Originally posted by sh76 to KazetNagorra
Condemning an act of terrorism is low hanging fruit. Only a person who's both extreme and stupid supports random acts of terrorism like this.
What religious leaders could focus on instead is condemning and rooting out of their midst the incendiary words that incite these attacks.
"Was the London killing of a British soldier 'terrorism'?
What definition of the term includes this horrific act of violence but
excludes the acts of the US, the UK, and its allies?"
--Glenn Greenwald (23 May 2013, 'The Guardian'
Glenn Greenwald has written an eloquent criticism of the usual Western
hypocrisy in condemning the face-to-face killing of a British soldier as
'terrorism' while excusing the Western routine killing of many non-Western
civilians as merely 'collateral damage' (the standard American euphemism).
I shall add this to Glenn Greenwald's comments (the alleged 'terrorist' refers
to a UK citizen of Nigerian ancestry, a convert from Christianity to Islam):
1) Was the attack particularly 'terroristic' or 'barbarous' because of its
up-close-and-personal method? Is killing a person with explosives from an
impersonal distance (as with US drone strikes) supposedly more humane?
The ancient Greeks and Romans would not have regarded using edged
weapons (spears, swords) to kill their enemies as 'barbarous'. Indeed, the
Greek hoplites regarded hand-to-hand combat as the most honourable form
of warfare. And the Roman gladius was responsible for perhaps killing more
people than any other weapon before the age of gunpowder.
2) Did this alleged 'terrorist' make an indiscriminate attack against civilians?
Of course not. He chose to engage a British soldier, a man who was
trained to fight and to kill. It's true that he enjoyed the advantage of
surprise, but it's normal for Western military men to seek to exploit the
advantage of surprise (as in Israel's first strike in the 1967 Six Day War).
Did the US Navy Seals attempt to warn Osama bin Laden before they
assaulted his quarters in order to make it a 'fairer fight'? Of course not.
This 'terrorist' also made no attempt to hurt British women who came to
help (too late) the British soldier. Clearly, he respected some distinction
between civilians and his perceived military target. Have Western bombs
always been so careful in respecting non-Western civilians? Of course not.
3) Could one regard this alleged 'terrorist' as a combatant in a war?
Disregarding the legal niceties, he seems to have regarded his action as
taking place in a broader war between his people--the Ummah--and the UK,
and some British soldiers have been responsible for killing Muslim civilians.
Likewise, members of the IRA liked to regard themselves as honourable
combatants in a war against British imperialism. (US Senator Peter King,
who's outraged by 'Muslim terrorism', has a long record of refusing to
criticize the many IRA bombings that killed British civilians.) Even some
British soldiers can understand why some Muslims would feel tempted to
seek revenge for what the UK has done to some other Muslims abroad.
Many Westerners seem to assume that all Muslims should love and admire
how the US and UK governments have been treating Muslims if some Islamic
clerics did not use 'incendiary words' to incite Muslim hatred of the West.
I have to say that these Islamic clerics would have little or no credibility
with most Muslims *if* there were no real Western abuses against Muslims.
Would an ordinary Muslim in Iraq need an Islamic cleric to tell him that he
should be angry after Western bombs or soldiers have killed his children?