Jihadi discloses "root causes"

Richard Miniter:

...

"The grievances of Islamic terrorists are no secret — and poverty is not among them. Consider the revealing interrogation of the mastermind of the Bali bombing, Imam Samuda. 'I carry out jihad based on the following background and motives,' he said, listing 13 points: punishing America's allies, avenging the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan, Australia's efforts to secure peace in East Timor, Hindu attacks on Muslims in Kashmir, Christian violence against Muslims in Ambon, Poso and elsewhere, the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia, a duty to kill Jews and Christians, a desire to unite Muslims into a single, global state, a passage in the Koran (An Nisa, 74-76) to defend other Muslims, as a 'harsh reprimand' to the basing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, to make the West feel the pain that Muslims feel when loved ones die and 'to prove to Allah that we have done all we can' to fight oppressors. Exactly which of these motives involves poverty?

"Nor is Samuda alone. OsamabinLaden,Dr. Aymanal-Zawahiri,(al Qaeda's No. 2) and scores of other Islamist leaders have issued nearly identical lists of grievances. Even though the Muslims in Southeast Asia are among the poorest in the world, poverty is almost never mentioned in bin Laden'smanycommuniques, press releases and audio and video tapes. Sorry, al Qaeda is not an NGO.

"Poverty, by itself, does not cause terrorism. If it did, the poorest nations wouldbethelargest sourcesofterrorists. They're not. Chad, by most measures the poorest nation in the world, has supplied exactly zero terrorists to al Qaeda. Indeed, the poorest region in the world — sub-Saharan Africa — produces remarkably few terrorists. There are millions of poor Buddhists in Thailand and poor Christians in the Philippines, yet they do not bomb police stations.

"Even poor Muslims are usually not the source of al Qaeda's troops. Virtually all members of al Qaeda are educated, and many are middle class. Indeed, technical universities are the preferred recruiting grounds. Why? Terrorism is a complex ideology. According to captured documents, even the foot soldiers of terror are expected to master complex ideological tracts, including 'Milestones.' Killing oneself or noncombatants, especially Muslim civilians, is so unnatural that it requires indoctrination to do it. Deadly doctrines cannot be defeated by education and prosperity; those are precisely the things its best recruits have rejected.

...

"Poverty does not cause terrorism, but terrorism causes poverty — by disrupting what few services poor Muslims receive and by driving away investors and aid workers. This has not elicited even the smallest pangs of regret from al Qaeda. The best way to fight poverty is to fight terrorism first."

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