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Good Muslim, Bad Terrorist

Updated on February 12, 2017

Truth in Humor

Islamic Extremism at a Glance
Islamic Extremism at a Glance
So what is the difference between Islam and Terrorism?
So what is the difference between Islam and Terrorism?

There was a pleasant surprise in my inbox this morning; Hotaru80 asks, “Why are some Muslims nice people while there are those in Afghanistan in these terrorist groups?”

Well, from the outside looking in, nobody can give you a single answer that applies across the board. Think of it this way: why do most Americans obey the law while there are so many that are in gangs? Really you could ask a similar question about any group or demographic, there will always be the outliers at one extreme or the other probably with about 80% caught in the middle. So what you’re seeing of Islam on TV are the vocal minority. This is the small percentage that makes the biggest ruckus and attracts the most attention.

A number of the hardcore militants were raised in a few of the 12,000 madrasas [مدرسة‎] (the simplest explanation is an Islamic equivalent of Buddhist monasteries) along the Pakistani border where they trained from a very young age to prepare for a convoluted militant extremist version of Jihad. I would say that they were “brainwashed” except that they are generally so young when they are taken into the system that they rarely have a chance to learn any different beforehand. Many of the pupils find themselves here as orphans or given up by the parents who are unable to provide for them while the madrasa will provide room and board for all of its students (Blanchard 2008, 4).

Some may use the term “terrorists” or “Muslim” interchangeably without realizing that true Islam and terrorism are actually at odds with each other and really have no relationship at all. This over generalizing attitude is extremely ignorant (if you’re offended, I’m talking to you) as it leads to prejudice, discrimination and racial profiling. There are cases of domestic terrorism that involve plenty of other races, religions and reasons for resorting to terrorism. The Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and the Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVeigh readily come to mind. Admittedly religion has played a significant role in all sorts of atrocities throughout history, think of the crusades and the Spanish inquisition for example as well as right to life extremists. In this case, it’s being used as a rational and rallying cry when it has no relevance.

What we’re looking at in Afghanistan is an insurgency that resorts to terrorist tactics. Part of the terrorist aspect is an attempt to control the masses; in America, gangs often use milder forms of terrorism to prevent “snitching” resulting in unusual laws being placed on the books. However, the main focus of an insurgency is generally to topple the existing government, whether by violence, a coup, or some other means. Insurgents often present themselves as “freedom fighters” and generally they only fight for freedom from the existing regime by replacing it with their own leadership. The Taliban claim that they are just trying to keep America from invading and to repel the infidel occupiers. This is actually a legitimate claim, but the motives behind it are different, it’s really because America supports the government currently in power. By removing America from the equation, the Taliban will be more capable of overthrowing Karzai. And the term “freedom” is all relative, after the Soviet withdrawal, the Taliban took power and imposed Islamic law known as Sharia. They did so to such an extreme that even the more devout Muslims didn’t like it. Can you imagine being in a place where Music, movies, TV, card playing, singing, dancing, boxing, and even kite flying are outlawed and homosexuals are buried alive? (Khalil 2001) The issue with this is that it makes religion more like paying spiritual taxes than donating to some divine charity, the actions are the same, but their hearts just aren’t in it as much.

Some believe that people resort to terrorism because of poverty. First of all, there are all plenty of other legal and nonviolent illegal ways to work the systems and various shenanigans that can be used to make money. The Nigerians have essentially perfected the 419 scam ( 2009). In the states embezzling is a profitable white-collar crime. Afghanistan supplies 90% of the world’s opium and that doesn’t require that you crash an airliner into the World Trade Center; in fact, there’s no relationship between the two. Perhaps a cop or two will have to be bribed, but there’s no real need for violence, it just sends a stronger message. The insurgents are the ones making that decision. But I digress, poverty isn’t a determining factor is turning to terrorism; Bin Laden actually comes from a very rich family. Speaking of Bin Laden, many of the foreign fighters that are coming into Afghanistan are actually doing so in response to Bin Laden’s fatwa from way back in 1998 to forcibly remove the Americans from the sacred lands of the Middle East. He considered their presence there to be a dishonor t his country and to Islam in general. This therefore made it “the duty of every good Muslim” to wage jihad against the US.

So the answer to the question is that in Afghanistan, the Muslims that attract the most attention are the extremists engaged in an insurgency resorting to terrorist tactics. The sad part is that so many of the original Taliban have been killed off and replaced by others that they’ve probably lost sight of what they’re fighting for and yet they keep fighting, then again, what’s America doing if not the same thing?

