“Why do they hate us?” Nothing to do with Western foreign policy, apparently

“Why do they hate us?” Nothing to do with Western foreign policy, apparently
by Ian Sinclair
2 May 2017 (updated)

“As long as you keep bombing other countries this sort of s— is going to keep happening.” – 31 December 2018 Manchester Victoria attacker after being arrested, according to eyewitness (Victoria Ward, Helena Horton and Jack Hardy, ‘Manchester Victoria stabbing: police raid suspect’s home after “terror attack” leaves three injured’, Telegraph, 1 January 2019)

‘There is a lot that is out there that you guys don’t know about. In order to get this message across I came back in person. To let you know, those who are running the country, to give them that message. Leave the Muslim lands, just leave them.’ – police interview with Khalid Ali, who was stopped in Whitehall in April 2017 (‘Taliban bomb-maker Khalid Ali guilty of plotting knife attack in Westminster’, Evening Standard, 26 June 2018)

‘Tell everyone that I love them and that they should struggle against the enemies of Allah with their lives and their property. The Queen and her soldiers will all be in the hellfire. They go to war with Muslims around the world and kill them without any mercy. They are the enemies that Allah tells us to fight.’ – suicide note allegedly written by Mohiussunnath Chowdhury before he attacked police with a samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace (‘Man attacked police with sword near Buckingham Palace, court hears’, Guardian, 18 June 2018)

‘The man accused of the Parsons Green Tube bombing blamed Britain and America for the deaths of his parents in Iraq, the Old Bailey has heard. College lecturer Kayte Cable said Ahmed Hassan told her it was “his duty to hate Britain” because of what happened to his family. The court also heard he believed his father had been killed by US bombing… Ms Cable said she could remember Mr Hassan telling her “his father was blown up and his mother had been shot”. She said he talked about Tony Blair and events in Iraq, adding: “I believe the anger was very clear. He referred to being angry several times.”’ – Ahmed Hassan, who is accused of attempting to set off a bomb on the London underground on 15 September 2017 (‘Parsons Green: Tube bomb accused “blamed West for father’s death”’, BBC News, 12 March 2018)

“Officials said Ullah was radicalized online, and had acted in retaliation for US airstrikes in Syria and elsewhere against the Islamic State” – Akayed Ullah, who tried to set off an explosive device in New York City in December 2017 (Jamiles Lartey, ‘New York bombing suspect reportedly posted Trump “failed to protect” US’, Guardian, 12 December 2017)

“He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge” – sister of Salman Abedi, who carried out the Manchester attack on 22 May 2017 (Chris Graham, ‘Salman Abedi “wanted revenge” for US air strikes in Syria, Manchester bomber’s sister says’, Telegraph, 25 May 2017)

‘The last message left by the killer Khalid Masood on the WhatsApp messaging service, revealing his motivation for the lethal attack in Westminster, has been uncovered by the security agencies, The Independent has learnt. In the message, sent just minutes before he began the rampage in which five people died and 50 were injured, the 52-year-old Muslim convert had declared that he was waging jihad in revenge against Western military action in Muslim countries in the Middle East.’ – Khalid Masood, killed after carrying out the terrorist attack in Westminster, UK on 22 March 2017 (Kim Sepgupta, ‘Last message left by Westminster attacker Khalid Masood uncovered by security agencies’, Independent, 29 April 2017)

‘In the series of phone calls with the negotiator during the Orlando massacre, Mateen also railed against U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, saying they were killing women and children. “What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there. You get what I’m saying?” he said.’ – Omar Mateen, killed after carrying out a terrorist attack on a nightclub in Orlando on 12 June 2016 (‘Transcripts of Orlando shooter’s conversation with police reveal ISIS influence’, Wall Street Journal, 28 September 2016)

‘…police found a letter in Ziamani’s jeans addressed to his “beloved parents”, saying he was a changed person. He wrote of being martyred and going to paradise, and referenced people being raped, tortured and killed in Iraq and Syria. He said he had a duty to help them. In the message, he wrote: “Because I have no means ov gettin there I will wage war against the british government on this soil the british government will have a taste of there own medicine they will be humiliated this is ISIB Islamic State of Ireland and Britain [sic].”’ – Brusthom Ziamani, arrested in August 2014 for planning to behead a British soldier (Press Association, ‘Muslim teenager planned to behead soldiers in London, court hears’, Guardian, 9 February 2015)

‘Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. This British soldier is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone… you lot are extreme. Do you think when you drop a bomb it picks one person? Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family. This is the reality… tell them [the UK Government] to bring our troops back so you can all live in peace.’ – Michael Adebolajo speaking immediately after killing British soldier Lee Rigby on 22 May 2013 (‘Lee Rigby trial: jury shown “eye for an eye” video’, Telegraph, 25 November 2014)

