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Updated 14 May 2007

Few terrorists have been as accomplished as Abu Nidal (deceased). Malleus documented witchcraft such that innocents were routinely accused of witchcraft with dire and painful results for generations. Ameer Ali was one of the most notorious of the Thugs of India; he, too, left an indelible record of both the depravity and gentleness of humankind.

Ali did one more thing. In dictating what amounted to his memoires, he gave us an inside look into how a person can be radicalized and what makes terrorists tick. Carlos the Jackal spread terror across the breadth of Europe before the French ran him down. Mohamed Atta provided a rare glimpse into the suicidal-terrorist mind through his will. Osama bin Laden, the most destructive individual terrorist leader ever, is alive and well.

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Abu Nidal

Before bin Laden became the consummate terrorist, Abu Nidal reigned supreme. Hated by all, except those whom he served; Abu Nidal died as he lived, violently. There is speculation that he was killed by the Iraqis in order to deflect Western and Arabic criticism of their role in terror.

Unlike bin Laden, Nidal needed the patronage of a state to bring about terror and many benefited from his hired services.

Excerpt from Time Magazine (Thursday, Aug. 22, 2002):

"Abu Nidal was a relic of a bygone era in which terrorists were wholly dependent on the sanctuary and succor of states and therefore acted primarily as proxies of their patron at the time. Like the PFLP-trained Venezuelan Carlos the Jackal, the Japanese Red Army, and Germany's Baader-Meinhof gang, Abu Nidal embarked on a career of mercenary mass murder in the early 1970s, eventually counting among his clients Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran and possibly others, and generally collecting between $1 million and $3 million per operation. And as the others fell by the wayside, he became, by the early 1980s, the prime suspect in any terror attack anywhere in the world."

Excerpt From: Fatah al-Qiyadah al-Thawriyyah ("" no longer active)

"A Palestinian organization better known as the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) headed by Sabri al-Bana (Abu Nidal) and founded in 1974 as a consequence of Abu Nidal's split from the Fatah organization. The breakup and the foundation of the new organization was the result of the Iraqi regime's influence, which prompted Abu Nidal to launch independent terrorist operations to serve Iraqi interests. The organization considers itself, since its foundation as the real Fatah, accusing the leaders of the original organization of treason."

Some links:
Nidal Biography
Nidal's Death

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Ameer Ali - Thug and Notorious Terrorist

("Thug" means deceiver. Pronounced "Tug," slightly aspirated.)

Most histories of terrorism include the Thugs in the long list of terror groups. Certainly they meet the basic definition of terrorism in that they struck fear into, and intimidated, their victims. They commonly murdered their prey and operated much like pirates on land with booty being their primary motivation. They often followed religious rituals and observed omens as bin Laden does today, but many did not. They were deceitful and secretive; they killed in order to not be revealed as the robbing killers they were. And they carefully buried their victims and concealed their graves. Travelers (and their valuables) simply disappeared by the thousands each year.

Thug bands were comprised of both Muslims and Hindus, often in the same band. The many bands used common identifying phrases useful for identifying each other, but not known to the uninitiated. Gangs networked with other gangs. Thugs and their like came in many forms and their reigns of terror extended from the Ganges into what are now Kashmir and Pakistan.

The Thugs may properly be described as a hereditary guild. Thug families selected prey according to potential for loot, the wary and unwary alike. In the early 19th Century, it was estimated that some 5000 Thugs routinely practiced murder for plunder in India. Estimates of their murder rates vary. The back cover of the Oxford Edition of Taylor's book in paperback estimates that 40,000 killings per year were accomplished by Thugs. Over the three centuries they were thought to exist, their projected 12,000,000 victims would put the Thugs as a society or guild in the same league with the Hitler and Stalin regimes of the 20th Century. They are worthy of study, not only by students of terror, but also by citizens and statesmen alike. There are many parallels between the Thugs and al Qa'ida. Their loose network across all of India is similar to that of Al Qa'ida across the world today. The differences are that Al Qa'ida is more unified, centralized, and broader in its methods.

19th Century India was largely feudal; much of it was under the boot of British imperialism. Queen Victoria heard of a firsthand account Philip Meadows Taylor was writing about terror in India and asked for a copy of the manuscript before publication. It was entitled Confessions of a Thug. Its principal character, Ameer Ali, was one of the most notorious of the Indian Thugs. Thugs were equivalent to pirate bands. They captured and killed travelers for booty.

Taylor's narrative was unique, rare even today, in that he gives us a profound and full profile of the terrorist personality, thinking, and beliefs. Taylor achieved this by using a monolog format, quoting the central character, Ameer Ali, verbatim. Taylor skillfully blends the proud braggart, tender father, and cold-blooded, deceitful killer into an all too human composite. Ali typically strangled his victims with his roomal (large handkerchief). Taylor's story of how a closed society can distort a personality is as illuminating as it is gut-wrenching. At the same time it is also part memoir and romanticized. One has to read other sources to get a feel for what is Taylor and what is Thug. This does not detract from the power of his book.

Like bin Laden in our times, Ali was born into a rich family in about 1785. When he was about five, Ali accompanied his parents on a trip. His parents were killed and robbed by a band of Thugs; the Thug leader adopted Ali as his own. His new father, Ismail, treated Ali much better than his real father had and Ali grew to love his new parents. His new mother died of a fever when he was about nine. Thereafter, Ali was cared for by his foster father. Ali was put under tutelage by an old man who taught him to read, write, and converse in Persian.

How Ali became what he was was sealed when he was about 17 years old. His father was talking with some Thug friends late one night; Ali overheard the following conversation:

" "What do you intend doing with Ameer? He is almost a young man; and if he is to become one of us, it is high time he should be taught what to do. It is very dangerous to have him about the house; he might discover something, and be off before you know anything of the matter." "Oh I have no fear of him," said Ismail. "He is too fond of me; besides, he has no other protector in the world but myself. He was the son of..." [He caught himself and switched to another tongue that Ali could not understand. They conversed a while; then switched back into their common dialect.]

"It does not matter," said another [Thug],"the lad is a smart active fellow, and a great deal too knowing for you to let him go about everywhere with so little restraint; he will find out all one of these days, if he is not fairly brought among us. Besides he is old enough to be of use in many ways, and he ought to be instructed in our profession, if he is ever to learn; depend upon it, the sooner he eats the Goor [coarse sugar and part of the Thug's initiation rites], the more relish he will have for it. I brought up a lad myself; and once he got his hand in, he was a perfect tiger at work, and became so expert, that our oldest hands could hardly compete with him." [That remark forecast Ali's career.]

"Well," said Ismail, "I believe you are right, and I foretell great doings from this boy. He is brave and stout beyond his years, and there are but few who can excel him in his Qusrut [gymnastic exercise], in which I taught him ever since he was a child; but he is of so kind and gentle disposition, that I do not know how to to break the matter to him. I almost fear he will never consent."

"Pooh," said a third man [also a Thug], "these very kindhearted boys are the best we could have; they are more easily led and won over, and one has more dependence upon them. Put the matter in the proper light; talk to him of the glory of the business, and of our surety of heaven. Describe to him all about the Houris [virgins in heaven] which our blessed Prophet (may his name be honored!) has promised us, and tell him too of the heaven of Indur, all of which you know we are sure of; the one by our faith as Moslems, and the other by our profession. He will soon be won over I am certain."

"I think," said Ismail, "you have hit on the right way; the lad goes to the old foolish Moola [Mullah] of the Mosque whenever he can get a moment's leisure, who has filled his head with stories about Paradise, which he reads to him out of the blessed Koran, that he is at times half beside himself, and this is the only point on which he is assailable. I will talk him over, and have no doubt he will soon belong to us."

In short order, Ali became an accomplished strangler of innocent but naive travelers, a murderous monster.

This is essentially how fundamentalist mullahs of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and other Middle Eastern countries capture youth of today. They then preach hatred of the infidel.

Having such a violent early youth, it is not surprising that Ameer Ali developed psychological defenses to hold himself together. These defenses show through in almost every chapter of Taylor's book, how else could he at once be a tender and sensitive family man while being a cold-blooded assassin who killed for booty?

Taylor wrote his book as an inside look to make the British public aware of the terrorism/murder threat that had been endemic in India. The Crown had already responded in concerted fashion, and the Thug era came to an end during the decade of 1828-1837 just before Taylor's book was published. The British used the time-proven method of reducing sentences of death by hanging to life in exchange for information. From the few, they were able to nail the many. It worked, but it still took a decade. "During the 1831 to 1837 period, over three thousand Thugs were hanged, transported, or imprisoned." See Preface by Nick Mirsky in the 1986 Oxford reprint of Taylor's classic. According to the account of Ali Ameer, the British also attacked Thug villages, killed Thugs who resisted, dispossessed their families, and dispersed survivors. [While this method worked for Saddam Hussein, only time will tell if it will be effective against bin Laden.]

Ameer Ali led only one of multitudes of bands of Thugs in India. He inherited not only his career, but also his position as leader of a band. Ameer Ali alone was responsible directly or indirectly for over 700 murders. His art was highly refined; he left little to chance. His gang posed variously as traveling soldiers or businessmen. They casually fell in with travelers whom they deemed to have valuables while being relatively defenseless. They even warned their prospective victims about traveling in areas infested by Thugs. After a few days of winning the confidence of their victims, they would reach a rest stop where his band gathered "naturally" about and surrounded each traveler. When Ali gave a signal, like "bring the tobacco," every person in the traveling party was strangled instantly on the spot with a roomal. After being robbed, the traveler's bodies were quickly buried in hidden, previously-prepared, graves.

