Islam and terrorism?

There’s an article in today’s Irish Times featuring Syyed Siraj H Zaidi and Susan Philips debating that most contentious of topics, Does Islam encourage terrorism? (Paid subscription required).

There are good points made on both sides, but I wanted to comment on just two or three that I thought were particularly startling, by Syyed Siraj H Zaidi.

The first startling statement was that “Islam considers murder as one of the gravest sins and as a capital crime.” The logic seems to be that murder is a grave crime, so being so serious it needs to receive the ultimate punishment: death. (In fairness, Christians have historically seen no contradiction in this either). But to my rationalist, humanitarian viewpoint, killing murderers in revenge for killing just seems inhuman and illogical. It is a punishment best written off as out-dated and inhuman.

Then he states: “One cannot even juxtapose the word terrorism with Islam – they are contradictory terms. In true Islam, terror does not exist.” As an argument, this is simple sophistry. If these “terrorists” happen to also be Muslim, and they claim they are conducting a jihad, and their faith is central to their belief system, then they are “Islamic Terrorists”. Moderate Muslims may protest that it is a mis-use of the term “Islamic”, but it is evading the central truth.

He then goes on to say: “In Islam, killing a human is an act equal in gravity to unbelief.” (my italics). This is scary! Killing someone is a terrible act. But if it is equal to “unbelief”, then it just shows how repressive and aggressive is the Islamic mindset. So, he is saying, I think, that if someone fails to believe in Allah, then that is an equal crime to killing someone? Well, I don’t believe in Allah. Am I as bad as a murderer in his eyes? And if the penalty for murder is death, what does that mean for the equal crime of “unbelief”.

Something is rotten in the state of Islam. It has to stop living in denial and start addressing the causes of this sickness (terrorism). And that is not to say that the Western world is blameless – I think the war being conducted in Iraq is shameful. But it is just a call to say that Islam has to address its inner contradictions before it can preach to the rest of the world. Using clever word-games and sophistry to deny that the problem lies with their religion is delaying the day when they address it.



  1. Tony D said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:17 am

    I am afraid it gets much worse than that! Firstly, I read both submissions and it was clear that, leaving aside the fact that I totally agreed with the basic contention of the female writer, the guy defending this allegation agianst islam was incredibly bad and I would even say idiotic. I dont believe ultimately his position can be defended BUT a far far better case could have been made. His was so weak and stupid as to not even merit the bother of picking out all holes in his argument as you have done already so well.

    What was also in the paper was a far more clearexample of the pernicious and insidious nature of islam. It was an article in the business section in which the headoing was something like “muslims demand islamic mortages in Ireland” it then detailed tjhe whole issue and we had the head of a muslim org in Ireland explaining why we in ireland should have a banking system that is tailored also to the specific needs of sharia law! That would be wonderful- or best of all . At least that was the basic sentiment expressed.

    While all this sent chills down my spine as being the very epitome of why I have almost zero tolerance of islam [and most religion] what was very revealing was the fact that “most muslims have adopted a “when in rome”attitude and just got on with things” This by itself should underscore the idiocy of even indulging this sort of clap trap happy clappy “accomodation of difference etc etc”

    With only about 60 thousand muslims In ireland (offically it is 30 k but i fugure all such figure are out by anything up to half- thus if I read or hear the population ofg say chineseis say 60k or 100k I am pretty sure it is more like 120k to 200k- but I digress) there is a serious demand or suggestion to modify our banking system to accomodate sharia law? What will it be like in 50 years [dont even think about it – ill be hapy to be dead a long time before then!] when the population of muslims could be lets say 400k or more?

    Pehaps a good example of the furture was a tiny little piece on channel 4 tonight. Ironically just after a good program bt Richard D called the enemies of reason in which he dispeelled the chancers and crooks of astrolgy and other stupid stuff like esp and so on.

    Well this program just after it was about looking at the development of 3 kids who have immigrated to England in the last few years [ 2 i think] The first and most chilling [and sad] was the case of a ten year old from pakistan who we see is mad intp cricket and is so excited by all the new things- like he is listening to the pop music on a tape deck excitedely. while the narrator tells us that he lovescriket but has not madeany friends and had nobody to play it with. we see other ethinc pakistani kids walking down the street and we are told that they are born here and so because he wears his pakistani cloths he doesn not fit in with the other kids, next we see the kida year plus later no longer ;listening to pop music but singing islamic verses and then reciting the koran assidiously.

