The Suicide Bomb Pioneers Were Secular

Leading atheist Sam Harris thinks all religions are bad, but Islam is worst, or least the most violent. To argue otherwise is, in his view, political correctness run amok.

Yet if Islam if uniquely violent, how does Harris (and Andrew Sullivan and Bill Maher) account for the fact that over the last several decades the United States government has killed far more people than any Islamic entity? They don’t, of course. Indeed, they demonize Islam in order to justify American violence abroad.

What’s their proof that Islam produces terrorism? As far as I can tell, their argument boils down to: Come on, of course it does, look at the headlines. Yet social scientists who’ve actually studied this issue come to a far different conclusion.

More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation, according to extensive research that we conducted at the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, where we examined every one of the over 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present day.

That’s Robert Pape, who elsewhere points out that the pioneers of suicide terrorism were the Tamil Tigers, a Marxist guerrilla group that, trying to create an independent state, waged war against the government of Sri Lanka. The Tamil Tigers were:

“actually the world leader in suicide terrorism from 1980 to 2003, carrying out more suicide attacks than Hamas or Islamic Jihad.”

The Tamil Tigers even used a suicide attack to kill a sitting president.

So tell me, Professor Pape, why haven’t we heard a lot about the TTs’ terrorism.

“they’re not attacking us and they’re not attacking our allies.”

Ah. I see.

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