This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Don't blame Islam for terrorism, expert says

Don't blame Islam for terrorism, expert says - Comments

KesheR's Avatar Comment 1 by KesheR

If USA kills and destroy certain people, that certain people will eventually kill and destroy American people. That's all. 9/11 was awful, but just a tiny fraction of what USA has done to the rest of the planet for decades.

Islam is what speeds up the process.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:11:00 UTC | #124328

ianmkz's Avatar Comment 2 by ianmkz

Leopold II of Belgium?

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:12:00 UTC | #124329

Donald's Avatar Comment 3 by Donald

Todd does not say whether Fuller addresses the issue of the specifically territorial claims of Judaism and Islam in their religious texts. Could that have anything to do with the above-average intensity and duration of the Middle East conflicts?

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:13:00 UTC | #124332

JamesDB's Avatar Comment 4 by JamesDB

This is a pretty interesting take on terrorism, I wouldn't say that i agree though.
Its hard to say that these attacks weren't faith based when the suicide bombers scream out allah's name as they push the button.

I do however agree that the U.S. has pushed its way into far too many places it doesn't belong and I can understand how residents of those countries would have an issue with americans.

I just wouldn't go so far to say that because the U.S. is a bully, people start flying planes into buildings and strapping bombs to their chests. Religion seems to be the only motive for those loony toons.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:15:00 UTC | #124334

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 5 by al-rawandi

Violence is endemic to humanity.

Religion facilitates and instigates its use. Any foolish dogma increases the likelyhood of violence. Islam is one shared by about 1.5 billion people. Plenty more dogma out there.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:17:00 UTC | #124335

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 6 by Steve Zara

Al: I am not sure violence is that endemic. I saw a recent lecture by Stephen Pinker than showed that, in terms of deaths per unit of population, we are a far less violent race now than we have ever been (surprising, I know, but there you go).

However, I fully agree that religion facilitates the use of violence. Nothing like having a "whatever you believe, the creator supports it" framework to encourage the worst in people, and bypass conscience.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:20:00 UTC | #124337

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 7 by Quetzalcoatl

In the bluntest of terms, would there have been a 9/11 without Islam?

Would there have been a 9/11 without religion?

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:21:00 UTC | #124338

Jolly Bloger's Avatar Comment 8 by Jolly Bloger

Is his argument that were it not for Islam, Christianity would be the rationalization for the majority of global terrorism? I don't disagree with that!

The logic is a little faulty though. "Terrorism would exist without Islam, therefore don't blame Islam." That's like saying if Hitler hadn't invaded Poland then someone else may have, so we shouldn't vilify Hitler.

Coincidentally, I'm from Vancouver myself, and the general attitude is pretty close to this kind of "let's not offend anyone" stuff.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:24:00 UTC | #124340

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 9 by al-rawandi


Let me revise...

We have historically been violent. There is a trend away from that, except where religion remains prevelant. Where religion dominates life, so does violence. The less religious a society gets the less internally violent.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:27:00 UTC | #124342

Gymnopedie's Avatar Comment 10 by Gymnopedie

Blaming America only goes so far. The violence is disproportionately Islamic (or so the perpetrators claim) and is not just directed at the west, as I think many of us were quite sickened with the serial bombings of Buddhist statues a few months ago, not to mention the status of Dhimmi which was around long before America was ever founded. If the violence was directed only towards the West, then there would be something to this argument.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:28:00 UTC | #124344

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 11 by Quetzalcoatl

It's too comfortable for Western observers to ignore a long history of Western colonialism in the Middle East while blindly identifying Islam as the key source of global tension, Fuller says.

Hmmph. Some Western observers are all too keen to blame colonialism for all the world's current ills, and to prevent us getting involved in matters abroad.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:31:00 UTC | #124346

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 12 by al-rawandi


I agree on the disgust for Dhimmitude and Islamic violence. But what about American economic violence? It's commitment to the overthrow of democracies that remained unpliable? It's self bestowed right to use military force for economic ends? Any weight to those arguments?

