Where does terrorism start?

Soumaya Ghannoushi“It is interesting that while medieval Europe strove to dissociate the great achievements of the flourishing Islamic civilisation from the religion of Islam, today’s West insists on referring all Muslims’ ills, from democratic failure to economic decadence, to the Islam religion.

“The terrorist plague is no exception. Its agents, we are told, are the product of an ‘evil ideology which must be uprooted’. Even so, this is only half of the truth. The questions we can not avoid are: why are would-be bombers driven towards this evil theology and not any other, after all it is hardly the only one on offer within the intensely diverse intellectual and political Islamic map? What propels them to deviate from the mainstream body of Muslims and embrace a perverse interpretation that justifies the slaughter of innocent civilians? What triggers this radical ideology’s shift from the abstract realm of ideas to the concrete scenes of explosives, severed limbs and charred bodies?

“If we were Hegelians we would accept Blair and Bush’s explanations of historical phenomena by reference to ideology. I, however, prefer to do as Marx did and turn history from its head back on its feet. History is the generator of ideology not vice versa. Rather than explain, ideology is itself in need of explaining.”

Soumaya Ghannoushi writes: Aljazeera, 25 September 2005