The Islamic Post Blog

Why Have Most Victims of Suicide Bombings Been Muslims? by Khalida

By Khalida Khaleel
Islamic Post Staff Writer

The Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), has said:
“Verily, I fear about a man from you who will read the Qur’an so much that his face will become enlightened and will come to personify Islam.
“This will continue until Allah wishes, when these things will be taken away from him; as he will disregard them by putting them all behind him and attack his neighbor with the sword accusing him of polytheism (shirk).
The Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon him, was asked, ‘Which of the two was the mushrik (the one committing shirk), the attacker or the attacked?’ The Holy Last Messenger (may the peace of Allah be upon him) replied, ‘The attacker (the one accusing the other of shirk).’” *

An article appeared recently in the Oxford Journals entitled, “The Role of Religion in the Generation of Suicide Bombers,” in which author Dr. Sadik H. Kassim asserted, after thorough research, that although terrorist acts “suggest an inter-civilizational conflict between Islam and the West, the primary casualties of which are non-Muslim civilians,” Muslims have become the disproportionate victims of terrorism.
Between 1993 and 2003, according to a U.S. Senate hearing on terrorism, most of the victims of terrorist attacks over the last decade have been Muslims. They were killed by those who –having a dubious interpretation of Islam– accused their victims of being mushrik.
Over 2000 Muslims have died in the last year in attacks perpetrated by the misguided who believe that it is meritorious to kill their Muslim brethren.
Journalist, Mustafa Qadri, in his article, “The Taliban’s War Against Muslims,” interviewed a Taliban supporter. The man, a common rickshaw driver, claimed the people killed or injured by the Taliban “deserved their fate,” and that, “According to our faith, those who do not obey Islam are no longer Muslim; and it is lawful to kill them.”
History of an ideology.
A man named Ibn Abdul Wahhab, who lived in the mid 1700s in Saudi Arabia, was the first in modern times to proclaim the lives and property of mainstream Muslims lawful to take, and to condemn large groups of Muslims as polytheists. In the wake of the tyranny he propagated, which had no basis in the religion of Islam, the Ottoman empire was destroyed.
Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s ideology was not quite new, however. He was preceded in his thought by the Khawarijis (eng. Kharjites), 7th century rebel mutineers who believed, and behaved, much the same as their current day counterparts.
While the rickshaw driver refers to the Taliban as “holy warriors,” and “true Muslims,” authors Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey, in a research article published in The Washington Quarterly in 2006 entitled, “The Madrasa Scapegoat,” found that, out of the worst anti-Western terrorist acts committed between 1993 and 2004, only 11% of those found responsible had completed any sort of Islamic schooling required to embark upon the path of becoming an Islamic scholar.
Despite this fact, the image of such mutineers has been greatly enhanced via the large media houses who casually refer to Wahhabis, in particular, as: “puritanical,” “strict,” “ultra-orthodox,” “fundamentalist,” and “Sunni.”
Yet, it is well known that Ibn Abdul Wahhab, for whom this group is named, openly shunned the work of authentic Sunni scholars.
However, it is an unfortunate understatement to say that political movements often hide behind the cloak of religion.
Robert Pape in his book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Bombing, cataloged and analyzed every suicide attack committed between the years 1980 and 2003 and found that out of 315 attacks, religion was not the root cause of a single one. On the contrary, while the top three groups who instigated suicide bombings during the 23 year period followed a religion: the Tamil Tigers (Hindu- 69 attacks); Hezbollah (Shiite and Christian, also Atheist/Communist- 36); Al Qaeda (Wahhabi- 21); all of the suicide bombings were found to be politically, not religiously, motivated.
If there is a civilization clash, it is not between Islam and the West, but the friction between trying to make political extremism conform to religious teachings.
* Hafiz Imam Abu Yala (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) narrated this saying from the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (may the peace of Allah be upon him), in his Musnad, with the chain going back to the companion of Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), Sayyedina Huzaifa (may Allah be pleased with him). The classification of this Hadith is Jayyid (having strong authenticity).


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