Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/21/2014 (1 month ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Terrorists are using the tactic for several distinct reasons.

The incredible spate of beheadings which are perpetrated by Islamic militants around the world had many asking the question, "Why do Muslims behead so many people?" In the modern age, there are swift and almost bloodless ways to kill, which makes the use of beheading subject to question.

Muslim terrorists prefer beheading as the latest way to grab headlines. Here, a terrorist prepared to saw off the head of American journalist, James Foley.

Muslim terrorists prefer beheading as the latest way to grab headlines. Here, a terrorist prepared to saw off the head of American journalist, James Foley.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/21/2014 (1 month ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Muslim, beheading, Islam, terrorists, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, James Foley


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Islamic terrorists continue their reign of terror over the world as they murder their way into our living rooms and television sets, iPads and offices, where we see the gruesome results of their handiwork. Hardly a person in the modern world has gone without witnessing some of the atrocities of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists around the world.

Among their most astounding choices is the decision to brutally decapitate victims and film or photograph the deed. Many of the Islamic State terrorists have gone further and posed with the decapitated heads, distributing the images via social media. Twitter has recently started blocking some of these images, but the world has both a right and a need to see the truth.

Please come to the aid of persecuted Christians in Iraq.

It's a gruesome decision, to kill by decapitation. We live in an age where there are no shortages of ways to kill. We can kill swiftly will bullets, or painlessly with drugs. Furthermore, decapitation is a messy affair with the warm blood of victims spilling everywhere as they instinctively strain against the sawing blade. It's a lot of trouble to go through for both the killer and the victim.

So why is it happening?

First, most of the people being killed by the Islamic State and other terrorists are not killed via beheading. Shooting remains the most common form of execution, and the Islamic State is filming these executions, publicizing their handiwork. A large number of people are also killed by various means including suicide bombings. Exposure to the elements and live burial have been alleged in a few cases. However, the Islamic State and other terrorists are making a spectacle of beheadings in particular.

We are dealing with terrorism and the point of terrorism is spectacle. It's a way for those who feel disenfranchised to get their message noticed around the world. Historically terrorists hijacked airliners, performed car bombings, and suicide bombings. Within the past decade, beheading has become a way for terrorists to force their message back into the public spotlight.

The change in tactics is required because car bombings and suicide bombings have become cliche. They're so commonplace the media has stopped reporting on them in any detail. As for airliners, they've become very difficult to hijack so such deeds have become rare.

However, beheading has a gruesome allure that practically compels people to watch. The viewing of an execution or a killing has an illicit allure to people and even in a society steeped in violent media on the television and in computer games, nothing beats the real thing. It's a gruesome critique of our modern civilization that footage showing the horror of death in graphic detail is widely consumed.

This plays into the hands of the terrorists who want to propagate their message, however it also works against them. Instead of building sympathy it spreads fear and people do not always fly in the face of fear, sometimes they fight.

Indeed, beheadings of Americans by Al Qaeda have sparked major campaigns to find and kill or arrest those responsible for such deeds.

Yet this fact does not answer the question entirely. Muslims also behead because they believe they have a mandate to do so, granted by the Quran.

Several scriptural passages in the Quran mention decapitation of those captured in battle or as a punishment for alleged crimes. Historically, beheading has been widely employed by Islamic nations, including the Ottoman Empire which used the penalty to great effect throughout the centuries.

In 1480, Muslim raiders beheaded an entire village of 800 Italians after they refused to convert to Islam. The site of their mass execution in Otranto, Italy remains important to the Catholic Church.

The terrorists who are carrying out these executions prefer beheading because the act itself has precedent in Islamic tradition.

Islamic apologists will argue that the act of beheading does not have sanction in the Quran, and that the killing of "infidels" has no place in modern Islam. However, there is no question that today's terrorists would differ with these apologists and as far as the world is concerned, the knife is just the way to send the most prominent infidels to their doom.

Even more gruesome, the manner in which victims are beheaded is also deliberate. While the Ottomans and the Saudis used a single stroke of the sword, the terrorists posing for their 15 minutes of fame prefer to use a small knife, sawing at the necks of their victims. This takes longer, usually just under a minute, and it's far more intimate than using a sword.

This is another deliberate choice and it underscores the brutal revelry of the Islamic State and other terrorists. These people prefer to embrace their role in killing, and even seem to relish it. Few things could be more horrifyingly evil. While it is bad enough to kill, we may be able to relate, however tenuously, to the reluctant killer who although misguided, commits the deed out of a feeling of existential necessity. We afford this level of respect to our enemies in war, for example.

However these are not reluctant killers. These are not people endowed with the same conscience that most others possess. Whereas we could never imagine ourselves committing such an act of brutality, they cannot imagine themselves doing anything less. The proof is in the photos they take afterwards, posing with the heads in photos and captioning their tweets with crude jokes.

So terrorists behead people because they want the attention it brings, because they believe they have a mandate to use that method, and because some of them actually relish the act of intimate murder.

It will be difficult to argue that a greater, more sadistic evil that this exists amongst men.

