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Terrorism

How to defeat ISIS

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Show them ‘humiliation and degradation’ at their strongholds and so God’s judgment of their apostasy and inhumanity.

The agenda of ISIS:
The stated objective of ISIS apart from imposing a Caliphate based on their version of Sharia law is “enmity and hatred for the ‘cross worshippers (Christians), the apostates (Shia), their crosses, their borders and their ballot-boxes and pledge allegiance to the Khilafah” enforcement of strict Sharia law.” (see magazine Daqiq Issue 3 1435 Shawwal)” https://ia801401.us.archive.org/11/items/Dabiq03_en/dbq03_en.pdf

The greatest fear of ISIS:
The greatest fear of ISIS apart from bombs is to be seen as illegitimate on the wrong ‘path’, committing ‘Kabira’ (gross sin), to be exposed as “dogs of hellfire”, Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri Jihadi or the “Horns of Satan” as Mohammed described them and the sect from Najd, modern day “Khawarij” Arabic: خوارج‎ The Wahhabi movement has been referred to as the modern Khawarij by 18th century Hanafi scholar Ibn Abidin. Kharijites insist that any Muslim could be a leader of the Muslim community and had the right to revolt against any ruler who deviated from their interpretation of Islam. The Kharijites believed that the act of sinning is analogous to Kufr (disbelief) and that every grave sinner was regarded as a Kāfir (disbeliever) unless he repents. Kharijite’s like ISIS have a strong desire for martyrdom and dying for the sake of their cults beliefs. ISIS are modern day Kharijite’s. Continue the bombing but concentrate it on their military and spiritual leadership and strongholds on the ground.

What the world needs to do:
Call them out for what they are:
A heretical bloodthirsty sect on their own murderous path, apostates, not true Muslims, “dogs of hellfire”, Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri Jihadi or the “Horns of Satan”, “Khawarij” so the Muslim youth are not brainwashed to support Satanic cult as they surrender to Shaytan and their suicide sends them straight to hell as their deeds are sinful (Kabira ) and evil.
The Muslim communities are already having the courage to speak this out (no doubt as most of ISIS supporters have left for the battlefield unable to harass and physically intimidate the Mosque leaders). The recent Fatwa issued by the Islamic Council of UK’s in a statement issued on 31 August 2014, by mufti Abu Layth along with 5 other Muslim leaders.  

To defeat ISIS we must psychologically target their ideological strongholds and those physical places that have ideological significance. Beat them like the Red Army beat the Nazi’s at Stalingrad. Utterly destroy their will at key strongholds. Attack them at places that mean so much to them ideologically and destroy their power and so discredit them in the eyes of the Ummah. For example take them out in key cities and regions that they hold dear like: Dabiq in the northern countryside of Halab which they see as central to their fight against the West (al-Malhamah al-Kubra). Deal with them at their strongholds so the Ummah sees that Allah has abandoned them as apostates and not ‘brothers’. The Muslims will see Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi as a self-proclaimed false Caliph, someone who does not submit to Allah but arrogantly sets himself up as God murdering innocents in His name and so is a minister of ‘Shaytan’ and a false Messiah and the ideology of ISIS as ‘shirk’ and heresy. Destroy them ideologically so the Islamic world sees ISIS destroyed ‘like salt melts into water’ so too evil will be cleansed from the earth. Destroying ISIS is commanding the good and forbidding the evil that they do wherever their black flags stain the desert with the red blood of innocents.
ISIS described the beheading execution of journalist James Foley as “ a cooling balm for the believer’s hearts.” Anyone who felt that can only be described as “apes and swine”…the worst of people. They will be cast out. Allah will hate them. Allow the Muslims to execute Allah’s judgment on their gross sin, expose their leaders as apostates. ‘Arm’ the true Muslims, equip them to fight ideologically and militarily.

Learn about ISIS plans by studying ISIS heroes?
Abu Dujana al-Khurasani aka Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi aka  Homam Khaleel Mohammad Abu Mallal aka  (25 December 1977 – 30 December 2009) is praised in the recent ISIS magazine Dabiq.

