Pointing to recent terrorist attacks by Muslims in European capitals, Andy Leitner sarcastically asks “whose freedom fighters are those who commit such heinous acts?” Yet recent history offers many examples of terrorist attacks not carried out by Muslims.
In 1946, Jewish terrorist group Irgun – of whom future Israeli PM Menachem Begin was a member – bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 civilians and injuring many more.
In the 1970s, as a student in the UK I witnessed car bombs planted by the IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) spring up like mushrooms in London.
Dr Frank is probably correct that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. To the Jews, Begin was a freedom fighter. To their Irish sympathisers, the IRA were fighting for freedom. They turned from terrorists to freedom fighters when their campaign bore fruit.
“Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims” is not a true statement. Urban terrorism conducted by Muslims started after the displacement of Palestinians following the Arab-Israel Wars in 1948 and 1967, and grew after Western powers launched unjustified wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Iraq war, in particular, was state-sponsored terrorism conducted by America and the UK that led to enmity among Iraqis and years of deadly sectarian violence that gave rise to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
A terrorist is one who creates terror. When a leader like Tony Blair decides to take down Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein, and alongside him buries the lives of hundreds and thousands of civilians, is he a terrorist? Or is he a freedom fighter against dictatorship?