Masood N. Khan M.D.
There are three very important elements that are deliberately excluded in all the internationally recognized definitions of terrorism. A critical analysis of these definitions unmasks the flaws in how terrorism is defined to the unjust advantage of few. Muslims need to think and have an opinion about such matters that have been used by the media and the world to create propagandist mind controlling labels as tools to misrepresent the causative realities behind violence and bloodshed around the world. As you can see all definitions come from the west. The Muslim world is absent being in deep slumber. Perhaps many of the rulers of the Muslim countries are happy with these definitions because they are protective of their crimes.
What are those three elements? See below.
1. US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE:
“The calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.”
“Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
3. SECTION 802 OF THE USA PATRIOT ACT:
“The Patriot Act expanded the definition of terrorism to cover “domestic,” as opposed to international, terrorism. Accordingly “a person engages in domestic terrorism if they commit an act “”dangerous to human life”” that is a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States, if the act appears to be intended to: (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.”
4. THE UNITED KINGDOM’S TERRORISM ACT:
It defined terrorism as follows: (a) the use or threat of action is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public and (b) the use or threat of action is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause. (c) involves serious violence against a person, (d) involves serious damage to property, (e) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action, (f) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public or (g) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
5. UNITED NATION’S DEFINITION:
A 1996 non-binding United Nations Declaration to supplement the 1994 Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, annexed to the UN General Assembly Resolution 51/210, described terrorist activities in the following terms.
“Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes, are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them”
The missing elements are:
1. All the definitions of terrorism are silent about the causes of terrorism. Terrorism does not take place just in the air for its own fun. Majority of times, it is injustice and denial of human rights that underlies the origin of terrorism. If this fact is included in the definition of terrorism many mighty elements in the world or other powers wearing the mask of virtue and benevolence will emerge as equal culprits and accomplices in giving rise to terrorism. Definitions of terrorism are meant to make sure that the civilized world as defined by the west should remain immune to such damaging vulnerabilities.
2. All the definitions of terrorism are not only protective of the state and the governments but show them as victims of terrorism. There is deliberate omission of crimes committed by the states against their own citizens even though the violence, mass killing of people, destruction of their properties and unjust incarceration of tens of thousands of individuals are glaringly perpetrated by the governments against innocent people.
3. All the definitions of terrorism do not recognize the struggle for freedom and human rights taken up by oppressed people who by compulsion have to resort to violence to achieve their just goals because of barbaric regimes will not yield otherwise.