The true reason for Islamic terror attacks does not lie in the Islamic religion itself at least not in the overall doctrine, as many such terrorists are not religious and have been found to engage in practices such as alcohol consumption and debauchery condemned by Islamic doctrine. Rather the true reason lies more in the marginalization of Muslim populations, breeding disaffected youth feeling powerless to integrate and enjoy the benefits of mainstream society.Of course not all become radicalized, but a a significant number of them do, especially if they are exposed to internet propaganda and/or are influenced by fiends or radical Muslim clerics at their mosque.
Many of the Paris ISIS attackers had criminal records and didn’t come from highly educated backgrounds (Mekhennet). However others such as the ISIS Security Officer interviewed by this journalist were better educated but still complained of alienation and being treated as “second class citizens” in spite of Western espoused values of human rights and religious freedom. He also argued that the American invasion of Iraq was unjustified and that they tortured Iraqis in Abu Gheraib prison. This Western hypocrisy, both real and perceived, helped fuel hatred fo the dominant Western society and revenge id a prime motivation for the recruitment of terrorists and their execution of attacks.
While I would argue it is true that marginalized Muslim communities provide the most fertile ground for the recruitment of terrorists to carry out attacks against Western “infidels” or perceived non believers, one cannot dismiss the role that sometimes conflicting interpretations of Islamic religion and law play in influencing jihadist recruitment and actions (Bar 2004). This is not to deny that Islamism on the whole is a peaceful religion. However certain doctrines arising out of Western occupation of Muslim countries and persecution of their residents are used to justify the jihadist division of the world into two populations, Muslim and non Muslims or infidels and their ideology that destroying the evil latter is a ticket to heavenly salvation.Therefore to reduce the threat of Islamic terrorism, Westerners by both word and more importantly deed must do all they can to counter this world view in addition to economically and socially uplifting Muslim communities.
Bar, Shemuel “The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism” Hoover Institution Stanford University June & July 2004 retrieved from www.hoover.org.
Mekhennet, Souad “What are the root causes of Islamic Terrorism?” World Economic Forum retrieved from http://www.weforum.org.