In 2009, this Kuwaiti born suicide bomber terrorist murdered 9 Western, Jordanian and Afghan intelligence personnel at Camp Chapman Eastern Afghan city of Khost, which is about 10 miles northwest of the Pakistani border.
al-Khurasani trained in Istanbul as a doctor of medicine and married a Turkish journalist. He trained and was radicalized at the Islamic Brotherhood’s University of Jordan hospital in Aman Jordan. He worked at a clinic for Palestinian refugee women and children in the Marka refugee camp near Amman, Jordan He was a contributor to al-Hesbah, an online forum run by Islamist extremists.
He was a known associate of Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh aka Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (“Emir of Al Qaeda in the Country of Two Rivers” )as the two were from the same Jordanian town of Zarqa. al-Zarqawi  grew up as a drunkard and thug in Jordan before experiencing a religious conversion to Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri Jihadism, al-Zarqawi then was enlisted by the Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri’s to run terrorist (Jund al-Sham , al-Tawhid wal-Jihad later named AQI now called ISIS)  camps in Herat Afghanistan and Iraq. He was said to be behind the hotel bombings in Amman Jordan in 2005 Hotel Radisson). Zarqawi also helped plan a series of deadly bomb attacks in Casablanca, Morocco and Istanbul, Turkey in 2003. This terrorist, organized the February 2006 attack on the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra., On 7 May 2004, he beheaded American civilian contractor in Bagdad,  Nick Berg .  

Zarqawi stated :
“We have declared a bitter war against democracy and all those who seek to enact it…Democracy is also based on the right to choose your religion [and that is] against the rule of Allah.”

He died when a US F-16 500 pound bomb was dropped on him on 7 June 2006 in Baqubah Iraq (Baqubah is a Sunni stronghold http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baqubah  and also part of the story of the Assyrian genocide by Ottomans Sunnis and Kurds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_genocide ).  
On June 23, 2006, Al-Jazeera aired a video in which Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, stated that
“Zarqawi was “a soldier, a hero, an imam and the prince of martyrs, [and his death] has defined the struggle between the crusaders and Islam in Iraq.”

al-Khurasani had been invited to FOB Chapman after claiming to Jordanian secret service (as their supposed double agent) to have information related to senior al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 Instead he detonated explosives sewn into his vest. The Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, saying they helped al-Khurasani with the attack…. Out of the 9 people murdered, 7 were CIA personnel. It was the second largest single-day loss in the CIA’s history, after the 1983 United States Embassy bombing in Beirut, Lebanon killed eight CIA agents.
ISIS in their magazine Dabiq Issue 3 praise al-Khurasani as someone whose love for Jihad should be emulated. He left his home Kwait, travelled extensively for Jiad ( a call to hijrah) .Featuring  al-Khurasani may also be code for the way in which Wahhabi Salafi Takfifi Jihadi’s may be encouraged  to commit lone wolf suicide (fi sabilillah) attacks on Western targets when returning to their Western cities (bombs sewn in vests or Burkas) after their ‘Hijrah’.

So this is how one defeats ISIS.
Learn from history. How were the Nazi’s defeated in WWII? How could they have been defeated earlier before killing millions? How were the Japanese fanatics defeated in WWII? Follow the lead of The Association of British Muslims, encourage similar statements by Muslim leaders in every country. Show up the Kharijite nature of ISIS. Attack their ideological strongholds and discredit their heroes. Defeat them heavily in the places they think they are strongest and thus humiliate them.  They laugh and joke as they behead, play soccer with heads or bury alive Christian children. They are not human. Take out their Chechen military leadership. Switch off their twitter accounts. Isolate them. Support all Counter Terrorism laws from UN to nation states. Prosecute every ISIS member who survives the battlefield for War Crimes and prosecute everyone who supports them directly or indirectly. Support all Muslim groups who oppose them but be careful whom you arm. Not even the Kurds can be trusted. Learn from history and remember the Assyrian genocide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_genocide. The only people the West should arm are the Christians, no one else can be trusted given their historical track record. Consider allying for limited military defeat of ISIS with ISIS enemies, the Shia in Iran who have in the past helped Christian communities from genocide. Encourage transition in Iran to democracy for long term stability in the Middle East. Allow Turkey a greater role in leadership of Islamic countries conditional on their abiding by International Law, including a U N Security Council unanimous resolution 2170 (2014). Perhaps a joint military operation between Turkey, the Kurds, Iraq and Iran with NATO air support but under UN command could quickly and effortlessly destroy ISIS and conduct War Crime Tribunal hearings on the ground as soon as towns are liberated so as to thwart insurgency.

https://ia801401.us.archive.org/11/items/Dabiq03_en/dbq03_en.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khawarij
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Berg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humam_Khalil_Abu-Mulal_al-Balawi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Chapman_attack
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Musab_al-Zarqawi
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-06-23-zarqawi_x.htm?csp=34
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_genocide
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sc11520.doc.htm

Alexander Athos is a writer and businessman.He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (European History) Personal background Alexander was christened Orthodox brought up Catholic and now Evangelical Christian with an acceptance of the best in Christian tradition and a respect for genuine people of faith from other cultures. Political inclinations: Christian intellectual who has an eclectic predisposition to understanding global and national political and social trends and seeking to influence them for good by thoughtful and persuasive discourse.

