Saturday, September 29, 2007

Terrorism History
History of Terrorism: Anarchism and Anarchist Terrorism
From Amy Zalman, Ph.D.,
Your Guide to Terrorism Issues.

Anarchists employed "Propaganda of the Deed"
What is Anarchism?

Anarchism was a late 19th century idea among a number of Europeans, Russians and Americans, that all government should be abolished, and that voluntary cooperation, rather than force, should be society's organizing principle. The word itself comes from a Greek word, anarkos, which means "without a chief." The movement had its origins in the search for a way to give industrial working classes a political voice in their societies.

By the turn of the 20th century, anarchism was already on the wane, to be replaced by other movements encouraging the rights of dispossessed classes and revolution.

Propaganda of the Deed
A number of late 19th century thinkers argued that actions, rather than words, were the best way to spread ideas.

For some, it referred to communal violence, while by others it referenced assassinations and bombings carried out by anarchists.It was taken up by anarchists to describe assassinations and bombings.

"Anarchist Terrorism"
The late 19th century saw a wave of political violence inspired by anarchist ideas which were soon labeled anarchist terrorism:

1881: the assassination of Russian Tsar Alexander II, by the group Narodnaya Volya
1894: the assassination of the French president Marie-Francois Sadi Carnot
1894: Bombing of Greenwich Observatory in London
1901: the assassination of American president William McKinley in September 1901, by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz.
These assassinations led to fear among among governments that there existed a vast international conspiracy of anarchist terrorists. In fact, there never was one.

Anarchists Today: No Connection to Religious Terrorism or War on Terror
Anarchists themselves argue that they should not be considered terrorists, or associated with terrorism. Their claims are reasonable: for one thing, most anarchists are actually against the use of violence to achieve political aims, and for another, violence by anarchists was historically directed at political figures, not civilians, as terrorism is.

On a different note, Rick Coolsaet suggests that there is an analogy to be made between the past and the present.

Muslims are often regarded now with the same mixture of fear and contempt as workers were in the 19th century. And the jihadi terrorist has the same feelings about America as his anarchist predecessor had about the bourgeoisie: he sees it as the epitome of arrogance and power. Osama bin Laden is a 21st century Ravachol, a living symbol of hatred and resistance for his followers, a bogeyman for the police and intelligence servicesToday’s jihadis resemble yesterday’s anarchists: in reality, a myriad of tiny groups; in their own eyes, a vanguard rallying the oppressed masses (5). Saudi Arabia has now taken the role of Italy while 11 September 2001 is the modern version of 24 June 1894, a wake-up call to the international community.
The reasons for the rise of terrorism now and anarchism then are the same. Muslims worldwide are united by a sense of unease and crisis. The Arab world seems to be more bitter, more cynical and less creative than it was in the 1980s. There is a growing sense of solidarity with other Muslims, a feeling that Islam itself is in danger. This is fertile ground for a fanatical minority.

What is Terrorism?:
Terrorism is distinguished from other acts of violence, and from war, by always having these four characteristics:

Terrorists violate the rules of modern warfare, established in acts called the Geneva Conventions and Hague Conventions; or they are actors (e.g., sub-state groups) who can't declare war legitimately;
Its goal is to achieve political change;
Its targets are symbolic of the political issue in question;
Acts of terror are designed to get attention from the public and media.

Also see definitions of terrorism from the United States government and international bodies and conventions.

Terrorism in the Pre-Modern World:
Violent acts on behalf of political change are as old as human history. The Sicarii were a first century Jewish group who murdered enemies and collaborators in their campaign to oust their Roman rulers from Judea.

The Hashhashin, whose name gave us the English word "assassins," were a secretive Islamic sect active in Iran and Syria from the 11th to the 13th century.

Their dramatically executed assassinations of Abbasid and Seljuk political figures terrified their contemporaries.

Zealots and assassins were not, however, really terrorists in the modern sense. Terrorism is best thought of as a modern phenomenon. Its characteristics flow from the international system of nation-states, and its success depends on the existence of a mass media to create an aura of terror among many people.

Sicarii, First Century Terrorists
The Assassins

Robespierre's sentiment laid the foundations for modern terrorists, who believe violence will usher in a better system. But the characterization of terrorism as a state action faded, while the idea of terrorism as an attack against an existing political order became more prominent.

Should States Be Considered Terrorists?
U.S. State Department State Sponsors of Terrorism, Who's On the List and How to Get Off

1950s: Twentieth Century Terror:

The rise of guerrilla tactics by non-state actors in the last half of the twentieth century was due to several factors.These included the flowering of ethnic nationalism (e.g. Irish, Basque, Zionist), anti-colonial sentiments in the vast British, French and other empires, and new ideologies such as communism.

Terrorist Groups with a nationalist agenda:

Irish Republican Army
Kurdistan Worker's Party

1970s: Terrorism Turns International:
International terrorism is considered to have gotten its start at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at which a Palestinian organization, Black September, kidnapped and killed Israeli athletes preparing to compete.

The event also gave us our contemporary sense of terrorism as highly theatrical, symbolic acts of violence by organized groups with specific political grievances.

Black September's political goal was negotiating the release of Palestinian prisoners. They used spectacular tactics to bring international attention to their national cause.

Munich radically changed the United States' handling of terrorism: "The terms counterterrorism and international terrorism formally entered the Washington political lexicon," according to counterterrorism expert Timothy Naftali.

Terrorists also took advantage of the black market in Soviet-produced light weaponry created in the wake of the Soviet Union's 1989 collapse. Most terrorist groups justified violence with a deep belief in the necessity and justice of their cause.

Terrorism in the United States also emerged. Groups such as the Weathermen grew out of the non-violent group Students for a Democratic Society. They turned to violent tactics, from rioting to setting off bombs, to protest the Vietnam War.

International Terrorism, Notable Attacks: 1968 PFLP Hijacking of El Al Flight 1988 Pan Am Lockerbie Explosion

Learn more about counterterrorism.

1990s: The Twenty First Century: Religious Terrorism and Beyond
Religiously motivated terrorism is considered the most alarming terrorist threat today. Groups that justify their violence on Islamic grounds- Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah—come to mind first. But Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and other religions have given rise to their own forms of militant extremism.

What is most distressing about this turn, as religion scholar Karen Armstrong points out, is terrorists' departure from any real religious precepts. Muhammad Atta, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, and "the Egyptian hijacker who was driving the first plane, was a near alcoholic and was drinking vodka before he boarded the aircraft." Alcohol would be strictly off limits for a highly observant Muslim. Atta, and perhaps many others, are not simply orthodox believers turned violent, but rather violent extremists who manipulate religious concepts for their own purposes.

Robespierre's sentiment laid the foundations for modern terrorists, who believe violence will usher in a better system. But the characterization of terrorism as a state action faded, while the idea of terrorism as an attack against an existing political order became more prominent.

The Many Definitions of Terrorism

There is no official definition of terrorism agreed on throughout the world, and definitions tend to rely heavily on who is doing the defining and for what purpose. Some definitions focus on terrorist tactics to define the term, while others focus on the actor. Yet others look at the context and ask if it is military or not.

We will probably never arrive at a perfect definition to which we can all agree, although it does have characteristics to which we all point, like violence or its threat. Indeed, the only defining quality of terrorism may be the fact that it invites argument, since the label "terrorism" or "terrorist" arises when there is disagreement over whether an act of violence is justified (and those who justify it label themselves "revolutionaries" or "freedom fighters," etc.).

So, in one sense, it may be fair to say that terrorism is exactly violence (or the threat of violence) in context where there will be disagreement over the use of that violence.

But this doesn't mean that no one has tried to define terrorism! In order to prosecute terrorist acts, or distinguish them from war and other violence that is condoned, national and international institutions, as well as others, have sought to define the term. Here are some of the most frequently cited definitions.

American Policy caused 9/11?

Is American Foreign Policy Responsible for 9/11?
By: Ryan Mauro

After the attacks of September the 11th, many questioned, “Why do they hate us?” While any deliberate attack on innocent civilians is deplorable, it is important to find the cause of radical Islamic terrorism. Many people point to the sources of anti-Americanism as the cause of terrorism, but anti-Americanism does not translate into an acceptance of, and willingness to participate in, suicide bombings. It is not fair to blame anti-Americanism (and thus American policy causing anti-Americanism) as the cause of the sickness, because hatred of one country’s policy does not lead most people to justify killing innocents. After all, most of Western Europe and Latin America is anti-American, but they aren’t participating in terrorism. The deliberate massacring of civilians, although conducted by many groups over history, is currently unique to the Islamic world, specifically the Middle East and North Africa. What is going in the region that is causing Islamic terrorism to blossom?

All terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda, rely upon sponsorship by governments to be effective. This is the most important reason that terrorism has blossomed. Terrorists do not rely upon the support of populations, but of support from governments. At the time of 9/11, the State Department designated the following countries as state sponsors of terrorism: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Cuba. Most people would add Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to that list, although that probably wasn’t done for political reasons. The Pakistanis and Saudis have played both sides a bit. If terrorism is not the inevitable result of offending people, but rather is an instrument of enemy states, then that means declaring War on Terror doesn’t strike the source of the problem. It’d be as if the colonists declared a “War on Bows and Arrows” during their fight with the Indians.

While self-criticism will be necessary in assessing how to combat terrorism, we have to be careful to not blur the lines between what’s acceptable and what is unacceptable. I find it strange that people ask themselves what we did to deserve being targeted by Islamists. Is that not the same thing as victims of abortion clinic bombings asking what they did to deserve being bombed? Sometimes there are just philosophical differences, and people who use those differences as a way to find a purpose in life, even if it means dedicating themselves to killing innocents over those disagreements.

While American policy surely causes anti-Americanism, and policy should be fixed to reduce that, there are limits. For example, Islamists may condemn our culture, but does that mean we eliminate our freedoms to sooth their anger? Islamists, and the governments that promote them, deliberately manipulate the feelings of the population. Their hatred comes from half-truths. One only needs to take a quick glance at American foreign policy to see that terrorism does not emanate from an objective critique of our actions.

For example, while Islamists condemn our support for Israel and presence in Saudi Arabia, they make no mention of what we have done for Muslims. During the Cold War, we staunchly opposed any Soviet interference in the Middle East. In the 1980s, the mujahideen in Afghanistan were backed by America to defeat the Soviets. In 1990, the U.S. freed Kuwait from the Iraqis, and defended Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holy land, from his probable scheme to invade. In 1995 and 1999, we fought on the side of the Muslims to protect them against the Serbs and Croatians, who were Christians! In 1999, the US hurt relations with Russia by criticizing their action in Chechnya. And it was American pressure that caused Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, forcing Jewish families from their homes, so the Palestinians could make it a homogenous area for themselves. While the U.S. does sell arms to Israel, we do the same for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and its Arab enemies. Just like the radical Muslims manipulate the interpretation of the Quran for evil ends, they also manipulate the interpretation of American policy for evil ends.

Likewise, while anti-Semitic feeling is real in the Islamic world, Israel is also a scapegoat in many cases. Few people know that Israel actually treats the Palestinians better than any Arab country does. The entire Palestinian problem was created by Arab nations refusing to allow the Palestinians into their country, and even today, Palestinians are denied citizenship and rights in the Arab world. There are religious disputes, of course, but we must question why this translates into violence and a demand that one side simply not exist. Israel allows Muslims to visit their Holy Sites and even lets them vote in municipal elections (Bard, 221-223). This isn’t to say Israel is perfect or their positions are correct, but one must ask why Israel, which is the least oppressive in the region (even towards Muslims), is the target.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a former Al-Qaeda terrorist and associate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, also disagrees that American policy is what caused 9/11. In his book, he describes how he was taught not to think, how all misery was blamed on the infidels, and how 72 virgins awaited him in heaven, which was a treasure because sex before marriage, masturbation, and even looking at a woman in certain ways were strictly forbidden. Dr. Hamid describes how verses of the Koran are used to teach their students to kill the infidel, arguing that these verses are what cause terrorism, not current events. He also describes the history of violent political Islam, highlighting how it goes back to before the establishment of either the state of Israel or the United States. Hamid’s thesis is that all Islamic terrorism emanates from “purists” who forcefully took control of the Arabian Peninsula, thus controlling the heart of Islam (and able to shape it to their mold), and then during the 20th century, they exported this form of Islam using the oil wealth. He also notes that more Muslims have been killed by Islamic terrorism than Americans or Israelis, so the idea that the Israel issue is the primary motivator is false.

Some say Islamic terrorism comes from being poor or uneducated. This is also untrue. Bangladesh is the poorest Islamic country, but few terrorists come from there. Saudi Arabia, the richest Muslim country, has the highest number of terrorists. It also doesn’t come from a lack of education, because terrorist organizations rely upon highly educated Muslims to operate (Hamid, 78-79).About three-fourths of Al-Qaeda terrorists who have been captured come from the upper or middle class, and the remaining one-fourth come are mostly immigrants who went to Europe and due to the welfare state in Europe, and “by the standards of the Third World, these people are not poor” (Miniter, 127).

I personally feel the theory that best explains Islamic terrorism is the one advocated by Dr. Bernard Lewis. He noticed that most terrorists emanate from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan. These are countries that are American allies, yet are corrupt and deny freedom and rights to their citizens. Saudi Arabia funds Wahhabism, the strand of radical Islam closest to Bin Laden’s ideology, and Pakistan created the Taliban. Egypt’s state press is anti-American, eager to blame America (rather than the government) for their ills. For example, a majority of Egyptians believe “the Jews” did 9/11, not Bin Laden (Bard, 254). Lewis’ theory is that America is targeted not because of our advocating of freedom (or, “imposing our way of life” as some say) but because of our hindering of freedom. These three countries are failed states, but the rulers are rich. The people of these countries hate their governments, and when they see America allied with their governments, they see a conspiracy to oppress them. The governments of the people, whom wish to remain in power, must project their anguish upon an external enemy, with America being the easiest scapegoat because we have the wealth, power, and prestige. You can see this in the state-controlled press of these countries. Additionally, such as in the case of the Saudis, their internal enemies leave the country to fight the West. Thus, a cycle is created. Although terrorists hate these governments which ally with the West, they rely upon them. The governments, who fear the terrorists, export them outwards, and at the same time, crush any hopes of freedom because any referendum will result in their loss of power. Lewis then concludes that political freedom, allowing people to control their own lives and channel their talents into productive causes, is the antidote to radical Islam which emanates from oppressive governments.

There’s one more part to his theory. Oppressive governments then, which are opposed by the United States, govern populations that are pro-American. He says, “It's interesting that pro-American feeling is strongest in countries with anti-American governments. But the anti-American feeling is strongest in those countries that are ruled by what we are pleased to call ‘friendly governments.’ And it is those, of course, that are the most tyrannical and the most resented by their own people.” (Lewis, 1).

The evidence shows he is right. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the people quickly allied themselves and embraced democracy despite the attempts by terrorists and state sponsors of terror to sabotage it. In Iran, the people despise the regime. I attended a conference of Middle Eastern democratic leaders at Seton Hall a few weeks ago. Amir Abbas Fakhravar, a top student leader who was imprisoned by the regime for his anti-mullah demonstrations, described how the people of Iran want the mullahs gone, and many have American flags hidden in their homes. Farid Ghadry, the leader of the Reform Party of Syria, described the same thing in Syria. Eblan Farris from Lebanon also described it. The people there support America because we have stood up to the regimes that oppress them.

In conclusion, I think that we should listen to the former terrorists and the democratic leaders in the Middle East as to what caused terrorism. They know it better than we do, as they have lived in or amongst terrorist organizations. Their feelings about the cause of terrorism are unanimous. It is caused by state-sponsors who use it as an instrument of warfare, and we are merely caught in the cross-fire of an Islamic civil war between those who favor democracy, freedom, human rights and those who favor Islamic “purity,” oppression, and a denial of those values that every human possesses. Their solution is also unanimous: That the United States must stand with those who stand for freedom and reform in the Islamic world, assisting them by various means, and against the state sponsors of terrorism who simultaneously threaten their citizens and our own.



Bard, Mitchell G. (2002). Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Chevy Chase: American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.

Hamid, Dr. Tawfik. (2005). The Roots of Jihad: An Insider’s View of Islamic Violence. Top Executive Media.

Jeffrey, Dr. Grant R. (2002). War on Terror. Toronto: Frontier Publications.

Lewis, Dr. Bernard. (2006). Bring Them Freedom, Or They Destroy Us. Retrieved April 21, 2007 from

Miniter, Richard. (2005). Disinformation: 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terrorism. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing.

US Policy and Terrorism

US policy, not poverty, 'is cause of terrorism'
The Sunday Herald, Feb 19, 2006 by Paul Hutcheon

A LEADING US academic will challenge the establishment this week when he makes the controversial claim that poverty is not the root cause of international terrorism.

Alan Krueger, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, will say suicide bombers tend to come from middle-class families. He will also argue that terrorism is directly motivated by US policy decisions.

Krueger's arguments will be made in a prestigious three-part lecture series at the London School of Economics, beginning on Tuesday. The former member of the Clinton administration will present new research on the "causes and consequences" of terrorism, which he says have been misunderstood.

One of his main findings disputes the supposed link between deprivation and terrorism. "One point I'm going to make is that the popular stereotype, from Tony Blair on down, seems to be that poverty is the root cause of terrorism. That is a very questionable presumption. The evidence doesn't point in that direction, " he told the Sunday Herald.

Krueger reached the conclusion by sampling members of Hezbollah and looking at the biographies of suicide bombers in Israel. "Overwhelmingly they were from well-off families, " he said.

He said his model is relevant to al-Qaeda (whose leader Osama bin Laden came from a wealthy family and whose main ally was a doctor) and the 9/11 attacks on New York. "It fits very well. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were middle-class or from high-income classes."

Krueger also applied his findings to the London Tube and bus bombings last July. "My vibe on the people who carried out the suicide attacks was that they were not from struggling families."

He argues that terrorists, instead of coming primarily from poor states, tend to hail from oppressive regimes, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This, he says, shows that terrorists tend to be motivated by fanaticism, not poverty. "In most cases [a suicide bomber] is not someone who has nothing to live for, but someone who desperately believes in a cause."

He will also say US policies, such as the presence of troops in the Middle East, are one of the main factors behind terrorism.

"A good example is US presence in Saudi Arabia, which is a large part of the motivation for al-Qaeda. The US just had to think of suicide bombers as people who are destitute, whereas I think they are motivated by political factors.

