There are broadly two streams of thought as to what causes Islamic terrorism.
(1) Is the “Islam has a grievance” stream of thought (let’s be done with it, and call it a “narrative”).
(2)“Islam seeks world caliphate” narrative.
Most of the US Administration from George W. Bush to Obama believe in the first narrative: Islam has grievances. These “grievances” are the usual suspects: colonialism, imperialism, US policy in the middle east, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, lack of respect for Islam and so forth. If we fix these, we shall be at peace with the Muslim world. It was this thought that wove through Obama’s speech to Muslims in June.
The second stream says that the driving force of Islamic terrorism is the desire to bring Islam – by force if necessary – to the rest of the world, by global Jihad, to institute an Islamic caliphate according to Sharia law.
Clearly the latter does not exclude the former. If you believe that this narrative – the Islam seeks world dominance narrative – is true, then the way you deal with Islamic terrorism will be very different, for you will recognize that concessions to the “grievances” can only be short-term solutions at best.
The story below illustrates that both narratives are driving the Aussie Jihadist Shane Kent, though I bet most commentators will focus on the “grievance side” of his motivation -- “to force the Federal Government to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan” – and ignore that latter –“violence against the kuffar”. Know thy enemy, they all say. But not too well… or so it appears.
From Australia’s Herald Sun.
A HOME-GROWN terrorist who was part of a group that planned attacks in Melbourne could be free in just over nine months.
After pleading guilty to being part of a terrorist group Shane Kent, 32, [tha’s him in his jihadi clobber above] was jailed for a minimum term of three years and nine months.
Justice Bernard Bongiorno set a maximum term of five years after saying Kent had not abandoned his violent jihadist views.
The Supreme Court judge also said Kent was not genuinely sorry for his part in the terror group.
He said the group or 'jemaah' planned their terrorist activities to force the Federal Government to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is the “Islam has grievances” narrative.
Kent was an enthusiastic member and he and the others were secretly recorded talking about jihad and the promotion of the Islamic cause by violence against the kuffar - Arabic for unbelievers.
This is the “Islam seeks a caliphate” narrative.
"On each of these conversations, as in many others, he (Kent) spoke as a member of the group and not as an outsider," Justice Bongiorno said.
They talked of members of the "jemaah" needing to be ready to destroy buildings and kill people in a jihad.
"The actions of those who engaged in the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States and the attacks on trains in Madrid and London were discussed in terms of praise and admiration," the judge said.
Kent, a father of three of Meadow Heights, could be out in just over nine months as he has served 1115 days on remand.
Justice Bongiorno said that Kent had a psychiatric disorder and psychiatrists had said he was remorseful.
"He is doubtless sorry for having imposed the hardship of his incarceration on his family," the judge said.
"However, I am not prepared to accept . . . that he has abandoned the cause of violent jihad."
Kent pleaded guilty to being a member of a terrorist group between 1 July 2004 and 8 November 2005 and of recklessly making a document connected with preparation for a terrorist act.
He admitted helping create an Islamic propaganda jihadist video featuring Osama bin Laden, tributes to "martyrs" and a graphic image of a dead young extremist.
Postscript: I wrote here about other Aussie Jihadis and why it’s not just a “small minority” of extremists. And here, about the al-Qaeda view of the infidel west:
“In fact, Muslims are obligated to raid the lands of the infidels, occupy them and exchange their systems of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practice that contradicts the Sharia from being publicly voiced among the people…”.
--- (The Al Qaeda Reader, p.51)