The Root Causes of Islamic Terrorism

Causes are sometimes easy to understand but difficult to resolve. We ask ourselves and political leaders many questions including, what is terrorism? What are the determinants behind their attacks? “Terrorism is an outrageous attack carried out either by individuals, groups or states against a human being’s religious life, intellect, property, and honor.

It includes all forms of intimidation, harm, threatening, killing without just cause and everything connected with any form of armed robbery, hence marking pathways insecure, banditry, every act of violence or threatening intended to fulfill a criminal scheme individually or collectively, so as to terrify and horrify people by hurting them or by exposing their lives, liberty, security or conditions to danger; it can also take the form of inflicting damage on the environment or on a public or private utility or exposing a national or natural resource to danger.

The definition, mentioned by the Muslim World League Journal, sounds pretty similar to the most recent attack on the U.

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S. . On the day of 9/11, Al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist organization, hijacked four planes. They succeeded in their mission, putting America in fear and panic, after crashing two planes into the world trade center, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in rural Pennsylvania. There were no survivors from any of the flights and many more perished after the infrastructures destruction from the crashes.

Unfortunately, as Americans, the first idea that comes to mind, and we did, is to wage war against the state that attacked. Although there are many pros and cons to the war in Iraq and sending troops to the Middle East, but what if our government took a different approach? What if they took the time to investigate the origin and root causes of their attack? Our government took little time and lesser thought to do so and in order to reach the root causes of Islamic terrorism; we must rely on history and current events, to study the economic, political, cultural, and religious factors.

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At the end of the 15th century, Islamic societies stood at an economic, political, and cultural peak. Islam contained vast wealth along its advanced philosophy, science, and technology. Islam’s militaries and trade networks had breached through many parts of the world spreading its culture from the Atlantic coast through the southern Mediterranean, North Africa to the Middle East, and Southeast Asia towards parts of China. Oppositions were mainly resisted, but The Crusades affected a small part of the Islamic world. After the Mongolian invasion of Baghdad, Islam fully recovered economically and politically.

However, religious conservatism became a major influence upon Islamic culture. Later on, Europe began its renaissance based on the traditions of Islam. Little did its people know, Islam was on the verge of detachment. Christian filled Europe during the 15th century was poor, ignorant, politically disunited, and less developed than Islamic society. Despite the negative characteristics at the time European gains were soon to be made after Spanish imperialism moved to the new world in 1492, and the defeat of the Spanish armada in 1588.

European commerce expansion moved from Mediterranean to the Atlantic to soon reveal the forces of capitalism. The fall of the Ottoman Empire would mark the decline of Islamic authority. As Europe juxtaposed with America forming two major capitalistic and industrialist nations, Islam had become a nation of borderline states. Today, the development of conflicts between western nations and Islamic societies continue and are still considered as a major concern. What can influence and force people to revolt, recruit, strategize, and carry out such deviant acts?

Money can be seen as the oxygen of terrorism and the existence of it causes terror. Desperate poverty amongst Muslims is a major cause for the surge in Islamic terrorism. Today, there is a wide perception that terrorist ideology is rapidly spreading as the poor find a sense of hope in the simplistic ideas. The generalization of poverty being a root cause remains but when studying the backgrounds of many terrorists a different opinion can be made. Factual data proves that Islamists, mainly militants, derive from the urban middle class, financially mobile, and usually contain a good education.

But the funding of these extremist is what activates the planning and procedure of these terroristic attacks. Islamic terrorism seeks and receives funding from many sources including drugs, money laundering, alternative economies, and most known charities. The production and transportation of drugs provides groups like al-Qaeda with future opportunities to attack soft targets in Africa including United States, French, Israeli, and UK embassies along with targets in Europe.

Ordinarily, criminal or terrorist organizations produce funds and outside capital to soon be transferred to money launderers and disguised to be entered into the financial system avoiding detection. Another approach many terrorist organizations is the profiting and development from an alternative economy. Its estimated income at $2 trillion per year is more than enough to recruit, train and launch terror operations at their own desire. One method that makes terrorist organizations untouchable, mainly because of the reluctance of many countries to scrutinize their activities, is the financial source of charities.

With limited information political authorities struggle to distinguish legitimate charities for benevolent or legal causes and those that are unknowingly used by terrorist to impede funds and engage the support of their attacks. Although the economy and capital, whether foreign or domestic, funds the welfare and the actions of these groups, what is their motif behind their planned and completed attacks? When this factor is mentioned upon any topic, we want to shut off our hearing or think about last night’s baseball game and carry on with the original opinion we had.

Politics plays a major role upon all foreign affairs whether ugly or pleasant. Islamic terrorism is known to conserve Islam in opposition to political influence of non-Muslims and the Western world in particular. Some may argue that Islamic terroristic attacks are stemmed from modern democracies and the mobilization of military forces on their territories of “homeland. ” But, many could agree that terrorist attacks are not only about causing fear on the nation attacked, but to accomplish a political objective.

