Muslim attitudes towards terrorism: Wikis


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Given that the Muslim community is a diverse mosaic of peoples, various attitudes exist towards Islamist terrorism, ranging from outrage and vocal opposition to support.[1]


Muslim diversity

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Notable modern critics

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Related events since 2001

Muslims are not a monolithic group. National, political and religious variations highlight stark differences and multiple identities among Muslims. The Sunnis, who account for over 80% of Muslims, have over centuries fragmented in to three clear strands - the Political, Missionary and Jihad movements who possess individual characteristics and vary in global view. It is only the Jihadists however that pursue and promote an armed Islamic struggle, which led by the al-mujahid can occur in an internal, irredentist or global capacity.[2]


In the article "Why are there no condemnations from Muslim sources against terrorists?" Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance summarizes:

A common complaint among non-Muslims is that Muslim religious authorities do not condemn terrorist attacks. The complaints often surface in letters to the editors of newspapers, on phone-in radio shows, in Internet mailing lists, forums, etc.
Actually, there are lots of fatwas and other statements issued which condemn attacks on innocent civilians. Unfortunately, they are largely ignored by newspapers, television news, radio news and other media outlets.

Contrary to common image, many Muslims have in fact spoken out against 9/11 [1] [2] and terrorist attacks in general.[3][4] However, some Muslims believe that most terrorists are Muslim [5]

A 2005 Pew Research study that involved 17,000 people in 17 countries showed support for terrorism in the Muslim world declining along with a growing belief that Islamic extremism represents a threat to those countries.[1] A Daily Telegraph survey[3] showed that 6% of British Muslims fully supported the July 2005 bombings in the London Underground. A poll also showed that 20% of British Muslims had sympathy for the "feelings and motives" for those who carried out the attacks.[4]

The Free Muslims Coalition[6] rallied against terror, stating that they wanted to send "a message to radical Muslims and supporters of terrorism that we reject them and that we will defeat them."

In 2008 the 9 killed Mumbai militants who perpetrated the 2008 Mumbai attacks were refused an Islamic burial by influential Muslim Jama Masjid Trust who stated 'People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim'.[5]

Support and perceived support

In the Palestinian parliamentary election of January 2006, 44.45% of the electorate voted for Hamas[6], which is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, Canada, and the European Union. It is responsible for numerous attacks targeting Israeli civilians. Observers are divided over whether the election results represent support for the organization's tactics, support for the organization's social programs, or dissatisfaction with the previous government, which was widely seen as corrupt and incompetent. A public opinion survey released following the election indicated that nearly 75% of the Palestinian electorate believe that Hamas should change its policy regarding the destruction of Israel and 84% of Palestinians support a peace agreement with Israel. Among Hamas voters, 73% of respondents supported a peace agreement with Israel. However Hamas leaders ruled out removing the clause in its constitution which demands the destruction of Israel.[7]

A 2004 Pew survey revealed that Osama bin Laden is viewed favorably by large percentages in Pakistan (65%), Jordan (55%) and Morocco (45%). In Turkey as many as 31% say that suicide attacks against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq are justifiable.[8] [9].Iranian Ayatollah Ozma Seyyed Yousef Sanei issued a fatwa (ruling) that suicide attacks against civilians are legitimate only in the context of war.[10] The ruling did not say whether other types of attacks against civilians are justified outside of the context of war, nor whether Jihad is included in Sanei's definition of war.

Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, a Muslim and the general manager of Arab news channel, Al-Arabiya has said it is a "fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims." Statistics compiled by the United States government's Counterterrorism Center present a more complicated picture. Slightly more than half of the fatalities of known and specified terrorist incidents from the beginning of 2004 through the first quarter of 2005 were attributed to Islamic extremists but a majority of over-all incidents were considered of either "unknown/unspecified" or a secular political nature. The vast majority of the "unknown/unspecified" terrorism fatalities did however happen in Islamic regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan, or in regions where Islam is otherwise involved in conflicts such as the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, southern Thailand and Kashmir.The methodology employed by the Center is sometimes disputed.[11]

Western perspectives

Some in the West assume Islam to be polarised between pro-Western and pro-jihadi mentalities, enabling a clear divide between opponents and proponents of violent action.[12] In reality however, Islamic ideological and political spectrums are far more diverse than this idea suggests. American policy is unpopular among some Muslims, yet this hostility does not directly translate to support or participation in Al-Qaeda’s global jihad and for political Islamists who support non-violent measures it can not be assumed that they are in agreement with Western agendas.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics". Pew Global Attitudes Project. Pew Research Center. 2005. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  2. ^ a b International Crisis Group. Understanding Islamism: Middle East/North Africa Report. No 37, March 2005
  3. ^ King, Anthony (2005). "One in four Muslims sympathises with motives of terrorists". News. Telegraph Group Limited. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Mumbai killers to be denied a muslim burial, The Scotsman, 2008-12-01
  6. ^ "Hamas sweeps to election victory". Middle East news. BBC. 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  7. ^ "Palestinians want Hamas reform - poll". News - Arab World. Aljazeera.Net. 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  8. ^ "A Year After Iraq War - Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists". Survey reports. The Pew Research Center. 2004. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  9. ^ "Bin Laden more popular with Nigerian Muslims than Bush". News. Daily Times of Pakistan. 2003. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  10. ^ "Iran: Ayatollah Issues Fatwa Against Suicide Attacks". adn kronos international. adn kronos international. 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  11. ^ Glasser, Susan B. (2005). "Global Terrorism Statistics Debated". World news. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  12. ^ Michael Doran. ‘Somebody Else’s Civil War. Foreign Affairs. January/February 2002.


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