"We have to own up to the fact that a lot of the terrorist activity is in response to policy decisions."

Krueger's research challenges the conventional wisdom that terrorism is motivated by third world conditions in Arab countries and by envy of the West. The left, particularly in Britain, has tended to argue that a root cause of Muslim anger is Palestinian poverty, an explanation that Krueger's model seems to reject.

SNP leader Alex Salmond said he agreed with the academic's analysis of the Bush administration's anti-terror policies. "Krueger is undoubtedly correct. The war on terror has been disastrously counterproductive, " he said.

Copyright c 2006 Newsquest Media Group
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

Causes for Terrorism

The Causes of Terrorism
From Robert Kennedy,

Terrorism runs riot in places where there is no hope. It thrives in societies which have broken down to the point where ordinary citizens decide to take the law into their own hands. Our children need to understand the root causes of terrorism and what can be done about them. They need to know that they can be a powerful force for change in the world.


A society where suffering is widespread and severe is the ideal breeding ground for terrorism. Why? Because suffering creates hopelessness. When hopelessness takes hold, the sufferers are easy marks for leaders who have terrorist agenda. Examples include Hitler and the Nazis, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Osama Bin Laden and Al-Quaeda.

Terrorist Leaders

History offers many examples of charismatic individuals who have been able to control entire populations to achieve their own personal goals.

In recent times Hitler, Mussolini, Milosevic, Mao Tse-Tung, Osama Bin Laden and many others have inflicted incredible pain and suffering on their peoples all the while believing totally in the correctness of their mission

Causes of Modern Terrorism

Causes of Modern Terrorism

Every terrorist needs a particular cause to justify the use of terror tactics both to his own psyche and to the audience he hopes reach. Most terrorists are not deranged or psychotic individuals. From their point of view, terror tactics are logical, valid activities to achieve a particular goal. These individuals do not consider themselves insane nor do they want the world to consider them insane.

The modern wave of global terrorism that began in the second half of the 20th century is rooted in specific economic, social and political grievances. The validity of these grievances is of course debatable. This page will profile origins of terrorist movements in three parts of the world—the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.

Middle East Terrorism

The current global wave of terrorism, in many ways, originated and was fueled by events in the Middle East, particularly the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of the world's most violent terrorist acts have been committed in the name of Palestinian self determination and the destruction of Israel.

Israel's official creation in 1948 began an intermittent conflict which lasts to this day. Palestinians maintain Israeli lands (?) were promised to them by British colonial authorities. Israel's Arab neighbors failed to destroy Israel by conventional military means, so radical Palestinians believed terror tactics were the only other choice. Even prior to Israel's formation, Jewish settlers used terrorism against British colonial authorities and Palestinian Arabs living in the area to affect the creation of a Jewish state. Consequently, Arabs reciprocated. In 1964, the major Palestinian terrorist groups formed a coalition called the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under the leadership of Yasser Arafat. The PLO's stated mission included the annihilation of Israel and establishment of a Palestinian state. The terror escalated to a global scale after the 1967 Six Day War when Israel annexed Palestinian lands on the west bank of the Jordan River and Gaza Strip near the Sinai Peninsula.

The causes of Middle East terrorism are mainly political. The dispute is over possession of land. Palestinians considered the territory occupied by Israel rightfully theirs. Aside from the land dispute, a social element is also present in this situation. Israel is the only non-Muslim nation in the Middle East, therefore it vividly stands out as "different," or an "invader." Islam is more than just a religion to its faithful. It is a prescription for life; dictating social norms in addition to civil and criminal law. The existence of Israel is viewed as an invasion of the western world's "corrupting" influence.

To fundamentalist Muslims the West, led by the United States, is characterized by the inequity and exploitation of capitalism, a philosophy centered on the individual. Islam on the other hand, is based on a more egalitarian and group-focused philosophy. But the main reason Muslims are opposed to Western influence concerns the attractiveness of capitalism. While Marxists have attempted to paint capitalism as evil and decadent, they have failed to account for its comparative efficiency in allocating resources and generally raising living standards. Coupled with the fact that life in the West is often glamorously portrayed by the media, religious leaders fear Muslims will be corrupted by Western greed and forsake their Muslim faith. This fact is one explanation for the increase in Muslim fundamentalism in the Middle East.

Fundamentalist terrorist groups like Hizballah and Hamas are infamous for their fanatical tactics, most notably suicide bombings. Religious zealots will be recruited by these groups to take explosives, either strapped to their bodies or in vehicles, and detonate those explosives, killing themselves, and destroying the assigned target. In 1983, a Hizballah suicide bomber drove the bomb-laden truck which destroyed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon killing over 200 Marines. More recently, Hamas suicide bombers have blown-up a number of buses in Israel. The Muslim fanatics are convinced killing themselves in the process of killing their enemies is a path to martyrdom and eternal salvation.

Middle East terrorism has fueled the global wave of terrorism because a variety of terrorist groups (IRA, ETA, Japanese Red Army, Baader-Meinhof Gang, etc.) have received training and support from Palestinian terrorist groups, particularly the PLO.

European Terrorism

A number of rather small, elitist terrorist movements evolved in Europe between the late 1960's and early 1980's. Most were left-wing Marxist-Leninist or nihilist movements which grew out of the activism and student protests of the 1960's. Their motivations included economics and idealism. Western Europe suffered an economic downturn and high unemployment in the 1960's, which European Marxist scholars assailed as evidence of capitalism's failure. Graduating college students, who encountered flat labor markets, blamed governments and business leaders for the economic hardship.

Extremists in these left-wing student movements felt violence was necessary to destroy the industrialized capitalist structures they found detrimental to society. These groups were mainly composed of well educated idealistic individuals seeking to "reform" society. Examples of groups include Italy's Red Brigades (BR), West Germany's Baader-Meinhof Gang (also known as the Red Army Faction) and France's Direct Action (AD). These groups wreaked havoc throughout the 1970's, targeting business and political leaders. The most notorious terrorist act was committed by the Red Brigades, when they kidnapped then murdered former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.

The oldest of Europe's recent terrorist insurgencies also have far different motivations for their respective struggles. Northern Ireland's Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and Spain's Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) wish to secede from their nations.

In 1922 Ireland was granted independence from Britain with the stipulation that its six predominantly Protestant northeastern counties (known as Ulster) would remain part of the United Kingdom. Many Irish never truly accepted a division of their nation. The Catholic minority that remained in Ulster was then discriminated against in terms of employment, housing and effective political participation. Catholics launched a civil rights movement in 1968 which was violently repressed by Protestants. The stage was then set for a pattern of violence that continues today. Radical Catholic nationalists called for Ulster's secession from the U.K. and union with the Republic of Ireland.

Extremist elements of the Irish Republican Army (IRA—guerrilla group formed in 1919 to secure Ireland's independence from Britain) then split to form the PIRA, or "Provos," in 1969 and embraced terrorism, claiming IRA's tactics were too timid to be effective in reuniting Ireland.

Social, political and economic elements led to this conflict. First and foremost, economic and political discrimination led to Catholics in Ulster becoming an underclass. Second, Catholic Irishmen wanted to be reunited with the rest of the Irish nation. These factors culminated in the Irish civil rights movement and the choice to use terrorism to affect reunion.

The Basque ETA was formed in 1959 as a political movement against General Franco, the fascist leader of Spain. The movement's goal was the creation of an independent state for Spain's Basque ethnic group. The Basques have been oppressed and their culture attacked under Franco. Initially the group received a great deal of support in its anti-fascist efforts, particularly from France. But Western support waned as the ETA made greater use of terror tactics.

The ETA's struggle stemmed from political oppression the Basques had suffered, and the Spanish government's attempt to destroy their culture and assimilate them into Spanish culture. Although many Basque grievances were settled after the end of Franco's rule, the ETA vows to maintain its struggle until Basques are given a sovereign homeland.

Latin American Terrorism

Terrorism in Latin America is essentially a product of class conflict. Until recently, nearly all Latin American nations were controlled by corrupt authoritarian regimes who gave little consideration to the welfare of their people. The result—a majority of Latin Americans live in poverty. The undereducated and impoverished people were very receptive to the egalitarian Marxist, Leninist and Maoist philosophies espoused by extremists.

Nearly every Latin American nation has had, or currenlty has, an active guerrilla or terrorist insurgency. The driving force behind most of these groups has been a desire to reorganize society along socialist lines, remove foreign business interests and redistribute land and wealth.

Major Latin American terrorist groups include Peru's Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and Chile's Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR).

Click here or the image to view a video clip allegedly showing MRTA terrorists preparing to seize the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, Peru on December 17, 1996.

Stressed Populations

Fear and Violence in Stressed Populations
Stress, Violence and Peace in the Balkans
Dai Williams, 27th April 1999
Courtesy of The Eos Life-Work Resource Centre

Williams explains, that, “Stress arises when the combination of internal and external pressures exceeds the individual's resources to cope with their situation. Stress may develop from chronic (ongoing) or acute (sudden) pressures. As general pressures increase on a population - economic, environmental or political - then a greater proportion of individuals are likely to cross the threshold from anxiety to panic or violence.

