All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.
George Orwell, in Animal Farm
Hamas leaders, who live and travel in luxury, are not affected by the global uproar over the events of 7 October. The wealth of the top leadership of Hamas is astounding that politics is no longer the last resort of the scoundrel but rather a non-state actor that doubles up as a social service organization and a terror outfit. They work behind the façade of schools, hospitals, even refugee camps and in heavily crowded city centres. It is a typical Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde situation where by day they are doing social services and by night, all criminal activities like drugs, terror, loot, plunder and rape. They legitimise these by their doublespeak on their own faith, where suicide is haram; but they interpret and glorify suicide bombing as divinely ordained.
How can one separate combatants from civilians? The façade of these cowards is civilian, especially women and children. When they kill their own, no one speaks, but when others kill them, there is an uproar. This global hypocrisy of human rights and its selective uproar has numbed the honest and genuine global conscience. Are we heading to a Dystopia where fraud is the reality, killing by one is victimhood, and when the other retaliates, it becomes genocide? Victimhood has been perfected even when they are not the real victims; victims do not elect terror outfits to rule over them and legitimize their activities.
The consequences of money laundering, terror financing, and proliferation financing (providing funds or financial services for nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons), as well as related crimes, undermine the financial sector and the broader economy. These crimes can make countries less stable, weakening law and order and governance, undermining regulatory effectiveness, reducing foreign investments, and blocking international capital flows. Money laundering and terror financing in one country can have serious ripple effects across borders and even globally. Countries with weak or ineffective controls are attractive to money launderers and financiers of terrorism. These criminals seek to conceal their criminal activities by exploiting the complexity of the global financial system, differences between national laws, and the speed at which money can cross borders.
There are five crucial components of terrorism: the involvement of a violent act, an audience, the creation of a mood of fear, innocent victims, and political goals or motives. David C. Rapoport’s 2004 essay, “The Four Waves of Modern Terrorism”, is one of the most influential and widely debated theories in the field of terrorism studies. In his essay, Professor Rapoport outlines a wave system that maps the history of modern terrorism since the late 19th century; more importantly for our purposes, it attempts to take the “complex phenomenon of terrorism and put it in a historical context that not only explained different periods of international terrorism but also sets forth theories and concepts that may be used to attempt to anticipate the future of terrorism.” A new fifth wave will emerge and take over in the next decade, and these alternative futures will pose ethical challenges for lawmakers and policy officials in balancing public safety and freedom.
The New Left wave started to ebb during the 1980s with the end of the Cold War. The effectiveness of participating terrorist groups was weakened by their inability to negotiate conflicting demands imposed by various international elements operating together. Working through the competing needs of different groups resulted in the neglect of their domestic bases. The coming together of the Left wokes with the Islamists and jihadi terrorists is that they follow similar tactics: fundamentally, both have deviated from their foundational principles.
The religious wave was precipitated by three major events in the Islamic world. The Iranian Revolution, the beginning of a new Islamic century, and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan all of which paved the way for religious fundamentalism to gain momentum and eclipse secular and political beliefs that motivated previous waves. In 1979, after almost two years of civil unrest and demonstrations, the Iranian Revolution unfolded, culminating in the overthrow and exile of the Shah, replacing a secular state with an Islamic Republic. The new Ayatollah regime encouraged ways to export the revolution and inspired terrorist activity in neighbouring states with large Muslim populations, including Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. To outside observers, the Iranian Revolution was unexpected, but many Muslims believed the 1979 revolution would hold significant meaning for them as it marked the start of a new Islamic century. They believed a “redeemer” would appear, a tradition that “sparked uprisings at the turn of earlier Muslim centuries.” Militant Islamists stormed the Grand Mosque in Mecca at the start of the new year, protesting the Saudi government, which they believed had abandoned Islamic principles.
Violent militant Islamist groups are at the heart of the religious wave and have conducted the most significant and deadly international attacks since the 1990s, but they are not the only religious terrorist organizations using violence to achieve their goals. Groups like Boko Haram, Hamas, Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Hezbollah, and ISIS have received the most international attention since the start of the religious wave.
The deep emotional resonance created by extreme religious ideology, coupled with advances in technology and other effects of globalization, have made the religious wave of terrorism the most durable and difficult to contain. Rapoport warns that the wave pattern is so interesting and frightening that issues emerge unexpectedly to inspire terrorism, and there is no way to predict what they may be. Religious conflict involves the will of a higher power that is non-negotiable, and states cannot satisfy the demands of religiously motivated terrorists on a mission to carry out the “Word of God.” Jihadi terror inspires genocidal violence to separate from the modern world, and the destruction of Western influences—including Marxism and all its varieties—is necessary to achieve their prime objective of establishing a Caliphate.
Technology and its knowledge and use are central to the Jihadi terror—very much like the Left and wokes, they talk of equality, but some are more equal, especially the woke leadership who live in extreme luxury, which many democratic leaders cannot even dream of. It involves successful cyber-terrorism attacks intending to sabotage critical infrastructure, disrupt governments and businesses, and manipulate international financial systems. Attacks in cyberspace may be carried out by a lone wolf, acting independently or as formal groups operating under the direction of their leadership. The next generation of terrorists has grown up in a digital world, and their technical knowledge related to hacking is greater than their predecessors. They know how to penetrate sophisticated systems and bypass computer security defences, allowing them to safely and anonymously launch attacks from anywhere worldwide, while quickly adjusting their tactics in response to counterterrorism and enhanced security measures.
Terrorists motivated by religion view their mission as a holy directive, making their goals irrefutable and non-negotiable. All major world religions have extremists that have used violence to further their perceived religious goals, but Islamist terrorist organizations have been the most active and are currently the greatest threat; some of their leaders are the neo-rich and have turned NGOs and terror into businesses to make money by violence while instilling fears among the masses.
Prof Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit is the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.