Terrorism in the name of Jesus? Everybody ignore

Certainly he has not the fascinating look of a bin-Laden and does not live in the mysterious caves of the Hindu Kush, surely he has not the media appeal and the anchorman vocation which the ‘Master of Terror’ has shown to have in the last seven years; yet Roberto Sandalo (alias Robby the Mad or Commandant Franco) has more terrorist credentials than ‘Sheik Osama’. Roberto Sandalo, allegedly the leader of a Christian anti-Islamic terrorist movement called Fronte Combattente Cristiano or ‘Fighting Christian Front’.The mysterious group has been responsible, in the last year, for bomb attacks against Islamic centres and mosques as well as death threats to Muslims.

The Italian police arrested Mr Sandalo on 10th April 2008; he has subsequently confessed to the attacks, the foundation of the Christian terrorist organization as well as new plots. Mr Sandalo, who was a member of the Lega Nord and subsequently expelled for providing a false name, has been an infamous, bloody killer and terrorist for Prima Linea (Front Line), a Communist terrorist organization similar to the Red Brigades. Mr Sandalo has justified his actions, and future plans to continue a terrorist campaign against Muslims, such as Dr Gonzaga, director of Islamic Relief Italy, as a fight in the name of Jesus against ‘Islamofascism’. The Italian authorities are still investigating the international links of the organization and the official number of members; another four people have been arrested today, among them Maurizio Peruzzi, an expert in chemistry and explosives. I am sure that this will not be the first or last of these anti-Muslim terrorist groups, yet I am not surprised that the first one started in Italy. As I have highlighted in another post, Muslims in Italy suffer, particularly from the extreme right, forms of discrimination as well as violence, and the Lega North is certainly one of the most anti-Muslims parties of Europe.

To tell the truth, I thought that news about the first Christian anti-Muslim terrorist group would have attracted international attention and fostered new debates. Think, indeed, if the terrorist’s name instead of Roberto was something like Muhammad; imagine the titles, the talks, the politicians’ words and the special legislations proposed. Well, we do not have very much to imagine, we need only to open a British newspaper.

But the news about a self-defined Christian terrorist and a Christian (mainly Catholic) terrorist organization has attracted virtually no attention. Nothing can be found, (at the moment in which I am writing) on the BBC (even BBC Europe) or the main British newspapers or the US. Furthermore, even those Italian newspapers which have dealt with the story, have not called the attacks, before often dismissed as the work of immigrants’ rackets and mafia, Christian terrorism, or referred to Mr Sandalo as a Christian terrorist (despite his own claim!). ‘How is it possible to kill in the name of Jesus?’ Many have asked. Well, history surely has the answer. It is not the first time; it will not be the last. I had the impression that many Italians (and by extension Europeans and Americans) would perceive as less dramatic the killing of people in a mosque than in a Church.

I have the impression that after so many wars against Muslim countries, audiences are becoming used to seeing Muslims dead, and, in some cases, some people maybe start to prefer them as such. None of the Italian or European politicians have condemned the actions, and plans, of the Fighting Christian Front. None of the clergy or the Pope has condemned or commented upon the actions committed in the name of Jesus. The message is clear: a mad Marxist – now fanatic Catholic – is perceived for what he is, a violent fool; while a mad Muslim who dreams of violent jihad is perceived as the correct expression of his religion.

I wish also to point out Mr Sandalo’s reference to ‘Islamofascim’. Check today (13th of April) Jihad Watch’s page, Mr Spencer reports different events, some surely explosive, but not one word, not one comment about the Fighting Christian Front. Of course, Mr Spencer only watches jihad, but the fact that Mr Sandalo refers to the concept of Islamofascism perhaps would be enough to report, and condemn, Sandalo’s actions. Indeed, I have the impression, but we need more investigation, that Sandalo and his group may have been inspired by a certain language, ideology and viewpoints expressed often in a post-Marxist way. I find intriguing how many post-Marxists, among which we can mention David Horowitz, have turned their attention and criticism to Islam, but I leave this reflection to a future post.