Physical and mental behaviour in the stress zone is determined by the fight or flight response, when threat or fear triggers an adrenaline reaction. Civilised cultures try to suppress the fight response or channel aggression into other activities e.g. sport. But it is latent in most people, restrained only by codes of social behaviour. In war (or criminal) situations these codes and restraints break down, potentially liberating great brutality, or are redefined to make violence a duty.”

The psychological climate of a community or population determines what percentage of the population may resort to organised or mindless violence. If a population is already stressed every additional source of stress increases the probability and number of individuals that will become violent. For example an individual whose relative has been killed or maimed, is more likely to take violent action themselves. This has been found in research into the background of terrorists in Northern Ireland. As these pressures increase then normal social and moral restraints become weaker.

These patterns indicate that violence is a last resort in a stressed population. The existence of violence is a warning that the population is already over-stressed for reasons that are usually obvious.

If violence is the only way to restrain violent individuals or groups it must be very carefully limited. Collateral damage is psychological as well as physical, increasing fear and the potential for anger and violence in a much larger population. The key task in peacemaking is to reduce and minimise all avoidable sources of stress - military, economic, environmental as well as political.

Terrorism: Underlying Causes

Terrorism has blasted its way into the world’s headlines. In an age of information overload it’s easy and convenient to accept the news of current events at face value. It takes a good deal more effort to search for deeper understanding of complex political issues, especially those affecting only foreign countries. Condemning terrorism doesn’t eliminate it, and decades of counter-terrorism programs haven’t stopped it. Perhaps what’s missing is a fundamental understanding of political violence.

The primary goal of terrorism is to attract attention. In 1993, Islamist extremists bombed New York’s World Trade Center, capturing immediate, but short-lived attention, before people lost interest. Undeterred, they did it again with devastating results. In response, endless resources have been allocated to defending the homeland, launching an international war on terror and preparing for the next event, which experts predict could involve weapons of mass destruction.

The terrorists have succeeded. They have created a climate of fear. They have imposed a huge financial burden impeding economic recovery. They have provoked the United States to change its national security policy to condone pre-emptive war, and they’ve helped push America into war. When and how does it all end?

No one yet knows the answers. Some of the possibilities are horrific. If the deadly consequences of terror are as likely as some predict, and if we are going to eliminate terrorism, we must start at the beginning by understanding the underlying causes of political violence.

Much of the background and many of the insights for this briefing come from a uniquely valuable book: The Nature of Prejudice, Gordon W. Allport, (Addison Wesley 1979). This book is a true classic, as revealing today as when it was first published in 1954. We are all familiar with “those people” and what people say about “them.” They’re lazy, dirty; they breed like rabbits; they’re uneducated and uncouth; they stick to themselves; and they’re sneaky and can’t be trusted. Yes, you know who we’re talking about – the “out-group.” They could be black, or white, red or yellow. They could be Christians, Jews, Hindu, or Muslim. They could be from this country or that country. It doesn’t matter.

As Allport explains, in-groups always make the same observations and criticisms of out-groups. These prejudices lay the foundation for deeper future problems. Oftentimes such prejudices appear true, not because of a people’s nationality, or religion, but because of their circumstances. Those who are poor, uneducated and disadvantaged are never acceptable to the elite, or in-group, unless, perhaps, as servants. The underlying causes of political violence and terrorism begin long ago and faraway. Yet they remain a part of our lives today…

Group Identity – People have an instinctive need to establish an identity. They are born into a family and naturally share that family’s identity in terms of name, relatives, clan, ethnicity, language, religion and culture. These associations form the basis of our existence and establish our identity. Through association and education we learn and adopt the values and behaviors typical of our group – our in-group. Over time, people realize that there are other groups to which they do belong and with which they don’t identify – out-groups. Invariably people recognize that there is an “us” and a “them,” that there are noticeable differences between groups, and develop loyalty to their in-group. People naturally take pride in their in-group and usually view their own group as superior. These basic group differences set the stage for competition and conflict.

Inter-Group Dynamics – As groups interact with one another, patterns of cooperative and competitive behavior develop. The result of competition is that one groups wins and benefits, while the other loses and suffers. Each group then rationalizes the results, either reasserting the reasons for their success, or failure, which entails rejecting the out-group. Gordon Allport categorizes the forms of rejective behavior in a scale of intensity:

Verbal Rejection – derisive comments, put-downs, ethnic (out-group) jokes
Avoidance – forms of self-imposed or voluntary segregation, sticking with our own kind
Discrimination – denying equality to others solely because of affiliation with an out-group
Physical Attack – personal physical attacks against out-group members, rioting, lynching, attacking homes, etc.
Extermination – concerted attacks designed to force out-groups to move away, or to actually exterminate the subject group – pogroms, massacres, ethnic cleansing and genocide

Over long periods of time group differences and rejective behaviors often become deeply ingrained and more severe behaviors have led to protracted conflict and hatreds between groups. These historic conflicts may be obscured by political changes or current events but remain as latent sources of renewed conflict as circumstances change, for better or worse, and opportunities arise.

Relative Deprivation – Over time, groups often establish a pattern of dominance that may be based on group size, specialization (farmers vs. merchants), discrimination, or external influences (colonial power favoritism). The relative differences between group successes may not be a problem unless it is seen as the result of unfair, unequal or discriminatory distortions. Where a dominant group imposes a system that results in disadvantage for a particular out-group it eventually invites demands for reform. Such demands usually come from out-group members who have become better educated and aware of the inequality that frustrates their efforts to advance and prosper according to their abilities.

The out-group may be at a disadvantage in education, living standards, job opportunity, job advancement, political influence, or ability to express its group identity, language or culture.

In many colonial situations, the European colonial powers favored specific minority groups as part of the divide and conquer strategy. They used these favored minorities as surrogates to help maintain order and dominance over much larger majority populations. When the colonists withdrew after World War I and World War II, little or nothing was done to establish more democratic governing systems, or to redress the relative disadvantages that had been created.

In other cases, the ruling systems, monarchies or regimes that were left in power continued to exploit out-groups for their own benefit, or failed to move their countries forward in the global marketplace. In either case, out-groups developed heightened expectations for their future but remained frustrated at their inability to change their disadvantaged situation.

Discrimination - A memorandum of the United Nations defines the issue of discrimination:

"Discrimination includes any conduct based on a distinction made on grounds if natural or social category, which have no relation either to individual capacities or merits, or to the concrete behavior of the person.” Among the forms of discrimination officially practiced in various parts of the world, the United Nations lists the following:

Unequal recognition before the law (general denial of rights to particular groups)
Inequality of personal security (interference, arrest, disparagement because of group membership)
Inequality in freedom of movement and residence (ghettoes, forbidden travel, prohibited areas, curfew restrictions)
Inequality in protection of freedom of thought, conscience, religion
Inequality in the enjoyment of free communication
Inequality in the right of peaceful association
Inequality in treatment of those born out of wedlock
Inequality in the enjoyment of the right to marry and found a family
Inequality in the enjoyment of free choice of employment
Inequality in the regulation and treatment o£ ownership inequality in the protection of authorship
Inequality of opportunity for education or the development of ability or talent
Inequality of opportunity for sharing the benefits of culture inequality in services rendered (health protection, recreational facilities, housing)
Inequality in the enjoyment of the right to nationality inequality in the right to participate in government
Inequality in access to public office forced labor, slavery, special taxes, the forced wearing of distinguishing marks, sumptuary laws, and public libel of groups

Reform Movements – In situations where out-groups have access to a political system reform movements often emerge demanding changes. Under monarchies and authoritarian regimes there is rarely the ability to petition the state for reform and repressive regimes are often quick to quell any such movements. The rise of a reform movement inevitably raises expectations of the out-group.The initial reaction to reforms demands is most often to reject the demands as unfounded – to deny the existence of the problem and blame the situation on prejudiced characterizations of the out-group. (“The reason they’re poor is that all out-groupers are lazy.”) A typical theme is that, “we don’t have a problem, they do.”

Even if a state recognizes a demand as legitimate, specific interest groups that will oppose reform from fear that it will dilute their position of power and advantage. It’s often said that no one has ever given up power or wealth voluntarily. Such interest groups are easily provoked into a strong reactionary response targeting either, or both, the reformers group, or the government. The emergence of these fear-driven reactionary forces is perhaps the most potent factor is a cascading plunge into violent political conflict. The state is placed in the position of choosing the lesser of two evils, confronting the weaker of two adversaries, and pursuing a course that ensures its own interests and immediate survival.

Not surprisingly, reform movements often meet with limited, if any, success. The greater the institutionalized discrimination, inequality and injustice, the lower the prospects for reform and the greater the chances for eventual violence. Rejection of reform demands heightens out-group frustration and strengthens the arguments of militants and their call for decisive action.

Dissident Movements – It is not human nature to go quietly into the night. When governments reject reasonable reform, they invite more aggressive dissent. And when reactionary interests enter the fray, attitudes harden, demands escalate and prospects for resolution diminish quickly. As reformers become dissenters, more militant leaders may take up the call, organizing demonstrations and protests. These activities are designed to raise out-group support and recruit participants to pressure and threaten the state and its dominant in-groups. There is an inevitable struggle between dissenters between non-violent protest and the classic revolutionary tactic of provoking the state to violent repression as a means to anger and inflame people against the injustice.

Dissident movements face three obstacles: ignorance, apathy and inertia. Hence their objectives are to inform people of the problems and motivate them to take a position and join the movement. Public protests are designed to attract publicity and attention, but it is difficult to sustain an active movement unless it can show progress and inspire hope. Where government controls the media, or there is little means for public exposure the prospects are dim.

The rise of dissident movements creates ever more visceral fear within privileged in-groups and is as likely to provoke reactionary violence from counter-demonstrators as from the state. As fear and tension rises, violence is but a stone’s throw away; all that is need is a precipitating incident, whether intentional or not, to ignite the cycle of violence.

Political Violence – Once violence erupts, the voices of reason and moderation become muted, militants fight for control and rogue elements, whether dissident or reactionary can influence events. A key result of the transition to violence is to eliminate apathy. People are pushed from the fence of indecision and forced to take a position or join the fray.

Political violence requires there be a target for attacks and the choices are limited - people or things, government or private. The obvious first targets of the militants are the repressive state’s buildings, facilities, symbols and security forces. Ironically, the state’s assets are better protected than the community they are designed to protect, which serves to redirect violence toward the private sector. As violence breaks out, threatened in-groups are often quick to organize for counter-attacks and their targets are limited to out-group individuals, their homes and businesses. Attacks against these targets can readily be defined as terrorism, but because they support the state, they are rarely condemned for what they are.

As dissidents evolve from militants, to armed insurgents, they quickly find themselves out-numbered and out-gunned by increasingly aggressive security forces and caught in a vice between them and reactionary paramilitary or vigilante groups. At this point, the burden is on the state – either they will act to quell the civil discord through negotiation, or through force. Unfortunately, most of today’s current conflicts and resulting terrorism result from a cooperative effort – a joint venture – between the state and its in-groups and out-groups.

In real wars, we‘ve all become familiar with apologies for civilian casualties known as “collateral damage.” Violent political groups have no such excuse; once a bomb, or stray bullet kills an innocent civilian, the perpetrators are branded as terrorists, and as government spokespeople and politicians have said a million times, “once a terrorist always a terrorist.”

This is a broad, generic description of the conflict development process and there are a myriad of variations and exceptions in specific cases. The classic example of the process is the conflict in Northern Ireland. The UK endured nearly 30 years of conflict in Ulster at a cost of some 3,500 lives and tens of billions in economic cost – all of which might have been avoided by agreeing to rather modest human rights demands that have since been granted anyway.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a number of similarities and even though there was no government authority to consider reforms, Great Britain and the U.N. could have taken up this role. Again, the economic and human costs have been staggering with no resolution yet in sight. The situation in Sri Lanka also includes many elements of the process, as do conflicts in Spain, Turkey, Cyprus and elsewhere.

A contrasting perspective is available by analyzing the U.S. experience with the 1960’s civil rights movement and Viet Nam anti-war protests. Often forgotten is that America experienced a devastating Civil War that demonstrated the compelling need to deal with civil discord.

During the civil rights conflict in the South, the U.S. Government sent National Guard troops, not to repress the civil rights demonstrators, but to protect them and to enforce the rule of law. Such actions are unparalleled. Meanwhile, anti-war demonstrations became increasingly violent and fractured American society. At Kent State University National Guard troop shot and killed student demonstrators in 1971. This tragic escalation helped sober the nation, restrained protestors and spurred the government to commit to withdrawal of US forces from Viet Nam.

Myths about Terrorism

Myths about terrorism
Shashi Tharoor

While ending poverty will not end terror, it will make terrorism that much more difficult to promote.

Complex issue: Familes and friends of 9/11 victims at Ground Zero. One of the more interesting debates that has arisen since the spectreof terrorism invaded the global consciousness just over six years ago (on "9/11") is the one about poverty and terror. Some have argued,perhaps a bit too simplisticall y, that terrorism is caused by poverty and that the eradication of poverty will lead to the elimination of terror. Certain development advocates have been particularly assiduous in purveying this line, no doubt in reaction to the even more simplistic discourse of those who argue that terrorism is a form of evil, divorced from any understandable "root cause", that must be ruthlessly stamped out in a "global war". Repudiation was bound to come sooner or later from the growing band of scholars who study such things. It now has.

Poverty not the cause

The American economist Alan B. Krueger of Princeton and Czech Professor Jitka Maleckovaì of Charles University in Prague have studied this question in the context of Palestinian support for terrorism and established, from a diligent perusal of public opinion polls, that the support for terror attacks on Israel is lower amongst the poor and unemployed people than amongst the relatively better off Palestinians (students, professionals, merchants). The same is true, they showed, for supporters of the Hezbollah in Lebanon and of the extremist, even racist Gush Emunim in Israel. So, when doctors and engineers participated in the failed bomb assaults in London and Glasgow this summer, Krueger was not surprised. He told the Wall Street Journal: "Each time we have one of these attacks and thebackgrounds of the attackers are revealed, this should put to rest the myth that terrorists are attacking us because they are desperatelypoor. But this misconception doesn't die."

My London-based Indian friend, Salil Tripathi, a thoughtful analyst of such issues, concurs. He wrote in the New Statesman: "Some 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001 came from wealthy families in aprosperous country — Saudi Arabia. Osama Bin Laden's background was
famously opulent; his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri is an affluent paediatrician. There are many good reasons to eliminate poverty. But we should not expect terrorism to decline as a result."

And yet — I am tempted to say, "not so fast, my friends."Beyond simple connections

Of course eliminating dire poverty will not, in itself, solve our problems in this age of terror. The pilots of 9/11 were not poor; not only were they educated and reasonably well off, their pilots' licenses could have guaranteed them comfortable middle-class lives. But those like me who focus on the factors that make terrorism possible are not drawing so simple a causal connection as to suggest that poverty causes terrorism. My own argument is a little more complicated. It is, first, that poverty helps create the conditions that provide succour and sustenance to terrorists, who can scarcely work in isolation: they need support, bases, safe havens, supplies, allies, and they find these amongst a general population that is broadly alienated from the world order the terrorists are attacking, an order that denies them hope. Yes, it is not just poverty at work here. Those who support, applaud and orchestrate terrorism are not driven solely by a sense of economic injustice. A sense of oppression, of exclusion, of marginalisation, also gives rise to extremism, and this comes particularly to people who see no other hope of overturning the political dispensation that alienates them.

Second, terrorists need a rationale for their actions — a narrative of injustice to inspire their pawns, the suicide bombers and their ilk, and to win broad sympathy for their cause. That rationale is most easily found in tales of poverty and suffering seemingly created by an unjust world order. If we can eliminate poverty, we would significantly dent that rationale, and dilute the support base for terrorism.

It is sadly true that other factors will continue to spawn terrorists. My good friend Nasra Hassan, a Pakistani former colleague of mine at the U.N., wrote a remarkable article for the New Yorker in 2001 in which she suggested that indignity, political humiliation and a sense of desperation about the possibility of bringing about political change were the main motivations for would-be Palestinian suicide bombers. (She came to this conclusion by interviewing several terror-recruits in Israeli prisons.) Terrorism is a weapon of asymmetrical warfare; it is the instrument of the weak against the implacable power of a State system that enrages them. It has been used by anarchists in 19th-century Russia, Irish nationalists in 20th-century Britain, Basque separatists in 21st-century Spain; and we have not, I fear, heard the last of its use by the advocates of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. A goal to work for

So ending poverty will not end terror. But it will make terrorism that much more difficult to promote. If we can create a world in which all people have access to — at a minimum — the opportunity to live beyond starvation, to receive an education, and to have realistic hopes for a
better future, including the possibility of some say in their own political arrangements, we might be able to stop the lugubrious litany of reflections on terror each September 11. That would be a positive goal to work for, in India and around the world.

This article appeared in the Hindu - 09/28/07.
Shashi Tharoor was the former under-secretary general of the United Nations and was the runner up for the Secretary General's position.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Terrorism in Sri Lanka

Terrorism in Sri Lanka

Thanks God, no religion is labeled here, that is the right thing to do. If Tamil Tigers were Muslims, would the world still have labeled Tamil Tigers? Terrorism can be solved by laser barking at the individual terrorists.

Mike Ghouse

Sri Lanka offers olive branch to Tamil Tigers

19 hours ago

COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka offered Sunday to halt major military
operations against Tamil separatists in exchange for peace talks
following intense international censure.

Troops will not press ahead with an offensive if Tamil Tiger rebels
agree to talk, Defence Ministry secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse told a
newspaper amid pressure from the island's key foreign backers not to
pursue the military option.

The country's top defence official said it was now up to the Tigers to
decide if the military should keep up its drive and urged them to
resume peace negotiations which collapsed in October last year.

"The decision (of war or peace) is theirs and I believe they wouldn't
reject this opportunity," Rajapakse told the Sunday Island. "We'll not
take advantage of the ground situation," if the Tigers agree to

Rajapakse, who is also the president's younger brother, made the
comments after the the United States urged Colombo against pressing
ahead with a military drive.

The European Union and neighbouring India have also warned against an
all-out military campaign.

The surprise olive branch came just days after the defence secretary
had vowed to crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Rajapakse had on Monday called for stepped-up military action to
finish off the rebels.

"Without defeating terrorism, we can't have a political settlement,"
he said last week in a speech in the northeastern coastal city of
Trincomalee as part of celebrations after the ministry said three
rebel gun-running ships had been sunk.

"The president is working hard on a political settlement," he said,
adding: "Whatever the political settlement, it cannot be implemented
unless terrorism is eradicated."

The hard-hitting speech prompted the US ambassador to Sri Lanka to
warn there was no military solution to the Indian Ocean island's
long-running separatist conflict, which has claimed more than 60,000
lives since 1972.

"The expulsion of the LTTE from the east (of the island) and the
recent sinking of several LTTE ships carrying arms and other
provisions mark important military successes," Blake said.

"But these tactical successes should not tempt the government to
re-consider whether Sri Lanka's conflict can be won by military means.
It cannot."

Diplomats close to the now moribund Norwegian-led peace process said
Colombo appeared to be taking on board their concerns in the wake of
high-level international meetings in Geneva and New York focusing on
the island.

"There is no mood on either side to resume talks," one diplomat noted.
"But, at least we can expect a scaling down of the violence. There is
a lot of concern about the mounting body count."

Ambassador Blake's remarks came as the Sri Lankan government battled
to avoid formal censure at the United Nations Human Rights Council,
which is reviewing the island's deteriorating rights record in Geneva.

Diplomats said Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse could also face
tough questioning during his current visit to New York to address the
UN general assembly.

Rights groups accuse the government and Tamil rebels of extra-judicial
killings and scores of disappearances of civilians and political

A top international panel on Wednesday accused Sri Lanka of failing to
honour promises to investigate grave human rights violations and
accused the government of a virtual cover-up.

The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) said a
government probe into 16 high-profile cases, including mass murder,
had failed to make headway since being launched in November 2006.

More than 5,400 people have been killed since December 2005 when a
truce began to unravel.

Hindu terrorism in Gujarat?

Hindu Terrorism in Gujarat?

No, it is not, as we can track down the individuals responsible for the crimes and punish them for messing with up with the peace. Blaming the religion will not get us anywhere. Blaming religion has not solved the problems of the world and it is time to take action against all criminals.

This report from ANHAD, India

Minorities Under Attack: Sangh Prepares for the Coming Elections

After receiving distress calls for help from members of the Muslim community from various villages of Surat district a team rushed there. Yusuf Shaikh, President All India Quami Mahaz and Convener, Samajik Nyay Kendra, Dushyantbhai S. Somabhai Unjakar from Samajik Nyay Kendra, Baroda and Shabnam Hashmi, a social activists from Anhad, Delhi and member of the National Integration Council visited the following places: Village Hathoda, Village Velaccha, Village Kosamba, Village Navi Kosadi, Village Kosadi and Kim Char Rasta.

This report is based on the visit of the team to various affected villages and other areas and interviews with the victims and other villagers of these areas. There are a number of other villages which have been attacked but we could not visit all of them.

Background: For the last few months, violence has been constantly taking place against minorities in Gujarat especially in the districts of Vadodara and Surat. In July 2007, an attack was organized against the Muslim community living in Kosamba. The Gau Rakshak Suraksha Samiti has been at the forefront of these attacks. Detailed Fact Finding report of Kosamba attack attached

Village Kosadi:

On 18th around 11am approximately 20 goons led by Jasu Darbar reached Kasodi. Jasu Darbar –a local bad element and also the Vice President of the Gau Rakshak Suraksha Samiti, Mangrol was regularly visiting the village for over 6 months and harassing the people especially the butchers and he used to extract 'hafta' from them to allow them to continue their business.

On 18th under the pretext of inspecting and looking for a lost calf of some local tribal he entered the village along with 20 goons in two cars and 5 motorcycles. They reached the very end of the village near the crematorium. The whole group started abusing the local Muslims and threatened to burn the houses of local villagers. The local residents asked him to go back with his group and not to create a situation which will lead to tension in the village. Jasu Darbar took out swords from his car and soon an altercation started. The local people also brought wooden sticks for their protection. Most of the people who had accompanied Jasu darbar fled from the scene leaving their 5 motorcycles and two cars there and Jasu was surrounded by the local people and beaten up with sticks.

The village Deputy Sarpanch called the Mamlatdar and they put an injured Jasu Darbar in a vehicle to take him to hospital. He collapsed on the way.

Following this the Police arrived and entered the mosque where Muslims were praying and took away about 25 people on the pretext of taking their statements and till this report is filed no one knows where they are kept. The local people talked to the police a number of times asking them to arrest the culprits and punish them but release the innocents but to no avail.

We met the Sarpanch Laxman bhai Chotubhai Vasava and the Deputy Sarpanch Hasin Ismailji bhai and a number of local people who had gathered as our team arrived there.

Laxmanbhai Vasava and Hasinbhai informed us that there are about 1000 families and half of them are from the minority community, the others Adivasis, Lohar and Dalits. There has been no communal problems in the village between the communities.

Following this the Gau Raksha Suraksha Samiti and various units of the Sangh- VHP, Bajrand Dal etc organised attacks on a number of nearby villages and systematic attacks, looting and burning of property and businesses and terrorizing of Muslims by the Police and goons is taking place for since September 18, 2007. Constant phone calls are coming from different parts as we write and file this report:

Visit to Hatoda, Kosamba and Velachcha

1. Velachcha: Destroyed- 22 Muslim houses, 3 shops , 2 motorbikes- started at Time: 5.15pm

22 houses have been totally gutted. When we visited Valechcha on 19th September, 2007 the smoke was still coming out of the houses. There was nothing left in the houses. The families fled from the village.

The police was present and the fire brigade trying to douse the fire.

The victims whom we met in Hatoda told us that the attack on these houses took place in the presence of the Police and at that point there was enough police and could have stopped the attackers. Instead the attackers after reaching the spot spoke to the police and the police went and stood hundred meters away in front of the local school in Velachcha, while the attackers used petrol and kerosene to burn the houses. The fire brigades arrived too late to save any belongings.

Men, women, small children fled from the houses to save lives, hid for a few hours in jungles, then walked through the night and only on 19 th morning at 5.30am some of them reached Hathoda- a Muslim dominated village, some reached Kosamba and some were still missing. Most of them had left without chappals or slippers and they reached with thorns all over their feet in bruised state.

The families have lost everything except a set of clothes that they were wearing. The local residents of Hatoda village are looking after the families.

The government has made no arrangement for any relief. We spoke to the DSP on the phone. He refused to file their FIRs as he said police has already filed the FIR. In fact the DSP told us that we are disturbing the peace in the district. Later when the paralegal team of the Centre for Social Justice team after documenting individual cases went to the police station, he again refused to file any FIR.

Those whose houses were burnt:

Bazar Vistar Padar- 3 houses
1. Ismail Yakub
2. Manubibi
3. Sairabibi Shaikh

Masjid Mohalla
1. Shaikh Usmanmian Gulzarmian
2. Irfankhan Pathan
3. Mehranbibi Gulzarmian Shaikh
4. Hanifmian Gulzarmian Shaikh
5. Salimmian Gulzarmian Shaikh
6. Gulammian Rehmanmian
7. Hydermian Rehmanmian
8. Jabbarmohd Rehman Shaikh
9. Chotumian rehmanmian
10. Shabbibmian Gulzarmian
11. Bikhanmian Amirmian
12. Amirmian Rasulmian
13. Usmanmian Gulzarmian
14. Shaikh MOhd Noormian
15. Mian Mohd Hydermian
16. Mohd Aslam Ghulam Nabi Shaikh
17. Rafikmian Hydermain
18. Fatimabibi Mohdmian Shaikh
19. Farookmian Bambayya ( Chelliya)
20. Ahmad Mohd Shaikh

1. Cycle and Cutlery:
2. Chicken shop
3. xx

Those who attacked, burnt and looted the houses:

Attackers who came from Tarsadi village
1. Kishore Singh Kosada
2. Dayabhai Rabari
3. Jango Rabari
4. Chetan ( Raj Mobile shopwala)
5. Mohan Rabari
6. Kalu Chotalia
7. Jaideep Gabbar
8. Guddu Bhaiya

Attackers from the Velachha village
1. Dharmendra Singh Chauhan
2. Chandra Singh Chauhan Urf Umesh Arvind tailor
3. UdaySinh Ramsinh Chauhan
4. Hareshbhai Jeevanbhai Prajapati
5. Naveenbhai Hiralal Shah
6. Ghemalsinh Chauhan
7. Chattrasinh Gambhirsinh Chauhan
8. Pankaj Panchal
9. Dinesh Sukha Koli Patel ( tempowala)
10. Bharat kalidas Adivasi ( rikshawwala)
11. Haresh Mulji Makwana
12. Samir Sawawala

Visit to Mosali village and Mosali Char Rasta

Jasu Darbar's body was brought for postmortem to referral hospital situated in Mosali around 4pm. About 150 people from outside the village had gathered at the hospitals. Most of them were on motorcycles.

After coming out of the hospital they attacked the Muslim shops which were near the hospital and then they went on a looting and burning spree across the village.

According to the eye witnesses the Police was though out present and did not take any step to stop the looting and burning.

