A terrorist drove a truck into a crowd of people in Manhattan
"Allahu akbar" has been co-opted by Islamic terrorists and used as a sort of war cry. Pictured above: aftermath of the recent attack in Manhattan.

In the latest terrorist attack committed in the name of radical Islam, 8 people were killed and 12 more injured during a murderous truck rampage in New York City. The suspect, a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan, was captured and taken to the hospital. He has reportedly demanded that an ISIS flag be hung in the hospital room where he is being detained.

Before being apprehended, the attacker leapt out of his truck shouting "Allahu akbar" a common Arabic phrase that translates to "God is greatest." Although used in its original intent by millions of peaceful Muslims each day, the phrase is now carries a dark connotation.

"Allahu akbar" has been co-opted by terrorist groups such as ISIS and turned into a sort of war cry used during violent attacks carried out in the name of Allah.

Twin towers being attacked on 9/11"Strike Fear in Their Hearts"

Instances of terrorists yelling "Allahu akbar" have been well documented.

Earlier this year in Paris, for example, a man wielding a knife attacked a French soldier outside the Louvre while screaming, "Allahu akbar." Ditto for the London Bridge attack back in June. The attackers were heard yelling "Allahu akbar" and "this is for Allah" after mowing down dozens of people in a van. The Pulse Massacre in 2015? Same thing.

So how did this now-infamous phrase become linked to terrorism in the first place?

As it turns out, the phrase was first linked to terrorism after the 9/11 attacks. Documents found in the luggage of one of the hijackers contained instructions urging them to "shout 'Allahu Akbar' because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers."

Safe to say they accomplished their goal.

A Complex Religious Expression

Along those lines, if you asked your average American, they'd probably guess "Allahu akbar" means something to the effect of "kill them all." Based on the media hysteria that occurs after every terror attack, this is practically an excusable offense. Rarely does the phrase receive appropriate context in the media. Apparently, some reporters can't even be bothered to pronounce it correctly:

That gave us a good laugh.

Anyway, it's also worth noting that while the phrase may have been co-opted and made notorious by jihadists, it's actually quite popular among peaceful Muslims and is used widely throughout the Muslim world. Similar to how Christians say "God is good," many Muslims use "Allahu akbar" as a peaceful expression of their commitment to the Islamic faith.

But it can mean a lot of different things. "I say it like a hundred times a day," explains writer Wajahat Ali. It's a "lexical Swiss Army knife," as he puts it a way to express congratulations, gratitude, appreciation, or anything really. As another Muslim explains: "You see a really beautiful woman and you go, 'Allahu Akbar.'"

Interestingly, a representative from the Council on American-Islamic Relations points out that Muslim terrorists who've stolen the phrase to use as a battle cry are actually responsible for a grave sin: "That is the biggest act of heresy is to shout God's glorious name when committing the worst crime against God."

No Going Back

However innocent its intent may be in 99% of cases, the unfortunate reality is that "Allahu akbar" has become permanently associated with Islamic terrorism.

Is there any way for regular Muslims to "take back" this phrase from extremists? Perhaps, but it's a tall order. With each successive attack, their cause will be dealt another setback.



  1. Barry's Avatar Barry

    Going to take some time.That phrase is associated with almost every Muslim Attack.Its like their battle cry. It used by true Muslims and wannabes.

    1. Darrell Lee Wright's Avatar Darrell Lee Wright

      This article shows how the media can sometimes advertise a slogan or idea. This "advertisement" then gets stuck into the brains of millions. But was this terrorist act the result of ISIS or Antifa?

      Many forget (or never paid attention to) Antifa threatened armed protests November 4th, 2017. Considering the assailant was armed with non-life threatening weapons (other than vehicle) when captured, it appears to be more Antifa organized.

      Also if you noticed the Large Volume of Sexual Harassment claims organized at the same time, it appears the feminist movement could also be linked. This is what our current President and many Republicans see this issue.

      We believe if we change our Government to a more Democratic Society things will be seen differently, but truth dictates a war coming. Civil Unrest is high in the USA. Many believe it is a result of our "ISMs" (Feminism, Racism, ect.)

      We must remember the times are changing once more (Bob Dylan). How we proceed forward will decide our fate.

      Even some LGBT groups question certain rights given to particular groups and the strange consistent complaints of some. As a struggling gay actor recently told me about the #MeToo debate, 'When the majority of cases are found false, Hollywood will fire many. Then he will have a larger chance at getting the roles many Hollywood Starlets are refusing.'

      Always look for every possible answer. The truth is Not always what it seems.

      1. TigerMoon2's Avatar TigerMoon2

        And so, have Russian trolls infiltrated the ULC, as well? I believe you are either that, or one of the alt-right. Begone, Satan! (I don't actually believe in a satan, but, there you have it just the same.) I don't agree with your opinion here, in the least.

        1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

          But you believe in the mythical Russian trolls and the mythical alt-right. I can see why you are proud of that.

    2. Abduttawwab Altalac's Avatar Abduttawwab Altalac

      First of all, i dont consider terrorists muslims, these are followers of hadith, not Quran, islam doesnt condone terrorism, but these fool hard shaikhs muftis mullahs, have fed these so called muslims, persian writings. They have deviated from true islam, into vicious sects. And as far as isis, it was put together by the cia and mossad, isis stands for israeli secret intelligence service. Lets get it straight, and stop giving out false information

      1. Humphrey Mosley's Avatar Humphrey Mosley

        Poor deluded person. Mossad is one the bulwarks trying to save us fron Daesh terrorism.


          Abduttawwab Altalac is an AntiSemetic POS!!!

    3. Rev paul's Avatar Rev paul

      True enough barry

  1. Rashid's Avatar Rashid

    Interesting article. As for "Muslims use “Allahu akbar” as a peaceful expression of their commitment to the Islamic faith." I believe this is incorrect. "Commitment to God" or "practice of Islamic faith" would have been more appropriate. Never a commitment to Islamic faith. As Muhammad (PBUH) taught we believers should never separate ourselves but hold tight to the rope of Allah (God).

    As for taking the phrase back... This is something I doubt will ever happen. When my son graduates from High School next year I most likely will not uder those words of praise to the almighty untill I'm home. I don't want to cause panic. I also fear someone might hear it and assume something differently and end my life for it. You see... I'm not afraid of dying, however I am afraid of leaving my family without just cause.

    Just a another Muslims view and I liked the article overall.


    1. James's Avatar James

      Allahu akbar and its gifted meaning can be corrupted by anyone with a spin as this... http://reason.com/blog/2014/09/11/photographing-fake-blow-job-from-jesus could corrupt related believe systems that employ its meaning. Holding on to meanings that NOT serve ones personal meaning is letting THEM control / own you. They then live on thru the new holder of the corrupt reference.

      1. Rashid's Avatar Rashid

        What I understand from your post is that a twisted person(s) can manipulate the core values and beliefs of a particular religion thus changing it.

        While I believe things do change in religion based on it's community, I can't and don't believe that it can change the core beliefs thus changing the religion as a whole.

        If we were to assume that the few are changing a religion then Christianity as a whole would have to accept homosexuality as not being a sin and whole heartedly accept this. This is just one example and please understand that I'm not attempting to defame Christianity.

        While we (majority?) here at The Monastery believe that homosexuality is not a sin and others believe that the holy books are at a loss in translation we have not changed Christianity's idea of core values or beliefs as a whole. Or any other religions for that matter. If we had... there wouldn't be a need for us to be here in a group for like minded individuals.

        1. James's Avatar James

          One (or a group) NOT change the religion as a whole. Only the person or select group of said religion.. its all about PERSONAL phaneron. Personal perspectives carried out by one (or more) NOT make (or force) the core religion / beliefs change. Wrong or right from the inception of said belief system is just that...