Terrorism

Balancing Counter-Terrorism Measures with International Human Rights

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In his statement at a special meeting of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee on 6 March 2003, the Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan has noted:

 “….Our responses to terrorism, as well as our efforts to thwart it and prevent it, should uphold the human rights that terrorists aim to destroy. Respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law are essential tools in the effort to combat terrorism – not privileges to be sacrificed at a time of tension.”

Acts of terrorism are one of the gravest forms of human rights violations that can potentially shake up the spirit of society. People acquire a hateful approach towards the terrorists and those involved in terrorist activities. Moreover, governments do not hesitate to take all possible hardest actions against terrorism to secure their citizens and nation. It can be understood that any counter-terrorist measure taken to satisfy this sentiment of society will more likely be appreciated rather than being criticized. In the wake of this situation, it becomes crucial for the state and its agencies to observe the human rights laws while enacting and exercising the anti-terrorist measures (OHCHR 2008). It has been found that there exists a continuous struggle between national security interests and the protection of the human rights of individuals. In numerous cases, European and American Courts have preferred human rights over the draconian legislative provisions to curb terrorism. When one is dealing with terrorism, measures taken for counter-terrorism shall give high regard to human rights. If States fail to achieve this balance, they will ultimately defeat the success of their counter-actions. Thus, it is to be remembered that one should not become a demon that they are fighting.

Understanding International Human Rights

Human rights are the core universal values available to every individual and group being a human. It provides fundamental freedoms to individuals and protects them from the arbitrary use of power by the state (OHCHR 2008). International human rights are the rights reflected under various core international human rights treaties and customary international law. It includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and others. Moreover, the prohibition of genocide, torture, and slavery is widely recognized as peremptory norms from which no derogation is possible. All the concerned state parties are under an obligation to protect human rights enshrined under these instruments. They shall not take any action in the breach of their commitments.

The immense importance of human rights raises a few considerations before the state. Whether human rights can be compromised in the name of national security? How should states deal with a situation where human rights fall between their national security or other interests? This short note will try to reflect on these essential issues.

What Is Terrorism?

There exists no universal definition of the term ‘terrorism’ (Acharya 2009); however, General Assembly has tried to define it as “criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them” (UNGA 1995). This term finds its mention under International Humanitarian Law that prohibits ‘terrorism’ and ‘acts of terrorism’ committed during an armed attack (Kaponyi 2007). During peacetime, such acts are dealt with under national laws, international criminal law, and human rights laws. Terrorism has been observed as a criminal act rather than an act of war (Acharya 2009); however, this definition is still evolving.

Terrorism is a controversial term, and its meaning differs from context to context and time to time. A person or group who acts as a terrorist for some might be a hero for others. However, it should be presumed that all such violence and destruction that constitutes terrorism and terrorist activities are done in the breach of human rights. These activities cause severe injury to the life and liberty of the individuals and the unity and integrity of the nation (Kaponyi 2007). In the interest of humanity, the state needs to adopt counter-terrorism measures in its legislation and enforcement actions to prevent and suppress terrorist activities while observing the rule of law.

Interaction Between Counter-Terrorism Measures And International Human Rights

There exists an unavoidable link between counter-terrorism measures and international human rights (Kielsgard 2013). Acts of terrorism provide legal justification to the threatened state to take actions that can cause severe human rights abuses. The interplay between these two concepts aims to address three dimensions of human rights: concerning the victims of the terrorist attacks, concerning the suspected terrorists, and concerning the people subjected to terrorism (Kaponyi 2007). The first category requires the right to life and dignity and the right to justice. The second category talks about the right to life, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the right to a fair trial, freedom from arbitrary detention, torture and degrading treatment, and the right to asylum. The third category talks about the right to life, right to information, freedom of association, strike, and expression. It is to be noted that the list of these rights are not exclusive and may include other related rights. Therefore, the state’s actions must not defy its international human rights commitments in the guise of national security. There have been instances when courts have curtailed unnecessary and vague security measures found in infringement of human rights.