‘The two suspects in the Boston bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 were motivated by the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials told the Washington Post. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, “the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack,” the Post writes, citing “US officials familiar with the interviews.” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who carried out the 15 April 2013 Boston bombing (‘Boston Bombing Suspects Motivated By Afghanistan, Iraq Wars: Report’, Huffington Post, 24 April 2013)

‘”If the United States does not get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries controlled by Muslims, he said, ‘we will be attacking US”, adding that Americans “only care about their people, but they don’t care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die”… As soon as he was taken into custody May 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, onboard a flight to Dubai, the Pakistani-born Shahzad told agents that he was motivated by opposition to US policy in the Muslim world, officials said.’ – Faisal Shahzad, who tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, New York City on 1 May 2010 (Jerry Markon, ‘Shahzad pleads guilty in failed Times Square bombing, warns of future attacks’, Washington Post, 22 June 2010)

‘I had an agreement with at least one person to attack the United States in retaliation for US support of Israel and in retaliation of the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Palestine, especially in the blockade of Gaza, and in retaliation for the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and beyond, most of them women, children, and noncombatants.’ – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, aka the ‘underwear bomber’, who attempted to blow himself up on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on 25 December 2009 (Detriot Free Press Staff, ‘Transcript: Read Abdulmutallab’s statement on guilty plea’, Detroit Free Press, 12 October 2011)

‘Part of his disenchantment was his deep and public opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a stance shared by some medical colleagues but shaped for him by a growing religious fervor. The strands of religion and antiwar sentiment seemed to weave together in a PowerPoint presentation he made at Walter Reed in June 2007… For a master’s program in public health, Major Hasan gave another presentation to his environmental health class titled ‘Why The War on Terror is a War on Islam.’’ – Nidal Hasan, who killed thirteen people at Foot Hood, Texas on 5 November 2009 (Scott Shane and James Dao, ‘Investigators Study Tangle of Clues on Fort Hood Suspect’, New York Times, 14 November 2009)

‘The story of his personal conveyor belt towards political violence starts with one word: Iraq… The destruction of his home country was the catalyst… he says he watched the country implode under sanctions and Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship – and his view of the West began to change… He said he had no doubt a rise in childhood leukaemia was caused by depleted uranium shells, special armour-piercing US ammunition used in the first Gulf War. Abdulla blamed the US and its allies for the deteriorating situation – and he wasn’t standing and applauding when they came again in 2003… “My political views changed dramatically towards the [British] government,” he said. “They shared in murdering my people. It was the British government and American government. Without Blair, Bush couldn’t have invaded Iraq.”’ – Bilal Abdulla, who attempted to detonate a car bomb at Glasgow Airport on 30 June 2007 (Dominic Casciani, ‘Iraqi doctor’s road to radicalism’, BBC News, 16 December 2008)

‘The London bomb plot suspect arrested in Rome has allegedly confessed to Italian interrogators, lifting the lid on the plan to bring a wave of terror to Britain. Anti-terror police in the Italian capital say Osman Hussain has told them that the “bombers” watched videos of British and American troops “exterminating” Iraqi women and children before embarking on the attack on London’s transport network on July 21.’ – Osman Hussain, one of the failed 21 July 2005 suicide bombers (‘Confession lifts lid on London bomb plot’, Scotsman, 30 July 2005)

‘He said the public was responsible for the atrocities perpetuated against his “people” across the world because it supported democratically elected governments who carried them out. “Until we feel security, you will be our targets,” he said. “Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.”’ Mohammad Sidique Khan, in his 7/7 suicide bomber martyrdom video (‘London bomber video aired on TV’, BBC News, 2 September 2005)

‘The suspect, Amrozi, who was arrested on Wednesday, Maj Gen Made Mangku Pastika, the chief investigator of the multinational police team, said Amrozi described the attack as “revenge because of what Americans have done to Muslims”.’ – Amrozi, who was convicted and executed for his role in the 12 October 2002 Bali bombing (Alex Spillius, ‘Bali bombers were trying to kill Americans’, Telegraph, 9 November 2002)

‘Two days before he boarded United Airlines Flight 63 last December 22, accused Al-Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid wrote what federal prosecutors say was a farewell email to his mother… Prosecutors say that Reid wrote, “The reason for me sending you [a “will”] is so that you can see that I didn’t do this act out of ignorance nor did I do just because I want to die, but rather because I see it as a duty upon me to help remove the oppressive American forces from the Muslim land and that this is the only way for us to do so as we do not have other means to fight them.”’ – Richard Reid, who tried to blow himself up on a transatlantic flight on 22 December 2001 (Elaine Shannon, ‘Did Richard Reid Let Mom Know?’, Time, 23 May 2002)

