Article Review: the Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism
1.The article “The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism” by Shmuel Bar takes an in-depth look into the potential justifications of terrorism in regards to religion.In this article, Bar attempts to identify the differences between the religion of Islam and the duties associated with being a Muslim including participating in jihad.
The author explains the various differences between the ideas of both the traditional Muslim as well as the moderate Muslim. He goes on to identify jihadist-type acts that could potentially be changed if the right movement and implementation of rules were set.
The key points and concepts in this article are: • the explanation of the Islamic religion; • the jihadist movement; • the traditional versus the moderate Muslim; • the potential strategy to deal with radical ideology. 2. The Islam religion is not one that has blatant disregard for the value of human life. It is regarded as a peaceful religion and should not be misconstrued as being a religion that promotes terrorism. Unfortunately, there have been numerous acts of violence and terrorism in the name of Islam and a surface-educated individual will blame the entire religion.
Many individuals’ lack of knowledge lead them down a path of generalization and intolerance for the religion itself. The author of this article does a good job explaining that it is not the religion that commits these acts of terror; it is the individual’s interpretation of the writings that radicalize its teachings. 3. The jihadist movement is where much of the violent aspect of the religion can be derived from. The belief is that it is their personal duty within their religion to fight for their faith.
This may be non-violent such as an internal struggle with one’s spiritual life. A more physical aspect is displayed in other forms such as the obligation to spread the religion or a more violent approach, fighting to defend a once Muslim country from invasion of infidels. The act of jihad in a violent manner typically is displayed by the radical Islamists whom are more focused on the traditional and literal meanings of the scripture; hence there exists a conflict between them and the moderates. 4.
The ideas of the traditionalist versus the moderate Muslim are conflicting in how they interpret various teachings of their scripture. Participation in jihad may be considered an obligation due to the occupying of so many countries by non-Muslims; however, the idea that it must be fought with acts of terror remains debated. The traditionalists will take a more literal interpretation resulting in acts of violence and terror; even though this initiative tends to have more political motives rather than religious.
The moderate Muslim struggles with the possibility that their less orthodox beliefs will appear as though they are abandoning their religion. Due to the fact that the traditionalist is more likely to resort to violence, there is also a fear of retaliation against the moderate Muslim. Unfortunately, with that mentality, the radical Islamists prevail. 5. A long-term strategy has to include ideas and not necessarily weapons and a bunch of rules. The author explains that the solution is a lot deeper than the acts they are committing on the surface.
Creating a strategy to potentially combat a radical, religious ideology seems as though it would be impossible. A long-range strategy that outlines the teachings of their religion and focuses on how terrorism is actually against their scripture could succeed. The author acknowledges the idea that Western civilization must take a look within and realize that there are more ways than just their way. This realization, and possibly tolerance, could allow for an interpretation that both societies could deal with. 6. The author of this article, Dr.
Shmuel Bar, has notable credibility in this subject matter. According to his biography on The Intelligence Summit website, Dr. Bar is the Director of Studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, Israel. He has also held various intelligence positions within the Israeli government and headed various research projects including some for the United States government, according to the Hudson Institute. His academic, professional, and personal expertise lends him to be a reliable source of information.
The only question that may be proposed is, what is his religious affiliation? With the extent of his background and knowledge, this may seem like a moot point; however, religion relies on very little logic. Faith is based on how one feels, not just what one has researched or has seen. It is a powerful driving force that is almost impossible to describe. The idea that persuasion could be achieved without truly knowing this driving force is naivety in itself.