Today, as Islamic extremists operate under a “religious” banner, they have the goal of creating a worldwide Islamic empire and to unite all Muslims. Fundamentalists do this by means of distorting Islamic teaching and labeling a common enemy being the western culture of democracy, capitalism, and individualism. As western powers continue the attempt to establish democracies in Muslim countries, political violence, most likely terrorism, will continue. In Islam, the stubbornness and long lasting resistance of modernity traces back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

The attempt of modernization or westernization directly clashes with its culture. Fueling the fires of conflict, is when Muslim states attempt to introduce the steps to modernity, extremists and/or terrorists feel that their people are not beneficiaries, but victims. The extremists share the perception that American culture has polluted Islamic values and traditions. Upon research, teenage Muslims seem to be intrigued by western culture, but are ashamed of being intrigued.

Not only do the teenagers suffer, Islam as a whole suffers humiliation by the western world because of Islam’s 12th century decision to reject reform and the infiltration of westernization leaving the Islamic world less technologically and economically developed and more importantly, less powerful. It can be inferred, since the resistance of modernization, most of the Muslim world fell short, therefore falling victim to European and American Imperialism. Currently, even after the age of imperialism of the 19th and 20th centuries, power states continue to possess and hunt the Middle East for natural resource arsenals.

Today, many people of the Muslim world view the U. S. as the modern villain, being the world power broker. “This is not about the poverty of money. This is about the poverty of dignity and the rage it can trigger” Thomas Friedman applies the poverty of Islam into the fuel and drive of its radicals in his editorial, A Poverty of Dignity and a Wealth of Rage. These opinions and past Islamic history continue to draw the emotions of anger, despair, and hopelessness, sprouting the seeds of terrorism.

Although the determinant of faith is irritatingly repetitive in today’s media, it can hardly be argued that a large share and the most devastating of terrorist attacks in recent years have been enacted in the name of Islam. Many would believe Western analyzers are mentally incompetent, when reading the statement by Shmuel Bar’s statement, “…are hesitant to identify such acts with bona fide teachings of one of the world’s greatest religions and prefer to view them as a perversion of a religion that is essentially peace-loving and tolerant. The truth is, all religions teach hatred, what matters is the standard of the religion and this depends on how its followers digest the scriptures and lessons of their faith. For Islamic extremists and followers of the jihad, they must be reading the anarchist cookbook disguised with a Koran cover. In the case of Islamic terrorism, there is enough to justify the support and practice of terrorism. For example, in Pakistan, terrorism is an essential part of military strategy and it receives inspiration from the Koran. Pakistani leaders defend this by their belief the Jihad to be obligatory in their faith.

Some may believe suicide bombing is un-Islamic, but it’s simply a matter of how someone interprets and understands the religion. Although this should’ve ended decades ago, another major problem in Islam and Islamic countries is the ruling paradigm is gravitating towards violence. The peaceful and enlightened voices are losing in the stand against terrorism and its defense of the holy Koran. The Koran continues to serve as the guide and justification for violent acts against infidels and oppressors ever since the death of Muhammad in 632 C. E. . Muhammad’s concept of a holy war or Jihad derives from his interpretation of the Koran. He believed those who follow the Jihad will receive the satisfaction and rewards in heaven. Muhammad’s belief lives today, as the Islam Jihad recruits young men and basing its terror strategy on the willingness of these young people, they will lay down their lives for what they see as divine command. The recruits perform these suicides, not out of coercion, but from their own will and belief in their god.

Upon the comparison of all Islamic terrorist organizations, they all share a main ideology, to espouse holy war against oppressors and disbelievers who fight against Islam. Unfortunately, many non-Muslims, U. S. citizens, and ego embalmed politicians fail to acknowledge or even educate themselves on the facts of the struggling Islamic world. This corrupted and under developed state continues to suffer under the observation of its extremist leaders, and once its long lasting traditions and values are violated by western powers, extremists on the defensive play against the offensive west.

As citizens, we believe someone has to speak soft and carry a big stick. This reason being why many of us understand, support and agree with the American government’s minimal tolerance against international terrorism and where it formulates from. Terrorism and foreign policy is a lifetime game of diplomacy. If we declare our enemy to be terrorism, we fail to see the real enemy. In the case of Islamic terrorism, the enemy is militant Islam, who possesses the goal to destroy democratic institutions and remove our freedoms.

Our national security is dealing with a major threat and just because the Islamic word is interpreted in a different way, no American should have to witness another 9/11. The capabilities of Islamic terrorism are endless and the conflict continues ever since America first encountered Islamic Extremists during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. As long as the factors of economic degradation as well as the alienation of social, political, and cultural issues continue, Islamic terrorism will continue to live and breathe for the next few decades, if not centuries.

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The Root Causes of Islamic Terrorism. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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