Expert Warns of “Ideological Leap” in Muslim Fundamentalism

Statements of Professor of Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

ROME, SEPT. 27, 2004 ( According to a professor at the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, we are currently witnessing an “ideological leap” of “Muslim fundamentalism, of extremist groups and terrorists,” who see the West as the enemy.

Francesco Zannini explained to AsiaNews that the latest on-line decapitations of Western hostages in Iraq, is a way of bringing “the West to its knees.”

Although decapitation “exists in the history of Islam,” the “cutting off of heads is not a punishment foreseen in Islamic rules.”

“It may have existed in the past, but it was not a specific punishment” and, “above all, it is not specified for use against enemies,” he said.

“There are texts that order the killing of enemies of Islam, but they do not order decapitations. The Koran does not mention it. Nor do the hadith (the Prophet’s maxims),” Zannini continued.

In his opinion, “the choice to decapitate and use the media to broadcast such killings are made precisely to attract attention and to intimidate” and “to bring the West to its knees,” and affect “mass psychology.”

Including in cases like the slaughter of Beslan, Russia, or the recent kidnapping of two Italian volunteers, Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, the terrorists are “going against every traditional rule.”

Zannini clarified that the “killing of women is explicitly condemned by Islamic texts. The most accredited hadith say that women, children, clergy and even farmers cannot be killed, nor can young men of military age who are not in the military.”

“But these terrorists have taken an ideological leap: they have redefined the figure of the ‘enemy,'” he warned.

“For fundamentalism, for extremist groups and terrorists, the enemy has become the whole of the West as such,” so that every Westerner, even if a child, is someone who ‘attacks Islam”” and who, therefore, “must be annihilated,” he explained.

According to Zannini, it “is an ideological framework that justifies total Jihad,” although it is true that in Iraq, those who kill might be Muslims, but “there are also atheists that hide behind Islam, or some secret service or another.”

In face of this situation, Muslims themselves “are aghast,” he said.

“They find themselves faced with something new and unprecedented,” and although they “have not forgotten past struggles,” they are “left stunned by what is happening today.”

“A Muslim friend of mine from Bangladesh, an intellectual, confessed to me his concern: he feels that there is an urgent need to strengthen education in ideals among the young who are otherwise headed for a future of darkness,” the professor added.

“Even some members of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt have admitted their astonishment. The Muslim Brothers see that the Iraqi terrorists go partly by their ideology, but they themselves feel that … ‘they are giving Islam bad publicity,'” Zannini added.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation