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October 28th, 2013
03:56 PM ET

Terrorist attacks and deaths hit record high, report shows

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog co-editor

Washington (CNN) – As terrorism increasingly becomes a tactic of warfare, the number of attacks and fatalities soared to a record high in 2012, according to a new report obtained exclusively by CNN.

More than 8,500 terrorist attacks killed nearly 15,500 people last year as violence tore through Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

That’s a 69% rise in attacks and an 89% jump in fatalities from 2011, said START, one of the world’s leading terrorism-trackers.

Six of the seven most deadly groups are affiliated with al Qaeda, according to START, and most of the violence was committed in Muslim-majority countries.

The previous record for attacks was set in 2011 with more than 5,000 incidents; for fatalities the previous high was 2007 with more than 12,800 deaths.

Headquartered at the University of Maryland, START maintains the Global Terrorism Database, the most comprehensive source of unclassified information about terrorist attacks, with statistics dating to 1970.

START, one of 12 Centers for Excellence funded by the Department of Homeland Security, plans to release its full database in December but shared its early findings after a request by CNN.

This year is expected to outpace even 2012’s record high. There were 5,100 attacks in the first six months of 2013, said Gary LaFree, START’s director, and the wave of violence shows few signs of ebbing.

In recent weeks, Al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia, attacked a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, leaving 67 dead; suicide bombers killed 81 at a church in Pakistan; and the Taliban took credit for killing two police officers with a car bomb in Afghanistan.

To find and tally attacks like those, START's computers comb through 1.2 million articles from 50,000 media outlets each month with an algorithm to help identify and eliminate redundancies. Its 25-member staff then studies, categorizes and counts each attack.

START's definition of terrorism closely mirrors that of the State Department and other experts. To be counted as an act of terror, an incident has to be an intentional act or threat by a "non-state actor" that meets two of these three criteria:

• It was aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious or social goal.

• It was intended to coerce, intimidate or convey a message to a larger group.

• It violated international humanitarian law by targeting non-combatants.

Part of the observed increase in 2012 may be due to the fact that START has improved its data collection methods and is better than ever at finding and categorizing terrorism, LaFree said. But he said the dramatic rise is not just a matter of having better data.

“We are convinced that a big chunk of this is real change in the world,” LaFree said. “We’ve seen a fairly steep upward trajectory in the total of terrorist attacks and fatalities worldwide.”

Outside of small dips in 2004 and 2009, the number of attacks has steadily increased in the past decade, according to START. The upward trend increases the likelihood that 2012’s numbers are not an aberration, LaFree said.

Counterterrorism experts not affiliated with START also said attacks appear to be occurring with increasing frequency.

“There’s just a lot of killing going on along sectarian and religious lines,” said Daniel Benjamin, coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department from 2009 to 2012. “And that’s a worrisome thing.”

The reasons behind the rise are complex, experts say:

• Weak and unstable states and corrupt or ineffective governments.

• Poverty and high unemployment, particularly among young men.

• Access to more lethal weaponry and increasing use of tactics like suicide bombings capable of killing scores of bystanders.

• A spike in sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, where ancient grudges give rise to modern massacres.

• The increasing use of terrorism as a tactic in war.

“The distinction between the front line and home front has largely been erased as terrorism has become a growing feature of contemporary warfare,” said Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior adviser at the RAND Corp. and the founder of its counterterrorism program.

But Jenkins also cautioned that “terrorism” is notoriously difficult to define, and the increase in attacks does not necessarily mean the United States is “losing the war on terror.” He said it could just reflect a shift in strategy among Syrian rebels and Afghani radicals, for example.

Still, experts say the apparent increase in civilian casualties is alarming.

Gone are the days when terrorist groups like the Irish Republican Army or Italy’s Red Brigade would try to keep casualties low by issuing warnings, LaFree said.

“If you’re a terrorist group now and you want to get your message out,” he said, “the more people you kill, the more ‘successful’ you’ll be.”

Sectarian attacks - such as the pitched battles between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan - tend to be disproportionately deadly, said Martha Crenshaw, an expert at Stanford University and a START board member.

“Sadly, it seems to be increasingly acceptable in certain belief systems to kill as many members of the other religious community as possible,” she said. “Moral restraints seem to be eroding.”

Bombings and explosions were used in 58% of terrorist attacks in 2012, but it wasn’t always this way. In fact, START’s data also show a dramatic global shift in terrorist tactics and hot spots.

In the 1970s, most attacks were committed with guns and occurred in Western Europe. In the 1980s, Latin America saw the most terrorist acts. Beginning with the 1990s, South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East has seen steadily rising number of attacks, a trend that has accelerated in recent years.

Although terrorism touched 85 countries last year, just three - Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan - suffered more than half of 2012’s attacks (55%) and fatalities (62%).

In January, Sunni suicide bombers attacked scores of Shiite pilgrims in Iraq, killing at least 73. In February, a car bomb outside a café in Mogadishu, Somalia, left 15 dead. In March, a bombing in Thailand killed 14 and injured 340 in a commercial district.

Just eight private U.S. citizens died in attacks outside the United States in 2012, all in Afghanistan, according to the State Department. In the United States, seven people died in 11 terrorist attacks last year, six of them in a shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Despite the death of Osama bin Laden and capture of other key al Qaeda leaders, the group has exported its brand of terrorism to other militant Muslims, according to START and other counterterrorism experts.

“We’ve had success in stopping al Qaeda central,” LaFree said. “But we have been unsuccessful in stopping the message.”

Afghanistan’s Taliban was by far the deadliest group in 2012, when it launched 525 attacks that killed 1,842 people.

The second deadliest group was Nigeria’s Boko Haram, a jihadist group that orchestrated 364 attacks last year that killed 1,132 people.

The next most deadly were al Qaeda in Iraq, the Communist Party of India-Maoist, Somalia’s Al-Shabaab, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan’s branch of the Taliban.

Rhonda Shore, a spokesperson for the State Department's Bureau of Counterterrorism, said she hadn't seen START's latest numbers and couldn't comment on the report. But she offered a staunch defense of the Obama administration’s approach to al Qaeda.

“We have made great progress in our efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the larger al Qaeda organization in recent years,” she said.

“However,” she said, al Qaeda and its affiliates “continue to present a serious threat to the United States and its interests, and we must remain vigilant as we consider the range of tools and actions available to disrupt this threat.”

In April, START compiled a separate report for the State Department that counts fewer attacks (6,771) and fatalities (11,098) in 2012 than its own report because the U.S. government uses slightly different criteria to define terrorism.

Those lower numbers still represent an all-time yearly high in the number of attacks, according to START’s database.

Despite top terrorist groups’ affiliation - sometimes tenuous - with al Qaeda, some do not fit the mold created by its former head, bin Laden, and current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, said Benjamin, the former State Department counterterrorism coordinator.

Bin Laden was motivated by an apocalyptic vision, Benjamin said, and wanted to spark a global war between Christians and Muslims.

The power struggles in many Muslim countries, on the other hand, are driven as much by political as religious concerns, according to Benjamin and other terrorism experts.

“Al-Shabaab, for example, is a fractious and disorganized group,” he said, “and the overwhelming majority of its foot soldiers don’t care about al Qaeda. They are just fighting to stay alive.”

And while most terrorism in 2012 was committed in Muslim-majority countries, LaFree and other experts cautioned against viewing Islam itself as inherently violent.

“Not so long ago, terrorism was centered in Western Europe and Latin America,” LaFree said. “It moves. And, unfortunately, it has moved into the Muslim world right now.”

Like Benjamin, Rizwan Jaka, a Muslim leader based in Northern Virginia, said that political - not religious - motivations lay behind many acts of terrorism.

“It isn’t like they woke up and said 'I’m a Muslim; I’m going to go kill someone in a shopping mall,' ” Jaka said. “In their twisted mind, this is political retaliation.”

Still, American Muslims are working to reduce Sunni-Shiite tensions, said Jaka, a board member of the Islamic Society of North America.

The Fiqh Council of North America, an influential group that issues rulings based on Sharia, or Islamic law, released a fatwa endorsed by dozens of Muslims in 2005 categorically condemning terrorism.

More recently, the Islamic Society of North America has met with African and Middle Eastern leaders to urge them to protect the rights of religious minorities and discourage terrorism.

In September, Sunni and Shiite leaders meeting in Washington announced an agreement to set aside differences and address the “dire situation of unrest, destruction, genocide and refugees” in many predominantly Muslim countries.

“All Muslims are one nation, even if the schools of thought are diverse,” the scholars’ declaration said. “Such diversity is a source of intellectual enrichment and should not be the cause of accusations of disbelief, murder, and the desecration of sanctities.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Afghanistan • Africa • Crime • Fatwa • Foreign policy • Iran • Iraq • Islam • Islamic law • Middle East • Muslim • Nigeria • Pakistan • Terrorism

soundoff (911 Responses)
  1. Name*ggh

    http://myJobCash.com/?id=destinycharm

    October 30, 2013 at 1:35 am |
  2. Solidspine

    All Muslims are one nation, – you got that one right, but what a croc! They should not be allowed in the US, they are our enemy,

    October 29, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Death to Islam

      Yes. You are correct. But some people want to give religion more rights than a human being and let them in to kill us all in the name of psychotic multi-culturalism.

      October 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Marie

      "All Muslims are one nation." You have to be a troll; you cannot possibly be this stupid. You and your sock puppet "Death to Islam" are just too dumb to function in the real world.

      October 29, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
      • Sywa

        The "nation" of Islam is how they view it. Just ask one instead of showing your ignorance.
        They will not rest until the whole world is subjugated, enslaved, and murdered.
        You are the fool. I would not be surprised at all to learn you were a muslim troll here to whitewash your filthy religion of hate.

        October 30, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • Intisarul Islam

          Where does Islam say any of the crap you just posted? NOWHERE. The Quran explicitly says to tolerate people of different faiths because there is "no compulsion in religion."(Quran 2 256) You're the typical paranoid, xenophobic, uneducated Republican who would LIE and DECEIVE (like you did in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR POSTS) at whatever cost to spread fear and hysteria, and create your "ideal" White-only Fascist, Evangelical state of WASPs with Rick Santorum as your "supreme leader."

          October 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • Infidel

          Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

          Not only does this verse establish that violence can be virtuous, but it also contradicts the myth that fighting is intended only in SELF-DEFENSE, since the audience was obviously not under attack at the time.

          Proof is from their Hadith where we know that their terrorist/pedophile mohammad was actually trying to motivate his people into raiding caravans with this verse.

          GOT ISLAM??

