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<nettime> what causes terrorism?
nettime's_thinktank on Wed, 18 Aug 2004 05:40:30 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> what causes terrorism?


Re: <nettime> What Causes Terrorism?
     Noam Knoller <noam {AT} student-kmt.hku.nl>
     Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
     Benjamin Geer <ben {AT} socialtools.net>

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From: Noam Knoller <noam {AT} student-kmt.hku.nl>
Subject: Re: <nettime> What Causes Terrorism?
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 01:40:07 +0200

Eric,

What do you mean by "A madrassa is a madrassa is a madrassa"?

Madrassa is Arabic for school, so you are in fact saying that a school 
is a school is a school. What do you mean by that?

Noam Knoller

http://www2.hku.nl/~noam

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 00:20:28 +0200 (CEST)
From: Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
Subject: Re: <nettime> What Causes Terrorism?

Hi,

On Mon, 16 Aug 2004, E. Miller wrote:

> I largely agree with your conclusions, yet at the same time I think there's

What do you agree with? To me it seems that you move the thing into a
completely different region. What surprised me in Randalls post was that
he sees some political reasons for 9/11 etc. Something like arab selfdefense,
see:

<<
realize, or frankly won't admit to the fact
that the presence of American military in the
Middle East, our position in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, etc., is what has
led to the breeding of anti-American sentiment in
the Arab world ^ and the rise in terrorism.
 >>


> another half of the picture.

<...>
> When distressed societies look for simple answers to complex societal
> problems,  the result can be neoconservatism, Wahhabi Islam, nationalism,
> fascism...pick your favorite flavor of dysfunctionality.   When the ideology

What is "dysfunctional" or "fashism" in not liking US soldiers in Arabia
etc?

Arent you looking for simple answers as well?

H.

> A madrassa is a madrassa is a madrassa, whether it's built of cinderblock in
> Pakistan or dressed in tasteful wood paneling on K Street.  Unless we

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 00:37:07 +0100
From: Benjamin Geer <ben {AT} socialtools.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> What Causes Terrorism?

E. Miller wrote:
> If we're going to use the argument that 'advancement starts with
> enlightenment at home', let's not leave out the Arab world.  But don't
> believe me, believe the Arabs.  Check out the annual Arab Human Development
> Report, written by Arabs and published by the UN.
> http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=1213392

The Economist article puts its own spin on the AHDR, one which its 
authors would probably disagree with; it's worth reading the original:

http://www.undp.org/rbas/ahdr/

> When distressed societies look for simple answers to complex societal
> problems,  the result can be neoconservatism, Wahhabi Islam, nationalism,
> fascism...pick your favorite flavor of dysfunctionality.

Wahhabism is just one kind of Islam, just as American Protestant 
fundamentalism is just one kind of Christianity.  A lot of Muslims can't 
stand Wahhabism.

Some Islamic movements in the Middle East are trying hard to promote 
democracy and pluralism by entirely peaceful means.  Why are they having 
so much difficulty?  Because they live under authoritarian regimes that 
won't budge.  Some of those regimes are strongly supported by the US.

Here's a good analysis of the situation in Egypt:

http://www.crisisweb.org/home/index.cfm?id=2619&l=1

> Wahhabism largely springs from an explicit rejection
> of Western culture and values.

This is incorrect.  Wahhabism started in the early 18th century as a 
reaction against certain trends within Islam, and it rose to prominence 
through its alliance with a local chieftain called Muhammad ibn Saud, 
whose family became a ruling dynasty.  It was definitely not a reaction 
against anything Western.

It sounds like you could use a good strong dose of anti-stereotyping.  I 
highly recommend this report:

"The West and the Muslim World: A Muslim Position.

Appraisal of Western-Muslim relations compiled by six intellectuals from 
countries strongly influenced by Islam....  The Report addresses the 
historical roots of the confrontation between the West and the Islamic 
world, identifies stereotypes and prejudices, and draws a line through 
to the causes and effects of the September 11 attacks and the wars in 
Afghanistan and Iraq. The essays include recommendations and core points 
for how we can jointly shape the future."

http://www.ifa.de/islamdialog/download/report_en.pdf

> A madrassa is a madrassa is a madrassa, whether it's built of cinderblock in
> Pakistan or dressed in tasteful wood paneling on K Street.

Madrassa means 'school' in Arabic.  The word is used to refer to secular 
schools as well as to religious schools of any faith.

Come on, people.  I'm neither Muslim nor Arab (nor even an Arabist), but 
even I know enough to see through the tired old stereotypes of Islam and 
Arabs that are being trotted out on this list lately.  (If you get your 
opinions from the mainstream press, what do you expect?)  Let's make a 
bit more effort, shall we?

Ben

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