Why Terrorists shout: Allahu Akbar

The phrase Allahu Akbar is Arabic meaning “God is greatest”. Wikipedia says:

“It is a common Islamic Arabic expression, used in various contexts by Muslims; in formal prayer, in the call for prayer (adhān), as an informal expression of faith, in times of distress, or to express resolute determination.”

So far, there is nothing wrong with that expression. God is in fact the greatest. But why do terrorists shout this expression as they are committing horrific crimes against humanity and against God? It is such an extreme contradiction to use that expression of faith while sinning gravely against God.

I don’t believe that terrorists are acting with faith in God, nor with a sincere but mistaken conscience. Some sins are so gravely contrary to faith and reason that no one could mistakenly think they were doing the will of God. So they are using the name of God to justify acts that are unjustifiable. It is their disingenuous rationalization for their own wicked choices.

Do these terrorists actually believe that God is greatest? No. When they shout “God is greatest”, they mean to say that they think themselves to be great. They think they are doing something great. They are expressing self-exaltation. They are worshipping their own anger and hatred and desire for power over others. They mean to say: “I am greatest” and “I am doing something great”. And to use the name of God, to exalt oneself and one’s evil deeds, is idolatry and blasphemy.

It is direct blasphemy to use the name of God to justify crimes against humanity. It is blasphemy to say “Allahu Akbar”, when committing an act of terrorism.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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One Response to Why Terrorists shout: Allahu Akbar

  1. Francisco says:

    This is totally against the second Commandment and if one breaks one of the Commandment breaks them all.

    {20:7} You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. For the Lord will not hold harmless one who takes the name of the Lord his God falsely.

    What a way to discredit the Holy Name of our Lord.

    Also, Jesus said:
    {7:21} Not all who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does the will of my Father, who is in heaven, the same shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    The will of the Father is Not to assassin – kill innocent people (Exodus 20:13). Therefore, those terrorists, who are NOT doing the will of the Father, cannot enter into Heaven.

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