Wiley: Looking to ourselves to curb
terrorism By Miryam
Wiley Saturday, August 12, 2006 -
Updated: 12:47 AM EST
I was relieved to
be back home in the United States two days before TV stations
started to broadcast the news of airport confusion this week.
first time I suddenly felt compelled to go check my personal
"clutter" inside the zipped toiletry bag in my carry-on luggage, a
generous array of little bottles and tubes, thankfully produced as
travel-size to allow me to have on hand what I might need.
mundane preoccupations, however, soon gave way to my concerns over
more serious matters: the way terrorist attacks are often
interpreted and the insensitive ways our media adds the word
"Islamic" to the word "terrorist," as if it were necessary for the
description of the still blurred bits of information that have been
gathered about the planned attacks.
obviously worthy of condemnation that groups devote themselves to
terrorism. It is, however, the responsibility of those of us who
write about these stories to question the usual ways they are
reported and to add depth to counter the sensationalism that can be
easily attached to them.
not sure I would have learned to question the expression "Islamic
terrorist attack," had I not been asked directly by a Muslin leader
several years ago if I had ever noticed how much the word terrorist
is attached to the words "Islam" and "Muslim." I was covering a
story for MetroWest Daily News on an annual gathering of the Boston
Islamic Society in Natick. I remember well how one of the leaders
from Boston mentioned that a recent violent attack reported in the
news had been committed by Christians, but no one mentioned that in
to www.islamicity.com, there are more than 1 billion people from all
kinds of races, cultures and nationalities around the world who are
Muslims. About 18 percent of them live in the Arab world, and the
largest community is in Indonesia. I have also learned that most of
Africa is Muslim and I was reminded that my friend Omar, from Kenya,
is a Muslim.
Web site I also learned that the word Islam means "submission" and
comes from a word that means peace.
Aug. 11 edition of British newspaper The Guardian, writer Oliver
King mentions that by now, with the 24 suspects in custody, many of
us may be thinking that "these jihadists must have been
’brainwashed’ or seized by the fervor of religious fundamentalism
and cruelly initiated into a cult of death." Then he questions: "Is
this the correct assumption?"
finds a satisfying answer in the book "Dying to Win," by Robert
Pape, who studied 462 suicide bombings across the world and has
concluded that those are not derived from religious radicalism. He
quotes Pape on an interview given to ABC-TV: "What over 95 percent
of suicide attacks around the world (are about) is not religion, but
a specific strategic purpose -- to compel modern democracies to
withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view
as their homeland or prize greatly and this is, in fact, a
centerpiece of al Qaeda’s strategic logic, which is to compel the
United States and western countries to abandon military commitments
on the Arabian peninsula." [continue]