          October 30, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
        • Intisarul Islam

          Hello "Infidel,"

          It looks like you did not finish that quote from the Quran you posted. That quote about fighting was referring to whether or not it is justified to fight during Ramadan because at the time, the Pagans were killing the Muslims and Muhammad did not know if it would be allowed to fight back then. The next lines are "They ask you about the sacred month – about fighting therein. Say, "Fighting therein is great [sin], but averting [people] from the way of Allah and disbelief in Him and [preventing access to] al-Masjid al-Haram and the expulsion of its people therefrom are greater [evil] in the sight of Allah . And fitnah [persecution] is greater than killing." And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able." Here it becomes clear that the Pagans were kicking out, and persecuting Muslims in Mecca, so Muhammad is telling them to fight back IN DEFENSE.

          October 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • Infidel

          Oh please! Are you going to five that "self defense" pig's feces again??

          Muslim up! Your mohammad was a terrorist. This self proclaimed prophet organized around 65 military campaigns in the last 10 years of his life and personally led 27 of them. The more power that this animal attained, the smaller the excuse needed to go to battle, until finally he began attacking tribes merely because they were not part of his growing empire.

          So please stop with this "self defense" cr@p!

          October 31, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
        • Intisarul Islam

          Hello "Infidel,"

          You did a great job at ignoring my point about context. Most of his battles were against Mecca. He conquered Mecca at 630AD, and died in 632AD.

          October 31, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Infidel

      Islam is not intended to co-exist as an equal with other religions. It is to be the dominant religion, with Sharia as the supreme law. Islamic rule is to be extended to the ends of the earth, and resistance is to be dealt with by any means necessary.

      Muslim apologists/appeasers often shrug off the koran's many verses of violence by saying that they are only relevant in a “time of war.”

      To this, Islamic terrorists would agree. They are at war with us and everything NON-MUSLIM!!

      October 30, 2013 at 9:57 am |
      • Intisarul Islam

        If that were true, the 6 million Muslims in America would be blowing up people like you right now, and the US would probably not exist anymore. Is this what is happening? No. What does thins say about your nonsense post? That is is typical BS coming from a Republican with an IQ of 0 (google what they call people in that range, lol)

        November 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Intisarul Islam

      "All Muslims are one nation" HUH???? For your information, there are 57 Muslim nations in the world – not one. Also – I hear you have a problem with Muslims in this country. Well, you know what? YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING about it. We're here TO STAY, and we're here FOR GOOD. What are you going to do? NOTHING. What can you do? NOTHING. How does this make you feel? It better make you feel crappy. The most you can do is sit here and whine like a 5 year old.

      October 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
      • Infidel

        For a Universal MUSLIM world…any tactic, any means, any BEHADING, any weapon is fully justified, so terrorism and mass murder are considered to be perfectly valid methods in attaining their ISLAMIC theological and political goals.

        October 31, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • Intisarul Islam

          That's a lie.

          October 31, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
        • Infidel

          A lie? Oh really??

          Look around...where Muslims are weak demographically and politically, they will propose truce. But we must understand the difference between truce and peace. Truce is a temporary ploy to buy time until one is stronger. Peace is lasting mutual respect. The PLO were masters at this nonsense.

          You "true" Muslims have never cared for peace, EVER, with non-muslims, who you see as inferior. Where Muslims are strong, you wage freakin Universal Jihad, a worldwide WAR against the non-muslim. Jihad is the scriptural imperative of your Political Islam, and the non-muslim is fair game.

          Have you seen what you muslims have done to Eqypt? Africa? England and France?? Islam is simply a bad cancer and I am calling you OUT!!

          October 31, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
        • Intisarul Islam

          You have a problem with Muslims in the West? What are you going to do about it? (crickets chirping) Oh, that's right! You can't do anything!

          October 31, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  3. Solidspine

    The muslim president encourages it, just not in his home of Kenya.

    October 29, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Marie

      What a ignorant statement. He neither lives in Kenya, nor is he Muslim; you have, however, made your papa Rush Hannity proud by repeating their lies, you racist, bigoted moron. Your tea must be spiked with stupid.

      October 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
      • Infidel

        Hey Marie...Islam is a patrilineal religion. That is, in Islam, the father passes his faith to the children; and when a Muslim male has children with a non-Muslim female, Islam considers the children Muslim.

        Obama's grandfather and father having been Muslims – the extent of their piety matters not at all – means that, in Muslim eyes, Barack was born a Muslim.

        Once you are born a MUSLIM, according to this cult ideology, you are not allowed to leave it.

        Also...Obama's middle name, Hussein, explicitly proclaims him a born Muslim.

        – – Obama was registered as Muslim at SD Katolik Santo Fransiskus Asisi

        – – Registered as Muslim at SD Katolik Santo Fransiskus Asisi (see the book Audacity on page 154

        – -same book and page, Obama attended Islamic class at Besuki.

        – – Obama attended and prayed at mosques. Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's younger half-sister, said her father (namely, Barack's stepfather) attended the mosque "for big communal events," with Obama.

        – – Muslim clothing: Barry Obama wore a sarong indicating that he continued to wear this garment in the United States. This fact has religious implications because, in Indonesian culture, only Muslims wear sarongs.

        I have more if you wish...

        Walks like a duck, talks like a duck...

        October 30, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Was Hitler a Christian?

          October 30, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  4. steve

    15,000 per year is less than 1/2 the total gun deaths in the USA, and that 15,000 is world wide, not really a big number

    October 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Piffle

      The numbers are deliberately fudged to show a small number. Terrorism is rarely doc-umented.

