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February Today in Terrorism

February 25, 1994: Jewish extremist massacres Muslims in Hebron

On this day in 1994 an American Jewish extremist named Baruch Goldstein went into the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Palestine and opened fire, massacring 29 Muslims

HEBRON, PALESTINE – Yet again, differences over whose religion is more important leads to a mass killing.

We are of course all to used (sigh!) to hearing about how Islamist extremists hold non-normative, narrow views on what constitutes Islam and what does not and how they assume the responsibility and justification for killing those they see as apostates. Kuffar, they call their opponents.

If you have been following this series over time you will know that these terrorists have struck time and time again in dozens of countries. The victims range from Christians to Jews to Hindus to other Muslims (Shia, Sufi, Ahmadis, etc.). These actors don’t need much to convince them to kill.

Image result for islamic state
We’re Number 1 – hell, we’re the ONLY number! (Photo: ISIS)

Much less frequently do we hear about terrorism carried out by other self-styled religious terrorists (although I did write an entire book on this phenomenon a few years back: When Religions Kill). But there are other actors. Today’s featured attack is a good, albeit horrific, example.

On this day in 1994

An American Jewish extremist named Baruch Goldstein went into the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Palestine and opened fire, massacring 29 Muslims at prayer (injuring another 100). The terrorist was a member of a group known as the Jewish Defense League (JDL) and was from Brooklyn.

At first, I thought it might be fireworks for the Jewish holiday, but after five seconds, the man next to me fell forward. I realised he had been shot; so had the person in front of me, and so had I.

Eyewitness

Goldstein was disarmed by surviving mosque goers and beaten to death. Here is where is gets scary: a lot of Jewish extremists see him as a ‘hero’ for what he did (“He was a righteous man, and a great hero“). His birthday is celebrated and he is seen as a man who “saved Jews”.

“Saved Jews” by slaughtering 29 innocent, unarmed people? No thanks, I prefer my heroes a little less violent – and monstruous.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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