HomeNews ArticlesBLOGIslam Discussion ForumsContact Us

News Articles

Back To Article List

Religion, suicide terrorism link disputed in book

2005-06-02 19:02:00

Our Comments

Full Article:


Religion, suicide terrorism link disputed in book
Fri Jun 3, 2005 2:44 PM ET

By Patricia Wilson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A surge in suicide attacks in Iraq and elsewhere around the world is a response to territorial occupation and has no direct link with Islamic fundamentalism, according to the author of a new book who has created a database of such bombings over the past 25 years.

Robert Pape, associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago, said most suicide terrorists were well-integrated and productive members of their communities from working-class or middle-class backgrounds.

"Technicians, waitresses, security guards, ambulance drivers, paramedics ... few are criminals. Most are volunteers whose first act of violence is their very own suicide attack," Pape told Reuters in an interview.

A broad misunderstanding of the issue, he said, is taking the U.S.-led war on terrorism in the wrong direction and could in fact be fueling an increase in suicide terrorism.

Pape has created what he calls the first comprehensive database on every suicide terrorist attack in the world since 1980, using Arabic, Hebrew, Tamil and Russian-language sources.

The U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as the U.N. Secretary General's office were looking at the information, he said.

Some insurgent leaders in Iraq have cast suicide attacks in holy-war terms. President Bush has called such attacks a tactic of "enemies of freedom" driven by a "thirst for absolute power."


"Islamic fundamentalism is not the primary driver of suicide terrorism," Pape said. "Nearly all suicide terrorist attacks are committed for a secular strategic goal -- to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory the terrorists view as their homeland."

"Yes, it's true we're killing terrorists day by day, but the real measure of suicide terrorism is simply the number of attacks," said Pape. "The problem with suicide terrorism is that it's not supply limited, it's demand-driven."

Pape cited suicide terrorism campaigns from Lebanon to Israel, Chechnya and Sri Lanka, where he said major democracies -- the United States, Israel, France, India, Russia -- had been the principal targets.

In "Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism," Pape writes that the world's most prolific suicide terrorist organization is the Tamil Tigers -- a secular, Hindu group in Sri Lanka which he said invented the "suicide belt."

Iraq, he said, was a prime example of strategic terrorism. Prior to the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 there was "never in Iraq's history a suicide terrorist attack" but since then they had doubled every year.

There has been a sharp escalation in violence, especially suicide attacks, since Iraq's new Shi'ite Islamist-led cabinet was announced in late April. More than 700 Iraqis and 78 U.S. soldiers were killed in bombings and other attacks in May, making it the deadliest month in Iraq since January.

Pape collected demographic information on 462 suicide attackers who completed their missions and said he found that the common wisdom was wrong.

"The standard stereotype of a suicide attacker as a lonely individual on the margins of society with a miserable existence is actually quite far from the truth," he said.

Pape, who has been invited to discuss his analysis with a bipartisan group of U.S. congressmen, said he hoped his book would demonstrate to policymakers that a presumed connection between suicide attacks and Islamic fundamentalism is misleading and could contribute to policies that worsen the situation.

The U.S. government had only "a partial understanding" of what has been driving suicide terrorism because it did not begin collecting data until 2000, Pape said.

"Once you have a more complete picture you can see that the main cause of suicide terrorism is a response to foreign occupation, not Islamic fundamentalism, and the use of heavy combat forces to transform a Muslim society is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists as is now happening."

Back To Article List

Back To Top


Insight Into Current Issues

  • When Government Agencies Manufacture Terror
    2017-10-06 10:18:11
  • Fighting Terrorism is what the Prophet Muhammad did and is the Duty of All Muslims
    2017-10-02 22:27:53
  • Is Islam Really The Religion of Peace that Muslims Practice?
    2017-05-07 09:52:53
  • 10 Steps to Permanently Defeat Islamic Terrorism
    2017-05-04 00:19:31
  • Why do Muslims come to our country?
    2017-05-02 00:12:21
  • Secret Counsels against Islam will not succeed
    2015-11-19 13:21:07
  • Prayers (Dua) for health problems
    2015-11-13 14:53:45
  • The Importance of reading and following the Holy Qur'an
    2015-11-10 14:25:07
  • Messages for People of the Book (Christians & Jews) from the Qur'an
    2015-11-06 14:20:23
  • Simple rules of Islam in a single verse/ayyat
    2015-11-05 12:57:46
  • More Islam Muslim BLOG

    News Articles

    News Article Comments

  • Quebec’s religious neutrality bill 62 is an Anti-Muslim Veil Burka, Niqab, Burka Ban
    2017-11-21 12:06:44
  • Reminder to Muslims that we will face challenges and attacks from people of other faiths
    2015-10-26 12:53:39
  • Why Is the Middle East in a State of War?
    2015-10-23 16:02:49
  • The Traits of Successful Muslims
    2015-10-20 12:40:42
  • The original bible in Aramaic is reportedly found with huge contradictions to the current Church authorized Bible
    2014-05-05 13:38:33
  • Xinjiang China Controvery over Ramadan and Fasting
    2013-07-15 16:28:01
  • Syria - The Truth And Why You Should Care
    2013-04-29 14:43:08
  • Is it Haram/Not Allowed to read, understand follow Islam by the Holy Qur'an in a language other than Arabic?
    2012-12-21 11:49:15
  • Man charged after cartoonist's home invaded
    2010-01-02 15:35:43
  • The Stealth Crusade
    2009-07-17 16:57:56
  • More Islam Muslim News Articles & Comments

    Facts About Islam

    The Same Religion As Abraham, Moses, and Jesus

    Muslims believe that Islam started long before the Prophet Muhammad's time and was the same religion taught by the previous religions and Prophets.

    Qur'an 42:13 The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah - the which We have sent by inspiration to thee - and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).
    © 2018 UniteIslam.com - All Rights Reserved