Early in the British clampdown, Ali and his family were forewarned and moved out of a British-controlled area into the "safety" of a "friendly" Rajah. His former gang dispersed. That worked for a time until the British made a pact with the Rajah, who promptly betrayed Ali and confiscated his family's holdings. Ali was then twice imprisoned by Indian authorities only to be released. He was finally caught by the British - with help from an informer. Ali himself turned informer on the morning of his trial in order to settle an old score with the Thug who strangled his mother when he was a young child.

Ali's deposition (confession really) during his last imprisonment, provided Taylor's source material. Taylor developed his novel from exploits that Ali dictated. Confessions of a Thug, was the result (First published in 1839; World Classic 1916, Oxford paperback 1986.) This book is a must read by those who want to learn more about terrorist societies.

For a broader more general description see:

"RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS OF AN INDIAN OFFICIAL" Two Volumes. (Reprint of the 1893 edition; Now out of print; may be available in used book market.)
By Major General Sir W. H. Sleeman, K.C.B.

"Among the crowd of books descriptive of Indian scenery, manners, and customs, the sterling merits of Sir William Sleeman's work have secured its preeminence".

Volume One:- 447 pages.
Volume Two:- 386 pages.

This book is the first reliable historical account of the Thugs of India.

See also:
The Strangled Traveler, Martine van Woerkens; translated by Catherine Tihanyi. This book is scholarly but readable and provides a historical perspective.

Below, we extract some short passages from Taylor that put the Authoritarian feature of the terrorist in full relief, the feature that drives terrorists today.

Coming together after a week-long break in the interview, Taylor asked Ali to wait while he recorded his appearance on paper. Ali was suspicious, of course, and asked to hear what Taylor had written. Taylor read aloud his description. He had captured Ali's exact appearance in simple but dramatic words. Ali was small but powerful and striking in appearance; these added up to a significant physical aura and presence.

Ali responded with immense pride to Taylor's careful description. Taylor chided Ali that his appearance, while prepossessing, was not what he feared. It was his heart that he feared:

"You think I my heart bad then Sahib?"

"Certainly I do."

"'But it is not so,' he continued. 'Have I not ever been a kind husband and a faithful friend? Did I not love my children and wife while He who is above spared them to me? And do I not even now bitterly mourn their deaths? Where is the man existing who can say a word against Ameer Ali's honour, whichever has been and ever will remain pure and unsullied? Have I ever broken a social tie? Ever been unfaithful or unkind to a comrade? Ever failed in my duty or in my trust? Ever neglected a rite of ceremony of my religion? I tell you Sahib, the man breathes not who could point his finger on any one of these points. And if you think on them, they are those which, if rigidly kept, gain for a man esteem and honour to the world.'

"But the seven hundred murders, Ameer Ali, what can you say of them? They make a fearful imbalance against you on the other scale.

"'Ah! those are a different matter,' said the Thug laughing,'quite a different matter. I can never persuade you that I was fully authorized to commit them, and only a humble instrument in the hands of Alla. Did I kill one of those persons? No it was He. Had my roomal been a thousand times thrown about their necks and the strength of an elephant in my arms, could I have done aught, would they have died without it was his will? I tell you Sahib, they would not, they could not; but as I shall never be able to persuade you to think otherwise and it is not respectful in me to bandy words with my lord, I think it is time for me to recommence my tale, if he is ready to listen, for I have much to relate.'"

Ameer Ali compartmentalized his feelings and thoughts in the extreme. He was, in truth, an Authoritarian Personality. He was in denial and rationalized his actions as being the will of Allah. Otherwise he could not have lived with himself.

The psychological mechanisms of denial and rationalization have the effect of protecting one from fear or guilt feelings related to fear. Ali's defenses kept the basic contradiction of his murderous being out of his conscious mind. By this means, Ameer Ali could feel the good about himself while never feeling remorse until he landed in prison. See chapter 25 of Taylor's book for the above quote.

Add to these the defense called projection. This defense mechanism was apparent whenever he justified killing those he despised, because they were like himself. (See Taylor's chapter 27 in particular.) Projection is operative when a person unconsciously places his/her own flaws off on someone else.

Ali really was all those good things he thought he was; he was also the cold-blooded and heartless killer of hundreds. His tales of ceremonies, worship, omens, travels, murderous exploits, and encounters with women and children all have the ring of truth. He repeatedly recounted his revulsion for those victims he knew to be as deviant as he was. At the same time he could exult in bringing down a great warrior and robbing the dead. Only toward women and children did he ever mention any heart or regret, even as he was involved in their killing. In one such instance he was plagued by nightmares for days afterwards (Chapter 31). One of history's most efficient killers was only too human.