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:32:00 UTC | #124347

info_dump's Avatar Comment 13 by info_dump

Jolly Blogger,

Those are my thoughts exactly. His arguments don't let Islam off the hook.

Also, I'm from Vancouver too, and I agree. It's definitely not cool to say anything that could be considered offensive to muslims, or anything that would threaten our "multi-cultural" values. I'm beginning to realize that multiculturalism in its present form isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:34:00 UTC | #124349

sidfaiwu's Avatar Comment 14 by sidfaiwu

It's definitely not cool to say anything that could be considered offensive to muslims, or anything that would threaten our "multi-cultural" values. I'm beginning to realize that multiculturalism in its present form isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I've noticed this trend as well. At some point, multiculturalism stopped being a means to integrate different cultures and started being a way to reinforce cultural differences.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:48:00 UTC | #124351

Gymnopedie's Avatar Comment 15 by Gymnopedie


could you be a bit more specific? I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "economic violence" and using "military force for economic ends". Which unpliable democracies are you referring to? The US support for nations is practically arbitrary at this point. Ex) Throw money at Israel then show support for Palestine with financial aid. The US loves cognitive dissonance.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:52:00 UTC | #124352

atheist_peace's Avatar Comment 16 by atheist_peace

He's right, we shouldn't blame Islam for terrorism. All religions are at fault.

PS. Nice to see there are people from Vancouver here :)

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:01:00 UTC | #124354

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 17 by al-rawandi

Economic Violence: Sanctions on Iraq. 4,500 children died per month. Billions to Israel to buy weapons from American companies. Using economic institutions to use exploitative lending practices to impoverished nations.

Military for economic ends: Military Industrial complex. Shooting bullets at anything will reimburse corporations for their campaign contributions. Iraq (2x).

Unpliable nations: Mosadegh, Sandinistas, Seychelles, Omar Torrijos, Salvadore Allende, etc... Not to mention helping dictators crush populist movements all over the globe.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:03:00 UTC | #124355

MrPickwick's Avatar Comment 18 by MrPickwick

Leopold II killed several million people in Congo. Although his main goal was money and power he used religion as an aliby whenever he could to justify his deeds. He was a devout roman catholic and when he died he was interred at the Church of Our Lady in Brussels. When he was having financial difficulties, while murdering african people, he asked the Pope to help him on the grounds that what he was doing in Africa was "spreading the word of God among infidels". He also hired the famous explores Stanley, the same guy that was very proud of having taught the King of Uganda the 10 commandments and also converted him to christianity (It was found later that the King only accepted the conversion after Stanley told him there was another commandment, number 11, that stated that Kings should be respected and obeyed because their power was given by God).

Maybe religion is not the main cause but it surely helps... A LOT!

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:13:00 UTC | #124359

Gymnopedie's Avatar Comment 19 by Gymnopedie

The US no doubt has had its share of foreign policy blunders, but I don't exactly see where the connection is between that and Islamic terrorism. The terrorists/Jihadists use Islam to justify their actions against a great diversity of people, not US foreign policy. And non-Muslim nations we have terrible foreign policy with did not blow up the twin towers. The dots just don't seem to connect.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:22:00 UTC | #124362

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 20 by al-rawandi


I wasn't trying to insinuate the US policy is the sole, or even major cause.

I was trying to say that the US has done things that makes Islamic violence pale in comparison. It has done so for a longer period of time, and has done so for equally sinister reasons.

I would like to also state that I would rather have the US have this kind of power than Muslims. If the muslims had this power... I cannot imagine. That being said, we Americans should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:26:00 UTC | #124365

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 21 by Quetzalcoatl


Never heard this line before. How novel

At least he didn't call them "atheist" regimes.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:43:00 UTC | #124376

jimbob's Avatar Comment 22 by jimbob

Fuller, 69, who has lived for several years with his wife, Prue, in Squamish, where he plans to remain, also doesn't let off the hook those atheists who like to blame religion, whether Islam or Christianity, for inciting much of the planet's violence.

