Do territorial ambitions kindle Islamic terror?

The European Union and especially Belgium and France may well be wondering why they have become the targets of Islamic terror attacks. Politicians, experts, and citizens could and will speculate on the reasons that drive an individual to become a terrorist and why this is under the mantle of Islam. All answers eventually lead to a subsequent question. That is “Do territorial ambitions kindle Islamic terror?”

The answer is Yes

Understanding this is essential when considering whether the desired end is Islamic rule of Europe. The answer is Yes since Islam is a missionary religion that seeks to convert everyone. The use of terror as a means is the extraordinary element of such missionary activities, not approved by all Muslims. It is only a minority that do approve and even fewer who engage in terrorist activities.

But would everyone convert to another religion if it was not out of fear

The answer is to be appraised by linking people to territory. History shows that control of a territory is a missionary means to ensuring that subsequent generations grow up in their religion if the elder generation doesn’t convert or believe. This is relevant when considering terror attacks in Europe as a means for the desired missionary goal of Global Islam.

It is also relevant in comparing such terror attacks with those as a means of achieving specific or limited territorial control such as nationalism. History has accepted such means of military attacks against oppressors in nation state creation. But only if it isn’t against one’s own.

So the Western world based upon and mostly ruled by Christians sees a Palestinian nation state as a just end, but not an Islamic Europe. The Western world doesn’t approve of terror as a means to achieving either or both. Yet in the eyes of the perpetrators Hamas terrorist activities and those of the Islamic State are deemed to be one and the same for the end is the same. The end is control of territory and its population be it local or global towards achieving an Islamic State or Caliphate.

A Caliphate is an area containing an Islamic steward known as a Caliph who is seen as a successor to Muhammad the prophet. Sunni believe he should be elected while Shia believe he should be a Iman chosen by God.

Conceptually, for Islam, as a missionary religion, nationalism and a nation state are no different from that of a Caliphate. State and religion are intertwined and inseparable. Saudi Arabia espouses this for Sunni Islam and Iran for Shia Islam.

Understanding terrorism as a means to achieving a Caliphate whether perpetrated by the Islamic State or its 43 affiliates world-wide or that by Hamas against Israel is to accept that the desired end is the underlying desire to control territory and all the population in it.

Local and global territorial ambitions kindle Islamic terror. Countering and defending this is through strengthening individuals’ values and ways of life in addition to the states that represent these.

About the Author
Dr Glen Segell is Fellow at the Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies, University of Haifa.
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