For Ameer Ali and bin Laden alike, society's laws are transcended by those of Allah as interpreted by the Mullahs. See Muslim Mind. Ali prayed to Allah daily according to his Muslim faith while obeying the rituals of Kali (a Hindu Goddess of destruction) in detail in his profession. He looked for omens from Kali before every "adventure." Bin Laden uses a parallel approach; he pays attention to omens, but finds no need for Kali. Like Ameer Ali, bin Laden is a devout family man and terrorist all at once. Islam sees one side; we see the other.

See Volume 4, Book 52, Number 282 of the Hadith for bin Laden's ethic: "Free the captives, feed the hungry, and pay a visit to the sick." This is according to Sahih Bukhari, editor of the English version of the Hadith. Bin Laden's ethic is what Islamic fundamentalists see. In this way he is another Ameer Ali.

As ghastly as these terrorists were and are, we will err in our strategy against them if we do not account for their humanity and how they develop their inhumanity. The British stomped the Thugs out of existence by attacking them at their roots, their "Thug society," and their families.

Islamic Fundamentalism is a culture in many ways similar to that of the Thugs. Similarities include:

  • Allah is supreme; all is Allah's will;
  • Each exploits the need each person has for love and approval from his/her group;
  • Each actively uses rituals to enhance and maintain the bond individuals feel for the group;
  • Capturing and developing extremist activity in the young.

Islamic Fundamentalism instills hatred of non-Muslims; it teaches "surrender to Allah" and encourages Muslim parents to teach by setting that example. Lack of a secular education makes people susceptible to Fundamentalist thinking.

The only cure evident in our times for the bin Laden variety is a Reformation in the Islamic world. The rest of the world needs to reform apace in order to accommodate a new order and cure some of its own ills. It can only come slowly, two or more generations perhaps.

See also Extremism, Fundamentalism, Terror in the Name of God, and Authoritarian Personality.

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The Making of a Terrorist

Terrorism is just another form of extremism. As practiced by a Al Qa'ida and the Taliban, extremism wears the cloak of Islamic fundamentalism, Deobandi variety.

Fundamentalism is not at all unique to Islam, nor even to religion. Most religious terrorist come from the more fundamental sects. Their leader's influence depends on his/her charisma and the receptivity of any listeners.

Fundamentalism is not an idea the mind possesses, it is an idea that possesses the mind. -- Robert Bolton.

How that comes into being is an individual matter, but there usually are many common threads among individual terrorists. One important driver is the need we all feel to belong, arising perhaps from the herd instinct so prevalent in nature. Monotheists find "God", "Allah", or even "The-Beyond-All-Knowing Power" as a rallying point for the herd. For Islam it is: "There is no God but Allah." All Muslim extremists surrender to Allah's will. This is where the fundamentalists come in. They simply profess to know and relay Allah's will to all who will listen.

Such messages are heard in the Mosques by the impressionable young. They are also heard later by the likes of Kamel Daoudi, a middle class Algerian Arab raised and educated in France. Daoudi's radicalization began when the Algerian Government canceled elections the main Islamic party was poised to win. This event triggered violence between the government and armed Islamic groups. Daoudi went to Algeria and observed the conflict for himself. He became preoccupied with the cause of the partisans.

Daoudi's radicalization only strengthened when his family was evicted from a nice apartment in Paris and had to move to a poor section. From this "Diaspora," Daoudi came to see himself as a sub-citizen of French society, good only for paying pensions to the real French. He became an avowed terrorist.

From his jail cell, Daoudi wrote:

"The Algerian War, the Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon all these events strengthen my conception that the Judeo-Christian community influenced by atheism has a visceral hatred of the community of Mohammed. ... For all these reasons and because of all these events which have left indelible wounds, I went over to the forces of the dark side. ... This glorious battle will not stop until the law of Allah has been reestablished and applied by a just and honest Caliph."

Bin Laden himself had a similar history of radicalization as a young-adult; and bin Laden was wealthy by comparison. Such intelligent, well educated, and otherwise achieving individuals become leaders of terrorists cells and groups. They may even become suicidal terrorists.

The radicalized youth become the suicidal foot soldiers, having the twin promises of paradise for themselves and glory for families left behind. They are typically well educated and their nature / nurture often includes the following elements:

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Carlos the Jackal

Carlos was born in Venezuela of well-to-do parents and became radicalized in a procession of steps. His given name was Illich after Lenin. Growing up, he was taller and fatter than his classmates who taunted him for being overweight. Meanwhile, he discovered he had a flair for languages during an "extended tour" living at times in Jamaica, and Mexico. His parents divorced when he was 13. After three years of study for the priesthood Carlos became disillusioned and declared himself to be an atheist. His father, a devout Communist, coached his son in Marx and Lenin dogma which became his new "religion."

