National Geographic News
This photo released Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows a suspect that officials identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, being sought by police in the Boston Marathon bombings Monday.  (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured by police on Friday.

Photograph from AP

Don Belt

for National Geographic News

Published April 20, 2013

With the Friday arrest of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing investigation has entered a new phase. Yet to be uncovered are the motives of the bombers—the other suspect, Dzhokhar's older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during a gun battle with authorities—and their possible connection to foreign groups that use terrorism to advance political agendas.

To understand the Boston bombings within a larger context, National Geographic turned to terrorism expert David Schanzer, Director of the Triangle Center of Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy. (Related: Boston Suspects Put Chechnya in Spotlight)

Given the facts of this case so far, do you expect that this attack was the work of just these two individuals, or a larger conspiracy?

Intelligence officials will be working for weeks and months to determine if the Tsarnaevs had any linkages to individuals or organizations outside the United States. Domestic law enforcement will be focused on whether there were accomplices that aided or abetted the criminal conspiracy.

It is too early to tell what the answers will be. There are indications, however, that they were not part of a larger, sophisticated terrorist group.

The Tsarnaevs used a common construction for their weapon that was readily available on the internet and did not include liquid or plastic explosives, they made no effort to leave the country, they were poorly financed (otherwise why would they need to commit robbery), they did not target an event that would have meaning for an international audience, and they did nothing to publicize a political cause.

Does this case bear the hallmarks of religious/political terrorism? Do these bombers (or one of them) fit the jihadi profile, or something different?

There is no "profile" of a homegrown terrorist. The issue is whether the Tsarnaevs were motivated to violence by adoption of the al Qaeda ideology (I prefer not to bestow religious legitimacy on this ideology by giving it the label "jihadi" because this is an established Qur'anic principle).

The al Qaeda ideology is a mixture of religious, historical, political and economic themes that boil down to a claim that the West is at war with Muslims and must be confronted by violent means to enable Muslims and Islam to prosper. I believe it is certainly a possibility that one or both of the Tsarnaevs adopted this ideology and murdered innocent people in furtherance of it. We will need to learn more facts to make this determination.

In general terms, how would you characterize the threat of Islamist terrorism to Americans on U.S. soil?

I don't use the term Islamist terrorism. Islamism is a political movement that seeks a strong or dominant role for Islamic principles in the governing of a society. It has benign forms, but also highly dangerous extremist forms.

We have had numerous incidents of terrorism inside the United States inspired by al Qaeda and its ideology prior to and since 9/11. As the 9/11 attacks demonstrated, al Qaeda was a powerful and dangerous organization 12 years ago, but is now a shell of what it once was. Central al Qaeda and its affiliate organizations around the globe still aspire to execute attacks inside America, but their capabilities to do so are dramatically diminished. The threat is present, but no longer acute.

We also face the threat of homegrown terrorism, where individuals or small groups of Muslim Americans radicalize and engage in violence. About 20 Muslim Americans per year on average since 9/11 have been arrested for planning or perpetrating terrorist crimes. These individuals tend not to be highly skilled or capable terrorists, but as we saw in Boston, this does not mean that they cannot cause substantial harm.

Since 9/11, only eleven homegrown attacks have been successfully executed (including the Boston Marathon bombing), causing 21 deaths. The vast majority of these perpetrators have been apprehended before they could engage in violence. Homegrown terrorism is an ever-present threat, but even after this horrible week, it is a manageable one.

As we contemplate the Boston Marathon bombings, could you provide some statistical context for attacks of this type? On average, how many terrorist attacks occur, worldwide, in a given year?

The Global Terrorism Database operated by the START Center at the University of Maryland has the most comprehensive listing of terrorist incidents around the world from 1970 to 2011. The database identifies 104,689 attacks over the past 42 years. There were 5008 attacks in 2011 alone, an all-time high (but keep in mind that there is much more reporting of incidents globally now than 40 years ago).

How does the Boston attack compare, in terms of casualties, scale, etc., to other terrorist attacks around the world?

According to the database, there have only been 335 terrorist attacks since 1970 with over 100 casualties. The marathon bombing and the mayhem preceding the arrest of the final suspect caused 4 deaths and over 170 injuries, making it a significant and large mass casualty event. For some context, on average, there have been 3.3 casualties per domestic attack, and only 1.4 casualties per attack if 9/11 is excluded.