In Hamdan v Rumsfeld US Supreme Court held that the structure and procedures of the Military Commissions been set up to try detainees of Guantanamo Bay violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Common Article 3 of Four Geneva Conventions, 1949. It was a landmark case that restrained the Presidential power vis-à-vis the treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners (Philips 2006). In Hamdi v Rumsfeld Supreme Court rules, US citizens detained as enemy combatants have the right to due process and the ability to challenge their enemy combatant status. However, in Rasul v Bush Supreme Court provided that it has jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus petitions foreign nationals detained at Guantanamo Bay. This case attracted several petitions from foreign citizens challenging the basis of their detention. To prevent a large number of petitions from detainees, the US government came up with Military Commission Act in 2006 that bars foreign nationals from challenging their detention that was ultimately held unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in the case of Boumediene v Bush. It can be observed that the Supreme Court has generally prioritized human rights over its national security issues (Wald 2010).

Similarly, the Court of Appeal in Miranda v Secretary of State for the Home Department found arbitrary ‘stop powers used against journalistic information’ contained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, 2000 of the UK to violate freedom of expression provided under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. In another case of Gillan and Quinton v United Kingdom European Court of Human Rights held blanket power to stop and search under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, 2000 to violate the right to respect for private life that later got repealed and replaced by the legislature.

Counter-terrorism measures provide incentives to the government authorities to reinterpret their law justifying interrogation, detention, and ‘targeted killing’ (Sanders 2017). It provides immunity and legitimacy to their acts of human rights abuses with the least accountability. Under its ‘War on Terror’ against the Taliban Government in Afghanistan, the US has denied applying human rights and humanitarian law to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and termed them as “enemy combatant” (Duffy 2005). However, from the International Humanitarian Law perspective, it can be counter-argued that the US is detaining combatants by creating a category based on a weak claim supported by reliable facts. They are arrested for an indefinite period without providing them the rights of prisoners. From the International Human Rights approach, a State is obliged to fulfill its international commitments over the persons who are present under its authority and control. This global outreach of the subject founds its applicability even in the areas beyond national jurisdiction, thus holding the US responsible for Guantanamo Bay that lies outside US territory.

Counter-terrorism measures are abused on the pretext of discrimination (Kaponyi 2007). General Assembly Resolution and UN Council on Human Rights Resolution prohibit discrimination that treats people from one ethnic or racial origin, religion or belief, disability different from the others. The creation of plausible legality of human rights violations by the state establishes a requirement to promote human rights (Sanders 2017). Where the UN General Assembly and Security Council have taken several counter-terrorism measures to combat terrorism, UN bodies also aim to respect human rights even in emergency cases. Law is undoubtedly evident that counter-terrorism measures cannot be fulfilled without considering human rights (Kielsgard 2013). States should respect human rights along with its counter-terrorism and security measures.

Conclusion

The real issue lies in determining the legality of counter-terrorist measures that occasionally fall short of the state’s international commitments under its human rights regime. It has been observed that the absence of any definition of terrorism provides ample scope for the state to interpret the term ‘terrorism’ with a political bias favoring its interest (Kaponyi 2007). Further, a State can easily justify its actions in the name of national security that denies human rights to the individual and ultimately raises questions on the rule of law (Duffy 2005). Under the case laws, judges have shown an inclination to respect the international commitments on human rights regime. However, this cannot be said affirmatively for the legislature and enforcing authorities.  It is not the counter-terrorism measures, but their abuse is problematic. Arbitrary and poorly-implemented counter-terrorism measures have their consequences. Co-lateral damage must be proportional. Since both counter-terrorism measures and human rights are important issues for a country; thus, it is essential that a balance be struck between them. It should be noted that fight against terror and the observance of human rights must go hand in hand. The State’s responsibility is to respect human rights and not use counter-terrorism measures as a justification for their violation.

REFERENCES

  • Acharya, Upendra D. (2009): “War on Terror or Terror Wars: The Problem in Defining Terrorism,” Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol 37, pp 653.
  • Boumediene v Bush (2008): 553 U.S. 723
  • Duffy, Helen (2005): The “War on Terror” and the Framework of International Law, Cambridge University Press
  • General Assembly, Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, A/RES/58/187 (2003)
  • General Assembly Resolution, U.N. Doc. A/RES/49/60 (Feb. 17, 1995)
  • Gillan and Quinton v United Kingdom (2010): ECHR 28 (2010)
  • Hamdan v Rumsfeld (2006): 548 U.S. 557 (2006)
  • Hamdi v Rumsfeld (2004): 542 U.S. 507
  • Kaponyi, Elisabeth K. (2007): “Upholding Human Rights in the fight against terrorism,” Society and Economy, Vol 29, pp 1.
  • Kielsgard, Mark D. (2013): “Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: Uneasy Marriage, Uncertain Future,”Journal Jurisprudence, Vol 19, pp 163.
  • Miranda v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2014): EWHC 255 (2014);
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008): “Human Rights, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism” <https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/Factsheet32EN.pdf>
  • Philips, Dennis (2006): “Hamdan v Rumsfeld: The Bush Administration and ‘The Rule of Law’,” Australian Journal of American Studies Vol 25, pp 40.
  • Rasul v Bush (2004): 542 U.S. 466
  • Sanders, Rebecca (2017): “Human rights abuses at the limits of the law: Legal instabilities and vulnerabilities in the ‘Global War on Terror’,” Review of International Studies Vol 44, pp 2.
  • UN Commission on Human Rights, Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2003/68: Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, E/CN.4/RES/2003/68 (2003)
  • Wald, Patricia (2010): “National Security versus Human Rights: An uneven playing field,” American Society of International Law, Vol 104, pp 458.

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Terrorism

Pakistan’s fight against terrorism inside its borders

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When Pakistan first appeared on the map, it had little to no idea how its neighbors would harness its land. It came quite clear after the separation of East Pakistan that the land of the pure would require more foresight in dealing with those around it. They might even need to fight to maintain peace on its soil.

Since the birth of Pakistan, it has been subjected to different fights to maintain its status. With all its struggles, finding peace for the valley, and balancing its economy, the country has faced many turbulences. It has proven itself against all sorts of malicious endeavors. Some that had the potential to harm its name in the international society.

It was 9/11 that not only shook the whole world but this nook of the Asian continent as it plunged into instability. It seems like someone was busy hiding a terrorist network in Pakistan. From terrorism attacks on the APS school to the attack on the five-star PC in Gwadar. The country has been struggling to keep its face clear even though it has suffered from Islamophobia in the international community.

Pakistan and its army have been heading strong and determined to keep the citizens of Pakistan safe along with protecting the people on the globe who accept the hostility of the country to open its land for tourism. Since 2010 the country has been busy weeding out terrorist organizations. Many casualties have been taken as the roots of terrorism were attacked. The blood of martyrs has colored the land, but success has come in bits and pieces. The country was not facing armed militia but organized troops funded by the neighbors.

The terrorist funding trail reveals India’s involvement. These are no more allegations, and evidence of 22 billion PKR expenditure for the nourishment of such networks in Pakistan are available. This is quite a question, especially when keeping in mind the economy of the country. Besides, Narendra Modi’s support for extremism is simply a dot that needs to be connected.

The attack on APS was the boiling point for the whole nation. When every eye cried. Investigations were made to let the world know that Pakistan will not tolerate terrorism of any sort. Peace will be kept, and any intention against it will be answered with unpleasant outcomes. It has been, and the number of terrorism incidents has remarkably gone down.

As per the UN charter, the intrusive involvement by patronizing any country’s domestic issues is a clear violation. With ISIS contributing their share to terrorism in further Asia, it has been investigated that Indian intelligence agencies are trying to knit a scarf of deception by linking ISIS by creating “Daesh-e-Pakistan.”Adding firmness to their plan, they have already admitted 30 Indian militants in this organization and relocated them to camps along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Two Indian agency representatives were responsible for handing over these militants to Daesh commander Sheikh Abdul Rahim.

The geographical advantage that Pakistan holds brought a ray of sunshine with the CPEC project. But as the country started working on its economy’s progress, the state has witnessed countable heart-wrenching fights against terrorist groups. While Pakistan struggles to keep global security and safety and fights against incendiary of this terrorism, Indian state policy has internalized terrorism as an instrument. With Modi’s incumbency, the Kashmir valley has burned, but Muslims in Delhi face their wrath.

Hence, the policy was not a joke, it was a serious mission, and satisfactory amounts were sent to sub-nationals through humanitarian assistance to cause unrest in Balochistan. With Peshawar police attack on 11 May 2020 to target killing and eventually linking with a suicide attack on Mardan Judicial Complex in 2016. Pakistan has been highly receptive to all intelligence gathered to averting a colossal attack on 14 August 2020. Maj Fermin Das, an official from Indian intelligence, was found to be the mastermind behind the planning of this attack. This person was operating from Afghanistan, which failed obviously!

