Before Loonwatch launched in 2009 the web was inundated with a plethora of anti-Muslim Islamophobes, who for a full 8 years (since 9/11) organized and propagated their narratives on Islam/Muslims largely unopposed (notable exceptions). A cornerstone narrative that was developed and used by the Islamophobia Movement during this time was the myth that “All Terrorists are Muslim.” This narrative had wide circulation until it was debunked by Danios.
The fallback arguments that Islamophobes have since tried to amplify are two: 1. even if all terrorists aren’t Muslims, the overwhelming majority of terrorists are, and 2. most terrorist attacks worldwide are committed by Muslims, hence, in a further leap of logic, Islam is to blame. This argument conflates the tactic of terrorism with the religion of Islam, a claim whose proponents don’t even consider Islam a religion but rather a “political ideology.” More on this later.
TheReligionOfPeace.Com and the Faulty “Islamic Terrorism Ticker”:
If you visit JihadWatch, AtlasShrugs or any of the too numerous to count anti-Muslim hate sites and blogs, you are likely to find on the sidebar a hyperlinked image claiming that “Islamic Terrorists have carried out more than _____ Deadly Terror Attacks Since 9/11.” The image was created by the anti-Islam hate site, The Religion of Peace (TROP), associated with Islamophobe Daniel Greenfield, aka “SultanKnish,” who you will recall earns a pretty penny from the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
The clear visual intent of this “Islamic terrorism ticker” is to provoke an emotive fear and anxiety of a global, monolithic, totalitarian Islam (read: Muslims), that is waging terror everywhere through thousands upon thousands of unmitigated and random attacks. On TROP the “terror ticker” serves as ammunition for the site’s stated missionary proposition of portraying “Islam” as “the world’s worst religion.” It also aids in the attempt to tie terrorism to Islam.
Even a cursory glance at TROP’s list of so-called “Islamic terrorist attacks” reveals it to be nothing more than a deeply biased, propagandistic spin-job that conflates: real terrorist attacks, (semi)religious/culturally motivated crimes, attacks on military personnel and attacks by secular groups with no ideological basis in Islam — all in theaters of occupation, civil war and separatist conflict.
Sheila Musaji comments on this aspect of TROP’s list, writing,
This site lists acts committed around the world – some in wars, some having nothing to do with Islam, but to do with nationalist or political struggles, some in civil wars. No links are given. No sources for any of this just a list of supposed attacks carried out by “Islamic terrorists”.
Musaji’s complaint about their lack of links or citations to attacks holds true, however, one can generally glean where they grab their information. Some of it is likely from verifiable news sources while other sources are Right-Wing Christian/Zionist sites and news aggregators such as World Net Daily, BosNewsLife and Arutz Sheva.
A sampling of the entries on TROP’s “terrorism attack ticker” list is quite revealing. One of their most recent entries is an attack near Turbat, Pakistan. This is how TROP spins this nationalist/separatist attack:
According to most reports Balochistani nationalist separatists are suspected (via. CNN),
Attackers on motorcycles killed 18 Pakistani day laborers traveling through Pakistan’s Balochistan province on their way to Iran on Friday, according to Home Secretary Naseebullah Khan Bazai.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Bazai said authorities suspect Baloch insurgents who have been fighting Pakistan’s government over economic, political and human rights issues.
According to Bazai, the day laborers from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa provinces were heading to Iran to seek work when four assailants on two motorcycles drew close and opened fire, killing 18 and injuring two.
The incident happened about 74 miles (120 kilometers) from Turbat, CNN affiliate GEO TV reported.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s office condemned the attack, saying in a statement that “the cowardly act will not weaken the resolve of the government and people to defeat the forces of evil.”
These facts are no hindrance for TROP’s propagandistic methodology, they likewise file this attack under “Islamic terrorist attack.”
Criminal gangs as well as a low scale insurgency operate in Dagestan. No group has claimed responsibility for gunning down the cop. Interestingly enough if one searches Google for “off-duty cop gunned down,” one will notice many findings of such incidences occurring recently in the USA. Should such killings likewise be termed “American Terrorism,” or since the majority of Americans identify as Christians, “Christian Terrorism?”
Attack on Foreign Occupiers:
British soldiers who are part of a coalition force in Afghanistan are not civilians, therefore this attack is not one that falls under so-called “Islamic terrorism.” Terrorism in most definitions refers, in one way or another, to the targeted killing of civilians in the furtherance of a political cause.
Suspected non-religious motivated crime:
TROP seems to have taken this report from BosNewsLife, which according to its About page is a Christian news agency. News reports of this incident do not mention the religion of the two individuals who were killed. They are described as two musicians and brothers, and most reports say a “religious” motive is not suspected. Again, this does not fit the paradigm of so-called “Islamic terrorism.”
A sad and despicable murder, but definitely not related to Islam or terrorism. TROP’s attempted spin here is to conflate Islam with the so-called cultural practice of “honor killing,” which exists in various cultures around the world.