    His mother even asks him to wear jeans and shirts so he can mix with the other boys/kidsbut oh no “he is a muslim and proud of it” he is only12 years old for jasus sake! NUFF SAID the chances of him becoming a 7/7 bomber must be very high up any scale! Just think of the alleniation and emotional and fanatacism associated with this poor little bastard. Its all a disaster!

    The we had a young girl from kirgistan who could not speak english when she came to england but now could. she was finding it hard but seemedto be mixing in well. I didnt see the rest of the thing.

    And then today I read about our government creating a task force” no less for intergartion! with alarm and demands that more foreigners be in the civil service, plus disappointment at the garda numbers of foreign recruits [ a relief to me] as if it was imperativet to have such diversity for diversity sake. This is all nonsense and of course there should be no such thing done at all. Let society evolve naturally and in time Iam sure we will see such naturaland normal diversity.

    A perfect example of where I am coming from is JAYO! Jason Sherlock that is! a great dubliner and alround good guy – OH IT JUST SO HAPPENS HE IS OF FOREIGN ETHNICITY! WHICH IS MY POINT! ITS NOT AN ISSUE! he is one of of us now. Conforms to our norms etc etc.

    This whole mass movement of people in such a short period of time is and will continue to be a disaster because of the way people dont set up the simple concept of WHEN IN ROME RULE/IDEA [ABIDE BY THAT

    I dont need or want to hear about “other peoples culture” for I will learn of this by having human contact and just getting to know people in general. Instead we are told all the time how we need to change [not me mate!] and I fear that ireland is doomed for a very rough ride indeed.

    Islam is not the religion of peace or anything like it, its a crock of shit if you ask me but then Id say the same about just about any religion. The difference is that in the west people have for the most part been able to either discard religion or marginalize it in the running and normal functioning of the country. this has not been done with countries that have islam as the main religion. It always finds a way to corrupt and subvert normal rule of law and civil society to greater and lesser extremes [ Taliban/Afghanistan – Turkey-moderate- more civilized/modern]

    The sooner we feel free to be able to say that we think this or that believe system/relgion is crap the better. Let the islamic world understand that we have values which we insist be repected and we will not indulge their superstious nonsense- thats is something they can do in private and among themselves.

    Thye offend us at their peril when they threaten us- as has happened already enough in the west.

    There is a Dutch parlimentarian who could not live in the netherlands for fear of threats against her! She had to seek and was granted asylum from the netherlands! NUFF SAID the film maker was of course killed but that is only one of many such examples.

    Large muslim populations as a sad fact = PROBLEMS PROBLEMS and more problems. The dutch are now starting to educate and inform prpospective immigrants of the islamic faith of what they must expect when they come to the netherlands. problem is that should have been done years and years ago!

    If I go to live in Iran I will abide by the rules and customs of Iran the opposite is not being done here.Who recalls the case of a ghuy from lebanon who came here under asylum laws and stayed and then tried to get his other secondary wife to come in too! nevermind that we simply dont have bigamy allowed here so it should not even be discussed! it dont stop him trying! and then crying about discrimination! This is the sort of road we have been going down.

    People just want to get along but some people like to form groups of us and them and this only creates division and splintering of society.

    muslim PEOPLE YES
    islam NO THANKS

  2. Tony D said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:25 am


  3. August 14, 2007 at 4:06 am

    I’m not so sure if killing murderers is necessarily so barbaric. The point of such punishment is (should be?) to discourage that action in the future, not necessarily to satisfy a base desire for revenge.

    That having been said, I’m not sure that statistics back up the death penalty, and would prefer life sentences. Besides, people often don’t realize how severe a life sentence may be for many.

    No offense to Tony D, but a comment should rarely be twice as long as the article 😉

  4. Tony D said,

    August 14, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    “No offense to Tony D, but a comment should rarely be twice as long as the article”

    Your spot on! And that is good advice which I badly needed reminding of. Though I am known to rant on a bit so I think its not too surprising or taken too seriously. I will try to keep the comments brief

  5. shazgood said,

    August 14, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Twice as long? More like three times! 🙂

  6. February 16, 2015 at 2:30 am

    […] There’s an article in today’s Irish Times (a regular feature … By shazgood There’s an article in today’s Irish Times (a regular feature called ‘head-to-head’) featuring Syyed Siraj H Zaidi and Susan Philips debating that most contentious of topics, Does Islam encourage terrorism? (You need a paid subscription … Sailing to Byzantium – […]

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