Carlos was sent to the Fermin Toro Lyce School in Caracas which was known for it's radical left-wing students, many of whom became Communists as Carlos did. Reportedly, at Camp Mantanzas in Cuba, Carlos learned the arts of sabotage and terror. He was reported to be a prize student. There are conflicting stories of his life at this time.

Whatever that situation, Carlos and his family arrived in London in 1966, where he was sent to the Stafford House Tutorial College in Kensington. During this period, Carlos was viewed by his peers as more of a playboy than a terrorist. But a year later he was on his way to Eastern Europe to organize a young Communist cell of Venezuelans. A period at Patrice Lumumba University, a tutoring ground for young Communists, followed. There he encountered Palestinian students, taking in their stories of struggle to preserve their homeland. It was not long before he arrived in a Palestinian training camp in Jordan concentrating on weapons and explosives.

He soon became an active terrorist along side Abu-Sharif. His skills eventually brought him high recognition and favors from the likes of Colonel Qadhafi. He turned his sights on France and sealed his reputation in a cool slaughter that included French detectives in Paris.

His relationships with women never lasted long, but one had saved the document he needed to flee France. He became a most-sought-after terrorist-for-hire and landed in Syria, which offered protection in return for certain "services." He became a family man and had a daughter.

However, international events made him a fugitive once more. After being refused residence by several countries he managed to enter Sudan and stay. The French of course knew his whereabouts.

Carlos was essentially kidnapped from Sudan, taken to Paris where he was positively identified and convicted of murder. He is serving a life term.

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Malleus on Witchcraft

The Malleus Maleficarum, a guidebook for Inquisitors during the Inquisition, was designed to aid Inquisitors in the identification, prosecution, and dispatching of witches. The Malleus Maleficarum was written in 1486 by Kramer and Sprenger, two important priests in the Dominican order in Germany, and was supported by Innocent VIII in a papal bull that declared witchcraft a heresy. The Malleus Maleficarum was one of the earliest books to receive mass distribution. Six editions were published before 1550, at least thirteen more by 1620, and another sixteen by 1669. It was translated into German, French, Italian, and English, was intensively quoted in later manuals, and soon spread into civil law.

The Malleus Maleficarum launched the European witch persecutions that began in the late fifteenth century and continued through the seventeenth century. It criminalized and demonized religious folk customs and traditions and their practitioners, most particularly women. Kramer and Sprenger claimed that witchcraft "comes from carnal lust, which in women is insatiable" and thanked God for having "preserved the male sex from so great a crime." Kramer and Sprenger asserted that older women, spinsters, and widows were particularly susceptible to carnal lust and claimed that such women had sexual relations with the devil since no human male would have them. Kramer and Sprenger accused these women of feats that were fantastic and bizarre, that contradict our ordinary grasp of reality: night flights, turning men into animals, and charming away penises and hiding them in birds nests.

While all folk beliefs, customs, and traditions were deemed heretical, womens traditional roles and practices were particularly vulnerable to the charge of witchcraft. Kramer and Sprenger singled out midwives as particularly suspicious. Midwives eased the pain of labor and childbirth, a heretical act since pain in childbirth is God's punishment for Eve's sin. Midwives prescribed herbs as a method of birth control, a heretical act since human control of fertility interferes with Gods will.

Estimates of the number of people executed for witchcraft range from 100,000 to nine million. While researchers do not agree on the number of people tortured and murdered for witchcraft, there seems to be general agreement that 85% of those executed were women and that the accused were predominately very poor rural women, over fifty years of age, who were unprotected by a man (either spinsters or widows). Confessions of witchcraft were tortured out of the accused using a gruesome array of physically and sexually violent methods. Those accused of witchcraft were often tortured and burned alive in a public forum, thereby sending a powerful message to other members of the community, most particularly girls and women.

While the "official" European witch craze began to lose steam in the latter half of the seventeenth century, support for the Malleus Maleficarum and the witch persecutions continues to this day. Horrifyingly enough, The Malleus Maleficarum is still in print, and not simply as a curiosity or a research tool. In his introduction to the Malleus Maleficarum, 1948 edition, priest Montague Summers wrote:

"Certain it is that the Malleus Maleficarum is the most solid, the most important work in the whole vast library of witchcraft. One turns to it again and again with edification and interest: From the point of psychology, from the point of jurisprudence, from the point of history, it is supreme. It has hardly too much to say that later writers, great as they are, have done little more than draw from the seemingly inexhaustible wells of wisdom which the two Dominicans, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, have given us in the Malleus Maleficarum."

Summers was a complex man as you can see from his Brief Biography.

Clearly, the Malleus Maleficarum, is itself an abomination. It captures the worst expression of human nature; witch hunting is worse than genocidal despotism in one sense--it basically pits man against woman at all levels of society. The Malleus Maleficarum was actively supported by organized religion, not just by isolated or ignorant superstition.

