- Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Ben Saul
Chapter 11: Islam, terrorism and international law
It is well over a decade since the tragic events of 11 September 2001, though the debate on Islam’s relationship with terrorism and extremism continues with vigour. The tragedy of 9/11 produced numerous consequences: international law became more closely involved in scrutinizing the practices of the Islamic states; connections between Islam and terrorism were drawn to justify the military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq; Muslim minorities in Europe, Australia and North America felt vulnerable and targeted; and amidst an unprecedented growth in ‘Islamophobia’, concerns were raised about the fundamental relationship between Islam and the Sharia (Islamic law) and radicalization and terrorism. Critics of Islam argued that it is an aggressive religion which advocates recourse to violence and terrorism. Jihad, according to this interpretation, is an instrument of subjugation, terror and human rights violations. On the other hand, the global Muslim population has pointed to both the overt manipulation of international law to justify invasions and occupations of Muslim lands and the continuation of an immoral and illegal ‘war on terror’ in which Islam and Muslims are the primary targets and victims of human rights violations.
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