TROP once again conflates separatist groups who have specific nationalist aspirations with so-called “Islamic terrorism.” The BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army) claimed responsibility for the attack,
QUETTA: The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on a passenger train, warning people to refrain from traveling on the Pakistan Railways coaches as “such attacks will continue until the independence of Balochistan.”
According to Meerak Baloch, a spokesman for the BLA, the portion of the train which was attacked actually carried Pakistan personnel of the Pakistan army.
“We have warned all people, including the Balochs, Sindhis and Pashtuns, to stop collaboration with the Pakistani army or traveling on Pakistani trains,” said the spokesman who called the media from an undisclosed location. The spokesman said such attacks on the Pakistani army would continue in the future as well.
A very sad story, related more to patriarchy and domestic violence than “Islamic Terrorism.” It also should be pointed out that instances of husbands beating or forcing their wives to vote the way they want is not limited to Muslim countries.
Once again, a sad and despicable murder, but definitely not related to Islam or terrorism. TROP’s attempted spin here is to conflate Islam with the so-called cultural practice of “honor killing,” which exists in various cultures around the world.
Reprisal attack, inter-ethnic violence:
Myanmar is home to the displaced Muslim Rohingya peoples, a group that is considered one of the most oppressed in the world. The country is seeing some of its worst inter-ethnic violence in quite some time with the beleaguered Muslim minority facing the brunt of the violence. These attacks are better categorized under sectarian and reprisal violence, not “Islamic terrorism.”
Also an unbelievably sad and despicable triple murder, no doubt, but definitely not related to Islam or terrorism. TROP’s attempted spin here is to conflate Islam with the so-called cultural practice of “honor killing,” which exists in various cultures around the world.
Attack on Foreign Occupiers:
Once again, NATO soldiers are not civilians, this does not fall under the general understanding of “terrorism,” let alone the ephemeral concept of “Islamic terrorism.”
Separatist attack on soldiers:
TROP leaves out the fact that there has been a separatist insurgency in Southern Thailand since 2004. The majority of the population in the South are Muslim Malay who feel marginalized and discriminated against by the predominately Buddhist Thai government. This does not fit under the rubric of terrorism. Those targeted by separatist insurgents were Thai soldiers and not civilians (via. AP).
Police Col. Samneang Luejeangkam says the attackers hurled a grenade into a school in Yala province’s Krongpinang district on Saturday while soldiers were taking part in a daily briefing in the schoolyard.
Soldiers guard state schools in the area because teachers are often targets of the separatists, who regard them as representatives of the government.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since an Islamist insurgency flared in 2004. Muslim residents have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens in the predominantly Buddhist nation.
Another terrible honor based crime.TROP’s attempted spin here is to conflate Islam with the so-called cultural practice of “honor killing,” which exists in various cultures around the world.
Once again, a horrific and despicable double murder, but definitely not related to Islam or terrorism. TROP’s attempted spin here is to conflate Islam with the so-called cultural practice of “honor killing,” which exists in various cultures around the world.
While certainly falling under “assault” and disregard for freedom of religion/expression this has nothing to do with “terrorism.”
Possible Honor Killing:
A horrendous triple murder, but again, definitely not related to Islam or terrorism. TROP’s attempted spin here is to conflate Islam with the so-called cultural practice of “honor killing,” which exists in various non-Muslim cultures around the world.
The above is just a rough sampling of “attacks” over a period of a month that TROP included as terrorist attacks but that would not fit most definitions of terrorism, let alone so-called “Islamic terrorism.”
TROP also reports many incidents of attacks as the work of Islamist/terrorist groups when no group has taken responsibility or when law enforcement is unsure of the culprit. They omit facts, decontextualize, leaving out the fact that most of these attacks are part of larger insurgencies against the state. They also just plain lie about some attacks.
The Correlation Between the US “War on Terror” and the Exponential Increase in Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan:
It goes without saying that experts on terrorism, actually anyone involved in counter-terrorism does not rely on TROPs silly “Islamic terrorism ticker” in their listing of terrorist attacks. Most experts laugh off TROPs clear missionary attempt at maximizing “Islamic terrorism” by inflating the numbers with everything from nationalist attacks to so-called honor killings.
What TROP and other Islamophobic sites will also cover up is the obvious correlation between the US “War on Terror” and the exponential rise of terrorism in Muslim majority countries, specifically Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These three countries account for more than roughly two-thirds of terrorist attacks over the past 7 years.
In Danios’ groundbreaking article, Most Victims of Islamic Terrorism are Muslim…And Why America is to Blame for it, he begins by pointing out that the threat of terrorism to Americans and Europeans is “very minimal.” The brunt of terrorist attacks around the world is absorbed by Muslims. One would think that this being the case Muslims would be at the forefront cheerleading the “War on Terror,” but they aren’t,
Muslims around the globe (including in Afghanistan and Iraq), overwhelmingly disapprove of the so-called War on Terror. In fact, they hold very negative views of the United States (at least in regard its foreign policy), viewing “‘U.S. interference in the Arab world’ as the greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East.” This, in spite of the majority holding very negative views towards Al-Qaeda and its tactics.
