Archive for Suicide Terrorism

Anti-Muslim and Faux Liberal Sam Harris to Debate Dr. Robert Pape Soon?

Posted in Feature, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2012 by loonwatch

Sam Harris, considered one of the “four horsemen” (now perhaps the “three horsemen” after the death of Christopher Hitchens) of the cult of new age atheism may be set to debate Dr. Robert Pape, or so he claims on his website:

Almost invariably, I am urged to read the work of Robert A. Pape. Pape is the author of a very influential paper, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism” (American Political Science Review 97, no. 3, 2003), and the book Dying to Win, in which he argues that suicide bombing is best understood as a strategic means to achieve certain well-defined nationalist goals and should not be considered a consequence of religious ideology. No one has done more to convince my fellow liberals that if we just behaved ourselves on the world stage, our problems with Islam would go away. I am happy to say that Pape has agreed to discuss these issues with me on this page in the coming weeks. Stay tuned…

I don’t believe Sam Harris belongs on the same stage or platform with Pape discussing these issues. He has no study in the field of “suicide terrorism,” he is a novice going up against an academic who has researched and critically analyzed the issue from various angles, and whose work has been the subject of intense scrutiny and peer review.

The tone and tenor in which Harris discusses his possible future encounter with Pape is revelatory in the sense that it exposes the fact that Harris’s mind is already made up. He is not interested in a real dialogue or conversation nor does he seem to be open to the possibility of changing his mind. Harris, like all dogmatists, has already arrived at his conclusion, he is entrenched in his belief that suicide terrorism is largely, if not completely a “consequence of religious ideology.” This is mostly the case because “suicide terrorism” being linked to religious ideology is vital to his claim that Islam is “uniquely” violent and should be held to a different level of scrutiny than other religions.

This recalls a prescient point Reza Aslan made in his interview with us when questioned about his encounter with Sam Harris:

There is no doubt Sam Harris is a smart guy, he has a PhD in neuro-science. You can be a smart guy and be ignorant about particular topics and issues. The problem with Sam Harris is that he tends to write about the things he is ignorant about, (laughs) I think Sam Harris should stick to writing about neuro-science, I think his last book was great. When Sam Harris writes about neuro-science, in other words his expertise, I think it’s great, I love reading his work. When he talks about religion, a topic he knows nothing about, that he’s never studied as an academic discipline, that he’s done no field research in whatsoever, and in which he frankly is unqualified to opine about, that’s the problem. I don’t write about nero-Science because I’m not a neuro-scientist.

Either way, it seems Pape has accepted Harris’s request to debate and it will be interesting to see the correspondence between the two. For Harris it may turn into a similar humiliation as the one he received when going head-to-head with Scott Atran:

******************************************

Lastly, I want to say a few words about the article in which Harris reveals he may be debating Pape. Harris titled the article, Islam and the Future of Liberalism, in it he essentially repeats many of his common, uncritical, and by now, well worn attacks on Islam and Muslims.

Like the predictable Islamophobe that he is, he illustrates his post with this image:

Orientalism 101 anyone?

Yes Sam, Afghan women in burqas is a really great way to illustrate the “threat” of  liberalism accommodating “evil Islam.” Can somebody send Harris, Edward Said‘s Covering Islam? He’s got some readin’ to do.

Harris writes,

I appear to have left many viewers with the impression that I believe we invaded Afghanistan for the purpose of rescuing its women from the Taliban. However, the points I was actually making were rather different: I think that abandoning these women to the Taliban is one of the things that make our inevitable retreat from Afghanistan ethically problematic. I also believe that wherever we can feasibly stop the abuse of women and girls, we should. An ability to do this in places like Afghanistan, and throughout the world, would be one of the benefits of having a global civil society and a genuine regime of international law.

Here is another instance of Harris posturing as an expert on an issue that he is wholly unprepared to discuss, mostly due to his lack of understanding.

Here are some facts for Sam to ponder: 1.) Afghanistan is a tribally based culture, following tribal customs and norms that are ingrained within society and which formed over thousands of years, you are not going to transform that over night, and you are definitely not going to do so with ‘smart bombs’ 2.) Who did the US replace the Taliban with? Northern Alliance war lords, many of whom are the most egregious violators TO THIS DAY of women’s rights. When they ruled before the Taliban child rape was endemic, as it has become once again today. 3.) Changing attitudes towards women can only happen from within society, unless Harris is advocating the removal of women and girls from their husbands, fathers and brothers? Oh wait, he has pondered such stupidity in the past.

Harris is not finished with the inanities, he writes,

Recent events in Afghanistan demonstrate, yet again, that ordinary Afghans grow far more incensed when a copy of the Qur’an gets defaced than when their own children are accidentally killed by our bombs—or intentionally murdered. I doubt there is a more ominous skewing of priorities to be found in this world.

Excuse me for how inarticulate I am about to become, but this must be said: Sam Harris is a S**THEAD. Harris dehumanizes Afghans, to him they are a bunch of dirty savages who cannot even properly mourn or balance their outrage. Regardless of what Harris says, yes, Afghans are very upset that they are being occupied and murdered by an invading foreign nation. The recent protests were not only in response to Qur’an burnings as Harris would have us believe, but as we noted: the murder, maiming and jailing of innocent Afghan civilians!

Harris continues the Islamophobic, anti-Muslim drivel in the rest of the article. He pushes the myth about the silent “millions” of moderate Muslims who are too “afraid” to speak out against violence in the name of their faith. He says that he finds the concept of a Jewish State “obnoxious,” but he immediately contradicts himself writing, “But if ever a state organized around a religion was justified, it is the Jewish state of Israel, given the world’s propensity for genocidal anti-Semitism.”

Profound double standards but that is something Harris has in common with the rest of his Islamophobic buddies in the anti-Muslim movement and hence comes as no surprise.

Robert Pape: What Drives Suicide Terrorists?

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2010 by loonwatch

Robert Pape’s studies are starting to be taken more seriously in the government but the media and popular perception creators haven’t gotten the message yet.

What really drives suicide terrorists?

By Robert Pape / December 9, 2010

Chicago

From the 9/11 hijackers to the double agent whose suicide attack in Afghanistan killed seven CIA employees last December, many people want to know what drives some Muslims – many of whom are middle class and well educated – to kill themselves in attacks on Americans and others in the West.

After examining 2,200 suicide attacks around the world since 1980 – the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted – I’ve concluded that the answer is both simple and disturbing. What drives them is deep anger at the presence of Western combat forces in the Persian Gulf region and other predominately Muslim lands.

Popular accounts of these suicide terrorists give the impression that most of them are globe-trotting extremists radicalized by militant networks to strike outside their homeland for religious or other transnational causes. These accounts are false.

Five key members of Al Qaeda in Yemen (AQAP)

What the evidence shows

In the 2,200 suicide attacks since 1980, over 90 percent of the attackers carried out strikes in their home countries, often just miles from their homes, to resist foreign occupation of land they prize.

Hence, Lebanese carried out the suicide attacks against Israel’s occupation of Lebanon; Turkish Kurds carried out the suicide attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party against the Turkish military presence in their home areas; and Iraqis, Saudis, Syrians, Kuwaitis, and Jordanians carried out the suicide attacks against America’s military occupation of Iraq and the US threat to countries adjacent to Iraq.

Afghanistan is a prime example. We can identify 93 suicide attackers who have killed themselves to strike targets, mostly US and Western troops, in Afghanistan in recent years.

More than 90 percent are Afghan nationals and another 5 percent are from border regions of the country, while only 5 percent are from areas of the world beyond the immediate zone of conflict.

In other words, suicide terrorism in Afghanistan is not part of some global jihad looking for a place to land, but regional opposition to foreign military presence.

We’re missing the real threat

Transnational suicide terrorists do exist. But, they are exceptions to the rule. Understanding that transnational suicide attackers are “black swans” has important implications for explaining their existence. For years, many have sought to explain how an individual becomes a transnational terrorist by seeking to track points along a spectrum of radicalization.