  1. Robert's Avatar Robert

    all i can say is fi you think you can reason with this so called peaceful religion, then you re truly blind, now read this article and see why or a lot of why, they way they are https://en.europenews.dk/-Muslim-Inbreeding-Impacts-on-intelligence-sanity-health-and-society-78170.html

    1. Rashid's Avatar Rashid

      Propaganda! The article failed to include those of other religions in the same regions (except when negative towards Muslims). Inbreeding is NOT a thing within a religious sect or group. It is mainly cultural and as such it is practiced by those of other faiths as well.

      The article also failed to take count of religious groups within say... The United States where we have many groups like The Menonites, Amish, etc who practice this. If this logic was true then there would be loads of terrorists from Ohio in the United States and elsewhere. So inbreeding has nothing to do with this article except for propaganda.

      While I disagree with the count I also can say that the majority of Muslims are is Asia. We never hear anything about Terrorists coming from there do we?

      The fact is terrorists come from everywhere and any religion or faith. An article printed here... https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/8718000 talks about attacks and how they have been named differently (mental disorder, etc) to exclude those attacks from religion and call it anything but. The purpose? I believe for fear mongers to stretch their point.

  1. James's Avatar James

    Allahu akbar? God is great? If GOD (LOVE) is great. <--- That as a stand alone statement is correct. But, to then use the "lords" (laws of love) in vain? Perform a non-sequitur? Create a parodox? And use the lords (laws) name in vain in the act of what universal laws read as "thou shall not kill". Meaning no (emotional, mental, physical or spiritual) murder. transforming another by removing one from the gene pool is for the laws of Karma to make that call. Not an egotistical, selfish human to perform judge, jury & executioner at the whim of sick phaneron to eliminate / depriving another human innocent travelers on their own path. PS; The chemical & drug industry are a big factor in what is being manifested 2day. As a species, we are poiosioning our minds & being with compounds never found in nature till humans transformed good into incompatible. A noted point. Most of these larger scale crimes are perpetrated by deranged, programmed, weak humans looking for a purpose in life while the hands of a drug / chemical company milking it. What better way for the egotistical greedy to control ppl than to fake the 2nd coming of some well known figure or tell them they will get 40 virgins or ???

  1. James's Avatar James

    It will remain a phrase marked with a horrible symbol that may not be even close to what it literally means. Yet, many things are : rebel flags, German cross, sickle and hammer, etc. It's always the few that ruin the full load.

    1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. James's Avatar James

    There is a stigma to copious meanings in life. Is this Iconic figure now ruined for life in ppls eyes because many believe in "you cant un-see that". ,,, http://reason.com/blog/2014/09/11/photographing-fake-blow-job-from-jesus As with the reasons for all these crimes against icons its all about how ppl respect & honer original meanings VS new meanings. Anything & everything will be how ppl let it be in their heads. Most will hold on to what owns them. Be it religious or ???. Thru (non egotistical) love ALL things are possible. Hey, does that imply each one of us (can collectively) eliminate politically correct racism? Wow, how easy.....

  1. Bill Kinsland's Avatar Bill Kinsland

    In spite of humanity's clumsy attempts to praise God lovingly and rightly...(or not!)...God is still GREAT! Alhamdulillah !

    1. Rashid's Avatar Rashid


    2. James's Avatar James

      God / LOVE is great? Yep. Lets encourage all these hypocrites to manifest this "god / Love".

  1. rabbi jim's Avatar rabbi jim

    That slob should have never been admitted to a hospital, at the expense of the American people, I'm sure. He should have been hung up in Times Square at the noon hour and beaten with ugly sticks until covered in his own blood in front of a world wide television audience. That would have been an appropriate warning to all terrorists world-wide that this is what they can expect for their terrorist activities. Perhaps, that will discourage that sick behavior in the future. Terrorism is a monster, a cancer, in society. There is ONLY ONE WAY to deal with it effectively. Destroy it, kill it, before it destroys the human race. Every day society lives in fear of terrorism. It is a disgrace to humanity.