      October 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
      • reality

        Really ? I pity on your ignorance.

        October 30, 2013 at 1:58 am |
  5. Lamb of Dog

    Great. We added 1.5 trillion to the debt for what? That doesn't even begin to count all the money spent on surveillance. That's just the last two wars.
    Americans are a bunch of scared sissys. They have kept us scared of the boogieman long enough.

    October 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • bagster

      what do you expect when our president fails to get terrorist that killed our people in benghazi. they know he will not do anything. and then we are at war, where are soldgers have to ask for permison to shot back

      October 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
      • Infidel

        MUSLIM terrorists can rest secure in the knowledge that MUSLIM appeasers like our Obama can't even muster the word terrorist and MUSLIM in the same sentence and has never avenged a Muslim terror attack against these Americans, and likely never will.

        And those who tragically died in Benghazi all died in vain. Worst yet – – he, Hillary and Susan Rice all blame this MUSLIM jihad KILLINGS on a freakin' You Tube Video!! What a disgrace to those that were KILLED by these MUSLIM terrorists!!

        October 29, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
        • Anonymous

          Obama just wants to preserve the peace, I don't think he sympathizes with or is a muslim. I think he probably is into some whacky spiritual stuff, but then againmaybe he knows some proof of it as President lol. Either way though, jsut mainly wanted to point out Obama did avenge us with ordering the end of Osama. Obama ain't that great a President, I get much of your points, but Obama also doesn't have too much of a choice in the matter. He also ahas that lil New International Order agenda that americans been striving for a while. Lol, ppl a scared of a NWO, but its a noble idea. Only problem is it isn't compatible with the way of the World, which is pretty much to be old, chaotic, and ever increasingly tumultuous. Islam is a big obstacle to that obviously, but could it be that it is islam that's at fault or a specific branch that misinterpreted islam? Either way it is kind of a double -edged sword if we talk about it muslims go crazy, if we don't talk about it they go crazy and our own people stay stupid. This isn't good for either people, us or them, so we'll have to just sit back and see what becomes of the world in the years to come.

          October 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Infidel

      Good point! It should be called the ISLAM TAX!

      For instance, look at your next airline ticket and you will find a “Security Fee”. What is the Security Fee that was passed after September 11, 2001? It is an ISLAM TAX of $10 (round trip). It is more money out of an American’s pocket to pay for the privilege of living and flying with freakin’Muslims amongst us.

      It turns out that we pay an enormous amount of money for our life with Islam. Look at a list of expenses that we bear because of Islamic ideology. If there were no Islam we would not have the Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security, the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, all that so-called terrorist work by the FBI, rebuilding the World Trade Center and who knows what else.

      The Iraq war has cost us nearly a TRILLION dollars, the Afghan war has cost about $800 billion and all of the government agencies cost in the neighborhood of tens of billions per year. We are up to at least a TRILLION and a HALF dollars of our Islam tax.

      That little $10 Security Fee may seem small, but that is for every round trip ticket sold in the US. What will the trial in NYC for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed cost? Millions of dollars. And the muslim hits just keep coming.

      Another part of the Islam tax is the jizyah (the dhimmi tax) that we call foreign aide. We pay various Islamic governments, including Egypt, Pakistan, the so-called Palestinians and others. Why do we pay the jizyah? We want to be friends (Never mind the 12 verses in the Koran that say that Muslims are never the friends of kafirs, unbelievers). We are bringing Muslim refugees into America where they receive more benefits than American citizens, another Islam tax. Why did Islam attack the World Trade Towers? Because they were the World TRADE Towers, an economic target. What was the purpose? To destroy the economy of America.

      The Islam tax is a 1.5 trillion dollars and counting. If we did not have this tax, it would certainly ease the economic crunch we have today.

      Think about how much it cost because of ISLAM and the hell this ideology brings to this earth!

      October 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
      • steve

        don't think you can blame the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on Muslims, the USA invaded them, they were just sitting there, minding their own business.

        October 29, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
        • Piffle

          Minding their own business? HA HA HA HA HA! They'd been fighting, invading, and minding everyone else's business since before they were called those names. Time to go back to school, idiot.

          October 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Infidel

          Just like the Crusades I guess as Muslim appeasers love talking about the Crusades… and most Christians unfortunately love apologizing for them.

          To hear both parties tell the story, one would believe that Muslims were just peacefully minding their own business in lands that were legitimately Muslim, when Christian armies decided to wage holy war and kill “millions.”

          All the Crusaders's fault. These MUSLIMS were simply going from tent to tent asking people, "Hey...you want to convert to Islam?""

          October 30, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • Piffle

        Excellent post, Infidel. Kind of long, though. Most people come here for sound bites, not intelligent argument.

        October 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
        • Infidel

          Why thank you!! BTW – I do not fear the name calling or being labeled an ‘Islamophobe.’ Winston Churchill was once accused of being a ‘Naziphobe.’

          How did that work out?

          Thanks for your support!

          October 30, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Intisarul Islam

          Ah! There's nothing like seeing morons being there for each other.

          October 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
        • Intisarul Islam

          It's funny hearing idi0ts like you talking about "intelligent argument."

          November 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
  6. Lamb of Dog

    Total Spending on education in 2012.
    984 Billion.

    October 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  7. Lamb of Dog

    The cost of the war on Terror.
    1.5 Trillion.

    October 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • bagster

      just like the war on drugs trillions spent with no resaults

      October 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      That's might be the stupidest war ever.

      October 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Infidel

      All Islam has to do is to keep up the terrorist attacks and KILLINGS for their allah. It does not matter whether they win or lose a particular battle. The more ISLAM practices JIHAD, the more we deny it and create some governmental nightmare that avoids the ideological war with Islam, but costs a freakin' fortune.

      Our PC self-deception is bankrupting us.

      October 29, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  8. Lamb of Dog

    The POTUS needs to stop caring about wasting time on a bunch of crazy arabs and worry more about our futures and the futures of our children.

    October 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Infidel

      That is so nice, warm and fuzzy but the President of the United States main's obligation to his citizens is to "protect and defend" the United States. That is why it is part of the oath of office. Check out what happens on 1/20/2017 and you will see yourself!

      If you really want to save some money for education, dump the Dept. of Education because they have already spent over a TRILLION dollars since its inception as a pay-back to teacher's unions from Jimmy Carter. This government waste since 1977 has been a joke...and all of these billions they have spent should have gone back to the States.

      Problem solved!

      October 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
  9. Lamb of Dog

    Nearly 1 in 3 US teenagers don't graduate High School.

    October 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Infidel

      And Obama and socialist democrats are against SCHOOL CHOICE and SCHOOL Vouchers! And people wonder why...

      October 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
      • Intisarul Islam

        Define Socialist, and explain to me how the Democrats fit into this description of yours.

        November 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  10. Lamb of Dog

    1 in 20 million

    — Chance of dying in a terrorist attack in the United States from 2007 to 2011, according to Richard Barrett, coordinator of the United Nations al Qaeda/Taliban Monitoring Team.

    By worrying about terrorist so much we give them what they want. Which is a bunch of scared morons.

    October 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Infidel

      Except we have to be correct 100% of the time...while your local jihadist only has to get it right ONCE.

      Look at how much the Boston MUSLIM bombers costs the city of Boston. Wait to next year's marathon...the cost to protect the city from MUSLIM terrorists will cost them millions!!

      October 29, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  11. Arnold

    Muslim terrorists.

    October 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Infidel

      There are just too many Muslims who take their freakin’ koran literally... and too many other “not-muslim-enough” muslims who couldn't care less about the violence done in the name of their cult ideology called Islam…hence the problem on both ends!

      October 29, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • reality

      American and Christian terrorists, fascists, racists, Nazis.

      October 30, 2013 at 1:59 am |
  12. DB Cooper

    US statistics: In 2007 diabetes contributed to 231000 deaths. Firearms contributed to 31000 deaths. Car crashes contributed to 37000 deaths. Alcohol induced deaths, excluding accidents and homicides added up to 25000. These add up to 324000 deaths in USA (2007). Terrorism related deaths in US 2007: 0? Does that mean that billions spent on homeland security is well spent money? Or does that hint that paranoia have thrown common sense out the door? Would some of the money spent on homeland security be better used in other areas, such as preventing some of the unnecessary deaths such as above?

    October 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Infidel

      Really? You are going to compare deaths due to disease, etc.against war/terrorism?? What kind of moral equivalency is that??

      October 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Infidel

      This one of those "Really?" posts that have nothing to do with the who, why and how of this world wide global terrorism committed for the religion of ISLAM.

      Here...let me help you! America and the rest of Western Civilization is falling prey to the same overt and covert strategies and tactics. What do you wish to call MUSLIM terrorism? "Man-Made-Disasters"??

      Terrorism has been only one of those tactics (the how)…and hence it is really stupid (yet politically correct) to call it a “War on Terror” when terror is simply a tactic. The “Who” are Muslims who practice “true” Islam and Sharia law and of course the “Why” is Islam as founded by their terrorist/pedophile muhammad!

      Does that help you? Or do you wish to enlighten us with how many people die from smoking or from heart disease? Geesh!

      October 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • bagster

        anyone who can kill like they do in the name of a god , are either insain or devil woreshipers it is pure evil

        October 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
        • Infidel

          Muslims that scream out "allahu akbar" before they KILL really believe they have a license to KILL...and if they die in their fight for ISLAM, they are considered the "best" MUSLIMS and hence rewarded in muslim paradise with 72 virgins.

          October 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Are christians that kill medical professionals delivering legal services insane or devil worshippers, or some other form of evil?

          October 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
      • DB Cooper

        Obviously you dont get it. My post had nothing to do with moral. Just food for thought. Money well spent? Priorities? We all know about the peacefulness of the so called religion of peace, so to point out horrendous acts perpertrated by its devotees is like kicking in open doors... But spending billions & billions on preventing 1 individual murder by terrorists (on US soil), is that really smart and proportionate? Could the money get more done? I'm pretty sure it could.

        October 30, 2013 at 4:04 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Infidel,

      If you don't like comparisons with morbidity by disease, how about the ~16,000 homicides in the US – more than *all* global terrorism.

      October 30, 2013 at 1:58 am |
      • Infidel

        Right from the beginning of time, people have killed for power, wealth, etc., and a number of human nature motives which is found in all cultures. Want money? Rob a bank and a guard gets killed. There is nothing religiously motivated in your example that you provide.

        However, in ISLAM...Islam is associated with Islamic terrorism because that is the association that the terrorists themselves CHOOSE to make.