Act now to help persecuted Christians in Iraq.

James Foley, an American journalist was executed by the Islamic State in retaliation for U.S. interv

James Foley, an American journalist was executed by the Islamic State in retaliation for U.S. intervention in Iraq.



Public beheadings and executions are part intimidation, part propaganda.

Public beheadings and executions are part intimidation, part propaganda.



The heads of Syrian soldiers displayed on a fence outside a military base captured by the Islamic St

The heads of Syrian soldiers displayed on a fence outside a military base captured by the Islamic State.



A terrorist poses with the heads and admonishes viewers. Somehow, we

A terrorist poses with the heads and admonishes viewers. Somehow, we're supposed to embrace his message.







This image was captioned with instructions. Beheading is a process that takes as much as a minute to

This image was captioned with instructions. Beheading is a process that takes as much as a minute to complete.



The Islamic State beheads fellow Sunnis who betrayed their cause.

The Islamic State beheads fellow Sunnis who betrayed their cause.







Act now to help persecuted Christians in Iraq.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Middle East

There is no future for the Christians in Iraq, Anglican vicar warns Watch

Image of Christians in Iraq have been subjected to persecution, and more than a million have been forced to flee.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Terrorist fighters from the Islamic State are almost ready to enter the capital of Iraq, the vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad warned on Facebook. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rev. Canon Andrew White posted that "the Islamic State are on the ... continue reading


Netanyahu says threat of Hamas and ISIS reaches far beyond Israel Watch

Image of The spread of Islamic terrorism was compared by Netanyahu as a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the threat of Hamas and ISIS reaches far beyond Israel. Islamic militants across the globe share the same goal of world domination, ... continue reading


Islamic State blasts Obama in powerful critique delivered by hostage John Cantile Watch

Image of John Cantile delivered the Islamic State's latest, scathing critique of Obama's strategy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has delivered a powerful critique of Obama's war speech, asking that if two Gulf Wars did not stop the spread of Islamic influence in the region, then why did he think a third would be more effective? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Whoever is ... continue reading


NO COMMUNION for first time in 2,000 years... Watch

Image of Iraqi Christians receive communion in the Kurdish city of Arbil. Sunday was the first time in 2,000 years no communion was offered in Nineveh, because no Christians remain.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last Sunday there was no communion in Nineveh for the first time in 2,000 years. The Islamic State has finished Christianity in Iraq, having killed and forcing to flee the nation's population of over 200,000 Christians. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ancient ... continue reading


More than 3,000 Europeans fighting for ISIS, anti-terrorism chief says Watch

Image of Seizing large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months, Islamic State - or known as IS, ISIS and ISIL, has had active troops from the European continent within its ranks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the European Union's Anti-Terrorism Chief Gilles de Kerchove has told TV reporters. Even worse, De Kerchove warned that Western air strikes would increase the risk ... continue reading


ISIS executioner in Foley beheading identified - but not made public Watch

Image of ISIS has beheaded James Foley, American journalist Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines, gruesomely showing their killings in videos posted online.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

FBI Director James Comey says that the United States believes it has identified the ISIS militant in the video showing American journalist James Foley's killing - but did not publicly identify the man. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The reason this is so ... continue reading


URGENT email from Iraq asks Christians to pray for ISIS victims in Queragosh -- but is it a hoax? Watch

Image of Christians in Iraq are subject to intense persecution and hardship. They remain at risk and in need of emergency aid.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An email was forwarded to the editorial staff of Catholic Online, requesting urgent prayers for the people of Queragosh, who were being slaughtered by terrorists from the Islamic State. In investigating the matter, the editorial team quickly established the email is a ... continue reading


U.S. mission in Syria determined to be 'a matter of years,' Rear Admiral John Kirby says Watch

Image of Calling the torture and killing of Sameera Al-Nuiamy savage and cowardly, U.N. special representative for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov says that the Iraqi government and the international community must do all they can to ensure those responsible for her death are brought to justice.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The airstrikes against Islamic State strongholds in Syria will likely drag on for several years, according to Rear Admiral John Kirby. As airstrikes continue to pummel used by the terror group to help fund its operations, Kirby pulled no punches with his ... continue reading


Refineries used by Islamic State targeted in airstrikes Watch

Image of Fighter jets from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates flew alongside U.S. aircraft during the operation, hitting 12 locations. Initial reports say that the strikes were successful.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mobile oil refineries in eastern Syria were pounded by U.S.-led warplanes this week in an attempt to hit Islamic State "in the pocketbook." The refineries have been fueling IS' terror brigade. According to Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, the airstrikes were aimed ... continue reading


Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in prison Watch

Image of Convicted in March on conspiracy charges, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith answered Osama bin Laden's request in the hours after the attacks to speak on the widely circulated videos used to recruit new followers willing to go on suicide missions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was sentenced to life in prison for acting as al-Qaeda's spokesman after the September 11 terror attacks. Before sentencing, Abu Ghaith said through an interpreter that he "would not come here today and seek ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter