ZOA: Islamism, Not Poverty, Produced Attempted Terror Attacks In U.K.
July 3, 2007

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has stated in the wake of the attempted multiple terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom, that Islamist ideology, not poverty, produced the terrorists involved. The terrorists had attempted to crash vehicles into the Glasgow airport terminal, an area crowded with travelers, with the aim of murdering as many of them as possible. Five of the seven suspects held by British police are young Muslim doctors who were employed at British hospitals. One of them is Mohammed Asha, 26, a neurosurgeon from Jordan who was a star student who chose to live and work in Britain. Another one of the arrested bombers, Dr. Bilal Abdulla, qualified as a doctor in Baghdad before coming to Britain ( New York Sun, July 3)

A further suspect, a 27-year-old foreign doctor who has been working as a registrar at an Australian hospital, was also arrested in Brisbane , Australia, in connection with the attempted car bombings in the UK (ABC News [Australia], July 3). Most of the arrested suspects are thus university-educated professionals, not poverty-stricken individuals.

ZOA National Chairman of the Board, Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, “The idea that Islamist terrorism, any more than other cases of terrorism, is produced by poverty and hardship is nonsense and several cases and studies have proved it. The 9/11 hijackers, to provide another well-known example, were educated Muslims who subscribed to an extremist ideology of hate and murder.

“Islamic extremism is not a response to poverty. Not only are very poor Muslim polities like Bangladesh not hotbeds of Islamism whereas wealthy ones like Kuwait are, but Islamism has often surged in countries experiencing rapid economic growth. Even in places with a lot of poverty, like Egypt, a study on the country’s economic troubles by Galal A. Amin, an economist at the American University in Cairo, concluded that it was rare to find examples of religious fanaticism among either the higher or the very lowest social strata of the Egyptian population. The factors that cause Islamic extremism to decline or flourish have more to do with ideology than economics.

“A 2004 study by Dr. Marc Sageman, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania and a former CIA case officer in Afghanistan during the late 1980s, concluded that ’ Most Arab terrorists … were well-educated, married men from middle-or upper-class families, in their mid-20s and psychologically stable .’ The record shows that these findings also hold true in the Palestinian case where terrorism is not only also carried out by a range of educated and far from desperate people, but enjoys widespread support from the Palestinian public , as repeated public opinion polls attest.

“To take one example among hundreds, Muhammad Abu Jamous, who was part of a terror squad that murdered four Israelis in Gaza on January 9, 2002, was described by the New York Times as ‘a member of the Palestinian Navy [and] something of a minor celebrity. He had been a runner on the Palestinian national team, competing in Egypt and Saudi Arabia . He married just three months ago, and his wife is two months pregnant.’ In other words, he had everything to lose. He had a good job. He was even something of a celebrity. He was a newlywed, and his wife was expecting a child. He had every logical reason to live peacefully and quietly. Yet he picked up a gun and went out to murder innocent Israelis.

“The fallacy that terrorism is caused by poverty has immediate relevance. The United States, and the world, must not make policy on the basis that the absence of money is the problem and that throwing money at terrorists, like Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah, is the solution. Until the PA actually fulfills Palestinian Arab obligations under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan to arrest terrorists and close the bomb factories and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds terrorism, there should be no aid, rewards or concessions to the PA.”

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