Names of victims whose shops were burnt and looted (we could not meet some of the victims, so there shop names are mentioned instead of their names:

1. Ibrahim Panchbhaiya
2. Ayub Panchbhaiya
3. Umar -Radio Service
4. Lucky cloth store
5. Rashid bhai- Shan Footware
6. Kasimbhai Khalifa- Takdeer hair Art
7. Fatimaben Farook- Tailor House
8. Steel furniture-recently opened
9. Pan Centre shop- Musabhai Bobat
10. Hashimbhai- Paras Watch Centre
11. Tea Stall- Sureshbhai Vasava
12. we saw three more burnt shops but could not get the names of the owners.

Most of the shop owners were able to fled in time and were not physically attacked but a young shop owner Rashidbhai who was inside the shop after putting the shutter down was badly beaten up. The attackers opened the shutter, Rashidbhai ran to the first floor of the shop, he was dragged down and severely beaten up. The Gau Rakshak Suraksha Samiti members looted from Rashibhai's shop- a laptop, mobile phone and 60,000 cash. His motorcycle Honda was burnt down.

We spoke to a large number of local residents from the majority community who had gathered there. They told us that both the communities lived together peacefully and there has been no history of communal tension between the, they ate together, celebrated together different festivals. The attackers they sad had all come from outside.

Mosali Char Rasta

After attacking and burning the shops inside the village the mob moved outside and reached the Mosali Char Rasta. The mob used stones and bricks to break open the locks of the shops and looted and burnt down the shops:

1. provision store- owner-Shuaib Mohd Patel- totally burnt down
2. hotel— cold drinks-safari telecentre- 40 crates looted, partially burnt
3. auto part shop- super auto garage
4. biku auto parts garage- owner-yakub ibrahim biku- totally burnt down
5. hotel vasraiwala-owner- ibrahim tadwala-dhabha- From this shop it is interesting to note that the members of the Gau Rakshak Suraksha samiti looted -two cylinders, one chulha, a sack of Potatoes , sack of onion, oil and wheat floor.- Partially burnt

On the Char Rasta the following was burnt too:
truck burnt- owner- Yusuf Musaji Ugraddar- GRV 7602
Jeep- Manjulaben
Jeep-belongs to Mehmood Shaiklh's wife

There were 12 policemen present throughout this period when the shops were being burnt. According to the eye witnesses they did not take any steps to stop the attackers.

Nava Kasodi

On our way to Kasodi we had briefly stopped at Nava Kasodi and met some of the victims from different places who had taken refuge there.

Abdul Kada's bike was burnt in Vadoli, his house attacked, glasses broken

Those who attacked included:
Bhalabhai Darbar, pradeepbhai, sukhabhai, rajubhai, shambhubhai, ( sarpanh), jitubhai, vikram, rakesh, arun, bhupendra, babubhai, haresh.

Kim Char Rasta

We received several calls from the Kim Char Rasta as it was being attacked while we were visiting other villages.

As we reached the Kim Char Rasta we saw 5 motorcycles on the main Char Rasta which were recently burnt. Smoke was coming out and a stench of rubber being burnt was in the atmosphere.

We had visited several calls from the mosque so we went to the Madani mosque.

Prakash Manjra LCB constable and PI Rabari along with approximately 25 policemen stormed the mosque with rifles and wearing shoes. Because of the month of Ramzan there were a lot of people resting in the hall of the mosque. It was around 1.15pm. The policemen immediately started breaking the glasses and mercilessly beat up many people who were inside the mosque. When we reached the mosque it was littered with broken glasses and there were blood stains all over the mosque floor. It was evident that people were attacked in every corner of the mosque. We were told that many people, young and old were mercilessly beaten up on their thighs, on their shoulders and all over the body with rifle butts.

The police then picked up around 15 people and took them away. It is only now after 24 hours that we have been able to find out that they have been taken to a place near Navi Pardi in galore police quarters. One of the boys Arshad was beaten up in custody and his condition is very critical; sources have informed us today on phone.

Places we could not visit

Kemraj Char Rasta- mosque attacked, Asarma village- attacked


1. Immediate arrest of culprits – the members of the Gau Rakshak Suraksha Samiti and other hoodlums who attacked the villages.
2. The people responsible for attacking Jasu Darbar should be apprehended and innocent people released immediately.
3. Release of innocent people arrested from the mosques.
4. Open Relief Camp and provide relief urgently to the victims who have lost their houses.
5. Suspend DSP Jha responsible for the safety of the citizens of his area and other lower rank officers, who were present at the spot but did not do anything to stop the attackers.
6. Suspend PI Pardi and Prakash Manjra LCB constable.

Hindu Fatwa

Terrorizing and counter terrorizing ordinary people, like torching the bus the other day...rightfully should not be called Hindu Terrorism, and rightfully, incidents similar to this should not be called Islamic Terrorism either. By blaming the religion, you cannot punish any one and crimes of this nature go unchecked. The crime was done by men, and they should be tried as criminals disturbing peaceful existence.

Hindu fatwa:
By Rajeev Khanna\8

Bhopal, Sep 23: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday condemned attacks on its offices in Tamil Nadu and criticised the DMK for "political fascism" even as its former MP Ram Vilas Vedanti said his remarks -
announcing bounty on DMK chief M. Karunanidhi's head - were misquoted.

Some BJP offices and party workers faced the wrath of DMK activists in the southern state following media reports quoting Vedanti, described as a senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, as saying that saints in
Ayodhya would weigh in gold anyone who beheads Karunanidhi for his remarks against Lord Ram and the Ram Sethu.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Terror not a Muslim Monopoly

Times Of India Mumbai,Jul 23, 2006


''All Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.'' This comment , frequently heard after the Mumbai bomb blasts implies that terrorism is a Muslim specialty, if not a monopoly. The facts are very different.

First, there is nothing new about terrorism. In 1881, anarchists killed the Russian Tsar Alexander II and 21 bystanders. In 1901, anarchists killed US President McKinley as well as King Humbert I of Italy. World War I started in 1914 when anarchists killed Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. These terrorist attacks were not Muslim.

Terrorism is generally defined as the killing of civilians for political reasons. Going by this definition, the British Raj referred to Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and many other Indian freedom fighters as terrorists. These were Hindu and Sikh rather than Muslim.

Guerrilla fighters from Mao Zedong to Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro killed civilians during their revolutionary campaigns. They too were called terrorists until they triumphed. Nothing Muslim about them.

In Palestine, after World War II, Jewish groups (the Haganah, Irgun and Stern Gang) fought for the creation of a Jewish state, bombing hotels and installations and killing civilians. The British, who then governed Palestine, rightly called these Jewish groups terrorists. Many of these terrorists later became leaders of independent Israel - Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon. Ironically, these former terrorists then lambasted terrorism, applying this label only to Arabs fighting for the very same nationhood that the Jews had fought for earlier.

In Germany in 1968-92, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang killed dozens, including the head of Treuhand, the German privatisation agency. In Italy, the Red Brigades kidnapped and killed Aldo Moro, former prime minister.

The Japanese Red Army was an Asian version of this. Japan was also the home of Aum Shinrikyo, a Buddhist cult that tried to kill thousands in the Tokyo metro system using nerve gas in 1995.

In Europe, the Irish Republican Army has been a Catholic terrorist organisation for almost a century. Spain and France face a terrorist challenge from ETA, the Basque terrorist organisation.

Africa is ravaged by so much civil war and internal strife that few people even bother to check which groups can be labelled terrorist. They stretch across the continent. Possibly the most notorious is the

Lord's Salvation Army in Uganda, a Christian outfit that uses children as warriors.

In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers have long constituted one of the most vicious and formidable terrorist groups in the world. They were the first to train children as terrorists. They happen to be Hindus. Suicide bombing is widely associated with Muslim Palestinians and Iraqis, but the Tamil Tigers were the first to use this tactic on a large scale. One such suicide bomber assassinated Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

In India, the militants in Kashmir are Muslim. But they are only one of several militant groups. The Punjab militants, led by Bhindranwale, were Sikhs. The United Liberation Front of Assam is a Hindu terrorist group that targets Muslims rather than the other way round. Tripura has witnessed the rise and fall of several terrorist groups, and so have Bodo strongholds in Assam. Christian Mizos mounted an insurrection for decades, and Christian Nagas are still heading militant groups.

But most important of all are the Maoist terrorist groups that now exist in no less than 150 out of India's 600 districts. They have attacked police stations, and killed and razed entire villages that oppose them. These are secular terrorists (like the Baader Meinhof Gang or Red Brigades). In terms of membership and area controlled, secular terrorists are far ahead of Muslim terrorists.

In sum, terrorism is certainly not a Muslim monopoly .

There are or have been terrorist groups among Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists. Secular terrorists (anarchists, Maoists) have been the biggest killers.

Why then is there such a widespread impression that most or all terrorist groups are Muslim? I see two reasons. First, the Indian elite keenly follows the western media, and the West feels under attack from Islamic groups. Catholic Irish terrorists have killed far more people in Britain than Muslims, yet the subway bombings in London and Madrid are what Europeans remember today. The Baader Meinhof Gang, IRA and Red Brigades no longer pose much of a threat, but after 9/11 Americans and Europeans fear that they could be hit anywhere anytime. So they focus attention on Islamic militancy. They pay little notice to other forms of terrorism in Africa, Sri Lanka or India: these pose no threat to the West.

Within India, Maoists pose a far greater threat than Muslim militants in 150 districts, one-third of India's area. But major cities feel threatened only by Muslim groups. So the national elite and media focus overwhelmingly on Muslim terrorism. The elite are hardly aware that this is an elite phenomenon.

