February 12, 2015:
For over a thousand years the non-Islamic world largely ignored the periodic outbreaks of terrorism and mass murder in Moslem majority nations. With the appearance of the mass media in the 19th century (and the need for unending catastrophes to attract readers) that began to change. The Sudanese Mahdi (“redeemer”) uprising of the 1870s was initially a strictly Moslem versus Moslem affair but the British got involved and that attracted first British then other mass circulation newspapers. The Mahdi uprising burned itself out after about a decade as so as many had before it. There was great loss of life and the promises of divine intervention never came true. They never do.
Given the coverage this uprising received editors worldwide added such religion based rebellions to their list of things to watch for. Until the current outbreak (that actually began in the 1970s as a Moslem versus Moslem matter that was generally ignored in the West) there were a few smaller ones (in Somalia and Afghanistan after World War I) that received some media attention in the West because they were considered “colorful” (and outrageous).
With the spread of television and cheap cassette recordings in the late 20th century those Moslems seeking to use mass media to trigger and sustain another “Islamic uprising” found communications tools that could be used to inflame a largely illiterate audience. All these Islamic uprisings had featured illiterates being most of the killers and most of the innocent victims. Most Moslems were then and are now largely illiterate and normally roused by speakers who could give inspiring speeches. Such speakers are rare and rarely are enough of them inclined, at the same time, to back a religious uprising to get one going. But this new media for illiterates changed all that. This led to the appearance of more Islamic rebel movements in the 1970s and several of those merged to produce the current Islamic terrorism mess the world is faced with.
Another change occurred in the 1990s when some Islamic terrorists decided that attacking targets in the non-Moslem world would be of some benefit to them. It didn’t turn out that way but it is still fashionable to urge Moslems to commit violence in the name of Islam in the West. It turned out that this appealed to the sense of resentment and victimization in the Moslem world. Now many Moslems knew then (and even more acknowledge it now) that the cultural, economic and governance problems in the Islamic world are due to internal, not external influences. If anything the many scientific and cultural advances in the non-Moslem world have been of great benefit to Moslems. Better medicine and technology in general were quickly accepted, but so was the idea that gratitude should be replaced with hatred for how the West was somehow holding the Islamic world back and scheming to keep Moslems backward and weak.
Gradually it dawned on many Moslems that all the Islamic terrorism killed far more Moslems than non-Moslems and the few attacks in the West merely made the West less willing to tolerate such misbehavior or be helpful to the Moslem world. The current Islamic terrorism features numerous videos of Islamic terrorists killing captives (most of them Moslems) in exotic fashion (beheading, burning, stoning, crucifixion and so on). This sort of thing is meant to terrorize Moslems and non-Moslems alike into submission but it has just the opposite effect. It enrages Moslems and non-Moslems and speeds the demise of the current outbreak of Islamic terrorism.
Leaders of Islamic terror groups will continue insisting that all this violence, since it is inspired and approved by God, will work and it must work. These leaders will never (with a few exceptions) realize that they have been delusional all along. That is normal. The leaders of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan believed in their cause until the end. Which in many cases was a hanging after a war crimes trial. We see the same thing being played out in Russia today with many veterans of the Cold War, who now run the country, insisting that seeking to rebuild the Russian empire is destiny and worth any price. Scary stuff, but it never seems to go away no matter how many times this sort of logic is proven false.