September 11 attacks led the world to the so-called spiral of “War on Terror” which is considered as the most important issue that threatens the stability of many parts of Muslim world. In the West and other countries, many postulate human rights were subjected to violation under the pretext of the declared war on terror and to protect the security of nations and peoples. This war increased the average of terror and violence because it allowed the injustice to reach areas that have never witnessed any form of violence before 11th September. Of course, the cultural reasons of this huge amplification for this phenomenon are clear and choosing the Islam and the Islamic world as a part of this war is justified in the political and economic Western agenda seeking for the persistence of this phenomena as long as its objectives are met.
In this paper, we try to view one side from the fact about this war and if its declared fears were actually justified thus the resulted developed politics have acceptable justifications.
The language of numbers and statistics used to refute the argument that the name of Islam is often connected with violence and extremism. In her amazing research “human bombs: rethinking religion and terrorism”, the American researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nicole Arco, who spent two years in Israel, West Bank and Gaza during her study about suicide bombings and the role of religious education in incitement to such acts, proved in terms of figures that: “there are more than ten thousand religious school in Pakistan didn’t come out of their graduates, but only two suicide bombers: one blew himself up in Afghanistan and the other did the same in Iraq.”
The study pointed out that field investigations conducted on 172 members of global Jihadist Salafist proved that only 8% of them came from religious boarding schools in Indonesia and Pakistan and the other didn’t have any formal religious education. It also proved that 78% of them have joined jihadist networks out of their home countries, often in Europe and American countries. This was as a reaction to the exclusion and social, political, psychological, economic and media pressures that they were exposed to and created a sense of humiliation through this layer and pushed them towards extremism.
This has brought the researcher to say: “Islam isn’t a motivation for terrorism, but some people misuse the religion to justify their violent actions and to ensure a social acceptance for them.”
That was happened and still happening with the revolutionary leftist and rightist movements as they use religion to mobilize masses considering it as the most inspiring tool, so it justifies their policies and actions.
However, the average of this layer’s crimes (layer study) is still insignificant comparing with the violence of other organizations that don’t belong to Islam in any way. In March 2007, European Police Organization issued a report on the situation and trend of terrorism in the European Union telling that only just in 2006, 498 terrorist acts happened in EU countries, 424 of them were carried by separatist organizations, 55 carried by leftist organizations, 18 carried by different terrorist organizations and only one is carried by Muslims in Germany, it means 0.2%. Despite these large numerical differences, the number of Muslims arrested on terrorism charges in the same year was 257 out of 706 (36.4%), while only just 226 people from separatists (32%) were arrested despite that the average of their terrorist acts reached 85.1%.
However, the report considered the confrontation of the Islamic terrorism as a priority for EU countries, which leads us to the exaggeration of this phenomenon and a desperate attempt to attribute it to Muslims in any way. Although the implementing reports as the report of the institute of economics and peace for 2015 telling that the attacks hit the European capitals from London to Madrid in last two decades were a result of the work of systematic extremist groups and pointing out that about 70% of deaths of terrorism in Western countries between 2006-2014 were a result of what they described as individual wolves which moved by the anti-government emotions or opposed to some issues such as immigration, gay rights and abortion.
As for the terrorist attacks against the Unites States, figures also refute the fact that Muslims and Islam pose a threat to the American security. In statistics of United States Department of State about terrorism between 1997-2002, 77 attacks were considered as terrorist acts against American targets, 46 of them took place in Latin America and another 16 in the Middle East. In 2001, there were also 355 attacks considered as international terrorism; for example, only 29 attacks in the Middle East and 201 in Latin America against western targets and American ones in particular.
In a shocking and interesting article published in Loonwatch website under the title of “All terrorists are Muslims, but 94% of them are NOT” where precise details were mentioned about all the terrorist acts in the United States since 1980 until 2005, and it’s clear from the list that the terrorist acts committed by Muslims in the United Stated didn’t exceed 6%, while the average of what was committed by Jews, for example, was 7% and the biggest number of these acts were signed by Latin American organizations with a percent of 42% and by the extremist rightist groups with a percent of 24%.
Another shocking and comprehensive study by the National Association for the Study of Terrorism Committee of the University of Maryland in the United States issued in September 2015 proved with precise statistics that 3305 Americans have been killed since 1970 in the US territory because of terrorist acts, this is with the deaths of 11 September attacks and without them, the number of all deaths didn’t exceed 397.
The study also demonstrated that since 11/9 till the date of the study (Sep. 2015), the likelihood of being killed in the US because a terrorist attack is 1 out of 110.000.000. The study provided a fantastic comparison between the number of deaths because terrorist acts and the number of deaths because of other reasons; for example, traffic accidents which its human loses reached 32.999 deaths in 2010, the dead due to drowning whose number was 3.841 in the same year, the dead due to suicide who exceeded the number of 38.369 or the victims of malnutrition who were 2.791 and the dead because lightning strikes that reached 29 people in the same year. The irony is that in the same year (2015), there were only 4 people killed by terrorist acts, however, in 2015, the US government spent more than $16 billion from the public treasury on internal anti-terrorism efforts. John Molar, political scientist at Ohio University, indicates that the costs of all the programs of security and intelligence agencies are $ 75 billion without counting the cost of the foreign wars led by the US or as they call them: anti-terrorism wars.
This deliberate amplification was clearly and explicitly expressed by a previous study by Duke University and the University of North Carolina in 2010 which proved that the threat of terrorism from American Muslims was manipulated and unreasonably exaggerated in a way contradicting the facts in reality.
This figures and others were recently deliberated and they motivated many people to break their silence and express this injustice; such as the famous psychologist at Harvard University, Steven Pinker, who advised many times the western countries to stop exaggerating the threat of Islamic terrorism and he called for dealing normally with this phenomenon on its real level without exaggeration. Some of those famous people is the political scientist at Ohio University, John Moller, the writer of “Catching Ghosts” where he proved by statistics and official reports that the so-called war on terrorism is nothing but a big lie and it’s just a sacred cow used by politicians and authorities in United States and Europe to pass their plans and programs that were not be acceptable in their own democratic societies in the absence of the atmosphere of terror and fear of the enemy posing an existential threat to their countries.
Those statements were not only limited to scientists and analysts, and even reached official figures; such as Richard Dearlove, who served as chairman of the British Intelligence Agency (2002-1999) during the US-British invasion of Iraq as he acknowledged in a press meeting in July 2014 that the threat of the Islamic terrorism in the West is very huge without any logical justification declared, pointing out that terrorism is not a real concern for Europe and Britain in particular as it is for the Islamic countries that really suffered from this phenomenon.
This statement for this official body was followed by a recognition of Tom Ridge the Secretary of Homeland Security during the reign of George W. Bush; (2005-2003), who admitted that he was pressured to exaggerate in describing the threat of the Islamic terrorism in order to help George W. Bush in his campaign for a second presidential term.
That motivated an official character in a prestigious position as Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former U.S. National Security Adviser (1981-1977) and adviser to President Obama to openly and boldly declare that the war on terror is only a “mythical historical narrative”.
Facing the amplification of this phenomenon in the West despite its limited risk, the equation seems different in the Muslim world that is still severely suffering from this phenomenon which was imposed on them to serve an agenda where they have no role, but the role of the victim.
*Dr.Tarik Ladjal is Professor of History at Effat University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia