Who Is to Blame for Terrorism?

Monday, 03 May 2010 02:14 PM

By Tawfik Hamid

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The recent terrorist attempt in New York’s Times Square, possibly conducted by Islamist terrorists, and the global nature of Islamic terrorism in the last few decades raises an important question: Who is to blame for these acts of terror?

Let us assume that a father teaches a child to hate his neighbor. Years pass and the child becomes a young adult full of hatred toward this neighbor leading to the end scenario where the young man kills his neighbor.

Shall we blame only the child for killing the neighbor or shall we also blame the person (or people) who taught him how to hate?

Is it acceptable to ignore the role of the teaching person in this process of killing? The same applies to terrorism. Shall we blame only the terrorists who conduct the attacks or also blame those who taught them how to hate ‘others’?

It is easy to blame only the terrorists for the attack. However, deep analysis of the problem reveals a better understanding and allows for better answers to such questions.

Looking back on the Nazi regime and its barbaric inhumane atrocities against the Jews illustrates the dynamics of evil. This type of cruelty has set an example to understand Islamic terrorism and who is to blame.

The following people should be held responsible for contributing to the atrocities of Nazis:

1. Adolf Hitler and those who taught the ideology of hate.

2. The system that allowed an ideology such as the Nazi party to flourish.

3. The soldiers who conducted the killing of the innocents.

4. Those who stayed silent until millions of people were killed.

5. Those who encouraged the Holocaust by verbal or logistical support.

Similarly, in the case of Islamist terrorism the following must be held accountable:

1. Those who promote religiously based ideology of hatred toward non-Muslims. It is easy to detect a level of hatred in many mainstream Islamic books and media sources.

2. The Islamic systems that adopted, encouraged, and supported such negative forms of teaching in the last few decades. These include many radical mosques and Islamic schools. The role of the Wahhabi regimen of Saudi Arabia in promoting such an ideology should not be ignored.

3. The terrorists who accepted such teachings of hatred and materialized it into violence.

4. The passive attitude of many in the Muslim world against the terrorists.

5. Those who abused the values of liberty and allowed the ideology of hate to grow under the banner of religious freedom.

All of the above are to blame and should be held responsible for the problem of Islamic terrorism as each has contributed to the growth of this phenomenon.

Individual terrorists play the role of the soldiers who killed the Jews during the Nazi era. It is not enough to blame only the soldiers without blaming the leaders of the system and those who promoted the ideology of hatred.

Similarly, it is unreasonable not to hold accountable those scholars and Islamic systems that preach, teach, or promote hatred toward non-Muslims. Stopping the hatred is the first step toward ending terrorism.

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