Cham article on terorrism and islam

Cham article on terorrism and islam - Journal of Religion...

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Journal of Religion and Popular Culture Volume X: Summer 2005 Seeking the Roots of Terrorism: An Islamic Traditional Perspective Mbaye Lo Cleveland State University Kent State University Abstract This article analyzes the associational relationship between Islam and terrorism as embedded in the current popular culture. Two questions are examined: (a) whether from a historical and political perspective current organizations that are terror threats and Bin Laden are natural outgrowths of the Islamic tradition; (b) whether the Muslim popular tradition has historically interpreted some Qur'anic terms such as Jihad and Kuffar "allegedly infidels" to promote hate and violence against non-Muslims. In view of this discussion, the article suggests that the current terror treats is due to the politicization of the Muslim faith, rather than rooted in Islamic teachings. Introduction: Scope and Thesis [1] The aim of this article is twofold. First, to address whether from a historical and political perspective, current organizations that are terror threats and Osama Bin Laden, the founder and spiritual leader of al-Qaeda, are natural outgrowths of Islamic tradition. Second, to survey the understanding of the terms Kuffar, Jihad and the concept of non- Muslims in the Muslim popular tradition. Finally, the article illustrates that the roots of terrorism is in the misinterpretation and politicization of Islam. [2] In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a popular trend of thought quickly emerged that Islam is the root of terrorism. A range of religious leaders, academicians and public intellectuals subscribe to this theory. For example, Franklin Graham, a popular evangelical leader, told NBC News that Islam is a "very evil and wicked religion. When you read the Qur'an and you read the verses from the Qur'an, it instructs the killing of the infidel, or those that are non-Muslim.''1 Another religious leader and broadcaster, Pat Robertson, is the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), asserted that upon reading the Qur'an, he found Islam "not a peaceful religion that wants to co-exist."2 Bernard Lewis, professor of history at Princeton University seized the opportunity to use the event of September 11 as proof of his long held-theory that there is a "clash of civilization" between Islam and the West.3 Daniel Pipes, a columnist for the New York Post and Jerusalem Post , equated converts to Islam with converts to violence.4 He considers collective Islamic organizations the same as terrorist groups who have been promoting "violence against the
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U.S. for more than two decades." Another writer, Jonah Goldberg of the New Republic, describes Islam as "alien, sometimes medieval, and often corrupt, theoretical fascism."5 [3] With such strong beliefs that Islam is the source of terrorism, one might ask what evidence associates Islam with terrorism? The relevant literature centres on two types of evidence: empirical and relational. First, more than two-thirds of the terrorist organizations on the U.S. State Department's terrorist list are linked with Islam. These
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