The basic idea is that there is a large pool of potential extremists who become progressively radicalized either through elite manipulation (religious leaders in mosques) or through social and economic alienation. Hence, policymakers embrace the idea of eavesdropping on many thousands of Muslims in the United States and Europe. This has done little to find terrorists, but a lot to scare many loyal citizens.

The fundamental problem with the “spectrum of radicalization” approach is that it is looking for many “white swans” that do not exist, while missing the rare black swans that might.

Consider the London suicide attacks in July 2005. Even if we restrict the pool of potential extremists to the 1.6 million Muslims living in Britain then, the spectrum of radicalization approach would expect more “homegrown” suicide attackers by orders of magnitude. After all, tens of thousands of British Muslims had met fundamentalist leaders in mosques, lost their jobs, or faced social difficulties that they might view as related to their ethnic or religious backgrounds. But just four men launched the attack.

Further, after a year-long investigation, MI5 found little evidence that any of the four London bombers were economically or socially alienated in significant ways. Mohammad Khan, the leader, was a mentor at a primary school with an exemplary employment record. Shezhad Tanweer drove his own red Mercedes to work in one of his father’s several businesses and was a trophy-winning cricket player. Another was known for going to night clubs and talking about girls and cars. None had a history of outbursts or violence, or other signs of significant opposition to British life.

What they did share was deep anger at Western occupation of kindred Muslim populations. Mr. Kahn and Mr. Tanweer left martyr videos to explain their motives.

“Your … governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world,” Khan said. “Until we feel security, you will be our targets.”

Recent so-called homegrown terrorists in the United States also reveal little social alienation, but deep anger at foreign occupation. Faisal Shahzad, who was sentenced to life in prison for planning the failed May 1 Times Square car bomb, cited US military activity in his family’s native Pakistan and the presence of US troops in various Muslim countries as reasons for his desire to kill American civilians.

While religion contributes in many cases to increased feelings of loyalty toward a kindred community that may be oceans away from an individual’s country of citizenship, the primary cause of these horrible phenomena is foreign occupation.

US approach is counterproductive

The US approach in countering this threat has done more harm than good. By simultaneously occupying two Muslim countries and cracking down on Muslim Americans, the US has angered elements of an entire population and made it more likely that they would feel more loyalty to their kindred communities abroad.

Further, aggressive surveillance missed the one behavior trait that the American and British transnational terrorists had in common: self-initiated efforts to communicate with representatives of Al Qaeda and other known terrorist groups to receive approval for their actions.

Counterterrorism operations should focus on what makes these rare events dangerous – that is, the point at which politically active groups seek detailed information and actual materials for lethal action, commonly from international terrorist organizations or their local representatives.

Top 5 attacks linked to Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

Law enforcement attempts to track large numbers of young Muslim men would incorrectly profile and target an entire community. Such manpower takes resources away from the most productive counterterrorism measure: the search for specific preparations for violent acts.

Robert A. Pape is professor of political science at the University of Chicago and co-author of “Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It.”

 

US Bases Abroad Trigger Suicide Terrorism

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by loonwatch

Steve Clemons: US Bases Abroad Trigger Suicide Terrorism

Can it be that American military bases abroad, usually thought of as “stabilizers” in tough neighborhoods, are really the primary cause of radical terrorism against the US and its allies? That is what Robert Pape and James K. Feldman compellingly argue in their new book released this week titled Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It.

Most war planners and geo-strategists conceive of US military bases abroad as if they are anchors of stability in unstable regions. Over the last six decades, while there have been occasional protests, sometimes violent, targeting these foreign bases by rebellious students or groups affiliated with socialist or communist parties in governments hosting these US troops, most of the political system in these respective governments strongly support the American bases, usually as a cheap way to deter aggression from neighbors.

But what once worked in Germany, Japan, Turkey, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK doesn’t seem to be working so well in the Middle East or South Asia today and frankly may be eroding even in these traditional base-hosting countries where jihadist terrorism hasn’t been a factor.

