The Inspiration of the NY/NJ Bombings Needs to Be Addressed — Religion

The bombings this past weekend in New York City and New Jersey, unfortunately, followed a familiar and predictable pattern. First, the attacks happen and people reel in shock. Then emergency officials respond to the incident, caring for the wounded while attempting to secure the location(s). Next, an investigation follows in which law enforcement agencies seek to identify and locate those responsible for the act. And at this point, the people they are looking for almost always come from, or have ties to, the Middle East. And by “ties to the Middle East,” they don’t simply mean someone has an association with that region; what they mean is this person or persons have ties to religiously-motivated groups that have their roots and command structure in the Middle East. The ties to said groups are not always in deed — they need not have physically been to the region — but are always, at least in word. In some way or another, the individuals who commit such terrible acts of violence against innocent people have pledged affinity with religiously-motivated groups and the ideas they spread.

Image credit: iStock
Image credit: iStock

After every such act of Islamic terror we hear from both sides of the aisle that we should not condemn all Muslims based on the acts of a few. This is true — just as we should not condemn all Christians for the acts of a few bigots at the Westboro Baptist Church. And of course we should decry “hate crimes” targeted against innocent members of a religion, one example of which involved setting a Muslim woman on fire in NYC. But we must be careful not to conflate people who believe a certain thing with the belief system itself. Muslims are people who practice the Islamic religion and deserve to be respected as human beings. Islam is a belief system that, like any other belief, is open to critique, criticism, and condemnation for its abhorrent views.

In the wake of terrorist attacks, there are also those who would deny that religion had anything to do with motivating individuals to act. And this mistake in assessing causation is one that must be corrected, and soon. If we are ever to properly combat the plague of terrorism that is ravishing the Western world, we must be honest about what the root of the problem actually is. Then, and only then, will we be properly equipped to destroy our common enemy. And that enemy, I contend, is primarily bad ideas that motivate people to do bad things.

So what happened this past weekend? While all the details are still being sorted by authorities, there is at least one thing we can be certain of: the terrorist was motivated to act because of religious ideas, and more specifically, Islamic ones. And for evidence of this we need look no further than his own writing in the book he possessed when captured. As reported in the New York Times, his blood-soaked notebook contained passages in which he expressed a desire to “kill the kuffar.” Kuffar, is a reference to unbelievers — people who are outside the Islamic faith. That distinction between believer and nonbeliever is an explicitly religious concept. And the desire to kill unbelievers is a desire that can be found within the Koran itself. Yes, liberal Muslims will claim that such passages should not be taken literally, but then there are conservatives who contend the opposite. And who is to say what the “correct” interpretation of a religious text is in the first place? Regardless, the person who committed the attacks this past weekend explicitly expressed interest in acting on violent religious beliefs. And I think we need to take a step back and realize that without a conception of “believer” and “nonbeliever,” without any reference from a “sacred text” that commands the killing of nonbelievers, this tragedy never would have happened.

So let’s educate ourselves about the source of such beliefs, and let us not be afraid to call something for what it is — religion is the primary source of terrorism in our world today. And until we are willing to have an honest conversation about religion and its proper place in society, we will continue to be plagued by its violent kinds.


37 thoughts on “The Inspiration of the NY/NJ Bombings Needs to Be Addressed — Religion

  1. The inspiration wasn’t “religion”, it was Islam. Also the Muslim woman in New York was not the target of a religious bias crime, the perpetrator was a black man setting random women on fire.

    1. > The inspiration wasn’t “religion”, it was Islam.

      Islam comprises a book and interpretations of it which all support the notion that male Muslims are the most important people on earth just because they are Muslims. Further, the most religious of them is more important than any others.

      Women are tolerated and all others, and all animals and plants, are only of value to the extent that they serve Muslim men.

      Once, sectors of the Middle East were the repositories of science in the world but when they started researching Islam and its claims the religious leaders panicked and ordered them to abandon science and only study the very crappy Quran.


      The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000, or about 0.02% of the world population.

      They have received 129 Nobel Prizes.

      The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000, or 20% of the world population.

      In proportion they should have received about 125,000 Nobel Prizes.

