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    I'm going to make this short and sweet but I just want to sum up a viewpoint that I have personally developed on the issue of terrorism, particularly Islamic terrorism, which is an opinion that I have not heard expressed elsewhere.
    What is written below applies to all kinds of terrorism and I do not mean to single out Islamic extremism, but obviously with the Taliban and ISIS featuring on the news in recent times it is reasonable to use Islamic extremism/terrorism as an example.

    I just want to say right off the bat that I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to religious fundamentalism or terrorism of any kind. I am also aware that religious fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism are multi-faceted problems with no simple solution.

    A simple question: Why would terrorist organisations attack the general public as oppose to government targets?

    What? Because they're unhappy with the civilian casualties in Iraq and/or Afghanistan?
    But literally hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of western civilians protested (and continue to protest to this day) against wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc.
    In short, the general public largely are against these wars.
    So why attack the public?

    Not only that, but any intelligent self-respecting terrorist who has spent even a small amount of time living in the USA or UK will be well aware of the divide between the public and the government.
    It is blatantly obvious even to outsiders that many western governments simply do not represent the views of the people (a perfect example being the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc!).

    So why would anybody take out their frustration with the west on civilians?

    I am absolutely NOT endorsing violence against anybody as anybody who uses violence tends to loose the right to a platform and rightly so, but if somebody is going to launch some kind of attack, why in the name of all that's holy would it be an attack on the general public when you consider everything above?

    Not really a viewpoint, more of a question I guess.

    Yes we can talk all day about how violence is not the answer (I agree as I said above) and all that, but it literally doesn't make sense to attack random members of the public if you're trying to make a serious statement.
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    (Original post by TheArtofProtest)
    "Wars are the terrorism of the rich and powerful. Terrorism is the war of the poor and helpless."
    Yes but terrorism seems to be a war being waged by the poor and helpless AGAINST the poor and helpless!
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    Soft targets, greater psychological impact.
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    PIRA spent years blowing up there own country and people.
    By switching their campaign to mainland UK politicians and civilians sat up and took notice.

    Vastly over simplified I admit, but it does show that terrorists strive for recognition of their aims.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    Soft targets, greater psychological impact.
    I disagree.
    ISIS, the taliband as well as other terrorist groups attack for a reason. Young people are not convinced to fly halfway across the world and blow themselves up for the sake of a random attack for no reason.
    What I am trying to say is that they are trying to make some point by carrying out these attacks.

    There could be many points they're trying to make, but all of the points as presented in videos by known terrorists are not addressed by carrying out attacks on civilians.

    There is an obvious disconnect in the west between what the public want and what the politicians do. Any self-respecting intelligent Islamist will be well aware of this.
    The terrorist (not always Islamic) will also be aware that millions upon millions of people in the west protested aggressively against the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc and many more deeply disagree with it even if they did not protest.

    So what purpose is attacking civilians serving, other than to confuse the point that any terrorist group is trying to make?

    As I said, we can talk all day long about whether violence is the answer (and I don't believe it is), but what I'm saying goes beyond that.
    If you are going to use violence, why attack a target that is blatantly detached from your issues, as explained above?
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    (Original post by privat)
    I disagree.
    ISIS, the taliband as well as other terrorist groups attack for a reason. Young people are not convinced to fly halfway across the world and blow themselves up for the sake of a random attack for no reason.
    What I am trying to say is that they are trying to make some point by carrying out these attacks.

    There could be many points they're trying to make, but all of the points as presented in videos by known terrorists are not addressed by carrying out attacks on civilians.

    There is an obvious disconnect in the west between what the public want and what the politicians do. Any self-respecting intelligent Islamist will be well aware of this.
    The terrorist (not always Islamic) will also be aware that millions upon millions of people in the west protested aggressively against the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc and many more deeply disagree with it even if they did not protest.

    So what purpose is attacking civilians serving, other than to confuse the point that any terrorist group is trying to make?

    As I said, we can talk all day long about whether violence is the answer (and I don't believe it is), but what I'm saying goes beyond that.
    If you are going to use violence, why attack a target that is blatantly detached from your issues, as explained above?
    Disagree all you like, it's true.

    People only really cared about IRA/etc attacks when they attacked civilians - military and police forces were seen as fair game.

    And it has, on rare occasions, worked. Look at the Madrid bombings.
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    Members of ISIS / Muslim extremists believe that there is nothing greater than god. These people have been indoctrinated into believing god, paradise and holy war are more important to them than their own family members.

    You really think such people are going to make a distinction between goverment targets and the "innocent" public? Everyone who doesn't share the same set of extreme beliefs is a non-believer in their world and is therefore a legitimate target.

    The general public is also easier to hit. The psychological impact on the ordinary citizen is greater when a bus they could have taken is blown to bits. Body count/wounded is also usually higher meaning more people and families are affected. It all amounts to having a greater impact.

    And after the death and destruction of a successful terrorist attack, the main side effect that lingers on for many months/years is fear and paranoia - at no extra cost. This is highly desirable from a terrorist group's point of view.
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    SOCTIS are murderous perverts who get their rocks off torturing and raping children. The only thing to discuss is how to obliterate them.
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    Members of ISIS / Muslim extremists believe that there is nothing greater than god. These people have been indoctrinated into believing god, paradise and holy war are more important to them than their own family members.

    You really think such people are going to make a distinction between goverment targets and the "innocent" public? Everyone who doesn't share the same set of extreme beliefs is a non-believer in their world and is therefore a legitimate target.

    The general public is also easier to hit. The psychological impact on the ordinary citizen is greater when a bus they could have taken is blown to bits. Body count/wounded is also usually higher meaning more people and families are affected. It all amounts to having a greater impact.

    And after the death and destruction of a successful terrorist attack, the main side effect that lingers on for many months/years is fear and paranoia - at no extra cost. This is highly desirable from a terrorist group's point of view.
    Again, this is all well and good but it is unlikely that this is how young people are recruited into terrorist organisations.
    Young people who leave jobs and family to fly overseas and kill themselves are unlikely to be persuaded on some fluffy idea about killing people just because they're different.
    Furthermore, many extremists comment on how hard it is for Muslims to integrate into society (not entirely true anyway), and so killing others just because they're different would be massively hypocritical.

    These young people are likely persuaded by being made to feel that they're part of a larger movement. They're made to feel that they're martyrs, freedom fighters no less. They're probably told all about the invasion of Iraq and how many civilians were killed (which western civilians aggressively protest against, by the way) and they are basically left with a feeling that they are spiritually obligated to fight for what they have been told are "their own people".
    Then, through a series of 'teachings' which lack foundation and reason and steadily become increasingly twisted, they're eventually persuaded to attack people (including Muslims) who not only have nothing to do with the reasons they were persuaded to join the extremist group in the first place but may in fact have sympathy with their views on invasion of Iraq and civilian casualties.
    So in summary they join an organisation because they're basically made to feel like part of a movement but they end up ending their lives by killing people who blatantly have nothing to do with their issues or the reason they joined.

    If Christians were being persuaded to join the Westbrobaptist church, Muslims would call those people "brainwashed" and I agree. But when you're in the situation yourself it is very difficult to tell that brainwashing is happening to you.
    It requires maturity, intelligence and true mental resilience as well as an ability to take a step back and see the situation for what it is.

    I mean Christ, I believe the invasion of Iraq was wrong. I feel terrible about the civilian casualties. I'm pretty sure it was illegal anyway and I'm also sure that oil had more than a little to do with it.
    But what am I to do, walk along a street in London and blow up joe Bloggs as he strolls casually to get his lunch?
    Where would that get me? What would it prove?
    Yes violence is not the answer, but if you're going to use violence then what does attacking the wrong people achieve rather than to muddy the waters and confuse the message?