‘Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple… Because you attacked us and continue to attack us… You attacked us in Palestine… which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years… You attacked us in Somalia; you supported the Russian atrocities against us in Chechnya, the Indian oppression against us in Kashmir, and the Jewish aggression against us in Lebanon… Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis… You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of you international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world…Your forces occupy our countries; you spread your military bases throughout them… You have starved the Muslims of Iraq, where children die every day. It is a wonder that more than 1.5 million Iraqi children have died as a result of your sanctions, and you did not show concern. Yet when 3000 of your people died, the entire world rises and has not yet sat down.’ – Osama bin Laden sets out the reasons why the US was attacked on 9/11 (‘Full text: bin Laden’s letter to America, Guardian, 24 November 2002)

‘Law-enforcement officials said yesterday that the suspects in the [1993] World Trade Center bombing mailed a letter around the time of the attack claiming responsibility and attributing the action to deep resentment against United States policy in the Middle East.’ – (Alison Mitchell, ‘Letter explained motive in bombing, official now say’, New York Times, 28 March 1993)

3 thoughts on ““Why do they hate us?” Nothing to do with Western foreign policy, apparently

  1. Ian M

    Useful compilation, thanks. A few more examples and good analysis in this article by CJ Werleman: ‘The convenient myth of radicalisation‘:

    “The concept of radicalisation emphasises the individual and, to some extent, the ideology and the group, and significantly de-emphasises the wider circumstances – the ‘root causes’ that it became so difficult to talk about after 9/11, and that are still not brought into analyses,” writes Mark Segwick. “So long as the circumstances that produce Islamist radicals’ declared grievances are not taken into account, it is inevitable that the Islamist radical will often appear as a ‘rebel without a cause’.”

    As such, it’s both tempting and lazy to portray the Paris attackers as religious ideologues who were radicalised into violent action on account of their respective and deeply held religious views. It’s also convenient for neoconservative, Western culturalists and pro-Israel lobbyists to root terrorism in Islamic ideology rather than in a political reaction to US and Israeli policy.

    “Religion had nothing to with this. We watched films. We were shown videos and images of the war in Iraq. We were told we must do something big. That’s why we met,” said Hussein Omar when interviewed after participating in a plot to bomb the London Underground in 2005.

    Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who held and killed four hostages in the kosher supermarket during last week’s Paris attacks, was recorded speaking to several hostages. In justifying his actions Coulibaly gave only one reference to Islam, and that was when he claimed his actions were based on “an eye for an eye,” which is text also found in the Bible. Coulibaly said he attacked because the French military has attacked Muslims in Syria, Iraq and Mali. He also cited Israel’s occupation and oppression of Muslims in Palestine as one of his primary motives. “I was born in France. If they didn’t attack other countries, I wouldn’t be here,” he said to one of his hostages.

    According to 2008 court documents, the Charlie Hebdo killers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, were radicalised by the US invasion of Iraq and the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib. CNN reported that the Kouachi brothers were avenging the death of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader and US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who also self-radicalised not through his religious belief, but rather by the US war on terror. In the days after the 9/11 attacks, al-Awlaki denounced the 9/11 attacks. “There is no way that the people who did this could be Muslim, and if they claim to be Muslim, then they have perverted their religion,” al-Awlaki told journalists. He also said in a 2003 interview that jihad can only be justified if there is an invading force from outside.

    From 2005, however, al-Awlaki’s positions against America hardened. “What we see from America is the invasion of countries; we see Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo Bay; we see cruise missiles and cluster bombs, and we have just seen the death of 23 children and 17 women,” declared al-Awlaki in a lecture he gave in 2010 titled “A Call to Jihad.”

    “What was essentially new in al-Awlaki’s statements from late 2005 onward was not his theological position but a reinterpretation of the political circumstances that Muslims were in,” writes Kundnani in his book The Muslims Are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the War on Terror. “The ultimate source of his idea of a global war to defend Islam was the militarised identity politics of the global war on terror itself.”

    The radicalisation process of the Sydney gunman, the Boston bombers, the London underground attackers, the Woolwich killers, and the Paris attackers have all followed the same path of al-Awlaki. In each instance, the terrorist held life-long commitment to the Islamic faith but radicalisation came as a reaction to the war on terror and Israel’s increased human rights violations against Palestinians. In other words, political circumstances radicalise the terrorist, while religion is used to express and justify that radicalisation.



  2. Pingback: Just how anti-war is Ed Miliband? | Ian Sinclair journalism

  3. psic88

    Excellent article. I can’t help but wonder if the reaction to foreign policy is not exactly what that foreign policy was intended to create.
    Aside from Assad and Syria’s survival, there is very little that could not be predicted from such a disillusioned and Machiavellian point of view.



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