        Nearly 1,400 years of history has demonstrated that Islam is a supremacist ideology in which the role of non-believers is subordinate to the position of Muslims. Those who resist Islamic rule are to be fought (and yes, KILLED) until they are fully humiliated and forced to acknowledge their inferior status, either by converting to Islam or by paying a poll-tax and otherwise accepting the subjugation of their own beliefs.

        Bottom line is there is simply no other religion on earth that draws such sharp distinction between its own members and others, or spends as much time condemning and dehumanizing those who merely choose not to follow its dogma.

        This is the motive to ISLAM's madness which in essence gives devoted muslims their "license to KILL" without fear of punishment in their muslim life after.

        October 30, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • Intisarul Islam

          Huh???? Islam does NOT say any of that crap. You're the typical delusional Republican – you'd believe anything Fox 5 stuffs into that empty skull of yours.

          October 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Infidel

          I don't have to say it when MUSLIM actions and IN ACTIONS tell the world plainly about the madness of ISLAM!!

          October 30, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  13. Infidel

    Islamic militants, radicals, extremists, al-Qaida, fundamentalists, Hamas, Hellzbullah, the Muslim Brotherhood, jihadists, or whatever is the PC term for today are actually "good" Muslims, not bad ones. The "radicals" haven't corrupted Islam, hijacked their religion, nor interpreted it incorrectly, and therefore they aren't radicals or extremists!

    The facts and history is VERY clear...Islam isn't a peaceful religion; it is a declaration of war against all mankind. While "bad" Muslims can be moderate, peaceful or "not-Muslim-enough", these people have NO influence because even their “holy” (cough-cough) Koran tells "good" Muslims to KILL them!!

    I wish that our news organizations like CNN would answer that question instead of giving us the same 'ole terms like "radical" and "extremists" when all the evidence points that they are actually being "good" muslims...not BAD ones!!

    October 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • HawkAlpha1

      Nice to see that you have the guts to call out ISLAM for exactly what it is...a cult ideology that professes "peace" as long as you "submit & surrender" to their rules, their way of life, and of course...ONLY to their religion!!

      Otherwise...all bets are off and there is NO peace. Never has, is, nor will be with this cult ideology KILLING mindset all about the world.

      People need to understand what this madness called ISLAM is all about!

      Keep it up...I enjoy your posts!

      October 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
      • Infidel

        Thank you HawkAlpha1...I have been studying this Islamic madness and terrorism since these people ruined the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. You remember how MUSLIMS killed all of those Jewish Olympians for their allah, don't you??

        October 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • HawkAlpha1

          That's right! Just goes to show that ISLAMIC terrorism was long about well before 9/11/01, the second muslim attack of the World Trade Center.

          The 1st muslim attack of the WTC occured in 1993 where six Americans were killed as these muslims tried to topple the tower by blowing up a van full of explosives in the basement of one of the towers.

          October 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  14. American

    The religion of pieces. Makes you wonder why the politicians and government bureaucrats are so keen to immigrate Muslims into Western countries as rapidly as possible. Are they that stupid?

    October 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Infidel

      It is simply CRAZY to invite people into our country (as well as other Western civilizations) whose ISLAMIC religion is 100% incompatiable with western freedoms and liberties! Case in pouint...have you seen what MUSLIMS have done to England and France??

      ISLAM is not a religion of peace; it is a violent religion. Wherever ISLAM rears its ugly head, it creates for oppression, tyranny, and a lowered standard of living. Treatment of women in ISLAM??? They are treated like 3rd class citizens!

      A person who truly values reason, tolerance, and science would completely and unequivocally denounce Islam.

      But leftist muslim appeasers don’t. We need to ask them why??

      October 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    Here's a lovely little French Poem from the Crusade Era called "The Leaguer of Antioch"

    "Now lithe and listen lordlings, while the Christians' hap I tell,
    That, as they lay in leaguer, from hunger them befell.
    In evil case the army stood, their stores of food were spent:
    Peter the holy Hermit, he sat before his tent:
    Then came to him the King Tafur, and with him fifty score
    Of men-at-arms, not one of them but hunger gnawed him sore.
    'Thou holy Hermit, counsel us, and help us at our need;
    Help, for God's grace, these starving men with wherewithal to feed.'
    But Peter answered, 'Out, ye drones, a helpless pack that cry,
    While all unburied round about the slaughtered Paynim lie
    A dainty dish is Paynim flesh, with salt and roasting due.'
    'Now by my fay,' quoth King Tafur, 'the Hermit sayeth true.'
    Then fared he forth the Hermit's tent, and sent his menye out,
    More than ten thousand, where in heaps the Paynim lay about.
    They hewed the corpses limb from limb, and disembowelled clean,
    And there was sodden meat and roast, to blunt their hunger keen:
    Right savory fare it seemed there; they smacked their lips and spake,
    Farewell to fasts: a daintier meal than this who asks to make?
    'Tis sweeter far than porker's flesh, or bacon seethed in grease.
    Let's make good cheer, and feast us here, till life and hunger cease.'

    I especially like how the poem implies that Muslims taste like pork.....

    October 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Akira

      Yuck.

      October 29, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Better than pork no less!

      October 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Infidel

      By the time of the Crusades (when the Europeans began fighting back), Muslims had conquered a good piece of real estate by their sword, from Spain to Syria, and across North Africa. BTW – The Muslim slave-trading routes would stay open for another 1300 years, until pressure from Christian-based countries forced Islamic nations to declare the practice illegal (in theory).