Hey, I don't blame religion exclusively---it's dogmatic ideologies in general! The "principal horrors" of the last century or so have all been religious or quasi-religious in the sense that going against political dogmatic ideologies still gets you murdered for apostasy or heresy.

Frankly, Fuller is a doofus author for writing what amounts to an apology for islam.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:45:00 UTC | #124380

Partisan's Avatar Comment 23 by Partisan

Well, thanks to the CIA for yet another pearl of wisdom *cough-we-swear-mr-president-there-are-WMDs-in-Iraq-cough*

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:53:00 UTC | #124385

Riley's Avatar Comment 24 by Riley

I agree with jimbob,

"Religion" is not to blame -it's dogmatic ideologies in general. Religions have a tendency to institutionalize dogma and transfer it down from one generation to the next, and that is a particular problem, yes. But blaming religion for 9/11 is not different than crediting religion for much of the great art and music in the world. Both blame and credit for such things rely on bad arguments.



Over the past two years, [Robert A. Pape (University of Chicago)] compiled a database of every suicide bombing and attack around the globe from 1980 through 2003. A total of 315 episodes occurred, excluding attacks authorized by a national government. The lead instigator of suicide attacks, committing 76 of the 315 incidents was not an Islamic group, but rather the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist-Leninist group.

Pape explains that what nearly all suicide terrorist attacks actually have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory the terrorists consider their homeland. Religion, often used as a tool by terrorist organizations, aids in recruiting and in seeking aid from abroad, but is rarely the root cause.

From Pape's analysis, three general patterns support his conclusions:

* Nearly all suicide terrorist attacks -- 310 of the 315 -- took place as part of organized political or military campaigns.
* Democracies are uniquely vulnerable to suicide terrorists; America, France, India, Israel, Russia, Sri Lanka and Turkey have been the targets of almost every suicide attack of the past two decades.
* Suicide terrorist campaigns are directed toward a strategic objective; the sponsors of every campaign -- 18 organizations in all -- seek to establish or maintain political self-determination.

True to form, says Pape, there had never been a documented suicide attack in Iraq until after the American invasion in 2003. Understanding suicide terrorism as mainly a response to foreign occupation rather than a product of Islamic fundamentalism holds important implications for how the United States and its allies should conduct the war on terrorism.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 14:21:00 UTC | #124401

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 25 by al-rawandi


Have you read his book "Dying to Win". All about this research. I thought it was very good.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 14:22:00 UTC | #124403

Riley's Avatar Comment 26 by Riley



"Freedom squelches terrorist violence",
The Harvard Gazette, November 04, 2004

Professor of Public Policy Alberto Abadie of Harvard: "In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it's not there. This is true not only for events of international terrorism, as previous studies have shown, but perhaps more surprisingly also for the overall level of terrorism, both of domestic and of foreign origin," Abadie said.

Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 14:23:00 UTC | #124404

BrandySpears's Avatar Comment 27 by BrandySpears

RE: Comment #130864 by KesheR
You must be an Islamofascist sympathizer.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 14:30:00 UTC | #124406

Riley's Avatar Comment 28 by Riley

al-rawandi, no I haven't ... but I'll put it on my list of book to check out. Thanks.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 14:31:00 UTC | #124407

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 29 by Frankus1122

At some point, multiculturalism stopped being a means to integrate different cultures and started being a way to reinforce cultural differences.

There are good and bad aspects of multiculturalism.
What is culture?
I wasn't sure on the exact definition so I looked it up:
-the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
I was thinking along the lines of dress and food and music and dance.
Having a multiplicity of this type of culture is not a problem for me.
"Manners"? I'm not sure about this.
"Offensive to Muslims"? How? Ofeensive to their religion? Who cares?

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 14:56:00 UTC | #124416

js5535's Avatar Comment 30 by js5535

How many times do we have to hear this? Hitler, Leopold(!?), and Mussolini (a convert from atheism) were theists. Mao took inspiration from a Christian rebellion in China which killed 20-30 million people about a century earlier (See Taiping Rebellion), and Lenin and Stalin WERE gods.

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 15:24:00 UTC | #124424