the positions are predictably bi-polar: while there are many who urge a decisive and forceful response (even declared, open warfare) against the Islamic State, there are many who choose to declare that the attacks "have nothing to do with Islam."

A few of the more absurd, cognitive dissonant remarks by secular leaders include:

In the Orthodox world, the positions are also very clear. Here are but three samples:

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate:
"The fight against terrorism requires mobilization, first of all spiritual, moral. No one can stay safe in his cozy capitalist philistine world... 
"The age of tolerance, diversity, philosophical indifference and denial of truth [which characterized the 20th century] is over. We need to understand: in the world of ideas, religious and public processes, there is good and evil, there are moral and immoral convictions and ideas, and there are also criminal convictions and views..."

Fr. Tim Curtis, of St Anne’s Orthodox Christian Church in Northampton, UK:
“The people who are committing these attacks are using religion as an excuse. Nothing that they say or do looks like a faith in God. 
“They are not even taught Islam. They are in poverty and are told their children and families will be looked after and educated if they carry out these attacks. They are being sold a lie. 
“This terrorism is not about Islam. It’s about power and poverty.”

Patriarch Ilia II, head of the Georgian Orthodox Church:
“Human beings reveal their hostility and the Islamic has nothing to do with it... There are people who relate these [terrorist acts] to religion, Islam, but in fact religion has nothing to do with it; a person expresses evil will.”

While it might be a comforting thought to believe that Islam "has nothing to do with it," it seems that the purveyors of this position are willfully ignoring the origins of Islam, the example of Muhammad, and the cyclic history of Islam, which repeatedly features the arising of fundamentalist sects (Wahhabi, Salafi, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, etc.) seeking to return to and fully restore the original purity of Islam, basing it exclusively on the Koran and the example of Muhammad, not mixing it with Christian morals and values, nor ameliorating it with appeals to Western values of human rights, morality and tolerance.

It is hard to understand why so many strive to exonerate the religion of Islam from culpability for the methodology of Islamic terrorism. Perhaps it stems from ignorance of Islam's scriptures, teachings, the life of Muhammad, and its long (1400 year) history of violence against non-Muslims, coupled with some vague fear that IF this religion held by 1.5 billion persons on the planet is the root cause behind rising Muslim violence against Christians and other non-Muslims, all around the globe, THEN the conclusion is unthinkable.

Undoubtedly much of this willful blindness is epistemological; Christians and Western leaders project their own virtuous predispositions onto Islam as a whole when they assert that "Islam has nothing to do with terrorism."

The following two brief articles by William DiPuccio (whose excellent 2013 article, Islam and Extremism: What Is Underneath, should be required reading) effectively show exactly why Islam itself is the prime motivator and unchanging constant underlying all Muslim terrorism and violence against non-Muslims:


More Thoughts on Paris: Are Acts of Terrorism Islamic? 
by William DiPuccio, November 15, 2015

“I have been made victorious with terror”—Muhammad (Bukhari 4.52.220) 

Shortly after the 9/11 attack on New York and Washington, Osama bin Laden wrote a manifesto to the West which contained a list of grievances and an invitation/demand to convert to Islam (presumably one of many Muslim invitations). 

Both bin Laden and ISIS have followed the example of Muhammad. Namely, once the invitations to Islam are refused by Jews and Christians, Muslims are commanded to wage holy war against the infidels until they either convert or accept Islamic rule and pay the protection tax (jizya) (Quran 9:29). 

Many of the monstrous acts committed by terrorists today are consistent with Muhammad’s example of cruelty, despite other admirable qualities he may have possessed. (Everything we know about Muhammad comes down to us from Islamic sources.) For the devout Muslim, the teachings and example of Muhammad are definitive (Quran 33:21): 
1. Muhammad attacked Meccan caravans to avenge their rejection of his message (623 AD).  
2. He ordered the assassination of those who criticized or mocked him including poets, women, children, and elderly persons (624 and 630 AD).  
3. He permitted the indiscriminate murder of Jews for a time (624 AD).  
4. He massacred the men of an entire tribe while allowing his soldiers to enslave their children and rape their women (627 AD).  
5. He owned sex slaves and acquired two of his wives as the spoils of war.  
6. He engaged in and permitted torture and mutilation (627 and 628 AD).  
7. Executing Muhammad’s final order, Muslim forces utterly destroyed and plundered the city of Mutah in revenge for the murder of his envoy to Syria. Many captives were taken (632 AD). 

ISIS justifies the indiscriminate killing of women and children, as legally sanctioned retaliation (qisas) for the killing of Muslim civilians (intentional or not) by Western military operations—an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (see, 

Whether or not Muhammad would have approved of this logic can be debated. But one does not have to go to the outer fringes of Islam to justify many of the acts committed by terrorists today.


Islam's Rule of Numbers —Again 
by William DiPuccio, November 14, 2015

"The more Muslims grow in numbers, the more Islamic phenomena intrinsic to the Muslim world—in this case, brazen violence against 'infidels'—appear." —Raymond Ibrahim 

Yesterday’s devastating terrorist attack in France is the second major attack this year, following the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January. As the Muslim population in Western countries—including the U.S.—continues to climb, we can expect to see such attacks increase in frequency (France is 7%-10% Muslim, the U.S. is about 1% Muslim). 

Not all Muslims are violent, of course. But a minority of them are, and they are entangled with the general Muslim population. What this means is rendered academic: Take any mosque, any Muslim neighborhood, or any Muslim demographic group, and it is virtually certain that a small percentage of the sample population will commit violent acts in the name of Islam given opportune circumstances. That is the sobering reality of the 'Rule of Numbers.' 

Pray that our political leaders will have the will and wisdom to recognize and confront this reality. And, pray for the conversion of Muslims everywhere to Christ.