Saturday, October 01, 2005

Is Robert Pape Right?

I bought The Aged this morning for something different to read, and I quickly reminded myself why I don't read it. It's a bloody waste of resources. Time, brain cells, money and paper.

I continued ploughing through, and came to the book reviews. There was one there on a book by Robert Pape about Suicide Terrorism. Now, I've not read the book as it's only just being released, and I still have Robert Spencer, Stuart Robinson and Serge Trifkovic to get through first.

That's okay, but I thought the title looked intriguing, so I've had a bit of a squiz into his book.

According to the review of his book at
FACT: Suicide terrorism is not primarily a product of Islamic fundamentalism.

FACT: The world’s leading practitioners of suicide terrorism are the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka–a secular, Marxist-Leninist group drawn from Hindu families.

FACT: Ninety-five percent of suicide terrorist attacks occur as part of coherent campaigns organized by large militant organizations with significant public support.

FACT: Every suicide terrorist campaign has had a clear goal that is secular and political: to compel a modern democracy to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.

FACT: Al-Qaeda fits the above pattern. Although Saudi Arabia is not under American military occupation per se, one major objective of al-Qaeda is the expulsion of U.S. troops from the Persian Gulf region, and as a result there have been repeated attacks by terrorists loyal to Osama bin Laden against American troops in Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole.

FACT: Despite their rhetoric, democracies–including the United States–have routinely made concessions to suicide terrorists. Suicide terrorism is on the rise because terrorists have learned that it’s effective.

These are pretty definitive factoids. I am the last person to stand up and be counted as an expert or scholar, and there looks to be something in what he says.


(You saw that coming, didn't you?)

What about the London bombers? None of those were members of the bourgoisie, and they were not from countries with a US military presence.

Regarding the Tamils, I don't see any of those flying planes into buildings, ramming dinghies into battleships, blowing up commuters or shooting children in the backs as they flee. Okay, Beslan wasn't strictly a suicide operation, but from where I'm sitting in my comfy suburban home, those actions that are most visible and taking the greatest toll in terms of civilians, both living and dead, are being carried out by muslims.

He is right when he talks about its effectiveness, though.

"American military occupation" is just another excuse to hide the real reasons for the jihad. Even as I am writing this, there was a newsflash on the teev: A bomb went off at Kuta Beach in Bali, and apparently 3 people were injured. Odds on it wasn't the local buddhists or christians setting it off. I don't see any military occupation in Thailand, either, or in China, which is getting concerned about muslim activism in one of its remote provinces.

The common thread through most suicide and other terrorist activism seems to be islam.

I've got this book on my wishlist, and I have one hope for it.

That it doesn't turn out to be yet another straw for the moonbats to clutch at in their denial of the dangers of Islamism.


At 4:08 AM, Blogger John Sobieski said...

FACT: Suicide terrorism is not primarily a product of Islamic fundamentalism.

I don't agree with that at all. Almost all terrorist attacks have to do with the sanctity of dar al-Islam, and the recovery of territory that was dar al-Islam (i.e. Muslims dominated non Muslims) and is now held by dar al-harb (land of war or land of infidels) and must be retrieved (ex. Israel, so. Thailand, so. Philipiines, Andalusia (Spain) Kashmir, west China.) Any country that tries to impede Islam (that would be us) has declared war on Islam and a 'defensive' war, including terrorism inside dar al-harb is justified. Islamists who commit terrorist acts believe their act is just a part of the global advancment of the jihad and expansion of the ummah. That's fundamental to Islam and to categorize each attack by Islamists as 'not fundamental to Islam' is false.

From The Lost Book of Suras - "The John"

1.7 Allah thought he knew for a sec, but now he know not.

John Sobieski, PI
The Pedestrian Infidel Blog

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Caz said...

Yes, this is yet another book that I should not only buy, but read (along with the other pristine books on my shelves).

I'm intrigued by his arguments, but I would also like to understand how he factors OUT the exploitation of Islamic beliefs to convince the impressionable to become suicide bommers. It seems to me that fundamentalism is a leverage into getting people to act politically - it's the soft underbelly; the exploitation of beliefs, and certainly, I would have thought, a very compelling unifier for the believers who are convinced to turn to violence.

However, I would need to read the book to see how, or if, he gets around these factors.

So many books, so little time.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

Caz, if you ever want to swap books or compare notes, you can always let me know.

I have a small ambition to purchase copies of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades and give them to libraries on a regular basis. I reckon every couple of months or so should be okay. The more word is disseminated, the faster we get educated.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Veiled Ninja said...

I'm wondering why Nilknarf is always hanging it on the 'Islamic terrorists' when by doing this, you are perhaps causing even more of a divide between Muslims and non-Muslims (as if that isn't already enough of a problem).

The only solution that I can see is that us true Muslims (who aim for peace just like the rest of the world), start cracking these psycho so-called Muslims into line, and let them know that KILLING innocent people and TERRORISM is against everything all of the Prophets conveyed (starting from Adam, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, just to name a few).

I don’t see how your posts are helping anything Nilknarf. Please explain.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Nilk said...

