My lecture this past friday was an amazing success. Held at the prestigious London School of Economics (University of London), I discussed the topic ‘Is Islam the Underlying Cause of Extremism?’. I went through the arguments posed by Islamophobes, politicians and modernists Muslims, that Islam, or some interpretation of it, is the cause of Terrorism. I refuted these claims based upon textual evidence from Islamic sources, the rulings of classical Islamic scholars, and even Osama Bin Laden himself! (who ADMITS that the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) forbade killing non-combatants). So what causes some people who identify as ‘Muslim’ to commit acts of terrorism?
I demonstrated using EXCLUSIVELY academic non-Muslim studies, surveys and analysis into terrorist literature and justifications – that terrorists overwhelmingly justify their cause, not by reference to a ‘war on all infidels’ or ‘to conquer the world’ – but actually as a defensive, deterrent or retaliatory measure against Western foreign policy or the policies of Western-Puppet Muslim regimes. Furthermore, I showed from the same non-Muslim academic studies that terrorists come from no discernible demographic – neither poverty, madhaab (school of thought) or location. However there was ONE key noticeable correlation – the more ignorant or secular a Muslims background, the MORE likely he was to commit acts of terrorism. The more religious, or RELIGIOUSLY educated a Muslims was, the LESS likely he was to commit terrorism. (For all those who like to claim that a particular school of thought is responsible for terrorism, sorry to disappoint you, but these are the results of multiple OBJECTIVE non-Muslim academic studies). For Terrorists who arise in the West who identify as Muslim, the only other feature that predicted likelihood was socially-excluded individuals, or people with poor social skills.
[A good report on such studies can be read here: ‘A Decade Lost: Rethinking Radicalisation and Extremism‘ produced by the Claystone Institute].
The fact is, the only common denominator for terrorists who identify themselves as ‘Muslim’, was merely the identity. Western academics compared Muslim terrorism with other current and historical terrorist movements and concluded that their methods, strategy and justifications were ‘indistinguishable for their secular counterparts’. Muslim terrorism is the result of typical modern identity group politics when reacting to political grievances, not Islamic interpretation. ‘Muslim’ being the cause of sympathy when members of the identity group perceive injustice done towards other members of the group – no different to Irish, Jewish, Catholic, Anarchist, Communist, Feminist (suffragist) and black identities producing violence and terrorism in the past.
The Game Changer
I introduced to the wider public a shocking fact – Western Secular Liberal theory of the ‘Supreme Emergency Exemption’ which according to the leading mainstream of Liberal theory ‘allows’ the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians IF it is deemed necessary to avoid ‘enslavement, destruction of one’s political community or genocide (which is not only defined as wiping out people, but also forced relocation of them)’. To demonstrate how mainstream this opinion was, I cited the foremost leading Liberal Philosophers of War theory and Political Liberalism (i.e. the Western equivalent of Mullah’s and Muftis), John Rawls and Michael Walzer:
“Can soldiers and statesmen override the rights of innocent people for the sake of their own political community? I am inclined to answer this question affirmatively…individuals can not kill other individuals to save themselves, but to save a nation we can violate the rights of a determinate but smaller number of people…We might better say that it is possible to live in a world where [innocent] individuals are sometimes murdered, but a world where entire peoples are enslaved or massacred is literally unbearable. For the survival and freedom of political communities-whose members share a way of life, developed by their ancestors, to be passed on to their children- are the highest values of international society”
Michael Walzer, ‘Just and Unjust Wars: A moral Argument with historical illustrations’
“No government can put the life of the community and all its members at risk, so long as there are actions available to it, even immoral actions, that would avoid or reduce the risk….That is what political leaders are for; that is their first task”
(Michael Walzer,‘Just and Unjust Wars: A moral Argument with historical illustrations’)
“This exemption allows us to set aside—in certain special circumstances—the strict status of civilians that normally prevents their being directly attacked in war…The [Catholic] doctrine of double-effect forbids civilian casualties except insofar as they are the unintended and indirect result of a legitimate attack on a military target. Resting on the divine command that the innocent must never be killed, this doctrine says that one must never act with the intention of attacking the enemy state by the means of taking the innocent lives of its civilians. Political liberalism allows the supreme emergency exemption…The statesman..is a central figure in considering the conduct of war, and must be prepared to wage a just war in defense of liberal democratic regimes”.
John Rawls ‘The law of Peoples’
(Question: Why aren’t such academics arrested on charges of justifying terrorism? What if they had been Muslim making the exact same arguments, would they have received the same non-response?)
I then demonstrated that the ‘logic’ used by Osama bin Laden (yes, he said ‘logic’ was his justification) is INDISTINGUISHABLE from the arguments used by Secular Liberal philosophers. Osama says that the Muslim world is suffering from enslavement, and that it is in a state of emergency, and that the palestinians are suffering from ongoing ethnic cleansing and genocide (not just killing, but forced relocation – which is also the international definition). After quoting a few Secular Liberal philosophers and comparing them to Osama Bin Laden’s quotes – the audience were shocked and amazed. Osama and other terrorists are products of the ‘modern’ world, and adopted Western Secular ‘logics’ in their justifications of their immoral actions – which they perceive as ‘necessary’ for their causes. Quite literally, the only difference between Osama and Western warfare philosophy, is Osama happens not to want to create a Liberal regime. Considering that Nelson Mandela is celebrated as a freedom fighter (with President Obama posing for selfies at his funeral) – despite the fact that Mandela’s group bombed shopping malls, cafes and restaurants killing men, women and children (and even fought other groups on the same side) – it seems the only ‘sin’ in the West is the Ideology you fight for, not the tactics you use.
I will be publishing a more wider literary survey into the ‘Supreme Emergency Exemption’ and Western warfare philosophy, and further demonstrating – just how widely it is accepted – and how it has influenced Western politicians and military strategy throughout history until modern times.
I reiterated throughout, that Islam (and Catholicism!) is more moral than Secular Liberalism, since it NEVER justifies the deliberate targeting of noncombatants, no matter what the emergency – this is because Islam believes that by doing righteousness and trusting in Allah (swt), Muslims will always be victorious and protected from extinction. Our purpose in this life is to be righteous, not merely doing ‘what’s necessary’ as Secular Liberalism advocates – having no hope in a higher power to save them, and so relying on a more material set of calculations – ending up in great evils.
The professor Paul Kelly, who was chairing the event, teaches Political Philosophy at LSE, of course RECOGNISED and ALREADY KNEW about all the ‘Supreme Emergency Exemption’ and how mainstream it was. The Q/A from the audience of mostly non-Muslim attendees was interesting and challenging, and allowed greater depth to be explored. My only regret, was that the Islamophobe Maryam Namazie didn’t turn up to the lecture (which was originally going to be a debate – she originally agreed with conditions, but didn’t end up attending) – I would have preferred a more challenging event.
In conclusion, I posit, that the problem with the Muslim world, is not just shallow thinking and backwardness (which occurred due to the Islamic civilisation peaking in 1500 and becoming gradually lethargic thereafter), but also the adoption of Western Secular Liberal philosophies, which cause Muslims to use false ‘logics’ to justify terrorism and mirror the West in their foul actions at war. Muslim Terrorists are really ‘Muslim’ Modernists. As Osama Bin Laden put it, when asked why he doesn’t follow the Islamic laws prohibiting targeting innocent civilians, he replies ‘ the rules aren’t set in stone’ – A typical Modernist argument…