Control over rhetoric can sometimes be difficult. Within the movements which supported the so called IslamoFascism Awareness Week and which claim Islam to be nothing else than a form of Nazism and Fascism (see for instance Geert Wilders, the author of the recent controversial film Fitna) starts to form a grey area of violent, racist and often really fascist supporters. I suppose that neither Mr Spencer nor Mr Horowitz would support Mr Sandalo’s group and views. I even think that Geert Wilders would feel disgusted by such violent terrorist intents. Indeed, in Geert Wilders’s own words, he ‘does not hate Muslims, but Islam’. The only issue, as I have argued in my recent book, is that Islam does not exist without Muslims; hence, hating Islam ends in encouraging actions against Muslims, as hating Judaism is nothing else than hating Jews.

Although, after the Holocaust, the majority of people seem to have finally grasped that hating Judaism as a religion can only end in hating Jews as people, and possibly looking for ‘final solutions’; in the case of Islam we have a clear situation in which this simple observation is not accepted. There is, also among politicians, such as Calderoli and other exponents of the Lega Nord, the idea that ‘holocausting’ Islam does not imply persecuting and killing Muslims. Mr Sandalo, with Marxist real politick, has better grasped the point. Certain recent, post 9/11 rhetoric is inspiring more and more Mr Sandalos; yet politicians, journalists and the general public seem to ignore the danger as much as many did in the 1930s, when the target of Mr Sandalo would have been Rabbis and Synagogues.

There are lessons which the increasing supporters of ‘anti-Islamofasicsm’ may learn from the history of communist terrorism in Italy, of which Mr Sandalo is one of the products. The Italian Communist Party, and the trade unions, of which many members shared with the Red Brigades and other subversive organisations much of the ideological rhetoric and slogans, quickly understood the importance of condemning and isolating the violent, terrorist components. Had they not done so, they would have ended absorbed and monopolized by the terrorist organization. Would the new anti-Islamic movements, which however reject violence, have the same courage or rather stupidly hope to manipulate such terrorist violence for their own ideological aims for a supremacist Christian (for some, often white) western anachronistic dream?

There is a saying, often attributed to Pope Bonifacious VIII which states ‘Qui tacet consentiret’ (i.e. Silence gives consent). In the case of the Fighting Christian Front, it is clear that the consentientibus among the self-labelled Christians are too many. Jesus can only cry.


16 thoughts on “Terrorism in the name of Jesus? Everybody ignore

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  1. Hi I found your article very interesting. I’ve been trying to research christian terrorism in order to try to ascertain if media coverage of Islamist violence is warranted. In other words are we singling out muslims for special treatment?

    I found your article interesting because it cites an actual case of a christian organisation attacking muslim targets. Of course to look for christian terrorism one need look no further than the IRA, or the KKK but these are clearly organisations that have a particular agenda of limited scope, the former nationalist and the later racist.

    The LRA however have a clear religious motivational core that is directed towards propagation of their particular creed. In other words there are examples of Christian terrorist groups with a religion – xenophobic attitude.

    I think I can tentatively answer the central question of your piece as to why the western press have ignored Sandelo.

    I think there are two broad reasons. Firstly as far as I have been able to research his terrorist acts constituted setting some cars on fire near a mosque and an islamic study centre. He was inept.
    Secondly the anti islamic terrorist organisation you quote in your article never got off the ground as Sandelo’s other charge included handing out a mobile phone number in order to solicite youth.
    It would seem that you are characterising the terrorist achievements of Sandelo as being on a par with the Madrid Bombers or the London tube terrorists, or 9/11 or the Bali nightclub bombers when in actual fact he seems more like one friend away from being a lone nutter.
    Could you please supply some background that would show why the BBC would be interested in publishing news about the actions of an ex red revolutionary underachiever?
    I have to say the BBC did condemn and televise reports of attacks on mosques after the Mohamed Cartoon murders of christians and rioting across the Islamic world and the more recent riots and murders of christians associated with the life of Mohammed film.
    In short your article seems to be short of substance. I think it would be more useful to focus on customary dismissal of criticism of islam. The only writer I have seen who actually focusses on the problems within islam and doesn’t shirk the responsibility by laying the blame elsewhere is Irshad Manji.
    If you compare the plight of muslims in the west to all other religions under Islam the result is glaringly clear.