What is the trend today? Is terrorism being used less now than it was a few years ago, or are we just not hearing so much about it?

The decade since 9/11 has seen less terrorism (of all ideologies) than other recent decades. There were 168 attacks in the ten years after 9/11, but in the 1970s, there were 1357 attacks.

In the months after the 9/11 attacks, there was a general expectation-and dread-that 9/11 was just the first of many terrorist attacks inside the United States. Yet the total number of attacks since then is relatively few. Why is that, do you think?

The counterterrorism strategy against al Qaeda that has been executed since 9/11 has been extremely effective. We eliminated the safe haven that al Qaeda enjoyed in Afghanistan and captured or killed hundreds of senior leaders and thousands of rank and file militants.

It is also important that governments in countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen, who were on the sidelines prior to 9/11, joined the fight because they felt threatened by al Qaeda as well.

We have also tightened our visa issuance process and border security (at a great cost to our international image and economy) so that it is much harder to enter the United States, especially from certain countries.

Some of the steps we have taken were counterproductive (the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, to name but one example). And we have not eliminated the sources of grievance at the United States that gave rise to al Qaeda and could spawn other terrorist movements in the future.

But we have crippled the organization that attacked us on 9/11 to the benefit of the United States and the world.

Much has been made of the "radicalization" of American Muslims—most prominently during the public hearings conducted by the House Homeland Security Committee in 2011-2012. What is your assessment of this phenomenon? And what, if anything, did we learn from those hearings that should be applied to the Boston attack?

Al Qaeda's ideology has been rejected by almost all Muslim Americans. Every major Muslim American organization in the United States has consistently and vociferously denounced acts of terrorism, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Muslims Americans have cooperated with counterterrorism and law enforcement officials across the country. Studies show that a significant portion of the terrorism plots that have been thwarted are based on tips that have come from the Muslim American community. And many Muslim Americans are actively rebutting radical ideology within their communities, in their mosques, and on the internet.

We did not learn anything from the so-called radicalization hearings that we didn't know beforehand—very few Muslim Americans are attracted to this ideology and even fewer are inclined to engage in violence in furtherance of it. Homegrown terrorism is a real threat and can have devastating consequences, as it did in Boston, but it is not a widespread phenomenon.

Are there common themes, or lessons to be learned, in looking at past incidents (the Lackawanna Six, Maj Nidal Hasan, Faisal Shahzad) that involved Muslim terrorists who had "assimilated" successfully into American life? Looking back, are there patterns of behavior (social estrangement, for example) that should have been a red flag?

There is not one pathway to radicalization and so every case has its unique attributes. Efforts to identify a "profile" of a homegrown al Qaeda inspired terrorist have been unsuccessful.

Characterizing all homegrown terrorists as having "assimilated" is inaccurate. It appears that many homegrown terrorists have strong questions about their identity in America. Even if they go to an American school, are working in a decent job and live in a nice neighborhood, we can't assume that they are fully comfortable in American life and have reconciled the various strands of their identity, many of which may be in conflict.

One common strand is that many homegrown terrorists did not have a formal education and training in Islam. Their lack of this educational foundation makes them vulnerable to an ideology that claims to define the actions and beliefs of "good Muslims," but are actually contrary to the values and scripture of Islam.

As you think about the Tsarnaev brothers, could you comment about the role of psychological pressure (with an older and more radicalized Tamerlan leading the younger and less committed Dzhokhar) in such cases? Is this a fairly typical scenario in small-scale terrorist attacks? We saw something similar in the 2002 DC sniper case, with John Allen Muhammad and his follower Lee Boyd Malvo.

Counterterrorism officials and terrorism scholars will be analyzing the Tsarnaevs for many years once more facts about them become available. Groups dynamics have been proven to have a radicalizing influence on group members in many contexts, include terrorist organizations and cells.

The influence of loved ones can also be a powerful force toward radicalization, that can be especially influential on individuals with weak identities that feel isolated within a dominant culture. Yes, this case reminds me of the D.C. sniper case for many reasons (including the fact that it paralyzed a major city for three weeks, far longer than the Boston saga).

I also see similarities with the case in North Carolina with Daniel Boyd who radicalized his two sons—all three of whom are serving lengthy prison sentences.

We're aware of terrorism cases connected to the Arab world (Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc.) But is there a precedent for radicalization of U.S.-based individuals connected to the Caucasus?

Not to my knowledge.