Something that issues from superstition and Church and permeates society infecting so many secular and religious people in almost a mass hysteria just seems a worse harbinger for mankind than the rarer Hitler, Stalin, Ameer Ali (Thugs really), Pol Pot, Idi Amin, that most of us cannot even identify with. Witch hunters were ordinary people caught up by their own emotions. Maybe the despots are (were) too, but they are hardly ordinary. Sadly, witch hunting still lives in parts of the world. See: Witch Hunts for:

    "Few people are aware that witch-hunts are not a thing of the past. We tend to think of witches, magic and sorcery only at Halloween or while watching a scary movie, yet they are part of a harsh and brutal reality in other parts of the world. Every year, many alleged witches are persecuted and burnt at the stake. Witch-hunts claim thousands of lives every year, especially in countries such as Cameroon, Kenya, Congo, Sierra Leone and South Africa."

Permeating society, the power of religion can influence world events, the very direction of society; and so can a holocaust organized by an individual, but despotism of that nature dies with the despot. Religions go on and on with their "witch-hunter" tendencies for millennia. All three monotheisms, with terrorism part of their histories, attest to that fact. None seem to have asked, why are "we" driven to kill? The answer to that may apply to genocide as well.

Instead, we see in modern times Rev. Montague Summers extol the works of Malleus. From we read:

"...Summers not only believed in the existence of witches as the Medieval Church perceived them, but felt that the Inquisition, and the Malleus, were both justified and necessary."

What else can one say about the position Montague Summers took? See Mecca School Fire for a present day equivalent of Malleus in action where Wahhabism orders the day.

A poem from Judy Grahns A Woman is Talking to Death:

"They dont have to lynch the women
very often anymore, although
they used to the lord and his men
went through the villages at night,
beating and killing every woman caught outdoors.
The European witch trials took away
the independent people; two different villages
after the trials were through that year
had left in them, each
one living woman:

To the great credit of the Europeans, and westerners in general, they have largely risen above this madness driven by superstition and religion. Islam has yet to make that leap. And neither has much of Africa.

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Mohammed Atta's Will

As translated from the German magazine Der Spiegel.

    In the name of God all mighty [sic]
    Death Certificate

    "This is what I want to happen after my death, I am Mohamed the son of Mohamed Elamir awad Elsayed: I believe that prophet Mohamed is God's messenger and time will come no doubt about that and God will resurrect people who are in their graves. I wanted my family and everyone who reads this will to fear the Almighty God and don't get deceived by what is in life and to fear God and to follow God and his prophets if they are real believers. In my memory, I want them to do what Ibrahim [the prophet known in Christianity as Abraham] told his son to do, to die as a good Muslim. When I die, I want the people who will inherit my possessions to do the following:

    1. The people who will prepare my body should be good Muslims because this will remind me of God and his forgiveness.

    2. The people who are preparing my body should close my eyes and pray that I will go to heaven and to get me new clothes, not the ones I died in.

    3. I don't want anyone to weep and cry or to rip their clothes or slap their faces because this is an ignorant thing to do.

    4. I don't want anyone to visit me who didn't get along with me while I was alive or to kiss me or say good bye when I die.

    5. I don't want a pregnant woman or a person who is not clean to come and say good-bye to me because I don't approve it.

    6. I don't want women to come to my house to apologize for my death. I am not responsible for people who will sacrifice animals in front of my lying body because this is against Islam.

    7. Those who will sit beside my body must remember Allah, God, and pray for me to be with the angels.

    8. The people who will clean my body should be good Muslims and I do not want a lot of people to wash my body unless it is necessary.

    9. The person who will wash my body near my genitals must wear gloves on his hands so he won't touch my genitals.

    10. I want the clothes I wear to consist of three white pieces of cloth, not to be made of silk or expensive material.

    11. I don't want any women to go to my grave at all during my funeral or on any occasion thereafter.

    12. During my funeral I want everyone to be quiet because God mentioned that he likes being quiet on occasions when you recite the Koran, during the funeral, and when you are crawling. You must speed my funeral procession and I would like many people there to pray for me.

    13. When you bury me the people with whom I will be buried should be good Muslims. I want to face East toward Mecca.

    14. I should be laying [sic] on my right side. You should throw the dust on my body three times while saying from the dust, we created you dust and to dust you will return. From the dust a new person will be created. After that everyone should mention God's name and that I died as a Muslim which is God's religion. Everyone who attends my funeral should ask that I will be forgiven for what I have done in the past (not this action).

    15. The people who will attend my funeral should sit at my grave for an hour so that I will enjoy their company and slaughter animals and give the meat to the needy.

    16. The custom has been to memorialize the dead every forty days or once a year but I do not want this because it is not an Islamic custom.

