The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

Fol­low­ing the re­cent at­tack in the heart of Barcelona, most world lead­ers reignited the sub­ject about Is­lamist ter­ror. They have been talk­ing about this sub­ject for ages now, with­out com­ing up with a clear so­lu­tion to this huge problem. De­spite the fact that 16 years af­ter the 9/11 mas­sacre in the United States have passed and in­ci­dents of ter­ror­ism have in­creased across the globe, es­pe­cially in Europe, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers seem un­able to come to terms with this phe­nom­e­non.

Why these at­tacks? How much is re­li­gion in­volved in ji­hadist ter­ror­ism, or psy­chol­ogy, or pol­i­tics? Why all this con­fu­sion?

The core of this con­fu­sion is pre­cisely that politi­cians are un­clear about the true mean­ing of Is­lam; how it af­fects the Is­lamic breed and how it is re­lated to vi­o­lence car­ried out in its name.

The mur­der­ers who com­mit these acts are in­flamed by a ver­sion of an Is­lamist ide­ol­ogy. They gov­ern them­selves ac­cord­ing to cer­tain in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the Qu­ran. As­ser­tions that Is­lamist ter­ror­ism has noth­ing to do with Is­lam are as non­sen­si­cal as claims that the Cru­sades had noth­ing to do with Chris­tian be­liefs about the sanc­tity of Jerusalem.

One fact is clear though: ter­ror­ism emerges from a psy­chic state. This turns into a griev­ance, the be­lief that some ex­ter­nal en­emy is the only cause of their in­juries, rather than some in­ter­nal weak­ness. Ter­ror­ists are sad losers, oblit­er­at­ing them­selves for the sake of re­venge.

It is about time that po­lit­i­cal lead­ers of var­i­ous demo­cratic na­tions act on ter­ror­ism with a sense of ur­gency, with courage, and with de­ter­mi­na­tion. Jos Ed­mond Zarb Birkirkara

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