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To better understand the Quranic basis of jihad as practiced by extremists without sifting through a library of interpretations, you should read one book above all others, says Lt. Col. Joseph Myers.
The reason I studied this work, once I was able to find it, is because I had heard or had read in an article that nowhere in our military education institutions are we studying the campaigns of the Prophet Mohammed in any similar way that we studied military campaigns that are f
"It (terror) can be instilled only if the opponent's faith is destroyed...To instill terror into the hearts of the enemy, it is essential, in the ultimate analysis, to dislocate his Faith" (p.60)
Here we see in explict terms the religious dimension to terrorism. According to Malik, terror is designed to shake the faith of the enemy. Terror is a counter-religious attack. When Al Qaeda targeted the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Capitol for the 9/11 attacks, these were not military targets. Even the Pentagon was a symbolic target. And what were they targeting? The core elements of the American civic religion: materialism (economy), military strength, and democratic values. The terrorists understood that bringing the Twin Towers down wasn't going to collapse the economy; destruction of the Pentagon wasn't going to make military decisions and strikes impossible; and attacking the Capitol wasn't going to end American democracy. These were strikes designed to shake our faith in our values.