      They have received four, two for ‘peace’, one for literature and only one for science. They almost had one more but they rejected a very distinguished scientist as not being the right sort of Muslim and thus not one at all.

      An example of how the religion blinds the followers: A Lesson In Hate

      ISIS wrote a six reasons listicle to explain why they hate the West

      That’s what Islam has done for Muslims. And yet they still feel massively superior. It’s like this joke:

      “I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.”

      — Emo Philips

    2. Islam is no different from Christianity. Both have believers who will happily murder you if you don’t follow their demands.

          1. You know nothing about the differences.
            Educate yourself. You can start here

            You can verify here

            And you can verify here

            And this is where the utter debauchery of his example is described in gruesome detail

            Remember, the Islamic sites are written with the same pride and devotion as the Bible sites. Scholars literally dedicate their lives at a PhD level to meticulously publishing what they consider to be holy words.

            Religions are different, very different. How an atheist who considers himself to be a rationalist can fail to grasp this obvious fact is quite astonishing and disturbing to me, yet you are merely one of a whole culture of atheists down a deep rabbit hole of false equivalency.

          2. Your link to doesn’t seem to resolve.
            I don’t doubt there are a thousand difference between your religious doctrines. I was born into a Christian family, and I’ve studied the Qu’ran and the Hadiths – I may know those differences better than you do.
            But the face Christianity shows to the world and the face Islam shows to the world are so very, very much the same. A few genuinely and honorably decent individuals who decry the horrors of the past and seek a better future. A vast majority who want nothing more than to be left in peace – and who have been conditioned to believe that the other is a bunch of ravening crazies. And a fringe group who are willing to do almost anything – lie, cheat, steal, kill – to get what they want, and justify it with their religion.
            And in both cases, this has been a major improvement, as only a century ago, and leading back millennia, the apathetic majority would have been actively supporting the violent fringe in murdering and forcibly converting the “apostate” and the “pagan”.
            You want to make Christianity into the religion of peace it’s founder wanted? Good for you. But don’t close your eyes to what it is right now.

          3. “But the face Christianity shows to the world and the face Islam shows to the world are so very, very much the same”
            Bullshit, you live in a muddled dream world where you confuse the past with the present people acting based on texts and people not acting based on texts, and a host of other mixed up absurdities you suffer from.

            “decry the horrors of the past and seek a better future”
            If you understood the Qur’an and the Hadith as you claim to then you would realize the horrors of Islam are intrinsic to the texts of Muhammad but the opposite is true of the texts of Jesus.

            “And a fringe group who are willing to do almost anything – lie, cheat,
            steal, kill – to get what they want, and justify it with their religion.”
            Wrong again, it is the texts that explicitly command these things in Islam and the texts that explicitly forbid these things in Christianity.

            “But don’t close your eyes to what it is right now.”
            Right, because the Bishop of Rome is calling for executions and invasions and enslavement.

            Wake up, your equivalency narrative is utter bullshit. You know less than nothing. You have it so muddled and screwed up in you brain you are going in mental knots.

            Go to thereligionofpeace link I gave you, then google on if the link somehow did not work.

            Search the passages cited in the Hadith using, go to the chapter and verse for the Quran at corpus.quran, and verify the Jesus quotes on biblehub or any other similar site.

            Read thereligionofpeace but don’t just take their word for it. Verify the sources. I have again and again and the more you study the more you will find out how utterly messed up you are right now.

            Good luck, my friend, you have a lot of learning to do, but I urge you to begin now.

          4. “But the face Christianity shows to the world and the face Islam shows to the world are so very, very much the same.”
            Please name for me the countries where Christianity is the official state religion and the death penalty applies to atheism, homosexuality, blasphemy, and apostasy.

            Under sharia the religious police beat women in the streets for showing an ankle. In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive. Under sharia there is no such thing as rape in marriage, and a man may have 4 wives, as young as 9 years old.

            In Islam it is a capital offense to draw a cartoon of the prophet, and to do so will likely get you murdered or start a riot.

            In the West an artist can dunk the crucifix in urine and put it on display as art, under Sharia a mere cartoon will and often does get you killed.