    1. hsw's Avatar hsw

      As horrific as these terrorist acts are, I believe that if we give up our principles, which include the rule of law, we truly have let the terrorists win.

      1. James's Avatar James

        Most have to follow laws, Laws of our personal believes, laws of the government, laws of physics, laws of god / love as we understand them, laws of many things. Crime follows only one law............ A greedy selfish, self-serving ego. Where is the line between being a criminal in the eyes of god / love & self preservation. A conflict even Jesus ping-ponged with as he prayed away his karma to offset what he thought was a "wrong doing". Take the Ace-holes out on the spot.

      2. Bill Kinsland's Avatar Bill Kinsland

        Agreed....with a full heart, Brother...

      3. Bill Kinsland's Avatar Bill Kinsland

        I should have made it clear....I agree with HSW's remark...

    2. Rashid's Avatar Rashid

      I have to agree with you Rabbi Jim. In America if your caught you will have room and board, TV, phone calls, reading material, healthcare, etc. All this depends on where your detained. There is no fear of getting caught. We baby them! Death is not "torture" either as they "go to heaven."

      They (terrorist) live by a certain law. They live by what they consider appreciate punishment for others. They torture those that are not with them. If we are to protect the defenseless and innocent we need to make the punishment worth it's crime. I, for one would be happy to carry out such punishment.

      We have to change some laws for their specific behavior. If some pansy right to life disagrees than they should be arguing for the lives these torrorists take or be encarcerated with them for interfering in a court process!

      If we don't want to be torturing them there is another solution... Take them back to their region for prosecution. Public prosecution. Islamic law provides punishments that we no longer follow. Punishments that they are afraid of. The people there themselves are tired of them and would be happy to get ahold of them. Think about Omar Kadaffi. How was he punished and how did they end his life?

      I say the punishment should "equal the crime!" They should actually get what they deserve! Isn't time that we stop babying criminals?

    3. Jim D.'s Avatar Jim D.

      Rabbi Jim, if we were to engage in the behavior you suggest, then we would become the terrorist. We have to be better than that. I agree with your anger, and I would like nothing more than to see this piece of crap suffer a most horrible death. But the better part of me wants justice, not revenge. Certainly, if I thought beating this guy in Times Square would stop all terrorism, I'd say go ahead. It would be worth sacrificing one of theirs to make the madness stop. But you and I both know publicly beating this guy would only fan the flames for these crazy bastards. As much as we hate him, as much as we would like to make him suffer a thousand paper cuts and pour lemon juice on him, we have to be impartial and follow the law. Remember, the world is watching, and we cannot afford to look like our values as Americans don't mean anything.

  1. Milton's Avatar Milton


    A lot of very good points about the phrase. To answer the question, can the phase be taken back? I'd have to say no.

    I'll use some examples:

    • The swastika originally was not a bad symbol. It originated from ancient Asia and means power or luck and can even still be seen in its original use on the symbol for the Jainism religion. The inverted swastika means love. The Nazi party (national socialist party) took the symbol and it is forever tainted by it's evil message.

    • The word fag, as many should know, originally meant a "bundle of sticks". It has changed meaning many times and is now a derogatory term for a homosexual male. If you watch South Park, they claim it now means "someone that does something to annoy you". It's a comical attempt to move the word away from its worst meaning.

    I like how this article talks about the use of the phrase. It is important to note that although not all Muslims that say the phrase are intending on commuting acts of terrorism, all Muslims that do commit acts of terrorism will say the phrase (these are the radical Muslims, not to be confused with progressive Muslims).