When terrorist tracker and New America Foundation Counter-Terrorism Initiative directorPeter Bergenwas invited to interview Osama bin Laden in 1997, bin Laden told Bergen point blank that America had become an arrogant nation in the wake of its victory in the Cold War and that the basing of American troops in Saudi Arabia, the home of the two Holy Mosques, had made the US a target for al Qaeda. It is also true that the Saudi government invited in and agreed to host on a temporary basis US forces in order to help deter Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. But after ten years, the phrase “temporary bases” actually shifted in then Defense Secretary William Cohen’s remarks to “semi-permanent.”

The shift was noticed by media, government officials, and incensed Islamists throughout the region – though hardly noted at all by American strategists that only saw one side of the cost-benefit ledger.

War planners have tended only to consider the upside opportunities in projecting force through foreign-deployed military bases rather than calculating downsides as well. During the Cold War, the seven hundred plus US military installations abroad helped give the United States unparalleled capacity in intelligence and power projection that no other nation in the world other than the Soviet Union could match. And with the collapse of the USSR, America stood unrivaled, reifying a core belief that this global network of foreign bases had in part been vital to American success and strength.

While Bergen was tracking down bin Laden and taking the pulse of an increasingly restless Middle East, I was watching growing protests and anti-American anger take hold in another part of the world where American bases had long been situated – Japan and South Korea. Believing that the US was impeding normalization efforts between North and South Korea and had been a supporter of military crackdowns against pro-democracy efforts, students directed violent, flame-throwing protests at American military installations in South Korea.

In Japan, the situation was less violent but politically more severe. In September 1995, three American military servicemen brutally raped a 12-year old Okinawan girl. The senior US Commander in the region remarked that the soldiers should have just procured a prostitute triggering the largest anti-American protests in Japan since 1960. Okinawa, Japan’s poorest prefecture, nonetheless hosts the majority of America’s military capacity in Japan – with 39 distinct U.S. military facilities on the island. During the Cold War, the sacrifice made by Okinawa in “carrying the burden” of hosting these bases and US personnel was more easily justified. Since then, the rationale has shifted from everything from deterring North Korea to being a bulwark against growing Chinese power – anything to keep the huge land assets of the Pentagon in the Pacific in place.

When I spoke to South Koreans and Okinawans at the time, I regularly heard comments that they felt “occupied”. Indeed, before a revision in security guidelines between the US and Japan after the rape incident, the US controlled more than 80% of Okinawa’s air space. One senior activist told me that while the protests of the Okinawans would be peaceful for the most part, the US had to worry in the long run about groups self-organizing and possibly beginning to throw Molotov cocktails at US trucks and installations – and threatening personnel and their dependents. This didn’t happen, or hasn’t happened yet, but counting on docility ‘permanently’ may be a major blind spot of Pentagon planners.

What was brewing in Okinawa was not suicide terrorism – but the impulse to reject the logic of large-scale, long term basing of US troops on Japanese soil was growing.

In parts of the world less accustomed to US military personnel, the reaction has been more virulent.

Robert Pape, a professor at the University of Chicago and the director of the new website mega-data base on suicide terrorism titled the Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism (CPOST) and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has been putting on a lot of United Airlines miles between DC and Chicago not because progressives and liberals who might have a thing against America’s global network of foreign military bases want to hear him – but the highest levels of America’s military and intelligence bureaucracies are seeking him out.

The Pentagon’s leadership prides itself on hearing not just material that supports its current course but is open to alternative scenarios to consider military threats – and the Pentagon is most easily convinced by solid empirical data.

Pape and his co-author Feldman have broken down every recorded suicide terrorist incident since 1980 and noted an eruption of such incidents since 2004. From 1980-2003, there were 350 suicide attacks in the world, only 15% of which were anti-American.

In the short five-year period since, from 2004-2009, there have been 1,833 suicide attacks, 92% of which were anti-American.

Pape argues that the key factor in determining spikes of suicide terrorism is not the prevalence or profile of radical Islamic clerics or mental sickness but rather the garrisoning of foreign troops, most often US troops or its allies, in these respective countries.

Pape and Feldman show for example that even in war-torn, beleaguered Afghanistan, suicide attacks surged from just a handful a year to more than 100 per year in early 2006 when US and military deployments began to extend to the Pashtun southern and eastern regions of the country beginning in late 2005. Pakistan also deployed forces against Pashtun sections of western Pakistan, which Pape and Feldman note also saw large spikes in suicide attacks.

Pape is not a pacifist and is not calling on the US government and Pentagon to appease dictators and terror masters, but he is making an argument that a new, better strategy is needed. He and his co-author make a compelling case – much like Donald Rumsfeld once pondered in his famous memo on terrorism – that we are creating much of our own problem and animating and feeding fuel to the enemy of America’s and its allies’ interests.

I once asked Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott whether he thought that America would have problems managing its empire of bases and whether those nations hosting them would feel the burden too heavy in a post-Soviet world. Talbott responded that he believed – as did most of the national security community – that “US bases are anchors of instability in unstable regions.”

This may not be the case any longer — or at least not to the same degree as used to be the case.

Pape and Feldman, in their new book Cutting the Fuse, suggest that the US military would better secure its key foreign policy interests with a posture of “offshore balancing” – relying on military alliances and “offshore air, naval, and rapidly deployable ground forces rather than heavy onshore combat power.”

I bet Pape’s first calls were from the Air Force and Navy — but their interests aside, Pape sees that the future needs to be more high flex, smaller footprint, more nimble — and less toxic and anti-body generating than the large-scale, clunky, unsuccessful force deployments that characterize America’s deployments to Afghanistan today.

Robert Pape is working from the data upward in formulating a smart strategy for military organization – rather than working from the top down and repeating mistakes made by those whose thinking is conventional, incremental, and who tie what they do tomorrow much by what they did yesterday.

Pape sees a chance to neutralize the forces that could otherwise yield another generation of hardened terrorists, many of whom are willing to engage in suicide attacks.

I know the Pentagon is listening — and this impresses me. Others should be too.

– Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington NoteClemons can be followed on Twitter @SCClemons

 

Suicide Terrorism, an Islamic Phenomenon?

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2010 by loonwatch
Is this the only image of suicide terrorism?Is this the only image of suicide terrorism?

Resident “Islam expert” Robert Spencer is at it again, using his skills of obfuscation to smear Islam. In a recent post, he claims “suicide for jihad” is nothing new in Islam:

Actually the idea of suicide in the cause of jihad is no innovation. It is founded upon Qur’an 9:111, which guarantees Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah. It is a phenomenon that is actually found throughout Islamic history, and is not new. In the 18th century John Paul Jones wrote about Ottoman sailors setting their own ships on fire and ramming the ships of their enemies, although they knew this meant certain death for them.

And centuries before that, the Assassins, Hashishin, went into their missions knowing that death was virtually certain, and energized by the promise of Paradise that had been made vivid for them in an artful scenario that was used as a recruitment tool: the prospective assassin would be given hashish and then taken into a garden full of beautiful women, and told that he was enjoying a taste of Islamic Paradise. Then to return to that Paradise, he was told that he had to go out and kill his victim, and be killed in the process.

Wow. Let us address the verse in question (9:111):

Behold, God has bought of the believers their lives and their possessions, promising them paradise in return, [and so] they fight in God’s cause, and slay, and are slain: a promise which in truth He has willed upon Himself in [the words of] the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Quran. And who could be more faithful to his covenant than God? Rejoice, then, in the bargain which you have made with Him: for this, this is the triumph supreme!

As outlined by the Quran, fighting in Islam is allowed in defense, and aggression is prohibited (2:190-193). Thus, those who “fight in God’s cause” in the verse are fighting in a battle to defend “those [civilians] who have been expelled from their homes” (22:40) by an aggressor.  In this context, able-bodied men are called to defend the people with their lives.  When one fights a battle, he tries to kill his enemy and avoid being killed himself. Spencer, however, claims that those who “slay and are slain” are actually committing suicide. Huh?