It’s been no secret to everyone with Indian involvement in creating instability in Jammu Kashmir. Gilgit Baltistan is not far from it, sharing the same boundaries. Out of 60 implanted IEDs, 22 were successfully diffused, but 38 exploded and took 13 civilian lives and 48 military personnel. The explosives used in those IEDs have been traced back to, you guessed it, India.

No matter how many times Pakistan will try to keep out the pest from its soil, they seem to be crawling back inside. Safety is not just the issue of Pakistan but is the issue of the whole world.  Countries funding their neighbors to keep unrest in the continent requires global attention, and determined action should be taken.

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Terrorism

Jihadist terrorism in the EU since 2015

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Security patrol activity to prevent terrorism. Photo by Manu Sanchez on Unsplash

Europe has experienced a series of terror attacks since 2015. Who are the terrorists? Why and how do they act?

Jihadist terrorism is not new in the EU, but there has been a new wave of islamist attacks since 2015. What do jihadist terrorists want? Who are they? How do they attack?

What is jihadist terrorism?

The goal of jihadist groups is to create an Islamic state governed only by Islamic law – Sharia. They reject democracy and elected parliaments because in their opinion God is the sole lawgiver.

Europol defines Jihadism as “a violent ideology exploiting traditional Islamic concepts. Jihadists legitimise the use of violence with a reference to the classical Islamic doctrine on jihad, a term which literally means ‘striving’ or ‘exertion’, but in Islamic law is treated as religiously sanctioned warfare”.

The al-Qaeda network and the so-called Islamic state are major representatives of jihadist groups. Jihadism is a sub-set of Salafism, a revivalist Sunni movement.

Who are the jihadi terrorists?

According to Europol, jihadist attacks in 2018 were carried out primarily by terrorists who grew up and were radicalised in their home country, not by so-called foreign fighters (individuals that travelled abroad to join a terrorist group).

In 2019, nearly 60% of jihadi attackers had the citizenship of the country in which the attack or plot took place.

Radicalisation of home-grown terrorists has speeded up as lone wolves are radicalised by online propaganda, while their attacks are inspired rather than ordered by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda or IS.

Europol explains that these terrorists may not necessarily be very religious: they may not read the Quran or regularly attend mosque and they often have a rudimentary and fragmented knowledge of Islam.

In 2016, a significant number of the individuals reported to Europol for terrorism were low-level criminals, suggesting people with a criminal history or socialised in a criminal environment may be more susceptible to radicalisation and recruitment.

Europol draws the conclusion that “religion may thus not be the initial or primary driver of the radicalisation process, but merely offer a ‘window of opportunity’ to overcome personal issues. They may perceive that a decision to commit an attack in their own country may transform them from ‘zero’ to ‘hero’.”

The 2020 Europol report shows that most jihadi terrorists were young adults. Almost 70% of them were aged 20 to 28 years old and 85% were male.

How do jihadi terrorists attack?

Since 2015, jihadist attacks have been committed by lone actors and groups. Lone wolves use mainly knives, vans and guns. Their attacks are simpler and rather unstructured. Groups use automatic rifles and explosives in complex and well-coordinated attacks.

In 2019, almost all completed or failed attacks were by lone actors, while most foiled plots involved multiple suspects.
There has been a tendency for jihadist terrorists to favour attacks against people, rather than buildings or institutional targets, in order to trigger an emotional response from the public.

Terrorists do not discriminate between Muslim and non-Muslim and attacks have aimed for the maximum of casualties, such as in London, Paris, Nice, Stockholm, Manchester, Barcelona and Cambrils.

The EU’s fight against terrorism

EU measures to prevent new attacks are wide-ranging and thorough. They span from cutting the financing of terrorism, tackling organised crime, and strengthening border controls to addressing radicalisation and improving police and judicial cooperation on tracing suspects and pursuing perpetrators.

For example, MEPs adopted new rules to make the use of guns and the creation of home-made bombs more difficult for terrorists.

Europol, the EU’s police agency, has been given additional powers. It can set up specialised units more easily, such as the European Counter Terrorism Centre created in January 2016. It can also exchange information with private companies in some cases and ask social media to remove pages runs by IS.

In July 2017, the European Parliament created a special committee on terrorism to evaluate how to better fight terrorism at EU level. MEPs produced a report with concrete measures they want the European Commission to include in new legislation.

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