Saturday, June 9, 2007

Jewish News: Suicide attacks

Occupation, not Islam, ‘drives suicide attacks’
By MARILYN H. KARFELD, Senior Staff Reporter, Clevland Jewish News


I must congratulate the Cleveland Jewish News for publishing this. It takes a lot of guts to do it and it is the right thing to do. We need to place truth above everything else.

We are constantly working to knock these stereotypical myths about people, any people, and it is a breath of fresh air to see this piece in this news paper. It breaks the myths.

I am immensly pleased to read this column and forward it to as many groups as I can, there is a myth out there that the Jewish Americans are blindly loyal to Israel to the detriment of the interests of the United States. The second one is their intolerance and aggression towards any one who is critical of Israel policies as demonstrated against former President Jimmy Carter's, even though the President has done more good to Israel than any president since his tenure. He means good for Israel and good for Palestinians. One can never have undue advantages over the other, such benefits are temporary and deleterious.

Mike Ghouse

Occupation, not Islam, ‘drives suicide attacks’
By MARILYN H. KARFELD, Senior Staff Reporter

In the wake of Sept. 11, Robert Pape, a professor in international security affairs at The University of Chicago, speculated on TV news shows on the causes of suicide terrorism.

“Like everyone else, I jumped to the conclusion that it was radical Islam,” he says. “I even bought a Koran to see what’s wrong with Islam.”

After searching for data on suicide terrorism and finding that the government did not begin to track such attacks until 2000, Pape began to collect his own information. He compiled data on 462 suicide bombings from 1980 to 2004 and later updated his findings to 2006. His book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism was published in 2005.

Contrary to his initial impression, Pape discovered that half of the 462 suicide attacks were by people who were secular or even anti-religious. The world leaders in suicide bombings were members of the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, a Marxist and Hindu group.

Over 30% of Muslim suicide bombers were not Islamic fundamentalists, Pape learned. For instance, some belonged to an anti-religious extremist Marxist group in Turkey, the Kurdish Workers Party or PKK.

“Over 95% of all suicide attacks are not religious,” Pape says. Rather, they are driven by the political goal of compelling foreign combat forces, with their tanks and fighter aircraft, to leave territory “the terrorists consider their homeland or they prize greatly.”

Only 5% are random, isolated attacks, the products of any ideology, religion included, Pape adds.

“Every suicide campaign since 1980 has been carried out by groups seeking self-determination for territory,” he says.

Pape spoke to the CJN before addressing the annual banquet and fundraiser of the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The following day, he spoke to the counter-terrorism task force of the Cleveland field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In the Jewish state, Pape says, 75% of suicide bombings are in Israel proper, directed against targets such as bus stops and pizzerias. Suicide terrorists avoid what he calls “hard” targets, such as railroad stations and even shopping malls, which are too well defended.

At settler outposts in the West Bank, Pape says terrorists will attack and run away so they can do it again and again before getting shot. “Inside Israel proper, they know it’s highly likely the best way to achieve killing is through suicide attacks.”

If suicide bombers were motivated solely to become martyrs and go to heaven, they would stand in front of Israeli tanks. “No,” he insists. “The motivation is to kill the largest number of people. It’s not about how to die.”

Suicide bombers are typically walk-in volunteers from blue-collar and middle-class backgrounds with no experi- ence in killing. Of the 462 he studied, 232 were Arabs. They are not being brainwashed in madrassas, he says. “They are already perfectly willing to die.” They are then taught the mechanics of how to commit suicide bombings.

Only 10% are poor. “These are not individuals who have nothing to lose,” Pape says. “They would have led productive lives.”

They are also highly educated, with 54% having some college education, compared with 12% in the surrounding society.

The common denominator “driving suicide attacks” in the Jewish state is anger at the Israeli occupation, says Pape. “Deep anger is the critical circumstance. When you mix it with personal motives of revenge and social prestige, you trigger the suicide terrorist.”

When Israel withdrew from Gaza and allowed Hamas to win a parliamentary election, the “second intifada came to a halt,” he maintains.

In his 2003 article in American Political Science Review that profiled suicide bombers, Pape advised Israel on how to stop the second intifada.

“Israel should unilaterally withdraw from Gaza and areas of the West Bank and build a security fence,” he suggested. “Israel did about 70% of what I said. I would have moved the fence to the Green Line. Suicide attacks since summer 2004 are down 90%.”

Hamas is still an Islamic fundamentalist organization, he points out. If religion motivated suicide attacks in Israel, they would be continuing.

The Defense Department has been funding Pape’s studies, and he has spoken in Washington to the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, the FBI and members of Congress. Before the 3rd Infantry Division was sent to Iraq as part of President Bush’s surge of 21,500 combat troops, Pape addressed about 150 of its officers.

The recent surge of American troops in Iraq will make a bad situation worse, Pape says. “If we remove our troops, there will be a substantial decline in the number of suicide terrorist attacks.”

Lebanon exemplifies his conclusions, Pape claims. Hezbollah was born in July 1982, created by the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.

When Israel finally withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah did not follow Israeli soldiers to Tel Aviv, Pape notes. “The suicide attacks stopped completely. To this day, there’s not been another suicide attack by Hezbollah.”

If Israel would completely withdraw from the West Bank, Pape predicts that Hamas would end its suicide attacks.

He acknowledges that Hamas keeps saying they want to run Jews out of Israel proper. But Pape says they aren’t doing this through suicide bombings. While it’s possible that Hamas would some day adopt this strategy, he says governments do not build policies on things that are purely hypothetical.

As for Iraq, the U.S. has an interest in a stable Persian Gulf region and maintaining access to oil. We “don’t cut and run,” Pape says. “But our policy can’t be to stay and die.”

The U.S. needs a third way that begins with our core interest, access to oil, which is integral to our economy, Pape says. “Offshore balancing” is what he recommends. “Military forces are poised (outside of Iraq), ready to intervene if necessary. We wouldn’t go to war to spread democracy at the barrel of a gun.”

Pape insists he is all for humanitarian intervention but not at serious risk to American lives. “Our current policy is increasing the risk of another 9/11. It’s creating so much hatred.”

Unlike Vietnam, where America simply pulled out its troops with minimal repercussions, immediate withdrawal is not possible in Iraq, he believes. In Vietnam, the U.S. had no real interests. But leaving Iraq abruptly would damage U.S. interest in Persian Gulf oil and hurt the world’s economy.

Instead, Pape suggests a phased withdrawal beginning this year and taking place over the next three or four years. It took Al Qaeda six years after its first terrorist attacks in 1995 to come to the U.S. for 9/11, he notes.

“This, unfortunately, is the reality of Iraq.” Occupying Iraq has been “just foolish. It’s a tragedy that leaves us in the worst of all possible worlds. It’s time to change policies.”

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.