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John Maszka

The nomenclature, ‘Islamic terrorism,’ implies that terrorism is somehow caused by or correlated with the religion of Islam, thereby implicating 2.2 billion Muslims in some of the most nefarious crimes against humanity. In this chapter, I deconstruct this unfortunate misnomer. The very heart of my thesis rests upon the argument that terrorist violence is a tactic employed toward a specific strategic objective (political concessions). As such, it is not caused by anything. Nor is it necessarily correlated with the religion of Islam. Still, the knee-jerk reaction has been to paint all Islamist groups with the same terrorist brush. This ‘one-suicide-vest-fits-all’ approach offers obvious political benefits for those who employ it. Regimes cash in on military support, financial assistance and international recognition for their part in the global war on terrorism (GWOT). Islamist groups also benefit. By claiming an alliance with al-Qaeda or Islamic State, the potential for recruits and funding also multiplies to the extent that the struggle is depicted as an epic battle between good and evil rather than a local squabble over resources. Finally, the franchises also win via the illusion of global presence and the opportunity to potentially tap into local resources.