            And on and on and on. I urge you to read many links, as many as you have time for at
            This site is very well researched. A couple years ago I noticed they said Allah hates the unbelievers. I wrote to them and pointed out that the Qur’an actually says Allah does not love the unbelievers. I received an appreciative response and they have corrected all such mentions to reflect that bit of accuracy.

            I challenge you to find any inaccuracy in their Islamic citations. I can personally vouch for the fact that if you do, and you can link the evidence, they will thank you and correct it.

      1. “Islam is no different from Christianity.”
        You obviously know nothing about either one or both.

        According to the texts, Muhammad personally led a campaign of terror, conquest, murder, torture, robbery, rape, enslavement, and extortion and wrote many words explicitly extolling his followers to do all these things in the name of Allah.

        Jesus, according to the texts did none of these things and instructed his followers to do just the opposite.

        Your equivalency narrative is preposterous.

        1. No, it’s accurate. The followers of Muhammad have conquered, murdered, tortured, robbed, enslaved and extorted in his name since the founding of Islam. The followers of Jesus have conquered, murdered, tortured, robbed, enslaved and extorted in his name since the founding of Christianity. Both currently also have a minority of moral, good people who oppose such actions and try to hold their religion to a higher standard, and an indifferent majority who tend to excuse the extremists of their own religion while denigrating anyone else.
          The doctrines you mouth and the differences in your founders are irrelevant. The face of your religion is the actions of your people and the history you have in dealing with others, and there is no difference between the upraised and bloody sword of Christianity and the upraised and bloody sword of Islam there.

          1. “The followers of Muhammad have conquered, murdered, tortured, robbed,
            enslaved and extorted in his name since the founding of Islam. The
            followers of Jesus have conquered, murdered, tortured, robbed, enslaved
            and extorted in his name since the founding of Christianity”
            Accurately in the case of Islam, falsely in the case of Christianity. Your analysis is grossly deficient in its superficiality.

            You live in the past and a fantasy present.

            Many hundreds of years ago greedy men could falsely claim Christ was on their side but with the printing press and the internet the pacifist words of Christ become clear and there is no longer a raised sword of Christianity because that claim has been exposed to be false.

            Just the opposite is the case with Islam. Now that the young have access to the texts they can read for themselves the instructions the IS follows and join the IS because the IS is true to the texts.

            Your lack of understanding of the importance of the fundamentals of the ideologies and how they shape the actions of the young are simplistic and suicidally dangerous.

          2. I see the blood of innocents on the hands of Christians and Muslims alike. The Lord’s Resistance Army in the Congo slaughters it’s enemies, and is opposed by other Christians. ISIS slaughters it’s enemies in the mid-east and is opposed by other Muslims. Muslims destroy buildings in New York, but before that Christians destroy a building in Oklahoma City. Muslims assassinate bloggers in Bangladesh, Christians assassinate doctors in America.
            And that’s just in the past few decades. Go back more then 100 years and the brutality of Christians far outweighs that of Muslims, and was almost always directly supported by the mainstream churches and religious authorities.
            Devout Muslims would outright deny that IS is truer to their texts. Christians deny that violence is the way of Christ. I don’t believe either of you.
            Your understanding of both Christianity and Islam is the flawed one. The majority of both faiths desire peace, security and to largely leave and be left alone. But both have an institutional inability to leave others be, and to force their doctrines on others. In the modern West, this primarily manifests as Christianity’s continuing attempts to dominate the moral code and force that code upon others by legislation, as open violence is culturally unacceptable. In the less stable and less violence averse areas of the mid-east and SE Asia, it manifests in more violent form. But given the histories of both faiths, I see no reason to believe that this dichotomy is anything more than coincidence.

          3. Your thinking is profoundly muddled. I urge you to go to the links I have provided a few posts below.

            Don’t believe me. Be skeptical by all means. Read the sources. Study.

          1. The author is talking about bombings, you bring up shootings. The author said the majority of them are done by people with ties to the Middle East. You bring up ONE from almost 100 years ago that wasn’t. Look at any of the handful of sites that chronicle bombings in the US and you’ll find the author to be correct, despite your assertion that he’s “full of it.” It’s ok to be wrong and admit it. You read the paragraph wrong. It’s ok. No need to double down and get all pissy. Thanks for stopping by.