A Message to Muslims

Mike Ghouse, September 20, 2007

If you Google for terrorism, you'll find a plethora of websites on the subject. Most every one is based on Islam bashing and unfortunately there are enough nincompoops out there who will buy any thing that is anti_Islam, in fact, the greedy writers and speakers thrive on cashing it. A grain of truth undoubtedly is the basis for their manipulations, but much of it is to frighten the public.

Most of them gullibles do not question nor do they apply their own intelligence, and ask questions like; Is this a human phenomenon or a religion based? Does this happen with other faiths? Doesn't this happen every day, why do we not label them with another religion if Islam is not accused of it? If V-tech murderer was a Muslim, how many months the media would have feasted on it?I urge each one of you to take a principle stand on the subject. List every terror activity by every one in the world. Let's not compromise our integrity in presenting biased information. Let's put the pieces together as sincerely as possible. Remember Caliph Omar punished his own son in the interest of Justice, that is the integrity we need to work on and that will give us the moral strength to speak out and do the right thing without any fear.

We will remain just and truthful, even if thousands of websites and speakers pound on maligning Islam, as it is their business. We will not malign any one, it is not our business. Our business is peace through building bridges and conflict reduction. Our language and actions would be to put the fires out and not enflame them. If we deviate from this goal, each one is responsible to monitor to remain truthful, unbiased and peacemaker. Please remember, goodness last longer and sustains itself.

The website is in the making and the following blog is a prelude to the website.

Terrorism Counter

This Blog is created from the belief that terrorism is a product of the society. Much of the terrorism is based on a demand; reasonable or unreasonable, whilst some of the terrorism is beyond reason and logic. No one has a right to take the life of another human being, and nothing would ever justify killing. We condemn all terrorism unequivocally. Religion is never the cause of Terrorism. Insecure men hide their insecurity by creating chaos. We take a principle stand on this blog. Although religion receives the bad wrap, religion is not the causer of terrorism.
Terrorism is present in every society. No society is free from it and we need to quit blaming any one and find solutions. As the saying goes “To err is human”, I would say, “to terrorize is also human” as “to be kind and generous is human”.Humans make mistakes. Religion helps people to figure out a way to co-exist and leave peacefully within and with others and the environment. Some get it and some don't. Fortunately - 99% of the people get it and that is why a majority of us live the life oblivious to the world. Unfortunately 1/10ths of 1% don't get the religion right and cause havoc on others.

Terrorists come from all name brands; Atheist, Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native Indians, Native Africans, Sikh, Shinto, Tao or Zoroastrian. Again, it is not the religion, it is the insecure individual with that brand name. Have we thought of sticking a religious label on all those criminals in America who are in Jail? What would it be like?We have a choice to blame the entire group and cause more friction and more terrorism on our part, or isolate the criminals and punish them. It is doable, but the whole society has to come together to restrain the bullies who terrorize the terrorists and, we the 99% of the population get caught between the two. It is in our hands, if we believe in creating a world of peaceful co-existence, the least we can do is to speak up against the bullies, be it the governments, terrorists, or organizations who are bent on destruction and showing off the muscle power.

You are invited to contribute the write ups on the blog as well, please remember, this is a very focused information center - to report incidents of terror regardless of the faith or culture:

Please send the pieces to be posted to:

You are welcome to post your comments anytime on the blog, if you wish to post your comments

Mike Ghouse

Thursday, September 20, 2007

NJ C-Terrorism Conference

New Jersey's Counter Terrorism Conference
Worst Approach to Counter-terrorism Yet
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Publisher: I pray Mr. Emerson's languge includes ideas on conflict reduction and request him to spend the same energy on peace building.
by Steven Emerson

IPT News
September 18, 2007

On Wednesday, October 3rd, the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security is hosting its "5th Annual Counter-Terrorism Conference" titled, "Radicalization: Global Trend, Local Concern?" The conference is part of the agency's "First Responder Training" and speakers and experts are brought in to instruct department employees on various topics related to security and counter-terrorism.

In a decision that defies reason, slated to speak on a panel called "To What Extent is Radicalization a Concern in the U.S.?," is none other than Georgetown University's John Esposito, a man who has never met a radical Muslim he didn't like.

At a banquet held by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Dallas in August of this year, Esposito stated:

I've got to tell you, you know, I mean, Sami Al-Arian's a very good friend of mine. I remember that when his kids told me that he was supporting a Republican I just said, ‘Tell your dad, as a lifelong Democrat, even though I don't always vote Democrat, he's ‘gonna regret voting for a Republican. And you know, God help Sami Al-Arian in terms of this administration and any others who have to live through this.

Esposito finished his speech, telling the crowd, "One of the most impressive people I have met under fire is Sami Al-Arian." Incidentally, the banquet was in large part held to support the defendants in the current trial against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief in Development (HLF), in which the closing arguments are underway. The charity stands accused of diverting over $12 million to the terrorist group Hamas. And Esposito told the audience that his appearance at the banquet was intended to "show solidarity not only with the Holy Land Fund, but also with CAIR," and started his speech by saying, "let me begin by saying that CAIR is a phenomenal organization."

At the banquet, CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed unleashed the following corker, in a typical effort to conflate his organization and his favored causes as representative of all American Muslims:

It is not the Holy Land Foundation that is under fire, but it is the entire American Muslim community is under fire.

CAIR is, of course, an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial, and if nothing else, the HLF trial has officially and publicly exposed CAIR's numerous links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

But back to Esposito: His good friend Sami pled guilty in 2006 to a "conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist."

A notorious firebrand when speaking to perceived supporters, Esposito's buddy told a crowd of Muslim supporters both "Let us damn America, let us damn Israel, let us damn their allies until death" and "The Koran is our constitution… Jihad is our path … Victory to Islam… Death to Israel… Revolution… revolution till the victory" at meetings held in support of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Esposito knows this, as these videos were entered into evidence into Sami's trial. Yet as recently as last month he still refers to Sami, in front of a crowd of American Muslims at a conference held by a Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas-front group, as his "very good friend."

Additionally, Esposito has praised Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi as a "reformer," interested in the relationship between Islam and "democracy, pluralism and human rights." The very same Qaradawi who has sanctioned suicide bombings against American troops in Iraq, calling those who die fighting U.S. forces "martyrs," and civilians in Israel, referring to such terrorist acts as "just" and a "divine destiny."

In a perfect world, such praise and associations would be as damaging as they are damning, yet Esposito has profited tremendously from such views, endorsements and friends. In December 2005, Saudi "philanthropist" Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal donated $20 million to Georgetown University to "teach about the Islamic world to the United States." According to the Washington Post, this is what the Prince got for his money:

The Georgetown center, part of the university's School of Foreign Service, will be renamed the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The $20 million will endow three faculty chairs, expand programs and academic outreach, provide scholarships for students and expand library facilities, Alwaleed said.

Center director John L. Esposito said in an interview that "a significant part of the money will be used to beef up the think tank part of what the center does."

Famously, money from Alwaleed Bin Talal comes with strings attached, not that Esposito would be bothered by such preconditions. After 9/11, then-NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani turned down a check for $10 million from the prince, after Alwaleed Bin Talal issued a press release stating that America had to "re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance towards the Palestinian cause." Despite the prince's "generous" gift to Georgetown, his money is probably better spent elsewhere, as anyone who knows anything about Esposito would understand he hardly has to be bribed to parrot the radical Islamist/Saudi worldview.

And for those who insist that voicing skepticism and concern about the influx of Saudi money on institutions of higher learning is nothing more than "Islamophobia," not every one is fooled, including various leaders of the Australian Muslim community, as reported yesterday in The Australian, "Muslims attack $1m Saudi gift to uni":

UP to $1 million will be pumped by Saudi Arabia into an Australian university, sparking fears the money will skew its research and create sympathy for an extremist Muslim ideology espoused by al-Qai'da.

Muslim leaders and academics have attacked Queensland's Griffith University for accepting an initial $100,000 grant from the Saudi embassy, which they accused of having given cash in the past to educational institutions to improve the perception of Wahhabism - a hardline interpretation of Islam.

The Australian understands the Griffith Islamic Research Unit will in coming years receive up to $1 million from Saudi Arabia, which has injected more than $120 million into Australia's Islamic community since the 1970s for mosques, schools, scholarships and clerical salaries.

A former member of John Howard's Muslim reference board, Mustapha Kara-Ali, accused the Saudis of using their financial power to transform the landscape of Australia's Islamic community and silence criticism of Wahhabism. "They want to silence criticism of the Wahhabi establishment and its link to global terrorism and national security issues," he said.

Esposito does not share Kara-Ali's fears and wholeheartedly embraced his Saudi gift horse. But the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security should know better. During his August 2007 CAIR speech, Esposito stated, "The reality of it is there is no major significant threat in the mosques in America," and no one should expect anything other than his continued downplaying of the threat posed to the U.S. by radical Islam and its adherents. Inviting the self-described "good friend" of a convicted terrorist operative, a man who praises as a "reformer" the pro-suicide bombing spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, a bought and paid for spokesman for the Wahhabist, Saudi worldview, to discuss the issues and problems associated with Islamic radicalization in the U.S. is very likely the most counter productive and wrongheaded approach yet devised by a government agency dedicated to protecting the United States.