Was this hub helpful to you? If so, Please Click here What's the 419 Scam? 2009. (accessed January 17, 2010).

Blanchard, Christopher M. Islamic Religious Schools, Madrasas: Background. CRS Report for Congress RS21654, Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, 2008.

International Crisis Group. Pakistan: Madrasas, Extremism and the Military. ICG Asia Report No36, 15 July 2005, Islamabad: International Crisis Group, 2005.

Khalil, Ramy. The Rise of the Taliban and Islamic Fundamentalism . November 2001. (accessed June 15, 2010). Madrasah. June 17, 2010. (accessed June 20, 2010).

From the Outside Looking In


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    • Lance Crowe profile imageAUTHOR

      Lance Crowe 

      6 years ago


      Thanks for the perspective and thanks for your service.

    • Steel Engineer profile image

      Steel Engineer 

      6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine

      Both Islam and Christianity have the phrase, "You can tell a tree by its fruit." Muslims are one or both sides of 96% of the wars in the last decade. What kind of tree do you think it is?

      Are the people of the middle east great people? Certainly. In fact, they have a culture rich in some of the things westerners also love: family (despite MSM depictions), friends (Friday night is diwaniya night), and care for the less fortunate (Arab culture and Islam are big on giving. Giving to strangers in need, one-on-one, is greater in the ME than in the west.)

      In 1998, I received a vision in prayer. I saw in great detail the plans and men who would attack the WTC. I became angry at Muslims, in general. For three nights, the Holy Spirit showed me dreams to help me understand. He showed me how their lives are miserable. I saw a man walk most of the morning just looking for clean water for his family. I saw another man taken from the street, and made to run across a shooting range for the entertainment of the powerful. In the last night's dream, I saw a young man standing on a street waiting for work. A rich man's son took him in a truck. To entertain his friends, the rich man cut the Achilles tendons of the other man.

      Later, when I served in Kuwait, in 2003, I learned that the part about shooting live, innocent, men on military shooting ranges is a reality. An Indian citizen was found dead in the desert, a mile from the range. Shot in the shoulder, he walked a mile before he bled to death. The bullet was one used only by Q8 special forces.

      To honor the instructions of Jesus, we must forgive our enemies and also pray for them. However, to pretend that Islam is of God is disingenuous. More than religious teachings, the force behind the violence is endemic: no justice, no fairness, no opportunity.

      When the few at the top, who should have hearts of servants, serve themselves first, and selectively enforce the law to benefit their friends and cronies, those at the bottom will also lose respect for fairness and justice.

      Additionally, poverty -extreme poverty- in a social caste system in which a man's life is almost worthless, can and does contribute to the willingness of a man to throw down his (almost worthless) life for a cause.

      6 years Marines (Arabic translator) 88-94

      3 years Army 2001-2004 (Arabic translator)

    • Lance Crowe profile imageAUTHOR

      Lance Crowe 

      8 years ago

      Hey John, Welcome to HP.

      Outstanding contribution, thanks for posting. Most anything I could say in response would be redundant. But I must point out that while Bush felt that God was on his side, the Taliban said the same thing about themselves. Sounds like a Jehovah Springer Theologican-Love Triangle to me. Ironically, God is probably just sitting this one out while he starts from scratch on some other planet, lol.

      You may get a kick out of a webseries called MrDiety, they're in their second season now. also available at YouTube.

    • spiritactor profile image


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi, Lance. John P-C from Facebook here :)

      A very fair-minded article in my opinion. Thanks for the read!

      A good call on why the Crusades faded away. European nations did get tired of humiliating defeat and very harsh conditions for which they were ignorant of. The nations' peoples and sovereignty also grew weary of the huge cost of resources and humanity as well; mostly amongst growing numbers of Protestants and aristocratic artisans.

      Religious institutions, like any other structure, can be built on power, wealth and knowledge. Amongst its members or followers are the rich and the poor (just like countries). Yet all must donate to the perpetuation of the religion-- even when poor. The consistently poor get tired of this and begin an insurgence within that religion (as with Protestants and Catholics); and violence has always erupted within that conflict. As this conflict continues, many forget the basic teachings of their religion that began it. Like the anyone who is forced to fight for food, right to specific religious beliefs and belongings for most or all of their life-- it is maddening. A "nothing to lose" rises-- and no one is immune to their anger with the world, small or big.

