Terrorists are not warriors with a mission to save society or to help bring about a better way of life for all. Those involved are easily manipulated individuals who are brainwashed to believe one set of beliefs. All other thought is discouraged. There is no room for understanding; such thought patterns are viewed as a weakness, a distraction from the goal. Independent thought is anathema to the organisers of terror.
Religious fanaticism has been with us for a long time and for all the attempts of the fanatics to control society, science and people keep moving along. Western culture has moved substantially from the days of the Spanish Inquisition, from the banishment of Galileo and the burning of witches. The Inquisition tried to force Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity. Even though many did they were then hounded and thousands killed because some Christians believed the ‘conversos’ and ‘moriscos’ were secretly practising their old religion. It is hard nowadays to conceive of such atrocities in the name of God.
Galileo: www.universetoday.com/48756/galileo-facts A brief outline of the man.
Witches: www.bbc.co.uk/i/hi/magazine/8334055.stm A brief histroy
Many aspirations have been built around the perfect dream. Utopia sounds like a wonderful place, depending on who is telling the story. Throughout history the belief in finding a better existence for all has sprung up like an eternal spring and, the promised land is just on the horizon.
Many people did not and do not like the brutality of capitalism and sought change. Thus capitalism was challenged to a duel to the death by that great lover of humanity, Communism. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out and communism became more horrible and nasty than the evil capitalism. The problem is, is that we are not of a single mind. We have different levels of education and that begets different levels of expectation and values. Aspirations are often suckled at the teat.
Capitalism is imbued with an inherent inequality and any belief that true equality can be found within the system is a farcical delusion. The jihadists, in order to reach their religious utopia must first dismantle the capitalist system. Herein lies a paradox, the jihadists accept funding from various sources. In the case of al Shabaab, from the illegal trade of charcoal out of Somalia and from the control of several ports along the Somali coast. (guardian.com – UN)
I am confused by the jihadist outlook; they believe the world’s population can be forced to obey the one Supreme Leader, who will ensure that we avoid anything that corrupts our thinking or causes a distraction from the letter of the Quran. Meanwhile, they are free to commit crime and indulge in a little capitalist enterprise. The word of the Quran says you should not kill a fellow Muslim, but jihadists show little compunction about doing so. In fact the leader of the al Shabaab group on coming to power had several possible internal opponents assassinated.
Moreover, wherever al Shabaab has control they have introduced Sharia law, a draconian and often barbaric law that has witnessed the stoning to death of women accused of adultery. The man has been enticed by the desperate woman into the sexual act and is admonished. Many thieves have lost a hand to the upholding of the law.
There are so many extremes in the jihadist belief system. They have no coordinated approach for achieving a caliphate – a unity of Muslims. And so it was with Communism, so many wanted to be leader, they set up their own independent group – more extreme than the previous lot – and as a result the loaf became just crumbs.
The jihadists perhaps share a common abhorrence of the grasping nature of capitalism. Also the acceptance in the West that women can think for themselves and choose whom to marry, as well as decide whether to have children. In addition, homosexuality is almost universally accepted in the West. Western society is therefore a fatalistic accelerant to some Muslims paternalistic ways.
It is noticeable that those who operate the jihadist groups never put themselves on the frontline. They are prepared to recruit young people, to manipulate and train them, till the youngster is ready to be a suicide bomber or to otherwise wantonly kill. I understand that they want to change society, many do, but attempts to bludgeon your way to changing people’s minds will not work.
You cannot stop change; it would be like switching off the engine of the mind. There are good causes and you can campaign to stop society from tossing out the baby with the bath water. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to listen but beating them over the head won’t help, it will more likely turn them against you and your cause. Think Ghandi, and King, non-violence and they achieved great things.
Moreover, the jihadist dream of a caliphate and the eventual spread of Islam throughout the world won’t happen. Other religions will: “…not go gently into that good night”. Dylan Thomas. The more likely outcome would be the biggest bloodbath in human history and for how long it will rage is a guessing game. People will not be held under a dictatorship for ever as history will attest. I would categorize the jihadist as the ‘Ember Army’.
The fact that jihadist groups are prepared to kill each other tells the honest story. Communism with its many hats became the vision of the leader and not of the philosophy of equality for all. Wherever it was established, it veered wildly from its course and persecuted rather than freed the people. History has many lessons to teach us and one clear lesson is that terrorism has never proved successful in the long term. Jihadists please take note.