Suicide is when you take your own life: the death blow comes from your own hand.  This is dramatically different than valiantly fighting the enemy in battle when the odds are heavily stacked against you, such that death is “near certain.” The former is suicide, the latter is not.  Unless Robert Spencer is being un-American and claiming that the countless U.S. soldiers who have thrown themselves upon the enemy–facing “near certain death” by doing so–committed suicide?  In fact, the medal of honor is routinely given to soldiers who throw themselves upon the enemy (thereby facing “near certain death”) to protect their fellow soldiers and advance their position.

There are several examples of this during World War II. For example, Private First Class Leonard Foster Mason received the medal of honor for “his exceptionally heroic act in the face of almost certain death.”  The American soldiers were under heavy fire, and with total disregard for his own life, Mason ran out of his foxhole and killed five enemy soldiers.  He was critically wounded in the arm and shoulder, and subsequently died.  Today, he is remembered as a hero who fought and died for his country.  Would Spencer like to claim that he committed suicide, and that the U.S. military has been using “suicide jihad” tactics during WWII?

Private George Phillips received the medal of honor because he “unhesitatingly threw himself on [a] deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting his comrades from serious injury.”

And let’s read about the bravery of Private First Class Harold Glenn Epperson who gave up his life for his country:

Determined to save his comrades, Pfc. Epperson unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and, diving upon the deadly missile, absorbed the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body. Stouthearted and indomitable in the face of certain death, Pfc. Epperson fearlessly yielded his own life that his able comrades might carry on the relentless battle against a ruthless enemy. His superb valor and unfaltering devotion to duty throughout reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Another suicide jihad terrorist attack, I suppose?  In fact, what about the American soldiers who took the island of Iwo Jima? According to historians, the Japanese fought tenaciously for the island, and only 216 out of more than 18,000 soldiers were alive at the end of hostilities. This invasion must have “meant certain death” for the scores of American soldiers who took part. Were these American soldiers “committing suicide”? What about the soldiers who took part in the invasion of Normandy? The odds against the Allied soldiers were tremendous, and it “meant certain death” for the scores of soldiers who valiantly chose to be on the front line. Did these American heroes also “commit suicide”?

Anyways, the Quran is crystal clear on suicide:

“And do not take a life that God has made sacred, except for just cause.” (17:33)

“And spend for the sake of God, and do not invest in ruin by your own hands. And do good, for God loves those who do good.” (2:195) 

“And do not kill yourselves, for God has been merciful to you.” (4:29)

But I do know of a holy book that mentions (and seems to condone) suicide attacks. You may have heard of it, Spencer.  It’s called the Bible.  The Mighty Samson kills himself in order to kill three thousand men and women (civilians):

Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.”  Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.  Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD , remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”  Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.  (Judges 16:26-30)”

Samson was one of the good guys in the Bible, and nowhere are his actions condemned.  Far from it: he got the strength from God to do it.  How are his actions any different than the Palestinian suicide bombers who blow themselves up in shopping malls to kill Israeli men and women?  And in 1 Samuel 31:1-6, we have another good guy in the Bible killing himself rather than being taken alive by the enemy; in fact, it’s a group suicide–Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and all of his men commit group suicide in this battle. Two can play at this, Mr. Spencer.

With regard to the example of the Ottomans ramming their ships, this is a technique that dates to antiquity.  As a last resort (since they were going to lose/die anyways), the captain would order that they use the ship to ram the enemy’s.  To use another American example, even civilian boats were equipped with this capability: the Seattle fireboat Duwamish, built in 1909, was designed to ram wooden vessels, as a last resort. More “suicide jihad” I suppose?

As for the Hashashin, or Assassins, they belonged to an extremely heterodox extremist sect of Islam.  They did not believe in committing suicide, but rather put themselves in harms way to complete missions such that oftentimes they would be facing “near certain death.”  In any case, even at that time the orthodox Muslims used to write about how crazy they thought these Hashashin were, so how can we take the most extreme example as indicative of the general rule?  In fact, at the time of the Hashashin, there were the Crusaders.  Would Spencer like to take the bloodthirsty Crusaders (who engaged in cannibalism and mass murder) as indicative of Christianity overall?

It seems that Spencer is becoming desperate; desperate to link anything to his fanciful imaginary Islam that is totally devoid from reality. Umm…nice try.