    Attacking civilians blatantly doesn't make sense.
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    (Original post by privat)
    Again, this is all well and good but it is unlikely that this is how young people are recruited into terrorist organisations.
    Young people who leave jobs and family to fly overseas and kill themselves are unlikely to be persuaded on some fluffy idea about killing people just because they're different.
    Furthermore, many extremists comment on how hard it is for Muslims to integrate into society (not entirely true anyway), and so killing others just because they're different would be massively hypocritical.
    It's all about waging an armed holy war against opponents of Islam. A lot of people think the negative perception of Muslims began with 9/11, but I think even if 9/11 (and other Islamic terror attacks) never happened, Muslims would still face integration problems in this country (and other western nations). This is because Islam much more dogmatic than other mainstream religions with its stricter rules and practices.
    It also makes the distinction between believer and non-believer and casts the non-believer as the inferior being.
    So in this sense it divides and creates a "them and us" type of separation at the root. The strict rules outlined in the Quran combined with the cultural practices of Islamic countries were destined to be incompatible with more "relaxed" modern Western cultures. And I think we'll see more integration problems in future especially as Islam continues to grow in the UK.


    (Original post by privat)
    Then, through a series of 'teachings' which lack foundation and reason and steadily become increasingly twisted, they're eventually persuaded to attack people (including Muslims) who not only have nothing to do with the reasons they were persuaded to join the extremist group in the first place but may in fact have sympathy with their views on invasion of Iraq and civilian casualties.
    So in summary they join an organisation because they're basically made to feel like part of a movement but they end up ending their lives by killing people who blatantly have nothing to do with their issues or the reason they joined.
    Yeah, but they don't care about the people they kill because all about fighting the holy war and going to paradise. Life on earth and everything within it is nothing but a mere test for such people. The afterlife is the real deal. All they care about it fighting in the name of god and their religion.It doesn't matter to them whether they kill another Muslim (not a "real" Muslim in their eyes) or a person who was against the war in Iraq because nothing is greater than god. It's purely about fulfilling their own religious goals. People that die as consequence of that are nothing but fodder.

    (Original post by privat)
    If Christians were being persuaded to join the Westbrobaptist church, Muslims would call those people "brainwashed" and I agree. But when you're in the situation yourself it is very difficult to tell that brainwashing is happening to you.
    It requires maturity, intelligence and true mental resilience as well as an ability to take a step back and see the situation for what it is.
    Brainwashing implies that the people who sympathise and go out to fight for ISIS all tried to resist indoctrictionation. I don't think this is the case. A good number of people geniunely want believe and support the ideology spread by ISIS.

    I mean Christ, I believe the invasion of Iraq was wrong. I feel terrible about the civilian casualties. I'm pretty sure it was illegal anyway and I'm also sure that oil had more than a little to do with it.
    But what am I to do, walk along a street in London and blow up joe Bloggs as he strolls casually to get his lunch?
    Where would that get me? What would it prove?
    Yes violence is not the answer, but if you're going to use violence then what does attacking the wrong people achieve rather than to muddy the waters and confuse the message?

    Attacking civilians blatantly doesn't make sense.
    I agree going into Iraq was wrong and normal people around the world will be reaping the consequences of our invasion for years to come. It doesn't have to prove anything or get you anywhere on earth, if you believe it will get you to paradise then that's all that matters. We're dealing with terrorists that don't care about dying - they want to die fighting in the name of their religion.
    Why would such a person care about innocent civillians when they don't even care about their own life?
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    Well considering civilians are the beating heart of countries, terrorists would want to attack them. It's all psychological warfare.
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    Its funny you mention this OP because i was laying awake last night thinking the same thing.

    They attack civilians to bring change but it isnt really effective.

    The UK government gives 0 effs about its people and vice versa.

