Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Linda Lim

First Page



Terrorism has little or nothing to do with globalization, just as it has little or nothing to do with Islam. Most of the many varieties of terrorism that afflict and have long afflicted the world are responses not to global phenomena, but to intensely local ones. Examples include particularly ethnic, nationalist, and religious fault lines such as violence by Catholics and Protestants in Ireland; Basques in Spain; the Hindu Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka; Kashmiris, Sikhs, and Hindu nationalists in India; the Aum cult in Japan; and Uighurs in Xinjiang, China.

The terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center on September 11 were also not making a statement against globalization, unlike the anti-globalization activist who leads French farmers in trashing McDonald's outlets there.' Rather, as far as can be discerned from the propaganda of the hijackers' assumed leader, Osama bin Laden, they were making a statement against, variously, the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, its insistence on continued bombing of and economic sanctions against Iraq, and its support of Israel against the Palestinians. In my experience, and from what I read, these same resentments are felt by most Muslims everywhere, who nonetheless condemn terrorism and recognize it to be counter to the teachings of Islam. On October 10, the sixty countries which belong to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), unambiguously declared of the September 11 attacks that "such deplorable terrorist acts' run counter to Islam's tolerant heavenly message of peace, harmony, tolerance, and respect among people .... Islam values human life and denounces the killing of innocent people."