WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF TERRORISM? Read the short answer here. I've been trying to find an answer to that question since September 11th. I started CitizenWarrior.com shortly after the towers came down. I wanted to create a clearinghouse for information related to the cause of terrorism and have gotten a tremendous amount of help from people all over the world. I've studied everything relevant I could get my hands on. But an enormous clarity arrived when I read the book, The Sword of the Prophet: Islam; History, Theology, Impact on the World, If there is one book that can give you a clear understanding of the cause of terrorism — especially the cause of Islamic terrorism — it is this book.
The author is Serge Trifkovic, PhD, who was a broadcaster and producer with the BBC World Service and the Voice of America. He has seen a lot and gotten inside stories of world events. And then he turned his knowledge, experience, and intelligence to the question: What is the cause of terrorism?
What he discovered is really surprising, or at least it was to me. According to him, the holy book of the Muslims contains explicit directions for its faithful followers to wage unending war against nonbelievers. (This is also something several other writers have said, including an ex-Muslim, which you can read here.) I am not an expert on Islam, but if what these people are saying is true, it explains much of what seems confusing about world events, and would be important for people in the free world to know.
"Killing or, in the case of Jews and Christians, enslaving and robbing them, was not only divinely sanctioned but mandated," reports Trifkovic. But, he says, Muslims will tell you in public this is not true. So who should you believe?
You could read the Koran yourself. Then you wouldn't have to believe anybody. Just read the book and decide for yourself. You can read the Koran online. If Trifkovic is right, the cause of terrorism isn't a secret. The source book is published and available and terrorists have even told us where we can find it. They quote the Koran constantly. You can literally go down to your local bookstore and get one. At my local bookstore they have eleven English versions of the book for sale. These are not anti-Muslim copies. They are for the faithful followers of Allah. I bought one and I've been reading it. I have found no contradictions with Trifkovic. He seems to be telling the truth about the Koran.
According to many writers, not only is Trifkovic correct, but Muslims will tell you otherwise because that is also commanded in the Koran. Deceiving unbelievers about your intentions is fair in war, and Islam is apparently always at war with unbelievers.
One thing I've noticed is that the Koran is not vague. The writings are not couched in metaphors or stories, like many other religious books. It was written by a single author and is very straightforward. And all the English translations are almost identical.
If all this is true, this should be frightening to the free world. Apparently, the reason none of us non-Muslims know this stuff is that a group of dedicated Muslims have carefully manipulated the way Islam is presented by the media in the free world. (Read more about that in the book, The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism, by Stephen Schwartz.) This is apparently one of their tactics of war: Fooling the enemy and misrepresenting Islam's intentions until it is too late.
Islamic terrorists know their enemy very well. They have used the free world's respect for all religions and our belief in freedom of religion against us. They have used our commitment to free speech and human rights against us. They know us very well, but most of us don't know anything about them. In a very real sense, our ignorance is the cause of terrorism. Islamic terrorists have been able to wage their holy war on our soil because of our ignorance of what they're doing. And the most important thing you can do to remove the cause of terrorism is to remove the ignorance — in other words, share what you know with people (and this article).
Obviously, the answer is not to wage war against all Muslims. The majority of Muslims are peace-loving people who ignore and explain away the Koran's commands to make war on unbelievers. According to one Muslim author, Irshad Manji in her book, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith, what needs to happen is for the majority of these moderate Muslims to publicly admit the Koran isn't perfect. Once that becomes an established fact, the cause of terrorism will be substantially weakened. She says the absolute authority of the Koran is what sustains the terrorists' fervor. That is exactly what sustained the Christians in their Crusades and Inquisitions. As long as nobody says the emperor wears no clothes — as long as people can't admit their holy book is not perfect (not the absolute word of God) — people can kill with holy zeal. It looks like that is the cause of terrorism ultimately.