If the past is an indication, what effect will this dramatic, highly publicized case have on popular sentiment towards Muslims in the U.S.?

I wish it were otherwise, but this high profile case is likely to exacerbate many of the difficulties that Muslim Americans have faced since 9/11. Muslims face challenges from a variety of sources: official discrimination by government agencies, violent hate crimes against persons and property, blatantly prejudicial legislative efforts targeted at Muslim religious practices and subtle societal discrimination that impacts employment, housing, and other attributes of life in American.

The worst of the phenomenon faced by Muslims, however, is the extraordinarily well-financed and pervasive network of anti-Islamic haters who have poisoned the dialogue about Muslims and Islam in America. This movement has enabled what ought to be fringe views held by the intolerant and bigoted few to infect the mainstream, including some elements that hold power within our political system. Muslims and those who support their rightful place as part of the American tapestry will need to redouble our efforts in light of the Boston attacks.

43 comments
leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

If National Geographic wants a real run down on Islamists, and the dangers, they should interview Salman Rushdie.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

Mr Schanzer has done his best to show us that he is a politically correct spomkesman, and even more, he chants the mantra of Islamist organizations. As such he is an authority on being an apologist for Islamist Jihadists,. and 1984 Newspeak. All he needed to make this total would have been to parrot Napolitano's "There is no such word as terrorism, we call it man made disasters"...)

When the number of FBI tallied hate crimes against Jews in the US is more than 4 times as high as that against Muslims, 157 to 771 in 2011, I find it hard to think that the Moslem community is here is distressed by me and other non mulsim Americans, but rather by shame at those amongst them who commit violence, but they find it easy to progect their angst against the rest of America.

While we talk in politically correct claptrap where our very vocabulary is restricted so as not to offend Islam and make our politicians happy, we will continue down the road to oblivion.

Time to replace all the politicians, Democrat and Republican, with people who don't have the ego to think they can just smoother the distress of the citizenry by telling us that "Jihadist" and "Islamist" are among the words we are not allowed to use.

Abdullah Antepli
Abdullah Antepli

Thank you David for this voice of sanity, civility and accuracy.

Elizabeth Pula
Elizabeth Pula

Unless the younger brother who is hospitalized publicly releases a confession that he and his brother did IN FACT commit the bombings, I am very uncomfortable as an American citizen in having to acknowledge that even National Geographic has in fact in writing accepted that the "SUSPECTED" criminals are guilty before a trial.  It is unfortunate that even NG has joined the media attack frenzy, rather than presenting facts, and perhaps sometimes historical facts about critical incidents ofUS/ North  American History.  Actually NG has contributed to the critical historical fact of how  US citizens are eroding any legal rights within a reasonably functional legal society.  In fact NG is supporting living outside of the legal process.  Very sad fact!  (and I guess I might as well add this statement to be quite obvious.  The author of this NG article must be quite unconscious and unaware of the fact that by writing "the Bombers" that the suspects are no longer "suspects" but have become the actual bombers, rather than just "alleged bombers" and thus are no longer suspects. This type of continued conviction process that is promoted by the media is very bad,and very inflammatory and disruptive for maintaining civil legal process within a civil society. This type of conviction process takes away actual legal process within a civil society. I hate to be a citizen reporting this type of Very BAD news NG......

Maha Zimmo
Maha Zimmo

This is such an excellent analysis - I receive the print hardcopy of NG and I am so excited that you have chosen to venture into this territory in an engaged, nuanced and comprehensive manner. Keep up your amazing work (all across the board), please and thank you!

John Smith
John Smith

This is how I look at it:

 Christians   only attend church at a rate of around 25%. They only tithe at the abysmally low rate of about 3%.

 But for some reason there are people who assume that all Muslims are all extreme - who read their scripture and follow it to the letter. Christians do not pick out the most hateful verses of the bible and act upon only them - the majority of Christians compartmentalize their faith and bring it out when it suits them ....why do we think Muslims are more devout than Christians?

Put things into perspective. 

 Muslims are much like the rest of us.  They want to work hard, earn a living, raise their families, and get a little enjoyment out of life, and not cause trouble for anybody. If this were not so, we would be seeing lots more acts of terrorism than we do. 

John Smith
John Smith

How many Muslim terrorists are there in the world? 160?

How about 1600 terrorists?

If there are 1600 Muslims who are terrorists out of 1.6 billion Muslims, that means that     0.000001 % of Muslims are terrorists. 

