Why do terrorists enjoy killing

Isis: 10 arguments for killing


Read on one side

One man rips the heart out of another's chest. An offense like something out of a horror tale: bloody and unreal. The impression of the unreal arises from the extreme breaking of taboos. The murderer bends over his victim, who is lying on the ground, and cuts out a red lump with the knife. Triumphantly he stretches his heart up - and then brings it to his mouth as if to kiss it. In addition the call: Allahu Akbar! God is great!

The video was posted by fighters who have been promoting themselves with a flood of gruesome images since the advance of Isis. Here a Syrian rebel pretends to have murdered a Syrian soldier: "I swear by Allah that we will eat your hearts and livers, you soldiers of the dog Bashar!" It is unclear whether it is a fighter from Al-Nusra or Isis, both fought first against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, then against each other. But the message is clear: The slaughter is done out of holy devotion.

But how is it legitimized? The heart ripping motif comes from the early days of Islam, from the 7th century, when Hamsa, the uncle of the prophet Mohammed, fell in the war of the Muslims against the pagan Meccans. A woman from the Quraish tribe in Mecca tore the liver from the body of the dead Hamsa and ate it. When Mohammed saw his uncle's corpse after the battle, he swore: If Allah will help me to win against the Quraish, I will mutilate 30 of their corpses!

That is the background of the jihadist violence that is escalating in Iraq: a religious death cult. The warriors of God distribute what God hands out at the Last Judgment, the ultimate punishment. They feel they are right because they draw their radical arguments from Islam. If you want to understand horror, you have to know it. They come partly from the Koran, partly from fundamentalist theologians, partly from terrorists. They seem ancient, but are related to modern totalitarianism: where the life of the individual is irrelevant, the violation of the law becomes normal. Killing is not only allowed there, it is an obligation.


True faith does not show itself in learning, but in concrete commitment to Islam. So taught Sajjid Kutb, the mastermind of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was executed in Egypt in 1966. Before that he wrote a basic work in prison on the totality of his religion. In the shadow of the Koran is an appeal to overcome the crisis of modern life, the feeling of alienation: there is no god but Allah and there is no life outside of the Koran. That means: you cannot read the truth of Islam, you have to fight for it, if necessary with armed force. Kutb popularized the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčreligiously inspired revolutionary action - which was close to left-wing utopias and decades later would still inspire fundamentalists in the Arab world. For Kutb, however, revolution does not mean liberation towards a liberal way of life, but towards the one indubitable God.


For fundamentalists, only Sharia guarantees fair coexistence. Anyone who does not submit to it is outside the law. From this thought, extremists today derive not only the right to kill individual enemies, but also to fight governments in Muslim countries that do not fully implement Sharia law. The source of all laws is God, therefore one cannot negotiate about the law.

Violations of the law

Islamic law, as fundamentalists derive it from the Koran and the sayings of the Prophet, compels killing in many cases: for example in the case of blasphemy or adultery. Countries like Afghanistan, Sudan and Algeria have shown the danger it poses for Muslims if the death penalty is consistently applied. In Afghanistan, the Islamist revolutionaries used a stadium for stoning. Murderers were personally executed by the victims' families, and in a drastic manner - with machine guns. It was a practice in killing, crossing the border from civilian life into terror, as it is now taking place in other ways in Iraq.


Jihad has long been misunderstood in the West as a war against the West. With the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011, al-Qaeda made this error manifest. But jihad, the holy war, is a campaign against all enemies of God, and who these enemies are is defined by the jihadists. Isis is now distributing videotapes showing "hostile" Muslims being beheaded. The extremists like to quote the saying of Muhammad: "I came to you as a butcher." In addition, sura 47.2 is circulating: "If you meet those who disbelieve, hit their necks!" In the logic of jihad, belief must also be spread through attack.