          2. You don’t seem to have read what Kevin wrote about history.

            This is not 100 years ago. This is 2016. The threats of yesteryear have been defeated by our grandfathers. The threats of today must be defeated by us, the first step being a recognition of what they are.

            Random demented people do some damage from time to time but they pose no threat to us on a national level. Americans die every day for lots of reasons but the diffuse nature of the causes allows us to absorb those losses and continue forward as a strong and healthy nation.

            Fundamentalist Islam is different. The Qur’an and Hadith together give clear instructions to conquer, rob, murder, rape, enslave, and extort on a massive scale. In case you have not noticed this is a global ideological, political, religious movement with a central organizing set of texts, the Qur’an and the Hadith.

            Abortion clinic bombers have no words of Jesus to justify their actions, but Muslims who take over whole countries have the explicit words of Allah and the clear example of his final prophet to instruct them to murder, rape, destroy, enslave, and conquer.

            They must be crushed militarily to prevent them from acquiring WMD, which they will do as soon as they can and use them without a doubt.

            They must also be defeated ideologically and in that effort you are unwittingly on their side by perpetuating your false narrative of equivalences.

          3. > in that effort you are unwittingly on their side by perpetuating your false narrative of equivalences.

            Wrong! YOU are unwittingly on their side by perpetuating YOUR false narrative of equivalences – not every Muslim is a terrorist.

            Also, not every bomber is a Muslim, nor is every mass shooter.

          4. “not every Muslim is a terrorist.”
            Straw man, I never said that every self identifying Muslim is a terrorist,

            Islam is by its very core a terrorist ideology, dedicated to robbery, murder, enslavement, torture, rape, and extortion as integral aspects of its quest for global conquest.

            Most people are just regular folks who don’t want to do all of that, but Islam explicitly instructs them to fight even though they do not wish to.

            Nominal Muslims are peaceful only to the extent that they ignore and rationalize and practice watered down buffet style Islam.

            A “radicalized” Muslim is simply a Muslim who began to take Islamic apologetics seriously, studied the texts in detail, and came to inevitable conclusion that the IS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, and all the rest are the organizations most faithful to the words of Allah and example of his final prophet.

          5. Right, some of those bombing were part of much larger threats connected to major wars, others were individuals or small groups not connected to any major threat to our nation.

            One bombing by itself does little damage on a national scale. Islam poses a unique threat because it is part of such a large global network, deeply religious, apocalyptic, glorifies martyrdom as a path to paradise, and is bent on acquisition of WMD with the full intention of using them.

            Islam is no splinter group, or wacko inspired by some movie. If they get a large WMD they will put it in a container and deliver it to New York or DC, or Long Beach where they will detonate it.

            They have global presence and global reach, money, a cohesive ideology, religious fanaticism, and apocalyptic vision, and a huge supply of willing suicide soldiers.

            The Soviets were at least rational actors owing in no small part to their atheism, so MAD worked. We aren’t dealing with rational atheists this time, so only military defeat of our enemy abroad in conjunction with domestic security measures will prevent WMD on our soil.

          6. Attack the enemy on their own soil and defeat them militarily abroad, also maintain strong security at home, restrict immigration by Muslims, expose the extreme debauchery of the texts of Islam, stop the false narrative of Christianity/Islam equivalence, end the SJW self flagellating liberal whit guilt of crying Islamophobic racist for every accurate criticism of Islam, all while recognizing the humanity of Muslims and invite them to reject the literal interpretation of the texts or convert to Christianity or deism of some less threatening theism or best of all come into the light of rationality and leave theism altogether.

  2. OK, I have to say this. The guy’s father (also from the Middle East) turned him in to the FBI some time before this event. The FBI concluded “nothing to see here” and moved along.
    Apparently, there was something to see here. When your own father turns you in to the FBI, they should be paying closer attention. There’s a lot of failure here to go around.
    You can blame religion if you like, and there’s a point to that. However, the people who are in a position to turn these people in are also likely to be members of the same religion. I suggest we don’t do all we can to piss them off by dumping all over their religion. And the same thing goes for radicalized members of any religion. They are all equally dangerous.

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