    1. James's Avatar James

      Kinda like the term "dirty film". Something a dentist would say. Ppl will cherry pick what ever meaning they wish from their personal database of meanings. Then swear the speakers intent & meaning as the recipient assumes they meant it (taking others inventory). Uncontrolled emotion & feelings. Egocentric predicament dictates Emotions & feelings are a gift, experience this expression of ego w/ wisdom & discretion.

  1. Bill Fox's Avatar Bill Fox

    The use of the phrase is alienating the religion from the world. Muslims and Islam will find themselves isolated and hunted down.

  1. Rev sepultero's Avatar Rev sepultero

    As the swastika will forever be tainted by the nazis. So will that phrase. In there original meaning they were something pure then got screwed over

  1. jonathan ubandoma's Avatar jonathan ubandoma

    why are we Christians mindful every islamic activities? i personally look at it as we are promoting them by publishing their nefarious in our church magazines etc. we need to look deeper, come with ideas that will counter their activities. they are killing us every blessed day. they do not care to meanings.

  1. Dawn Pisturino's Avatar Dawn Pisturino

    Muslims are Muslims, whether peaceful or violent. They all belong to the ummah. A jihadist would naturally cry "Allahu Akbar" to show his devotion to God. When I was attending Friday prayers, I met plenty of Muslims who supported Osama bin Laden. When terrorists are condemned, however, they conveniently disavow them. Jihad is very much a part of Muslim life and figures prominently in the Koran. Jihad can be conquering your own weaknesses and faults or conquering the enemy. Islam does not turn the other cheek and demands the right to defend itself. However, this depends on the interpretation. Osama bin Laden used the excuse that the American military, stationed in Saudi Arabia, violated sacred ground. ISIS wants to re-establish the Caliphate, so they feel justified in committing violence to achieve that end. They don't care who they kill. They are martyrs for Allah. Palestinian families are proud when their children die as martyrs for the cause. READ THE KORAN.

    1. James's Avatar James

      Proud? When there children are martyrs? These are allllllllll EGOtistical views... I've read the Koran. How many ways can any biblical teachings be taken, spun, twisted, viewed or manifested as phaneron is at play. All these books are taken egotistically and then perpetrated on others. If any infidel is to be killed, it should be ones own infidel, the one ~with in, Not ones neighbor.


    Allah Ackbar is fun!

    When walking through the mall or similar crowded places full of my fellow upper middle class, university educated, persons of Northern European descent I love to zip around a corner and yell "Allah Ackbar" at the top of my londs - pause then make that loud-n=fast "La Lu Lu Lu Lu" sound that Middle Eastern women make that has the same kind of connotations that "Allah Ackbar" does... then I zip back around the corner and fight the urge to bust out laughing while watching all the old Fox News viewers freak the hell out!!! LOL !! Good Times... Good Times... i

    1. James's Avatar James

      @ Jason... Kinda like what one does to mess w/ ppls heads. Some can be funny. Candid Camera type shows. Or other clown pranks on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DihTXmzHDRM ... Some day, some where in this day & age pay-back is a bicth? Lets see your next one at an airport.

  1. James's Avatar James

    No matter who or what one may label or resonate of what love, god, hell etc, etc, etc may (or not) be. Why force said believes, thoughts & ways on others? Every one is entitles to put spins on biblical, spirituality type teaching as they please, using their own personal phaneron. The question is & the problem arises when this is forced, impressed, intimidated or pushed on others. Thoes who (of any faith) suppress & kill other who think & feel different, using their personal ideals are the main problem. These ppl play egotistical gods to boast their own ego. If others like what a given sect teaches, the masses will flock there.

  1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

    Anyone notice what an in-bred-looking monkey face on the guy in the picture?

    1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

      You would, I guess.

  1. Marcel French's Avatar Marcel French

    The only way to fix something like that is to not protect extremists just because they belong to the same religion. No matter the religion you belong to if you are willing to oust any and all extremist by any means necessary then you can separate the good ones from the violent bad ones very easy.

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