By Griffen Smith | MIDDLE EAST
Within the last 10 years, Terrorism has come onto the global stage as public enemy number one, so to speak, and the US and other Western powers have used tremendous power to try to defeat it. Many far-right wing politicians blame the religion of Islam. “Islam is a religion of violence” or “Islam is a death cult” roam dark places of the internet along with the terrorist web pages which respond with “death to America.” But for what reason do these people on the other side of the world seem to hate us so much? The answer isn’t all because of some religious urge to murder all who you don’t agree with (even though there are a select few who do), but rather because of the pain and suffering the west has pushed onto them.
First off, over one-half of Americans are not educated about Islam. According to Pew Research in 2010, 55% know little to nothing about the faith. So here’s some details about Islam, specifically their view on self-defense. Qur’an 5:32 states “…Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” So basically it forbids killing the innocent. It furthermore explains in Qur’an 2:190 to “fight in the way of Allah those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits” which means to have self-control. This is when things get confused and misinterpreted. Qur’an 2:191 explains “kill them wherever you find them, and expel them from where they expelled you…. But do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight you there. But if they do fight you, then slay them; This is the recompense of the disbelievers.” What this is getting at is simple, extremists who take this book as seriously as possible would say that people attacking them gives them the right to “defend” themselves, whether that turns into all out warfare or not. Terror groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram have all claimed to be in a holy war, but is this war sparked by Westerners provoking them?
This article isn’t justifying terrorism, not even understanding their cause, but rather to show how this violence was exacerbated by America. For instance, according to The Independent April 2017, the US-led coalition in Syria killed more civilians than ISIS and Russia combined for the month of March 2017. The thought of civilian death due to US involvement is not new. For instance, when the US invaded Iraq in 2003, there were a total of 2 civilian deaths due to violence in February; and then a whopping 3977 in March when America invaded. In 2016 alone, America dropped a bomb every 20 minutes in the Middle East. Do you think that stops all their issues? If anything it increases it, as bombs aren’t accurate and end up killing civilians or destroying hospitals and schools. To think the US are the “good guys” whenever they invade a country is simply not true, they are the oppressors. When you connect this to the Quran passages above, one can see why these people are fighting back with no mercy.
Analyst Hassan Hassan, a resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and co-author of a book about ISIS, puts forward several reasons that people might join, beyond identifying with ISIS’s extreme version of Islam. He explained that many join to defeat the Assad regime and destroy the dictatorial power over them. He said, “this is an organization that actually can, by force, unite all the rebels against the Assad regime.” The Assad regime, to be clear, has been backed by the US for decades until reports of human rights violations were found. The US helped Assad get into power, and all he has done is killed the innocent and caused hate against our country.
Obviously, there have always been problems in the Middle East, that’s a given. These issues will not be resolved, however, by America intervening and destabilizing regions. When the US overthrew the former Syrian leader and replaced him with Assad, a civil war broke out. Let’s face the facts, issues in a particular region should be solved by the people in that area, not by a country halfway around the world. Overall, the US needs to stick to their own soil, and not get involved when they have no warrant. If they don’t, then there will be no possible way to any sort of peace in the Middle East.