This doesn't get the West off the hook about other things. We need to stop supporting non-democratic governments, for example. And we need to continue supporting the spread of women's rights and human rights and democratic freedoms around the world. But that is not the cause of terrorism. If the free world remained ignorant of the source of the terrorists' holy zeal (unaware that their religious book is political in nature and recommends doing away with unbelievers), we would still be blind, and all our efforts to satisfy terrorists' "demands" would only strengthen their cause, not weaken it.source of the confusion
You hear the terrorists quoting the Koran so you think the Koran must be about killing unbelievers. Then you hear moderate Muslims quote the Koran and it sounds like the book is about compassion and forgiveness. Why does the Koran offer conflicting quotations? Most Americans, I think, write it off by saying, "Well the Bible contains conflicting quotes too." And that is definitely true. Perhaps it is true of any large collection of writings. But the Koran is different than the Bible in a way I think non-Muslims should be aware of. The Bible was written by many different people at many different times. The Koran, however, was written entirely by a single author.
So the question is, why would a single author put conflicting passages in his book?
Here's how it happened. First understand that the Koran is a collection of the revelations Mohammad received from the angel Gabriel who was giving Mohammad Allah's message. When Mohammad first received his revelations, they were full of compassion and love and peace and goodwill. At that time Mohammad lived in Mecca, a large city. The population of Mecca didn't immediately convert to Islam in large numbers. A few did, but the rulers of Mecca didn't really like any threats to their authority, so they gave Mohammad a lot of trouble. Mohammad eventually moved with a few of his followers to another city. There Mohammad was able to gain a larger following. He eventually ruled that city and then made war on Mecca and eventually ruled Mecca too.
Meanwhile, the revelations kept coming. Until Mohammad died, he would get a revelation every once in awhile. After his death they were all bound into a book. That's the Koran. As Mohammad gained power, the revelations changed in nature. They were more about conquering and ruling and less about tolerance and compassion. That's why in a single book written by one man you find conflicting passages. Ideally, the way believers would handle the conflict is to simply take what is best and leave the rest. That is what most Muslims do, although they probably feel guilty about it since the Koran is supposed to be the undisputed, perfect word of Allah, and it is a sin to think otherwise (that is apparently also written in the Koran, although I haven't gotten to that part yet).
The head religious men of Islam have an official policy for handling the many conflicting passages in the Koran, according to Mark Gabriel (who was a university professor of Islamic history in Egypt). The Islamic religious leaders don't deny that there are conflicting passages in the Koran. They say, "Where two passages conflict, the later one overwrites the earlier one." That is the consensus of the Islamic scholars, according to Mark Gabriel. If this is true, it is bad news because it means that the authorities have said essentially, the intolerant, jihad-oriented passages overwrite the verses you hear quoted by the moderate Muslims in the media. Yes, the Koran says those things. They are quoting accurately, but those quotes are not valid when they are overruled by a later quote that nullifies them.
In the earlier passages, which Mohammad wrote while still in Mecca, you'll find words of tolerance and respect for Jews and Christians (but for nobody else except fellow Muslims). Later passages are, according to these authors, filled with hatred and vengeance on Jews and Christians. Now the Muslims themselves who are waging jihad against the West use those earlier, peaceful, tolerant passages to hide their intentions, to throw our population off their scent, to introduce confusion while secretly committing hate crimes, just as Mohammad did, against Jews especially and Christians secondarily. Or actually first against people who are none of those three religions.
In the book, The Sword of the Prophet, Trifkovic writes about a battle in the city of Medina at the time of Mohammad. The Muslims were victorious and Mohammad offered the men conversion to Islam as an alternative to death; upon their refusal, up to 900 were decapitated at the ditch, in front of their women and children." The revelations in the Koran were changing at this time, and they justified the destruction of the Jews.
I'm not a Jew or a Christian. I have no vested interest in saying one religion is better than another. But I'm an American, and the content of the Koran, at least in the hands of fanatical believers, seems to be dangerous to our freedom and well-being. As long as we remain ignorant of this possibility, we are vulnerable because we won't protect ourselves as they infiltrate our country and pour their oil money into "Muslim public relations." Meanwhile their numbers within our borders grow, and the situation becomes increasingly worrisome.
In the Koran, a later passage says, "When we decide to destroy a population, we send a definite order to them who have the good things in life and yet transgress; so that Allah's word is proved true against them: then we destroy them utterly."
The Koran is considered by many people in the Middle East as the perfect, absolute word of the Creator. What does a true believer do with a clear command like this?
You saw what they will do on September 11th. "Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them." So says the Koran. "So let it be so," say many (but thankfully not all) of its followers.