      Today, there is not another religion in the world that consistently produces terrorism in the name of religion as does Islam. The most dangerous Muslims are nearly always those who interpret the Koran most strictly. They are the fundamentalists or purists of the faith, and believe in their mohammad’s mandate to spread Islamic rule by the sword, putting to death those who will not “submit nor surrender”, as per the definition of the word “muslim”.

      October 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Not all people who claim to be muslim are bad, nor do they know much about islam. The same applies to Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, etc.

    What is interesting though is the deeply spiritual reasons for much of the hardline muslim terrorist leaders and dictators. An interesting bit about islam, is islamic eschatology and specifically the belief in Mahdi. Furthermore some muslim leaders, most famously the Ayatollah Khameini, believe they can speed up the end times prophecy process by making violence all over Earth. OBL like the article alluded to was motivated by the fact that he claims to have met with a dark-cloaked angel who told him to do the 9/11 atrocity. Scientifically speaking, these people might just be delusional or intentionally lying to control their lesser brothers. Though this doesn't stop them from trying. However spiritually speaking there's a lot of mysterious stuff in the middle east, many of our troops bring home tales of weird events (the Hum, UFOs, etc) and creatures (salaawahs, werewolves, etc.)

    I personally find it interesting, dare I say I find it to be cool, even though much of it is coming to pass in our lifetime, and it is only going to get more violent and messed up from here on out. To the Western Esotericists (freemasons, satanists, occultists) I would say to put a pause on your planned "great culling" because you might need the People to prevent radical islam from culling you. As for the Christians, ya okay your bible might have somehow predicted all of this 2000+ years in advanced, and maybe you were right all along, but you guys still better get cautious because you have too many enemies in this world and your own churches/religious leaders are so spiritually dead and corrupt that they would not survive a muslim takeover. As for the Atheists, stop being so close-minded, most of your theories like evolution, the big bang, etc. aren't even scientifically provable or plausible and are just as whacky, if not more absurd than half of anything any one religion teaches. You try to write off the religions, well fair enough, but you can't deny that these religions have a deeper impact on the World than atheism ever will. You cannot deny the fact that just about all world leaders believe in some wild stuff from practicing magic like many of our Congress and Presidents have admitted to or been verified to have done to muslim leaders in the middle east believing they are the descendants of Muhammad. So atheists, you gotta wake up, you can't keep being so stupid and sarcastic because your lack of depth betrays you and makes you an easy target for some of the darker religions to manipulate or destroy. You atheists know who you are, so don't argue about it, go talk with the Humanist Atheists, you don't have to give up atheism, but you cannot keep writing off the world's religions because they are quite frankly the most important deciding factors in whether this world will survive much longer, whether there will be chaos in the world or order. If you want hard proof read the article above, read deeper into the people mentioned in the article, watch interviews with OBL, listen to the words that come out of their own mouths. There's no conspiracy theory about it when the people tell you plainly to your face what their intentions and plans are.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • ME II

      @Anonymous,
      "As for the Atheists, stop being so close-minded, most of your theories like evolution, the big bang, etc. aren't even scientifically provable or plausible and are just as whacky, if not more absurd than half of anything any one religion teaches."

      1) Evolution is a Scientific Theory, not from Atheism.
      2) While science doesn't deal in "proof", there is plenty of evidence to support the Theory of Evolution.

      October 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Cal

      All of those eloquent words just to say, "You're stupid, change your ways"?

      October 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Infidel

    You have to love this "War on Terror" nonsense!!

    Terrorism is a tactic used by armed men against civilians for political purpose in the anticipation that it will weaken the public's resolve to resist. That said, to fight a war against terrorism is as senseless as fighting one against Blitzkrieg or the divine wind of the Kamikazes. To prevail in battle one must know WHO the enemy is and WHY they fight, and not flail mindlessly away at their symptoms.

    That is why we must understand the “who?” (true muslims) and the “why?” (cult ideology called ISLAM) that fuels this madness all over the freakin’ globe. Our liberal press will try desperately by sugar coating these KILLERS by calling them militants, radicals, jihadists, links to al-Qaida (my PC favorite), or whatever is the PC term for today, but never forget the “Who” and “WHY” of this madness.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Alias

      You know, If only you would expand that from Muslims to Theists we would agree.
      In fact, that is what many peopel on this site do every day – try to save the world from insane religious people.

      October 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Infidel

        Sure...you see it all of the time! All of those Christians or Jews who strap bombs to themselves, recite Bible verses, and then yell out that "Jesus is great" before they KILL...

        WAIT! It is Muslims who have a monopoly on this terrorist and gutless madness!

        October 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  18. kay

    "You can’t excuse one evil by pointing to another evil that took place almost a 1,000 years ago"

    I don't know man, Last time i check the 30's-40's in which the holocaust occurred ain't 1000 years ago.

    And surely you don't agree with Hitler saying "For the future of the world, however, it does not matter which of the two triumphs over the other, the Catholic or the Protestant."

    .. Or do you ?

    P.S. Yes, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Infidel

      The so-called “members of other faiths” alluded to by Muslims and liberal appeasers like you are nearly always just nominal members who have NO active involvement. They are neither inspired by, nor do they credit religion as Muslim terrorists do, and this is what makes it a very different matter.

      Islam is associated with Islamic terrorism because that is the association that the terrorists themselves CHOOSE to make.

      Muslim appeasers who compare crime committed by people who happen to be nominal members of other religions to religious terror committed EXPILICITLY in the name of Islam are comparing apples to oranges.

