Sharpening the contradictions: why jihadis attack cartoonists

Originally published at:

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This is why the absolute worst reaction to terrorism is overreaction. Terrorism always works when people are successfully terrorized. This is also why the word, “Jihadi” should not be used in this context. We should call them criminals and terrorists and be done with it.

Like it or not, “jihad” is a term with net positive connotations for Muslims. It’s used as a name. My guess is that there was a strong Zoroastrian influence on early Islam, because Muslims to some extent do cast themselves as combatants against evil and injustice.

I see no reason to validate these people’s “jihadi” title in the press. It’s just as accurate to call them criminals and terrorists, and more beneficial.

There are some intransigent people who’ll argue that it’s up to Muslims to defy the label, but ultimately, most Muslims already defy it by living normal lives, and Muslims don’t run the media in most western nations, either. This is presuming that their right to exist is predicated on some bizarre form of locutionary servitude, which it isn’t.


I’m having trouble telling which parts you’re attributing to PNH and which to Juan Cole (who wrote the article that Patrick was commenting on.) But yeah, what both of them said.

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Woo woo! All aboard the crazy train to conspiracy-ville.
I am a skeptic.

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This one is out on a limb, and a thin one at that. The bottom of the barrel is coated with conspiracy sans any reality. Be careful not to drink the koolaid…

of course it didn’t take long for the spooks to start spinning this to help americans forget about what we’ve learned about the nsa–

"The NSA’s programs don’t “look all that scary this morning,” said Michael Hayden, a former director of the NSA and CIA, on MSNBC on Thursday. Saying the Snowden revelations had hurt intelligence cooperation between governments, Hayden said he hoped that “meaningful intelligence cooperation between like-minded democracies gets a boost from yesterday’s dangers and we go forward in a more cooperative fashion.”

His comments came as authorities combed intelligence collections for clues and terrorist links to the Paris suspects and experts acknowledged vulnerability to a similar attack in the U.S.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the French services pick up cell phones associated with the attack and ask the Americans, ‘Where have you seen these phones active globally?’” Hayden said."

from this story--

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The people who apparently done it have been arrested previously for other “jihadi” activities, so obviously AQ/ISIS/other jihadi outfits already have ways of recruiting in France.

Not that anti-Muslim backlash might not create more recruits, but hanging everything on this seems far fetched and perhaps a little bit of wishful thinking.

I’d also like to know where he gets his statistics. They contradict stuff I’ve seen published elsewhere.


What we rationally know about this attack, as opposed to where the media narrative is at:

  • two men conducted a highly trained/professional military raid on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and escaped in a vehicle driven by the third
  • several groups have claimed responsibility, but no claims can be verified (and the groups have a history of making false claims)
  • the Police identified three people as suspects extremely rapidly. There is no public evidence the people identified are responsible - in fact the opposite. One suspect immediately handed himself into Police with the cast-iron alibi that all his classmates can verify he was in school when the attack took place (which his classmates have confirmed). So much for the accuracy of that piece of Police-work.
  • one of the assailants was supposedly identified as he left his ID card in the getaway car. A very professional hit, done by someone who misplaced his ID card. Really?!

There are a range of groups likely to benefit from this attack, not least the various far right political groups across the EU, who:

  • have historically (across decades) had factions willing to employ violence in political action, including bombings and shootings
  • are virulently anti-Muslim

By all means express sympathy and solidarity with the victims, but as to the motives of the attackers, could we wait until one of them actually tells us, ideally during a court trial…?


If it creates more recruits, I’m sure that’s a fine with these guys, but it seems a hard case to make that they didn’t want these guys dead principally because of what these guys did.

This isn’t a conspiracy. It is only admitting that the terrorists may be thinking one move ahead. The Rote Armee Fraktion’s killings were not the ends, but were designed to provoke a strong government response which would create a popular backlash and unleash a larger revolutionary movement. The Sept 11, 2001 attacks were designed to provoke America into attacking al Qaeda on their territory, hopefully creating pan-Muslim anti-American hatred. The Bay of Pigs was not an invasion to topple Castro itself, it was meant to show the supposed oppressed people it was time to rise up.

Now these don’t usually work, and even if they get the response they want it doesn’t mean their ends are accomplished. But terrorist groups depend on these cascading effects - otherwise, it is impossible for a small group to have a big change. Look up the “foco” theory of revolutionary war.


If that’s the least politicized and least religious, the other percentage are certainly taking up the slack being dipwads.

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Because they’ll tell us the truth, right? There is no way someone who would use mass murder to achieve political ends would also lie.

I don’t understand why people are so hesitant to believe that this attack might have had some kind of thought or intelligence behind it, that there may have been a goal other than a dozen dead journalists. But I also don’t see why it matters all that much. Whether the attackers intended to create a backlash against French Muslims in order to carry on their religious war, they may well succeed in doing so unless people understand how this plays out. You don’t have to imagine a vast conspiracy to see how violent radical islam and the western political right feed each other.


As a married gay male, I’d rather not risk beheading by traveling to these wonderful tolerate and peaceful countries…and not beheading by some group of rednecks…but by the State Law.


“Because they’ll tell us the truth, right? There is no way someone who
would use mass murder to achieve political ends would also lie.”

Um, yes, actually. If it really was carried out by Muslim extremists, then I’d expect that given a platform they’d be very willing to honestly talk of their motivation.

In terms of lying, state actors are vastly more inclined to lie than “true believers”, however crackpot their ideology. And anyone who has closely followed events in the Ukraine recently would take every breathlessly reflexive MSM analysis of a situation where the facts are still unknown with a good kg of salt.


Would it be accurate to call the Saudi government, and Other governments “Criminals and Terrorists” for beheading Homosexuals, Wicans, and others that insult the prophet by simply existing, or in some cases a Muslim that “Abandons their faith”.

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After reading through the comments, I’ll just leave this here:

Charlie Hebdo: Norway didn’t give in to Islamophobia, nor should France

Vengeance and hatred directed at Muslims as a whole serves Islamic fundamentalists well. They want Muslims to feel hated, targeted and discriminated against, because it increases the potential well of support for their cause. Already, there are multiple reports of attacks in France against mosques, and even a “criminal explosion” in a kebab shop. These are not just disgraceful, hateful acts. Those responsible are sticking to the script of the perpetrators. They are themselves de facto recruiting sergeants for terrorists.

EDIT: OTOH, I have a problem with comparing this to Brevik, because he was an Islamophobe. If Norway had cracked down on Islam, they would have been giving him what he wanted.


Sure. Also fair to call them oppressive regimes.


Welcome to BoingBoing. Don’t expect you’ll be with us long.

Timothy Mo’s Pure is worth reading in this context.

Right… there is the two kinds of jihad - the greater and the lesser, and the greater is the internal struggle to be… generally a better person. But this is a nuance sadly lost on most.

I’d assume all monotheistic religions out of the region are influenced by Zoroastrianism, Judaism and christanity included.