If there are 1,600,000 Muslim terrorists, 0.001 % of Muslims are terrorists.

What I am showing is that over 99.9% of Muslims are NOT terrorists. 

Simple easy logic defeats the assertion that this article is 'political correctness'.

Michael Kaufman
Michael Kaufman

If "every major Muslim . . . organization. . . has . . . denounced acts of terrorism." why are the largest US Muslim gropups, CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations; ISNA; the Muslim-American Society; and the NA Islamic Trust named by the US as co-conspirators in the terrorist-linked Holy Land Foundation? 

If terrorism is contrary to Islam. why does the Koran command:"Kill those who join other gods . . . (9.5-6) “Those who believe fight in the cause of God (4.76); "Strike off the heads of the Infidels" 8.12); "Fight against[them] till . . . the reli-gion be all God’s”(8.39-42)?The Bible has problematic passages, but they are not relevant today for Christians or Jews. For Muslims these are God's commands, val-id for all time.That's why Christians and churches are being burned by Islamists  in Muslim Africa; why Christian flee Egypt and Jews flee Isamicized France..

Most shocking is blaming Islamist terror upon its victims - because we haven't eli-minated "their sources of grievances at the US." Islamists don't needexcuses. They kill people because they are Infidels. For shame! Most US Muslims are peaceful. The less facts are obfuscated and the more they learn about Islam and Islamists the more they will distance themselves from such appalling acts.  Michael Kaufman

Richard Pilkington
Richard Pilkington

I would like to read more of the sociology concerns as it relates to violent anti-socials like the Boston bombers. We may find the brothers 'terrorists' are not terrorists at all. They've displayed no allegiance. And, while expressing psychopathic [teenage] angst and ignorance, they were not suicidal. They could have killed many more people, in countless ways, but instead, they used explosive weaponry to attempt escape.

Terrorism is political. Terrorism has a purpose, an agenda, an aim. To terrorize people directly affected by an action; to instigate political re-action.

But, what if these brothers had no political aim. Then, wouldn't the concern be criminal (sociology / psychology)?

This could be blowback. A consequence of war-- on terrorism-- ideology-- politics-- and/or peoples. That's what I would like to read.

The real concern here is-- the political response to a terrorism threat vs. a psychopathic criminal action. Each event will/would evolve a different political affect. I'm a little concerned with the journalistic approach.

a watson
a watson

Thank you National Geographic for a serious piece of objective journalism explicating events in their larger context.  Thank you for a fine piece . I feel I have a greater understanding of this situation as well as the greater social context that it will now begin to occupy.

a watson
a watson

Thank you National Geographic for a serious piece of objective journalism explicating events in their larger context.  Thank you for a fine piece . I feel I have a greater understanding of this situation as well as the greater social context that it will now begin to occupy.

Penny Wabich
Penny Wabich

I don't understand how Americans can be so blind. Immigrants come to this country for self serving reasons. They do not love this country - they love their own. They do not promise to love and uphold american laws and values - rather they continue their own cultural madness. We should be called The United Countries of America - and it will never ever stop as long as we allow this and them into our country and lives. We the Americans are and will continue to be the "outsiders" here unless we get rid of them all.

John Smith
John Smith

This is how I look at it:

 Christians are not fanatics. They only attend church at a rate of around 25%. They only tithe at the abysmally low rate of about 3%. But for some reason there are people who assume that all Muslims are fanatics who read their scripture and follow it to the letter. The majority of Christians compartmentalize their faith and bring it out when it suits them ....why do we think Muslims are more devout than Christians?

 

How many Muslim terrorists are there in the world? 160?

How about 1600 terrorists?

If there are 1600 Muslims who are terrorists out of 1.6 billion Muslims, that means that     0.000001 % of Muslims are terrorists. 

If there are 1,600,000 Muslim terrorists, 0.001 % of Muslims are terrorists.

What I am showing is that over 99.9% of Muslims are NOT terrorists. 

Simple easy logic defeats the assertion that this article is 'political correctness'.

Cleatus McGurkin
Cleatus McGurkin

Contact your state senator and rep. and call for an emergency hearing to revoke Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's U.S. citizenship so the full weight of U.S. justice can be brought upon him.

John C.
John C.

I'm choking on a Political Correctness overdose.

If these had been Tea Party members, do you think this "expert" would be bending over backwards not to connect their ideology to terrorism?