      Nice try...heard your nonsense before. I have ACTIONS (and IN-ACTIONS) to support me. What do you have?? Some cheap ISLAMIC cleric lip service because he appeared on CNN??

      October 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Infidel2

        So tell us, fearless leader, what action should we take?

        October 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Infidel

          Well...we can only hope that more and more muslims are becoming disillusioned with islam. We can only hope that they find out that the mechanistic ritual of praying 5Xs per day, reciting verses that they do not understand (and indeed mean nothing), getting up at taxing hours of the morning and abstaining from food and water until the sunset are not means to becoming more spiritual, but are instruments to control their mind.

          These so-called enlightened muslims no more heed to the fear mongering verses of the koran that threaten to burn them and roast them in the "fires of hell" (per the koran) if they dare to think and question the validity of that book. We can only hope they find ISLAM inconsistent with science, logics, human rights, women’s rights, and ethics.

          This is a reason why "true" islamic countries are trying to crack down on the internet and other avenues of information that threaten all of the misgivings that have been pounded into these people's head for the last 1,400 years.

          So, the bottom line is we must encourage the free flow of information so these muslims can finally realize that following the life and deeds of a self proclaimed terrorist/pedophile prophet called mohammad is indeed INSANE!!

          October 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the holocaust occur because Hitler was trying to assist evolution in purifying the earth for the master race?

      October 29, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Eugenics is to evolution what phrenology is to neurology.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Live4Him

          Maybe, but didn't Hitler INTEND to assist evolution with his work?

          October 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him
          "Maybe, but didn't Hitler INTEND to assist evolution with his work?"

          1) No, I don't think so, but if you have some reference for such then present it.
          2) He intended to purify the "master" race, i.e. not change, not evolve.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Joey

          LIve4Him what point are you trying to make, maybe Hitler did think he could use evolution to make the master race. He would have been wrong, but I am wondering why you even brought it up.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          "Purifying" a "race" through selective inbreeding is practically the opposite of evolution of a species by means of natural selection.

          Never mind that the concept of race is completely arbitrary. Selective breeding minimizes the gene pool and attempts to preserve the status quo by attempting to eliminate mutations. Evolution occurs as a result of mutations.

          October 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • Infidel

        Also...We didn't sit idle and watch crimes against humanity...we went after people like the Nazis and KILLED them.

        However, in MUSLIMS hell holes, they spend more time acting like their terrorist/pedophile prophet mohammad than civilized human beings. The key difference here, we condemn that kind of behavior, not condone it as do MUSLIMS!

        October 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Bullsh!t. The USA sat on the sidelines until it was attacked directly. And the USA denied Jews admission into the USA.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Not to mention the USA's acts of kindness in Vietnam . . .

          October 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Not to mention the RCC's (even in just the USA) tolerance and coverup of priestly pedophilia.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          Don't forget the RCC running a Nazi underground railroad at the end of WW2. From Berchtesgarden to Sao Paulo by way of monastery and submarine!

          October 29, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
      • IKYABWAI

        Hitler was a sch.muck... and so were quite a few ancient Israelites who thought that they were the master race.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Live4Him

          Distorting the Bible again? The Jews were NEVER proclaimed to be the master race. This wasn't claimed by any until Hitler.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • IKYABWAI

          "For you are a holy people to YHWH your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth." Deuteronomy 14:2

          "Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me from all the peoples, for all the earth is mine" (Exodus 19:5).

          "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you." (Genesis 17:7).

          October 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • IsLive4HimSTUMPED AGAIN

          ?

          October 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • velcro

          @IsLive4HimSTUMPED AGAIN:

          It probably takes him a while to fasten all of those safety restraints on his chair to keep him from sliding onto the floor while making his slippery replies. I think he's hit his head on the tile quite hard before.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Proclaw

          The Jews have ALWAYS proclaimed themselves the master race, chosen to be god's own people with all others put on the Earth to serve as slaves to them.

          Even now, all Jewish rabbis proclaim this belief as god-given truth. Jewish supremacists and you thought they were different because they are not putting the rest of us into death camps. Only the Palestinians are getting the ghetto / death camp treatment these days.

          Oh, didn't notice that either? Go back to eating crayons during church, you simpleton.

          October 29, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
      • ME II

        @Live4Him
        "Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the holocaust occur because Hitler was trying to assist evolution in purifying the earth for the master race?"

        Been watching too much "Expelled", have you?
        The main engine of evolution is natural selection and there is nothing natural about what Hitler and the Nazis were trying to do.

        October 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  19. palintwit

    You know you are a hard core tea party patriot when you ask Gabby Giffords to autograph your copy of Sarah Palin's crosshairs poster.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  20. Infidel

    We must unite and take their lives while there is still time.
    Our god is the right gods to go killin' people over, and their god is all hostile.
    Forget that they are repressed and they have no way to fight back except terrorism. Ignore the fact that they do not have a military that can challenge ours. Just focus on te fact that thay worship different and wrong.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Alias

      I like that bit you posted below about the Native Americans.
      Could someone please add those people to the totals killed by the loving christians?

      October 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Infidel

      Nice try – – you hacked my post name. Can't win in the arena of debate, can you?

      October 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
      • Alias

        you rule in the area of paranoid and crazy.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • Born2BModerated

        Typical Christian hypocracy!

        But i'm not worried, I'm sure we everyone can tell your posts from mine.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.