    17. I don't want people to take time to write things on paper to be kept in their pockets as superstition. Time should be taken to pray to God instead.

    18. All the money I left must be divided according to the Muslim religion as almighty God has asked us to do. A third of my money should be spent on the poor and the needy. I want my books to go to any one of the Muslim mosques. I wanted the people who look at my will to be one of the heads of the Sunna religion. Whoever it is, I want that person to be from where I grew up or any person I used to follow in prayer. People will be held responsible for not following the Muslim religion. I wanted the people who I left behind to hear God and not to be deceived by what life has to offer and to pray more to God and to be good believers. Whoever neglects this will or does not follow the religion, that person will be held responsible in the end.

    This was written on April 11, 1996, the Islamic calendar of zoelqada is 1416. Written by MOHAMED MOHAMED ELAMIR AWAD ELASYED.
    Witness: Abdelghani Muzwadi
    Witness: Almutasadeq Munir

Notice in particular: Atta's statements in his will are precise and exact; he invoked Abraham's son; he admonished all who read his will to fear God; any non-Islamist involved in any aspect of his will shall be held accountable [by God]; he asked forgiveness for past sins but not the present act; he excluded women who are pregnant or not clean (menstruating) from saying good-bye; he wanted no woman to "apologize" [mourn?] by animal sacrifice; he wanted no woman to visit his grave at any time during or after the funeral.

Here is a testament to his real philosophy. An Islamic prophet's story of extreme obedience to God triggered a historic event in our present day. A world in which women are less than men, and reviled for their natural cycle, is illustrated starkly in Atta's will.

This will was written by a terrorist of the worst kind; the kind who takes no prisoners, shows no mercy, tortures, cloaks it all in religion as the command of God, and believes mass killing provides a ticket to paradise via a martyr's death. Terrorists of this stripe find encouragement in Islamic Fundamentalism, a very effective incubator for religious terror.

To some, Islam is a violent, even warrior, religion. Nevertheless, only a small minority of Muslims are active terrorists. By the same token, it is up to the moderate Muslims to join in Reforming the world's societies to bring about peace in this century.

Terrorists cannot be reasoned with, dialogue is of no effect. Nor does any kind of communication short of bullets work. Ralph Peters in his Beyond Terror takes apart the terror mindset. What we prefer to call the religious terrorist, he calls the apocalyptic type. We prefer the religious name because the terrorists themselves invoke religion and hatred of other societies. So why not call it what it is?

Terrorism is one of those exceptions where dialogue does not work. This only makes it all the more imperative to have close with our Allies and other sensible societies on Earth if we hope to shorten the long pull ahead.

The War in Iraq, at the time of this revision (22 May 2003) , seems to have been a misstep.

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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Excerpted from Biography
and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 3 October 2004.

Bin Laden is no longer the only name out there we should all know. Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi leads a terror group named Monotheism and Jihad. He is the most-wanted man in Iraq. Although there are reports to the contrary, Zarqawi is unlikely to be closely allied with al Qa'ida other than through a "common enemy." See for example from BBC: Zarqawi presumably announced:

"We announce that Tawhid and Jihad, its prince and its soldiers, have pledged allegiance to the leader of the mujahideen, Osama Bin Laden," the statement said.

It added that the pledge of allegiance was to coincide with the start of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan because Tawhid and Jihad agreed that Muslims must "ally together in the face of its enemies".

Earlier Zarqawi met with bin Laden and accepted his support. Their agendas overlap to a significant degree. Getting one will not affect the other. Zarqawi is best known for fueling the insurgency in Iraq. But his primary agenda is believed to remain what it always has been: Topple the monarchy in Jordan and attack Jewish targets everywhere in the world. The war in Iraq has had the obverse effect of making him more prominent by giving him easy-to-find enemies on, or next to, his own turf.

Zarqawi differs from bin Laden in that his style is to be involved in the field personally. Bin Laden stays out of sight while his soldiers do the suicidal sacrifices. Many observers see them more as rivals than allies.

Zarqawi is Jordanian by birth, a member of the Bani Hassan tribe. His birth name is Ahmed Fadhil Nazzar. He renamed himself after his birthplace, Zarga, a city some 17 miles (27 Km) from Amman. His family is of modest means. He had a troubled childhood and did not finish high school. He joined the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the late 1980s. After that tour of duty, he returned home to Jordan and founded a militant group named Jund al-Sham. He was soon caught and sent to prison in 1992. His more radical beliefs developed while he was in prison.

In 1999, when King Abdullah declared an amnesty, Zarqawi was among those freed. He immediately reconstituted Jund al-Sham and put together an extensive terror plot that became known as the millennium plot. Its discovery forced Zarqawi to flee to Pakistan. Finding no welcome there he fled to Afghanistan in 2000. It was there that he met bin Laden and received money to set up his own terror training camp in Herat, near Iran. It quickly became a magnet for Jordanian militants. By Sept 2001, he had organized a terror cell in Germany, but the German police broke it up and jailed his cohorts. He rejoined the Taliban in their futile fight against the US Special Forces. He escaped as did bin Laden and mullah Omar.