    You would need to actually terrorise people and stop them going to work / events over a period of time to hit the economy and that is not really feasible
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    I agree going into Iraq was wrong and normal people around the world will be reaping the consequences of our invasion for years to come. It doesn't have to prove anything or get you anywhere on earth, if you believe it will get you to paradise then that's all that matters. We're dealing with terrorists that don't care about dying - they want to die fighting in the name of their religion.
    Why would such a person care about innocent civillians when they don't even care about their own life?
    Yes but by attacking the wrong targets, or targets that blatantly have nothing to do with why they have issues with western governments, they're not really fighting for their religion are they.

    The wants, hopes and desires of civilians in the west are completely and totally disconnected with the actions of governments. We are not represented by our governments, people in both the east and the west have this problem.
    This fact is blatantly obvious even to 'outsiders'.
    So why attack civilians?

    I don't buy the argument that says they attack us because of differences in culture etc. Many Muslims find it difficult to integrate into western society for one reason or another and so to attack the west because we're different to them would be massively hypocritical.

    They attack us because they're basically annoyed about things: illegal invasion of Iraq, civilian casualties in Iraq, etc.

    Moderate Muslims who have integrated into western society, have stable jobs and families are not persuaded to fly halfway across the globe and kill themselves for no reason at all.

    They no doubt feel strongly about the issues mentioned above, just as western people do (look at the numbers of western people protesting!), but through teaching that basically encourages them to make leaps in their thinking with no rational foundation, they end up killing the ordinary man in the street which any self-respecting terrorist should know has absolutely nothing to do with the issues they have.
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    (Original post by privat)
    Yes but by attacking the wrong targets, or targets that blatantly have nothing to do with why they have issues with western governments, they're not really fighting for their religion are they.

    The wants, hopes and desires of civilians in the west are completely and totally disconnected with the actions of governments. We are not represented by our governments, people in both the east and the west have this problem.
    This fact is blatantly obvious even to 'outsiders'.
    So why attack civilians?
    Non-believers and Muslims who don't follow the IS intepretation of Islam aren't wrong targets - they're legitimate targets in the eyes of the terrorist. The terrorist is uninterested in hopes, desires and innocence of civilians. Attacking civilian targets causes a greater degree of resentment towards current government policy. The idea is that this resentment will fuel civilian demands for policy change or create large scale social unrest.
    But I really don't think the British citizens who fly out to join ISIS do so because they're angered by Britain's foreign policy. Instead, I believe they join because they are attracted to ISIS's idea of global domination and the thrill of being in a war and part of an army. It's like an opportunity to play Call of Duty for real and experience the killing, death and destruction first hand. To top it off, they get to die spectacularly in the name of god and go to paradise.


    (Original post by privat)
    I don't buy the argument that says they attack us because of differences in culture etc. Many Muslims find it difficult to integrate into western society for one reason or another and so to attack the west because we're different to them would be massively hypocritical.

    They attack us because they're basically annoyed about things: illegal invasion of Iraq, civilian casualties in Iraq, etc.

    Moderate Muslims who have integrated into western society, have stable jobs and families are not persuaded to fly halfway across the globe and kill themselves for no reason at all.
    They no doubt feel strongly about the issues mentioned above, just as western people do (look at the numbers of western people protesting!), but through teaching that basically encourages them to make leaps in their thinking with no rational foundation, they end up killing the ordinary man in the street which any self-respecting terrorist should know has absolutely nothing to do with the issues they have.
    The main barrier to integration is their strict beliefs and cultural practices. Why don't we see similar integration issues with other religious groups? And what is a moderate Muslim? Why does this term exist when there is no equivalent term in use to describe members of other religious groups? The fact that this term exists says a lot.

    Terrorists don't care about being hypocrites - Paris attackers were on hard drugs. Their minds are conditioned by the extreme ideology that they believe in. They don't care whether you're poor or just had your first child. There is no empathy or shades of grey here. It's all about fulfulling their religious cause and that's the only thing that matters
    As time passes, the less I believe people join ISIS because of issues with foreign policy. It's more about global domination and the opportunity to inflict death and destruction on real world targets.
 
 
 
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