In his book, Trifkovic gives you the quotes from the Koran and he tells you where you can find the quotes. Each passage of the Koran is numbered, like the Christian Bible, so you can easily verify the quotations. The Koran is available to read online. Here are some quotes from the Koran from some of the chapters I've read online. These sites are not anti-Muslim propaganda. They are simply Muslim sites for regular Muslims. The material is easy enough to read to confirm for yourself. And when you do, please share it with your friends and family. Get the word out.
If your friends are good people, and I have no reason to believe they aren't, they will say something like, "Yes, but Christians have committed atrocities in the name of God too, using the Bible to justify their actions." Defending any religion is a natural, knee-jerk response from the good people of a tolerant society when they hear a religion being criticized. Test this out. Tell some of your friends about the violent passages of the Koran and you'll hear them defend it.
You can respond something like this: "That's true. And now the great majority of people in free countries don't consider the Bible to be the literal Word of God. So the Bible can't be used the same way any more. It takes a high degree of certainty before people are willing to slaughter others. What needs to happen now is for everyone, including Muslims worldwide, to go on a campaign to get everyone to accept the Koran is not perfect either. Then when a child is raised Muslim, he won't give the book as much authority in his life, which will allow him to choose the healthier quotes from that book and ignore the violent ones."
I have found one Muslim who has been willing to do that. It is a start. She needs to be supported so others will find the courage to do so. Here is her web site. By the way, the reason it takes courage, even for someone in a free country is that the Koran apparently orders its believers to kill anyone who criticizes the Koran. Mark Gabriel said that in a predominately Muslim society such as Egypt, it is very dangerous to say anything slightly indicating the Koran may not be perfect.
So a Muslim willing to say publicly the Koran is not perfect is a brave soul who deserves our support and admiration and protection. Help this admission spread around the world until the certainty and finality of the Koran is reduced. The primary cause of Islamic terrorism is that certainty.
If you feel you have no power to alter world events, that is a mistake in your thinking that needs to be corrected. Start here.
In researching any topic, I try to read books from all angles, so I've read lots of pro-Muslim books and articles — and probably most of them are by good people. For the most part they completely ignore the violence lurking in the Koran, pretending it isn't there. I don't think that is helpful. That ends up helping terrorists, even if that isn't the author's intention. For example, they say Islam means "peace." But the combination of the letters "slm" means submission, protection, safety, security, peace, and surrender. In most of the Muslim writings I have come across, they most often define Islam as "submission to the will of Allah," and, according to many of the authors I've been talking about, it also means "getting all others in the world to submit to the law of Allah (Sharia)."
It is part of Muslim propaganda in the West to say things like, "Islam is totally against violence. The word Islam itself means 'peace.' Islam is a religion of tolerance and compassion." Haven't you heard this? Yes, the Saudi-funded Muslims within our borders have flooded the airwaves with this stuff. It's part of a huge public relations campaign (read more about that below).
The situation is similar to the publication of Hitler's book, Mein Kampf. The Koran is nothing like Hitler's book and the two cannot be compared, but the free world's response to it is identical. Hitler outlined his plans while he was in jail. He published it as a book, telling the whole world what he intended to do. Hardly anyone in America or England or Poland or France or Russia read it. After he had built his war machine and was invading other countries, then people read it and found out Hitler was doing what he said he would do. The free world has the same situation now with the Koran.
The Koran is available for anyone to read. Have you read it? Do you know anyone who has? Neither do I. And yet people who say they are following its plan have declared war on Western democracies. That's why I think the cause of terrorism is mostly our own ignorance.
"Does our tolerant and democratic way of life contain within itself the seeds of its own destruction?" asks Ambassador James Bissett. "Should organized intolerance be tolerated?" This is from the introduction to The Sword of the Prophet. "This book," writes Bissett, "chastises the 'opinion-forming elite' for its role in pretending that Islam does not present a serious problem." (You can see examples of world leaders doing just that in the DVD, Islam: What the West Needs to Know).
The book makes it perfectly clear that Islam does present a serious problem. Most of us, I think, have had the feeling it did. But we've been encouraged to deny our intuition by the Muslim propaganda machine, and by genuinely peaceful Muslims trying to defend their faith. (Read here a list of the ongoing acts of war committed against the free world in the name of Islam.)