He surfaced again with a small band trained in Syria. Assassins he supported killed US diplomat Laurence Foley, a senior administrator in Amman. Syria ignored extradition requests from both Jordan and the US. From Jordan, Zarqawi moved on to Iran. According to U.S. intelligence, Zarqawi traveled to Iraq in early 2002, and allegedly began associating with Ansar al-Islam, an impoverished group of 600 to 800 Iraqi Kurds whose stated goal was to secede from Saddam's Iraq so that its tiny, ethnically exclusive clan could go hide out in the mountains.

In 2003, Zarqawi again met with al Qa'ida's military chief, Ibrahim Makawi, and an Egyptian known as Saif Adel. By then, Zarqawi was focused on Iraq. British intelligence warned that he had set up a sleeper cell in Baghdad in March 2003. Their purpose was to mount a resistance movement against the US occupation.

Zarqawi's aliases include Fadel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, Fadil al-Khalaylah, Ahmad Fadil Al-Khalailah and just Habib. Intelligence officials believe Zarqawi only worked with bin Laden to further his own goals.

According to the U.S. pre-Iraq party line, Zarqawi used his "base" in Iraq to stage bombings and terrorist attacks in Turkey and Morocco.

In February 2004, the U.S. claimed it had intercepted a letter from Zarqawi to al Qa'ida, outlining his strategy in Iraq and asking for reinforcements. However, the letter was quickly judged to be a forgery by just about anyone whose opinion mattered. Even Western journalists openly scoffed at the letter's authenticity, let alone the conspiracy-obsessed Arab world, which went to town over the incident. The U.S. didn't help matters by flatly refusing to discuss how it got its hands on the letter. "The important thing is that we have this document in our hands," explained Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt in February. "How it was found is not as important as the fact that we have it." Given that this administration is rarely forthcoming unless it is to their advantage and the U.S. intelligence record to date, that's a pretty iffy proposition.

Shortly after the 3/11 bombing of a Madrid commuter train, pundits began speculating on a Zarqawi link, based on comments by French terrorism investigator Jean-Charles Brisard. The most compelling reason to think this might be true is that it didn't come from the U.S. government.

Despite all the laborious U.S. efforts to prove a link, most independent experts believe Zarqawi is not operating on behalf of al Qa'ida, a conclusion which the U.S. military reluctantly conceded in early 2004.

In recent media interviews with captured Ansar al-Islam operatives, the terrorists said they never laid eyes on Zarqawi (the interviewees provided other verifiable information on Ansar activities). Ansar itself has been more or less made obsolete by the U.S. invasion, which spurred an influx of thousands of foreign fighters into Iraq (some al Qa'ida-linked, but others not). In early 2004, some Iraqi insurgents claimed in a leaflet that Zarqawi had been killed. Not too many people believe this to be true.

In May, 2004, Zarqawi made himself into a star of the Internet with a homemade snuff video that really got people talking. The video, released with the catchy title "Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slaughters an American infidel with his own hands" delivered pretty much as advertised, ending with a scene of Zarqawi brandishing the decapitated head of an American civilian named Nicholas Berg.

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Osama bin Laden and al Qa'ida

The hallmarks of al Qa'ida terrorism, as designed by bin Laden, include surprise, close timing in simultaneous attacks, and mass casualties.

Another hallmark: bin Laden says what he is going to do, and bin Laden does what he said he would.

When will we start listening? This man is telling us something.

Bin Laden's Second Fatwa, 23 Feb 1998, says in part:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies, civilians and military, is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, 'and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together.' and ' fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah."

[A fatwa is a religious ruling.]

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External Links To Terror Groups

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
Egyptian Islamic Jihad
Palestine Islamic Jihad
Terror Group Profiles
Tamil Eelam
Websites of Interest to Terrorism


DLambert commented before we moved:

"So... Mohammed Atta requested in his will that no women visit his grave at any time, either during his funeral or after?? And, due to their uncleanliness, also asked that no pregnant women visit him to say goodbye? Oh, how I wish that there had been a body (of Atta's) to bury after he flew into the WTC. I would love to have gone to Egypt for the funeral, and somehow made my way to his grave, where I would stand before him, dressed in summer shorts and sleeveless top, my long hair in a pony tail. There would I plant myself, directly on his grave, and in my most feminine, female voice, muster a prayer that God and Christ would somehow forgive this pitiful, misguided man who cloaked mass-murder in religion and reduced millions of people to agony, all in the name of God."

Posted by RoadToPeace on Friday, October 28, 2005 at 19:25:37

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