Many try to define the recent wave of terror attacks “not Islam.” That would demand classifying the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Shabab, Boko Haram, Al Qaida, Taliban, ISIS and the Ayatollahs as “not Islam.” Almost all the terror attacks have been accompanied by shouts of “Allah Akhbar.”
One could say that there is a difference between “moderate” Islam and “extremist” Islam. That is a legitimate discussion. There are certainly different streams within Christianity and Judaism. Some would say that moderate Islam is the “real” Islam with the extremists as a perversion; others would say just the opposite, that the extremists are the “real” Islam with the moderates a watered-down version.
In any case, a moderate Muslim community is necessary in most situations in order for the extremist elements to take root. The pattern is normally:
- Moderate Islamic community, then
- Extremist Islamic indoctrination, then
- Terrorist attacks.
Terrorism must be preceded by extremist indoctrination; extremist indoctrination must be preceded by a moderate community.
Some moderate Muslims fiercely oppose Islamic radicalism. Let’s call them: Adversaries.
Some moderate Muslims openly favor Islamic radicalism: Let’s call them Advocates.
Many moderates are being used and abused by Islamic radicalism: Let’s call them Victims.
All three types of moderates, Adversaries, Advocates and Victims, whether they mean to or not, will end up being manipulated by the radicals; unless strong educational, legal and security measures are taken.
The measures against terror must be the same for groups from any background. There are a few small Jewish groups in Israel that advocate terror activity; they must be and are treated as illegal by the Israeli government. Any group advocating terror is criminal. However, were we to count all the terrorist activity from Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Jewish groups in the last ten years, I doubt we would arrive at 1% of what is perpetrated by Islamic extremists.
Some have said that the problem with the terror attacks is the lack of gun control. Gun control may be a factor, but if that were the root of the problem, then Twin Towers attack would have been a problem of pilot licensing; and the current wave of knife attacks and beheadings would be a problem of kitchen utensils.
The recent video clip, showing the young girls trying to become Shaheed-martyrs, highlights the dilemma for security forces. The policy is simple: an attacker should be killed only when representing a threat to other lives. The application of that rule can be complicated.
In Israel we have terrorist attacks every single day. Last week there was an attack 100 meters from our grandchildren’s kindergarten; then within one hour at the highway junction leading to one of our children’s home. The young girls in the video had just moments before stabbed an innocent Arab man in the neck. One of the two was killed and the other only injured before being taken into custody.
Many videos show seemingly normal people, including women and teenagers, pulling out knives suddenly and stabbing security guards without any immediate provocation. The point of the video about the young girls was that they had only one goal: to become martyrs. In another incident recently, a terrorist killed 3 people and then was captured alive. He wept because he had failed to cause himself to be killed as a martyr. There was no remorse for murder; just remorse that he didn’t achieve Jihad paradise.
A common theme behind all Jihad and terror activity is the hatred of Israel. It may well be that the California attack was prompted by the arguments of a Christian “Messianic Jew” who defended both his faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah and his support of the nation of Israel. He was the real martyr.