This is exactly the willful blindness that lead to the Ft. Hood massacre.

Colin Rose
Colin Rose

"...contrary to the values and scriptures of Islam"?

"Allah's Apostle (Muhammad) said , 'I have been made victorious with terror' ".

-- Bukhari (9th century Sunni scholar) V4 B52 N220

James Weir
James Weir

One other question Don-what the hell is National Geographic doing in this venue?

James Weir
James Weir

Don-you have swallowed the regime's line completely.  If you really think al Qaeda is diminished you have your head up big foot's butt.  The bottom line is jihad has come to the US and it is here to stay.  You call these guys "homegrown" terrorists?  Stupid remark.  You don't know at this time what their influences were but homegrown is not one of them.  That statement completely diminishes this country and the citizens that live here.

Andrew Booth
Andrew Booth

Not only are those who commit these attacks evil but they are cowards too. 

 Here in the UK we grew up with the bomb and the bullet during the 30 years of the IRA terror campaign. Many thousands of British people - innocent men, women and children - were killed or horribly maimed by Irish terrorists. We still especially remember the two young children killed in Warrington by an IRA bomb placed in a litter bin. What heroic individual could do that? 

Unhappily, much of the IRA's funding and support came from the Irish-American community, especially in areas like Boston. I'm now 50 and only now are we in the UK getting used to the first period of civil peace that my genration can remember. We no longer have bombings or shootings! We can walk British streets without the continual underlying fear of a bomb blast or a bomb warning ruining the day. We had that almost every week! 

 I really hope those who funded and supported the Irish terrorists now realise how evil terrorism is. Events such as the Boston bomb are terrible but I really hope that the outcome will be an end to this form of evil, not just in the US and the UK but in most other places too.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

Please. The facts are that the Tsarnaevs committed this crime, and for religious motives.  They will get a fair trial, but the sentence of guilty is a foregone conclusion. They did everything possible to show their guilt, physicaly and verbally. The remaining brother is not an alleged anything. He is one of the 2 Boston Bombers.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

Most Muslims are not extreme, 90% aren't, but that leaves 10% who would support the precept that violence against us is justified. That leaves 160 million Muslims who are antipathetic to us, and probably 16 million mulims who would go to war against us.

I don't like those numbers. It's not people born into Islam that are the problem, people are people, but the faith itslef is structurally Jihadist from day 1.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

There are about 16 million about 1%, who would engage in Jihadi islamist violence and your arithmetic is way off, please redo your numbers with a  calculator. It's called orders of magnitude, which escapes people.

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith

@John Smith @John Smith Tamerlan (the historical figure, not the recently deceased older brother "wanna-be terrorist") was responsible for killing off somewhere around 5% of the world's population following religious ideology... but isn't even labeled a 'terrorist' in most history books/mentions in the politically correct West. While in Asia he is a historical figure that is often even looked up to BECAUSE of the religious ideology and impact on culture and society that came about as a result of all that warfare and death... Which, incidentally, is probably why the older brother wanna-be terrorist was named Tamerlan by his mother.

But point being: What you or I might clearly see as "terrorism" and hold in poor, or even "evil", regard: is not considered terrorism in many Muslim cultures as a whole (who may even view the acts as being positive in nature) - even by those that live in the West. So this argument will go on and on...

And while I'm sure you could point out figures in the West (like Hitler for example) that had ideologies and waged wars - you'd be unlikely to find it PC in Western culture for any mother to name their child 'Hitler' for example...

Like it or not, there are cultural differences between many Muslim cultures, Western cultures, and violent ideology. Of course not every Muslim is a "terrorist" in the world's population - that would be largely untrue. The vast majority are law abiding in the West (however, the .001% you mentioned would be a huge number in context of the total world population as is evidenced in the ongoing hell that is reality in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Mali, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc...).

But if you want to talk about political correctness, how about a mother who names their kid Tamerlan? People are either ignorant about where the name comes from or too politically correct to even mention the irony of his name in context to his actions. There IS a lot of political correctness going on here in my opinion.

John C.
John C.

@John Smith 

Yes, that's a small percentage. You know what's an even smaller percentage? The number of terrorists who have been members of the Tea Party. Zero.

Yet, the meme all last week from MSNBC, NPR, HuffPo, etc., was that the terrorists were most likely home grown, right wing anti-government Tea Party extremists since an attack occurring on "tax day" was just too odd a coincidence to not fit their presumed modus operandi. 