      I find it interesting that so much destruction has been done "in God's name." Bush believed God was on his side-- as did countless others on these religious quests or conquests. Yet none of them ever spoke of what calling came purely from the Self, the individual Self. Someone or something outside of them "called" them to behave this way. THAT, to me, seems insane!

      Catch you later, friend!

    • Lance Crowe profile imageAUTHOR

      Lance Crowe 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Don't worry about High School, it's just part of the system to slow you down from having all the young people hit the job market at the same time before the old people retire (there was no highschool when we were a primarily agrearian society). In any case, looking forward, Look and Listen twice as much as you speak, but believe only have of what you see and hear.

    • Chris McCann profile image

      Chris McCann 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Wow what an intense read!

      It is refreshing to have such an informed and unbiased perspective. I really would have like to have this type of information presented in this way a few months ago when I was in high school!

    • Lance Crowe profile imageAUTHOR

      Lance Crowe 

      8 years ago


      The crusades ended when the Christians decided that they were tired of having their tails handed to them on a silver platter and decided to stop invading the Islamic lands of the middle east and go back home to England, France and Spain and whatever other miscellaneous countries they came from. They do say history repeats itself….

      You know I have to grant you that there is generally a shred of truth to every stereotype or racist over generalization. It makes life easier for us and allows us to function without having to make an assessment of everything we come across, a social version of “auto-pilot” if you will. I’m looking at the other side of this coin. Muslims make up about a quarter of the world’s population that’s roughly 1.5 Billion people or to put things into perspective, that’s about 5 times the population of the U.S. Laws and everything aside, if we were to start racially profiling, all the false positives would result in us lowering our guard and becoming complacent anyway. Out of that 1.5 billion, only a few thousand “nut jobs” are actually hostile towards the U.S. I’m not going to pretend that everyone likes America, but the rest are probably more or less indifferent. Those pills you’re talking about may cure craziness rather than cause it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Gee, I never thought of the crusades..... I geuss everyone should be allowed their turn to kill whom they want. Now if I can find out why the crusades were stopped..hmm

      I Really love the conversations on the 'net about Islam, Muslims..etc.

      However, no one wants to look at the possibility that in this day and age, with this unique situation, profiling is what is actually called for. No one ever wants to just admit that that's what is needed. It's not like someone is forcing the "extremists" to continue to try and kill people, but they made it necessary to do that. Am I taking crazy pills or is it just me?

    • Lance Crowe profile imageAUTHOR

      Lance Crowe 

      8 years ago

      American Romance,

      Thanks for commenting, it’s always good to meet someone new and I have to acknowledge that you do bring up a stellar point. And as I think about a response, I don’t recall ever hearing too much against the pro-life bombings from the Catholics. Sure if you ask them, they’ll say that it’s bad and whatnot. One thing that I’ve noticed about the Muslims that I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with (besides getting my head bitten off for asking why Muslims engage in terrorism) is that they tend to submit everything to Allah, the logic being if he wants it to happen, it will happen. That being the case, speaking against it probably wouldn’t make a difference. Catholics seem to be about the same, they don’t run around trying to convert anyone or thumping Bibles too often (though there are exceptions).

      So if militant extremism isn’t true Islam, one could reasonably ask why Allah didn’t stop the World Trade Center attacks. Then again for those who do not acknowledge Allah as the same God of Abraham that Christians worship; why didn’t Jehovah or Yahweh or Buddha or Vishnu or any of the imaginary friends deemed gods stop such a tragedy?

      You know, I’m glad the Union won the Civil War, but in the same breath, I have to acknowledge that the Confederates were brave to have fought for what they believed in. I don’t know whether the rest of the Muslims in the world agree or disagree openly or secretly, but I do know that I cannot expect the rest of the world to see things through my lens and react the way that I would just because I believe that it’s the appropriate reaction. If I did that, I wouldn’t be writing this because your comment would have been denied for profanity.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      8 years ago from America

      My question is why do the supposed "good muslims" never stand up and denounce with a loud voice the bad ones? Don't we all know if the Southern Baptist had a fraction performing terrosist acts, they would stand from the highest mountain and proclaim they are not a part of our organization and we do NOT AGREE WITH THEM!!!!! just a thought, I believe all muslims openely or secretly believe at least in part to this bullshit!


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