Author: Harun Yahya
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continuing from the previous post...
As the verse suggests, a person who kills even a single man, "unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth", commits a crime as if he had murdered all mankind on earth.
This being the case, it is obvious what great sins are the murders, massacres and, attacks, popularly known as "suicide attacks", committed by terrorists are. God informs us how this cruel face of terrorism will be punished in the hereafter in the following verse:
There are only grounds against those who wrong people and act as tyrants in the earth without any right to do so. Such people will have a painful punishment. (Surat ash-Shura: 42)
All these reveal that organizing acts of terror against innocent people is utterly against Islam and it is unlikely that any Muslim could ever commit such crime. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for stopping these people, removing "mischief on earth" and bringing peace and security to all people all over the world. Being a Muslim cannot be reconciled with terror. Just the contrary, it is the solution and prevention of terror.
This being the case, how did the popular term "Islamic terror" emerge?
What has been examined so far reveals that it is not possible to talk about an "Islamic" terror. Indeed, a closer look at the characteristics of the perpetrators explicitly reveals that this terror is not a religious but a social phenomenon.
Crusaders: Barbarians Who Trampled Their Own Religion
A helmet used by the Crusaders.
The true message of a religion or another system of belief can be at times exposed to distortion by its pseudo-adherents. The Crusaders, who constitute a dark episode of Christian history, set a good example of this.
Crusaders were European Christians who undertook the expeditions at the end of the 11th century to recover the Holy Land (the area around Palestine) from the Muslims. They set out with a so-called religious goal, yet they laid waste each acre of land they entered with fear and violence. They subjected civilians to mass executions and plundered many villages and towns.
Their conquest of Jerusalem, where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived under Islamic rule in peace, became the scene of immense bloodshed. They violently killed all Muslims and Jews. The Crusaders' barbarism was so excessive that, during the Fourth Crusade, they plundered Istanbul, also a Christian city, and stole the golden objects from the churches.
Despite the fact that Christianity is a religion of love and pacifism, the Crusaders slaughtered innocent people in the name of Christ. They misunderstood their religion.
No doubt, all this barbarism was utterly against Christian political doctrine. That is because, Christianity, in the words of the Bible, is a "gospel of love". In the Gospel according to Matthew, it is said that Jesus said "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" to his followers (Matthew, 5/44) In the Gospel according to Luke, it is said that Jesus said "If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also." (Luke, 6/29) No doubt, in no part of the New Testament, is there reference to the legitimacy of violence; murdering innocent people, on the other hand, is unimaginable. You can find the concept of "massacre of the innocents" in the Bible; yet, only in the cruel Jewish King Herod's attempt to kill Jesus while he was a baby.
While Christianity is a religion based on love that accommodates no violence, how did Christian Crusaders carry out the most violent acts of history? The major reason for this is that, Crusaders were mainly made up of ignorant people who could better be defined as "rabble". These masses, who knew almost nothing about their religion, who had never read or even seen the Bible once in their lifetime, and who were therefore completely unaware of the moral values of the Bible, were led into barbarism under the conditioning of Crusaders' slogans as "God wills it".
It is worth mentioning that in that period, Eastern Christians - the people of Byzantium, for instance - who were culturally far ahead of Western Christians, espoused more humane values. Both before and after the Crusaders' conquests, Orthodox Christians managed to live together with Muslims. According to Terry Johns, the BBC commentator, with the withdrawal of the Crusaders from Middle East, "civilized life started again and members of the three monotheistic faith returned to peaceful coexistence."  The example of the Crusaders is indicative of a general phenomenon: The more the adherents of an ideology are uncivilized, intellectually underdeveloped and "ignorant", the more likely they are to resort to violence. This also holds true for ideologies that have nothing to do with religion. All communist movements around the world are prone to violence. Yet the most savage and blood-thirsty of them was the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. That is because they were the most ignorant.
Just as ignorant people may take a violence-ridden opinion to the point of insanity, so they may confuse violence with an opinion against violence (or to religion). The Islamic world also experienced such cases.
The Bedouin Character in the Qur'an
In the period of our Prophet, there existed two basic social structures in Arabia. City-dwellers and Bedouins (Desert Arabs). A sophisticated culture prevailed in Arab towns. Commercial relations linked the towns to the outer world, which contributed to the formation of "civilized life" among Arabs dwelling in cities. They had refined aesthetic values, enjoyed literature and, especially poetry. Desert Arabs, on the other hand, were the nomad tribes living in the desert who had a very crude culture. Utterly unaware of arts and literature, they developed an unrefined, harsh character.
Islam was born and developed among the inhabitants of Mecca, the most important city of the peninsula. However, as Islam spread to the peninsula, all tribes in Arabia embraced it. Among these tribes were also Desert Arabs, who were somehow problematic: their poor intellectual and cultural background prevented them from grasping the profundity and noble spirit of Islam. Of this God states the following in a verse:
“The Desert Arabs are more obdurate in disbelief and hypocrisy and more likely not to know the limits which God has sent down to His Messenger. God is All-Knowing, All-Wise. “(Surat at-Tawba: 97)
The Desert Arabs, that is, social groups who were "obdurate in disbelief and hypocrisy" and prone to disobey God's commands, became a part of the Islamic world in the Prophet's lifetime. In latter periods, they became a source of trouble for the Islamic world. The sect called "Kharijis" that emerged among Bedouins was an example. The most distinctive trait of this perverse sect (which was called "Kharijis" the rebels because they greatly deviated from Sunni practises), was their extremely vulgar, wild and fanatical nature. The "Kharijis", who had no comprehension whatsoever of the essence of Islam or of the virtues and the values of the Qur'an, waged war against all other Muslims and based this war on a few Qur'anic verses about which they made distorted interpretations. Furthermore, they carried out "acts of terrorism". Caliph Ali, who was one of the closest companions of the Prophet and was described by him as the "gate of the city of knowledge", was assassinated by a Kharijite.
In latter periods, "Hashashis" (Assassins), another brutal organization, emerged; this was a "terrorist organization" made up of ignorant and fanatical militants bereft of a profound understanding of the essence of Islam and thus who could be readily influenced by simple slogans and promises.
In other words, just as the Crusaders distorted and misinterpreted Christianity as a teaching of brutality, some perverted groups emerging in the Islamic world misinterpreted Islam and resorted to brutality. What is common to these sects and the Crusaders was their "Bedouin" nature. That is, they were ignorant, unrefined, uncultivated, vulgar, and isolated people. The violence they resorted resulted from this social structure, rather than the religion to which they claimed to adhere.
The Actual Source of Terrorism: The Third World Fanaticism
These examples from history are enlightening for a better understanding of the phenomenon, the so-called "Islamic terror", which is nowadays on the top of the international agenda. That is because those who emerge and carry out acts of terrorism in the name of Islam or those who back such acts -these people, no doubt, represent a minority in the world of Islam- stem from this "Bedouin character", not from Islam. Failing to understand the essence of Islam, they try to make Islam, essentially a religion of peace and justice, a tool of barbarism, which is simply an outcome of their social and cultural structure. The origin of this barbarism, which may well be called the "Third World Fanaticism", is the benighted initiatives of people who are devoid of love for humans.
It is a fact that, for the last few centuries, Muslims in all corners of the Islamic world, are being subjected to violence by Western forces and their affiliates. The colonialist European states, local oppressive regimes or colonialists backed by the West (Israel, for instance) caused great suffering for Muslims at large. However, for Muslims, this is a situation that has to be approached and responded to from a purely Qur'anic stance.