OPINION

Terror and holy war

There has been a chain of attacks bearing the stamp of Islamic terrorism between September 11 and the Ossetia hostage crisis. The wide range of targets shows that such attacks are not part of the classic geopolitical conflict over influence or resources. They are not driven by any unified political strategy. The term «Islamic terrorism» implies the common denominator of Islamic fundamentalism but also a tactic that emanates from it – a tactic that knows no moral boundaries. As a result, extremists resort to blind violence and decapitations. Anything that inspires fear among the enemy is sanctioned. The enemy is more than a rival system; it is the very ideas and values of the Enlightenment. In truth, Islamic fundamentalism represents an asymmetrical threat which, ideologically speaking, reflects upon the «war of civilizations.» These apply mostly to the global Al Qaeda network but also affect most local extremist Islamic groups. The attack by Palestinian suicide bombers against Israeli targets is a reaction to Israel’s all-out war on the Palestinians. This however does not erase the fact that the Palestinians respond with blind acts of violence that are aimed at causing as much bloodshed as possible – without discriminating between armed soldiers and civilians. The point remains that mutual hatred leads to a breach of all traditional rules of conduct in a war. The same, albeit on a smaller scale, applies to Iraq and Chechnya. Military occupation and crude repression are the incubators of tomorrow’s terrorists. Since suicide bombers believe they sacrifice themselves for a higher purpose, they face no moral constraints about killing small children. Politics does not go hand in hand with such extremist behavior. It is the religious background and the notion of holy war – a notion legitimated by Islam – that pushes people to the extremes.