Kazim A.
Kazim A.

@Michael Kaufman 

Dear Michael,

How many times US Government’s funds and weapons ended up at terrorists hands? Just search for ‘America funds terrorism’ and get your answer. Does it make you, me or other Americans supporter of terrorism? NO! The same way, Muslims do not donate these organizations to support terrorism. They are donating to help victims of disaster, war, or terrorism. If some of these organizations intentionally support terrorism, they will be/ should be punished! Donors won’t be upset for it!

Since you had a chance to read the Koran, you should have better known the fact that the verses you referred are part of the war context. In the war context, God allows Muslims to defend themselves. You cannot find one sane scholar defending terrorism in the name of Islam. Neither Islam nor Muslims approve killing innocent people. There are rules listed in the Koran for a war and terrorism does not fit into those rules. I am sure you had a chance to read some history; how many times human beings used religions as a convenient way to justify their bloody actions?

Let’s learn a lesson from human history and do not discriminate or blame people or their beliefs based on their bloody actions. Muslims do not think like you, but terrorists do. You should ask yourself why you and terrorists are thinking alike when it comes to Islam. Billions of Muslims are screaming that they are not supporting this and you prefer to believe the terrorists.

I hate to see the mainstream media is trying to associate terrorism with Islam by creating and using terms such as Islamist, Islamist Terrorists, and Islamist Extremists. Can’t you see that you are supporting terrorists by legitimizing their arguments? Let’s separate terrorism and Islam. Every time a terrorist refers Islam or any other religion/belief to justify his actions, let’s emphasize the fact that the terrorist is contradicting that religion’s teachings. THIS WILL HARM THE TERRORISTS MORE THAN OUR WEAPONS!
 

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

There is no reason at all to deny that the Tsarnaev brothers motivation was Islamist Jihadist in purpose. They were soldiers of Allah. Those in denial should do some internal searching as to why they need to deny these facts.

Mr Zafran
Mr Zafran

@Penny Wabich

Unless you're a native american indian you haven't got a leg to stand on...Most of the population of America immigrated there from other countries....so your just a hypocrite....go retrace your ancestors 500 years or so and see where you came from...again, unless your a native american i'll bet you anything you want your family wasn't chilling on what you now call United States of America.....

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

Given that the violent Islamist riots in places like Pakistan are much larger alone, by a factor of up to 100, than your speculation of a total possible of 1600 persons capable of being violent Jihadis, it would be more reasonable to speculate that 10% of Muslims world wide, emotionally support an Islamist and violent Jihadist attitude. And that 10% of these would actually ever take some part in some Jihadist activity. So 1% of 1.6 billion is 16 million, vastly different to your own thin air number, and far more likely.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

the full weight of Justice being brought to bear, does not depend on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's citizenship. Not in the slightest.

Adam Carroll
Adam Carroll

@Cleatus McGurkin  wow do you hear what you are saying? that Justice cannot be done to a citizen?  Listen, I feel rage too but I know this guy will remain in prison so there is no reason to change the law. That's a slippery slope... if we start doing that then it starts happening for other crimes eventually. No jaywalkers in Gitmo, probably-- but the fact is that the officials studies have shown that many of them men (not all, obviously) in Guantanamo are innocent political pawns. Once you get off the legal grid and start revoking citizenship we get into this darkness. It's not necessary to go there.

Mr Zafran
Mr Zafran

@Colin Rose


Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220 :Narrated by Abu Huraira

Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).

You have taken one part and used it aid your argument. Terror which was cast in the hearts of the enemy, not terror acts or terrorism. Please don't take parts of a sentence to give it a different meaning. Islam does not condone the killing of innocent people. People that do carry out such acts are going against Islam. They are not acting as muslims but crazy deluded fools who should be judged on their acts as a person rather than as a muslim. You will find it a tough task to find one orthodox muslim who condones any killing of innocent people. So don't let yourself be dictated by the media of how muslims are. This bombing has nothing to do with Islam, and the bomber should be treated independent from the religion and solely on his actions. He was an american citizen. Should we treat all american's as bombers? no...that's just stupid!