VN, while I respect your right to believe what you will, and practise what you wish (so long as it doesn't harm others), there are a lot of your fellow travellers who do not respect my right to the same.

These are the elements that you consider to be on the fringes of Islam, but the deafening silence when it comes to the condemnation of acts such as 9/11 (which Osama Bin Laden claimed responsibility for), the hostage atrocity in Beslan a year ago, where children were shot while fleeing muslim 'extremeists', and an avowed policy of pursuing world domination at all costs leads me to believe otherwise.

The divide that is there between muslims and non-muslims has always been there. My tiny blog will not add to that unless, of course, someone chooses to be influenced by my words.

God gave us free will to choose our pathways, and we all find our way back to Him, whether in this existence or afterwards.

The 'so-called' muslims who perpetrate these acts regard themselves as being in accordance with the Quran and the Hadiths, the same as you.

How can you pull them into line if you are all reading the same book?

And with regards to being to blame for other peoples' issues within their faith and community, surely there has to be room for the responsibilities that come with your life choices?

Veiled Ninja, what should I read that would open my eyes to the beauty of the Quran? Provide me with a list of things I need to educate myself. I would be more than happy to give you my copy of Robert Spencer's book Islam Unveiled, if I knew you would read it.

For the record, I'm not interested in converting you. I am interested in educating myself. A long time ago, God wrapped His hand around my heart, and everything changed. Nobody can change what you believe; it comes from within.

At 1:17 AM, Blogger Veiled Ninja said...

Forgive me for my late reply. I have been preoccupied with hospital visits :)

These so-called Muslims who perpetrate these disgusting acts and claim to be doing them "in the name of Allah" are most likely going to be sent to hell for committing such atrocities (and Allah knows best).

The biggest mistakes people do when reading the Quran are, 1. they may single out a verse without reading what the verse says before it (previous verse) or after it (latter verse) hence taking it out of its context and misunderstanding it, 2. they will read the Quran alone and not refer to the volumes of 'Tafsir' (Explanation/Commentary on the Quran that further explain the Quran’s meaning and should be read ALONGSIDE the Quran), 3. They will view the Quran alone and not read Hadiths (traditions of Prophet Muhammed), because generally the Quran will give a snapshot view on a topic, yet it is through Prophet Muhammed’s life practises that we follow and understand in further depth. It says in the Quran "And whatsoever the messenger giveth you, take it. And whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain (from it). And keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is stern in reprisal" Quran, Chapter Al-hashr, Verse Seven. Also, 4. People may choose unauthentic Hadiths that have not been approved by various sources, hence their chain of narration is weak.

Of course if people are seeking to perform an evil act that is following their own desires, they are going to pick and manipulate whatever verses they can get a hold of and try to justify their actions (whether that be for their own psychotic reassurance, or to help build some kind of fan base from fellow extremists).
The level of investigation into some religious matters differs from one subject to another. With some subjects, everyone will understand what is being conveyed, whereas with other topics, more rigorous study is necessary to understand completely (ie. to look into it further than just by reading the verse from the Quran). Lots of Muslims and non-Muslims alike who have little knowledge into certain Islamic topics, will race ahead, and with unauthentic Hadiths, or unexplained verses of the Quran, will think they can put up an argument. They simply cannot. Well not fairly anyway.

So in reading the Quran, if ever I don’t understand something, I will seek further clarification and not just take it for face value (whether my clarification comes from my trustworthy and knowledgeable uncle, reading Tafsir, or reading authentic Hadith). Islam encourages people to "Read" (that was the first word that was revealed to Prophet Muhammed by Angel Gabriel), seek knowledge, and NOT follow faith blindly. We are encouraged to THINK and only Then BELIEVE, not the other way around. In fact, Prophet Muhammed made education and learning an obligation on every Muslim. Reflection upon knowledge and Allah’s signs is also important. "Those who remember God while standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the Earth: 'Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain!' " (Quran 3:191).

As to verses that would open your eyes to the beauty of the Quran, it really depends on topics that interest you. There are beautiful verses in relation to various Prophets, including Jesus. Also in relation to Paradise. But there is one chapter, which is considered the ‘heart’ of the Quran, and it is my favoutite, namely: "Yasin". I hope this link works:
If not, do a search for "Yasin" or "Yaseen" in Google. It isn’t a super 'pretty' chapter, it doesn’t make everything all sugary with roses and bows or anything :P I think it is more of a wake-up call chapter more like it, a wake up to me every time I read it anyway! If you are after specific help on a particular topic, email me at and I'll try to help.

In regards to the book Islam Unveiled, I have to be honest and say that yes I would like to read it, but not just now seeing I have too much on my plate right now. I can perhaps borrow it at a library or buy it online. I will definitely look into it though. That is a promise.

And lol, I know you aren’t trying to convert me, as I am not trying to convert you. Active dialogue, that is always the best way. It gets the mind ticking at the least :)

Take care,

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Francis H said...

Hi Nilknarf - good to visit your blog - interesting stuff

I find amusing the current academic left attempts to disengage muslim-based terrorism from religion. Mainly because the left have, for decades, decried religion as the root of most conflict over the past several thousand years. It seems all conflicts except the current - that is all about politics and military occupation.


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