  2. Muslims have done a great job of getting history rewrtten and playing the victim. So it doesn’t suprise me when they complain about an anti Muslim act not getting reported in the European press. Would an anti Christian act be reported by a Saudi paper?
    I think not.

  3. This proves that we shouldn’t be having a war on terrorism.
    I think we should be having a war against extremism, which is what this is all about. It’s not about Islam, or Christianity, it’s about religion, and the idiots that take it to an extreme fanatical level. I wish people would realize that there are flaws within their so-precious beliefs and learn that only through questioning and thinking can you improve your life and the lives of others.

  4. You should know that the size of opposition to any cause is always proportional to the cause and that is why Islam has been having problems with the West-especially the British and the Americans- because it is too big for them to battle so they are using other means to fight the religion.
    The relief is that while they can manipulate the society physically, the society can not be manipulated psychologically especially when its (society) soul comes in contact with the truth which is what Islam stands for and that explains why it is growing very rapidly in these societies.
    War against Islam or not, nobody or forces can come into contact with Islam and still remain the same, including the British press who have given up the fight because, more than ever before, it is known to them that no matter what they do Islam will still prevail.
    So their attitude to Islam is not that of wanting to ignore anti-Islamic issues, no! the problem is that they do not know what else to do to frustrate the religion so their action is borne out of frustration which, in a way, has given rise to apathy.


  5. No answer to a second email I sent to the BBC. At this point I stop sending emails. I can see that the BBC has some strange interest in not reporting the story and not following it, as the majority of the mass media in Europe.

    In any case, the Italian new Christian terrorist movement seems to have links in Danemark. I am not so surprise indeed.

    Best wishes

  6. Dear all,

    I see that BBC is able to report a piece of news such as ‘Mecca time

    But has missed: 1) the attack on mosques in France, yesterday 2) the development of the anti-Muslim terrorist ring in Italy (though publishing articles about the Lega Nord and its electoral success)

    Some of you may ask: Have they at least replied to your email and questions? The answer of course is ‘no, they did not’. But of course, they have phoned me several time for programs on ‘radicalism in Prison’.

    I will be very curious to know how they select news. Surely they have more time for curioisities than actual important news.
    So, if in the world of Islam a Muslim loses a hair, this will be reported. If Sandalo&Co planned to bomb Muslims (including Muslim children and whoever was supposed to be in the vicinity), this remains unreported.

    Best wishes

  7. Today I have decided to write to Mr Jon Williams the BBC world news editor and ask the reason why, despite the various, often even crazy, news they are able to report from around the world, the Fronte Combattente Cristiano or ‘Fighting Christian Front’ never was.
    below my email to Mr Williams:

    Dear Mr Jon Williams
    I have noticed that the BBC has not reported at all the case of Roberto Sandalo, the self-defined Christian Italian terrorist. Yet I have often noticed that even the most insignificant (or sometimes misleading) information about Muslim terrorism around the world is promptly reported. I have also noticed it is not unusual to find in the BBC website crazy stories such as the one about the Sudanese guy who was married to a goat.
    I really would appreciate, as part of my own academic research, to know why the BBC has decided not to report this story (or if it has been reported, where I can find it).
    I thank you in advance for your kind answer

    Looking for the reply!


  8. Interesting point of view.

    Lessons can be summarised into one word from my point of view as Muslim: ignorance.

    I’m inviting you to share my thoughts over my blog.

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