Shia Followers has conducted an exclusive interview with Kevin Barrett, the host of Truth Jihad Radio, to discuss root causes of terrorism, the Shia-Sunni divide and Islamophobia.
“Terrorism is almost completely driven by politics, not religion,” Dr. Barrett said, adding that terrorism is a military tactic “carried out by the uniformed military forces of nation states.”
He went on to say, “Insurgent groups are responsible for only a small fraction of terrorist attacks. And the most famous insurgent terror incidents, such as 9/11, are false flag operations facilitated by the very states that pretend to be under attack.”
Following is the full transcript of the interview:
Dr. Barrett, what are the root causes of fundamentalism and terrorism in the Muslim world? Are these issues mostly driven by geo-political problems or religious teachings?
Kevin Barrett: The biggest single cause of fundamentalism is Saudi oil money. Wahhabism and related strains of fundamentalism would be very minor problems if they were not amplified by Saudi Arabia’s financial and political power.
A lesser cause of fundamentalism is the onset of modernity and mass literacy. In the past, only people with a spiritual and religious vocation would study Islam. Today, all sorts of people, including those with a this-worldly (dunyawi) approach to life, have the tools to dabble in the study of Islam. When engineers study Islam, they often apply the same kind of thinking to Islam that they bring to engineering. Such people often gravitate to literalist or obscurantist readings.
Terrorism is a separate question from fundamentalism. Not all fundamentalists are terrorists! Nor are all terrorists fundamentalists. In fact, the worst terrorists in the world are the USA and Israel. One could argue that U.S.-Israeli terrorism is driven in part by fundamentalist interpretations of the Torah or Old Testament. But that is a minor factor. Terrorism is almost completely driven by politics, not religion. Terrorism (attacking civilians to spread fear) is a military tactic. Almost all terrorism is carried out by the uniformed military forces of nation states. Insurgent groups are responsible for only a small fraction of terrorist attacks. And the most famous insurgent terror incidents, such as 9/11, are false flag operations facilitated by the very states that pretend to be under attack.
Muslims are being violently targeted in different countries, including Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Palestine, etc. What’s your take on this phenomenon and the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments?
Kevin Barrett: Muslims are under attack for a number of reasons. Some geopolitical reasons include: Muslim countries are weak and divided, which opens them to attack. The Muslim world has fantastic energy and wealth, which predatory powers seek to loot. And after the Cold War ended, the West needed a new enemy, so it used its propaganda apparatus to create worldwide Islamophobia.
But there are also cultural and psychological reasons driving the war on Islam. Most cultures have forgotten their identities. (All cultures are rooted in sacred traditions, which are disappearing.) Muslims have maintained their religious identity better than most other groups, and Islam offers a viable alternative to secularism, as Murad Hoffman has argued. So many non-Muslim groups are jealous, and seek to reinforce their own weak identities by opposing or attacking Muslims.
What factors or forces have contributed to the Shia-Sunni divide in Muslim majority countries? And what’s the role of the Zionist regime in this regard?
Kevin Barrett: The Shia-Sunni problem we have today was engineered by Occupation forces in Iraq, in accordance with the Zionist Oded Yinon plan to balkanize the Middle East on ethnic and sectarian lines. False flag bombings were staged against both Shia and Sunni targets in order to fan the flames of sectarian war. The Zionist regime played the main role inciting these divisions. Just as the Zionists used 9/11 to hijack the American military to go to war against Israel’s enemies, they also took advantage of the U.S. occupation of Iraq to put their Oded Yinon plan into high gear.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. He is Host of TRUTH JIHAD RADIO; a hard driving weekly LIVE call in radio show. He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.