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

While the violent Jihadist Islamist movement is an import, doesn't mean that there are not home grown Jihadist Islamist terrorists, we have seen that there are, inspite of any denial. It doesn't diminish the US in any way, but it does diminish the precept that all people of all creeds can and will live together in brotherly multi-cultural harmony.  One upon a time we didn't let communists migrate here, and this is still a good thing. But communism is not the only totalitarian Hegemonist theology.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

While I consider violent Jihadis an enemy to be eliminated, there is nothing cowardly about people willing to die in what they see is a battle against their enemy. The whole "coward" meme is an emotional, not a rational label. The enemy, yes, cowards, not.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

The Muslims that I see screaming in the news, on on the TV screens, by the 10s of thousands in Pakistan and other Islamic nations, are screaming for my blood.

American citizens bear responsibility for Drone terorrism , and killing of innocents in this manner, and Islamist terrorists and their supporters which number in the many millions are responsible for starting this war against the US, and for targeting civilians. Their justification is religious precept.

The US should not be involved in any military action that is not in immediate and direct defense of the homeland(which we are not), and should quarentine Islamic fundamentalists from coming here.

Islam and pluralistic liberal democracy do not mix.

The facts are the facts

John C.
John C.

@Kazim A. @Michael Kaufman 

The fact is that jihadism and violence against non-Muslims is very common across the Muslim world, widely supported by rulers and the populace. There are no Christian churches in Afghanistan, they've well been demolished. Converts to Christianity there are condemned to death and, without world wide attention, are killed. There is a pogrom in Egypt, Muslims killing and driving out the Coptic Christians. It has nothing to do with self defense. It is terrorism, it is Islamic based, and it is common and accepted.   

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

I was born here, Mr Zafran, I am a native American.  I don't need your excuse or justification to be that.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

Violence is structurally part of Islam, it's part of the nature of the creed to engage in battle to make Islam the faith of every last human on the planet.

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

Was the slaughter of Khaybar, of the Jews there, 1400 years ago, by the Prophet (peace be upon him), un Islamic? When the Prophet left a collection of 12 swords, stained with blood, some of them on display in Istanbul, was that unIslamist?

Please... when it walks talks and acts like a duck, and has the DNA of a duck... it's a duck.

John C.
John C.

@Mr Zafran @Colin Rose 

When a Koran was supposedly flushed down a toilet, which turned out not to be true, there were riots all across the Muslim world condemning the fictitious act.

If we witnessed similar displays of protest denouncing Islamic terror attacks the world would be much more inclined to believe your argument.  

leeada Johnson
leeada Johnson

Unless your are a peer respected Sunni imam/scholar you are unable by Islam's own precepts to tell us what Islam is and isn't. And certainly respected Sunni Islamic imam/scholars have issued fatwas condoning violence against Israeli civilians, because in their logically and religiously justifiable judgment, there are no Israeli civilians, all are combatants, and such fatwas are considered by imams with serious followings to apply against all enemies of Islam, especially the Great Satan, the USA... as Israel is only the little Satan.

The terrorism and war against us is religiously motivated, and justified by religious leaders.

We may have no sensible business going to war  with Islamic nations in the Middle East, but this doesn't mean that our antagonist is not religiously motivated, and finds justification and direction in mainstream Islamic law.

Mr Zafran
Mr Zafran

@John C. @Mr Zafran @Colin Rose


My argument is that Islam does not condone terrorism and acts of violence on innocent people. Protesting against things isn't a reflection on Islam but the people protesting. Islamic terror attacks is a contradiction. They are simply terror attacks by people who call themselves muslim and are actually going against the teaching of Islam. They may do it under the banner of Islam giving them some sort of self justification. Isn't that the same as America killing innocent people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan under the banner of this so called 'Fight on Terror'. I woman who has been raped by let's say a man who happens to be a christian. She will have undergone a terrifying ordeal. Does that justify attacking Christians and treating them as rapist because one man. All I am saying is don't get all your knowledge from the media, because it is all propaganda. Islam has nothing to do with these acts of terror. Treat these fools as individuals bring them to justice, and a worthy sentence. Don't turn around and start blaming his or her religion. Muslims do oppose terror attacks such as the Boston bombings, it's just not spread all over the media so you wouldn't know about it. I just don't understand that when someone commits a crime, if it happens to be a muslim that fact will be highlighted in the media giving the impression that the fact he or she is a muslim has some sort of influence on he or she committing that act. I'm just fed up of all the ignorance and lack of understanding and common sense.

Share

Feed the World

See blogs, stories, photos, and news »

Latest From Nat Geo

See more photos »