So why do Muslims hold such negatives views of US foreign policy and the “War on Terror” despite also holding overwhelmingly negative views towards AlQaeda and its tactics?
It’s because they know what is painfully obvious: it is U.S. military intervention in the region that is most responsible for creating the problem of terrorism.
Statistics and graphs illustrating the number of terrorist attacks pre-War on Terror and post-War on Terror highlight this point vividly.
In the year before the Iraq War (from 3/19/2002 to 3/19/2003), there were only 13 terrorist attacks and 14 terrorism-related deaths in Iraq. In the year after the Iraq War (from 3/20/2003 to 3/20/2004), there were 225 terrorist attacks and 1,074 terrorism-related deaths. In other words, the U.S. invasion of Iraq resulted in an over 1600% increase in terrorist attacks and an over 7500% increase in terrorism-related deaths in just one year.
At the height of the Iraq War, there were 3,968 terrorist attacks, resulting in 9,497 deaths–which amounts to an over 30,000% increase in terrorist incidents and over 67,000% increase in terrorism-related deaths as compared to pre-war years.
Here is a graphical representation to help visualize the data from RDWTI:
Using the data from RDWTI, we find that in the year just prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, there were only three terrorist attacks in the country, resulting in eight fatalities. By 2008, the number of terrorist attacks had jumped to 450 and the number of terrorism-related deaths to 1,228. In other words, the U.S. War in Afghanistan resulted in a 15,000% increase in both terrorism related incidents and deaths.
Here’s what it looks graphically:
The U.S.-led War in Afghanistan has created a worsening terrorism problem for Pakistan as well. There are many complex reasons for this spike in violence within Pakistan (which are beyond the scope of this article), but all are ultimately rooted in America’s War on Terror. Using the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents, we find that there was an over 650% increase in terrorism-related fatalities in Pakistan as a result of America’s war (568 deaths in 2008 as compared to 73 in 2000).
Don’t expect these sobering facts to make it onto any discussion about terrorism, let alone onto the Islamophobia Movement’s “terrorism ticker.” In their reflexive dash to demonize Islam and Muslims the Islamophobes stand exposed as the real dissemblers; those who work day and night to cover up the American Empire’s creation of the Middle East and South Asia’s “terrorism” nightmare.
The Conflation of the Strategy of Terrorism with Religion and Ideology:
Why are the Islamophobes so intent on their quixotic attempt to paint Islam as a political ideology instead of a religion? One reason has to do with the unwillingness of the Islamophobia Movement to differentiate between the tactic of terrorism and ideology.
This conflation of the tactic of terrorism as an inherent manifestation of certain political ideologies has its roots in the turbulent political environment of the 1970′s, when terrorism was almost “commonly regarded” as Left-Wing.
“Terrorism and guerrilla warfare have a history dating back many centuries, quite possibly one that predates the advent of conventional warfare. The study of this history is not an academic exercise; however, a true understanding of the terrorist phenomenon is impossible without at least some knowledge of what has gone before. To give but two examples: during the 1970′s it was common to regard terrorism as mainly, if not exclusively, left wing and revolutionary because the leading terrorist groups at the time in Europe, Latin America, and parts of the Middle East, implemented the terminology of the far left.
This focus on one specific trend was based on a profound misjudgment. It assumed that terrorism was an ideology whereas in actual fact it was a strategy used by the extreme right and the far left, by radical nationalist and fanatical religious groups alike. Understanding the history of terrorism on a world wide basis would have obviated such a fatal misreading. In a similar way, suicide attacks have struck many observers in recent years as something totally new and unprecedented, though it is an ancient tactic. In fact terrorists attacks predating the twentieth century were almost all suicidal in nature because with daggers, short range pistols and unstable bombs, the attacker’s prospects of survival were less than brilliant.” (emphasis added) Laqueur, W. (Ed.). (2004). Voices of Terror.
Absent from most discussions regarding terrorism is the role of state sponsored terrorism, especially the United States involvement in giving both “material” and “direct support” to groups that they themselves have designated as “foreign terrorist” organizations. Whether it is the Mujahidin-e Khalq (MEK), or the less well known relationship between NATO and the AlQaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), or the current quagmire in Syria where US made arms and ammunition are finding themselves in the hands of rebels, some of whose ideological foundations mirror AlQaeda.
What is evident, and not altogether unsurprising, is that superpowers are willing to do business with terrorists whenever it suits their needs, all the while lying in the face of their apathetic citizenry. Indeed, they can always rely on bigoted zealots such as those at TheReligionOfPeace.com to cheerlead the enterprise of empire.