Good people who are not Muslims have accidentally helped the cause of terrorism by giving us the impression terrorists are a few crazy extremists who have distorted or reinterpreted the Koran to suit their bloody ends. According to Trifkovic, Christian and Jewish believers feel that Muslims are also believers and that there is something inherently good about being a believer. Trifkovic writes,Exactly the same sentiment drives President Bush's advisor on Islam, a professor at Cleveland-Marshal College of Law, David Forte. He speaks no Arabic and readily admits that he merely "dabbles" in Islamic jurisprudence. Nevertheless, his conviction that Islamic terrorists and Muslim aggressors are, by definition, heretics and not the "real" Muslims has been fully internalized by the president, whose speeches seem to pluck whole phrases from Forte's writings.
...[Forte's] view, however erroneous, boils down to the conviction that believers, no matter their denomination, are better people than nonbelievers, and that a religious outlook — any religious outlook — is preferable to the nihilistic wastelands of postmodern secularism.
If it is true that Islam is inherently a political danger to democracies, Dave Forte's and President Bush's points of view are dangerous. Consider this: Mohammed said the three most important actions a man could take are:
2. War in the path of Allah
3. A blameless pilgrimage to Mecca
Some of the Muslim propaganda says that jihad is an inner struggle against one's own sins. Trifkovic says this interpretation came about much later in the evolution of Islam, after they were almost finished conquering the known world. There is so much in the Koran about waging war, it is obviously an important act of worship, and the devout — searching for a way to wage jihad but without any enemies to fight at the time — came up with the "inner struggle" interpretation. But you have to really stretch your imagination to make the following passages from the Koran mean anything except killing real people:Kill those who join other gods with Allah wherever you may find them.
I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, strike off their heads then, and strike off from them every fingertip.
Let those fight in the cause of Allah who barter the life of this world for that which is to come; for whoever fights on Allah's path, whether he is killed or triumphs, we will give him a handsome reward.
Believers! Make war on the unbelievers who dwell around you. Let them find harshness in you.
O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding.
When you meet unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.
If you should die or be killed in the cause of Allah, His mercy and forgiveness would surely be better than all the riches that amass. If you should die or be killed, before Him you shall all be gathered.
These are not interpretations from anti-Muslim sources. These are the passages any reader anywhere in the world reads when they read the words of their Prophet. And yet, whenever I hear from a Muslim, they always tell me "Islam is a religion of peace."
The overall message is to make war on unbelievers until the whole world has submitted to Islam. Then there will be peace, I guess. The explicit command is to overthrow man-made governments (read "democracies") and establish Islamic states, and then turn on neighboring countries and make war on them until you turn those countries into Islamic states. Keep going until the world is conquered. That is apparently one's duty as a follower of Muhammad if you read the Koran and take it to heart.
"Between Muhammad's death and the second siege of Vienna," writes Trifkovic, "just over a thousand years later, Islam expanded — at first very rapidly, then intermittently — at the expense of everything and everyone in the way of its warriors. Unleashed as a militant faith of a nomadic war band, Islam turned its boundary with the outside world into a perpetual war zone."
One of the primary barriers to the Islamic takeover of the world has been the Western powers, most specifically, the United States. America supported Egypt in its attempt to keep the terrorists from seizing control of their democratic (man-made) government. America supported Iraq in its fight against the invasion of the Islamic state, Iran. So the "Islamists" (the Muslims who want to carry out the plan in the Koran) have turned their attention to the United States and all its allies, violently attacking U.S. citizens and now the citizens of Iraq who are trying to create a democracy. And perhaps more devastating in the long run, the fanatic Islamists are launching a propaganda campaign to disarm us — emotionally and politically — so we cannot defend ourselves against the relentless push for Islamic domination.
I wish none of this was true. Maybe all these authors are merely fanatics themselves, but since I have started understanding what they are saying, many world events that never made sense before now make complete sense. I have a strong suspicion Trifkovic may be right. Let's explore this together. Talk to your family and friends. Read. Learn. Share web sites and, and write to us here via email, and leave your comments below. The contents of the Koran may be a threat to our survival only as long as we don't know it is.
Editor's Note: If you are a peace-loving Muslim and feel offended by the information above and want to enlighten us about the "true" (and entirely peaceful) nature of Islam, please read this: A Message to Peaceful Muslims.