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Religion and Terrorism: The Connection

Updated on April 22, 2011

Terrorism is said to be based on terror. Terrorists aim at imposing fear and their own way of thinking and ideologies which may or may not be specific. Terrorism is an act of violence or threat that is unlawful and has an objective of exacting revenge, intimidating or influencing an audience. It is one of the most serious security challenges that we face in the world today.

So many terrorist attacks have been made all over the world. Religion is considered the sole primary motivation to terrorism.  Most terrorists use religious scriptures to justify their actions. In most times, the terrorists use religion to conceal or hide their political views, and generate support for their actions, and it is also used to silence opposition.

The mention of religion and terrorism is not new in today’s world. Religion has been used to show terror to its followers and its non followers. Terror has been used in various religions to instill fear among the followers or to set boundaries between religions. In the Christian religion, the Bible has stories of Romans feeding Christians to lions and the Pharaoh killing Jews and terrorizing them into slavery.Christians have also killed Jews in the name of God. Religion has been used to terrorize and kill the people who oppose it. It has been used to make people turn against each other and kill each other. Symbolic acts such as those of blood sacrifice, self sacrifice and martyrdom have throughout in history been used by terrorists with political and religious motivations. Terrorists use these methods that are borrowed from religions since they are considered to be efficient, inexpensive, and very easy to carry out, and they deliver the intended damage with minimal costs. Most of these types of attacks are used to get public attention.

There are zealots within each religion. These are people who are fanatically and excessively committed to their religion. The Islamic religion is the most targeted when it comes to terrorism. The killing of innocent victims is not advocated in the Koran or any other holy book like the Bible or the Torah. But terrorists continue to use these books to entice others to join them and kill.

Religion is also used as a form of communication and used in the spread of terrorism especially in the Islamic countries. Many terrorists believe that broadening their constitution will give them more power. Some countries that practice Islam as a religion are coming together and joining forces on the basis of religion to strengthen.

The mindsets of terrorists are influenced by religion. There are two sets of terrorists; the secular terrorists and the religious ones. The two have very different mindsets and use violence for symbolic purposes. Secular terrorists give warnings and they try to avoid casualties or deaths. Religious terrorists on the other hand thrive on mass murders. Secular terrorists are committed to just violence, while the religious terrorists are committed to mass violence. They have some hesitation with inflicting casualties and killing innocent victims.

Religion creates an avenue for the terrorists to create mass movement and form alliances of convenience. There are very many followers of religion and hence religion creates the numbers needed. The mass movements lead to less control and less purity and some members become more committed than others. The bigger the movement the bigger the risk that is present in the alliance. Terrorists use the rationale of my friend’s enemy is also my enemy. This kind of rationale fosters terrorism even further.

There are various ways that can be used to reduce terrorism. Some of the methods are not viable solutions. We cannot fight violence with more violence. When the leaders of the terrorists groups are killed and imprisoned this creates a feeling of injustice that increases the hate, and sparks reactions from the other terrorist groups. Killing the citizens of the countries involved in terrorism or genocide, does not solve the problem, it just makes the situation worse. When violence is used to fight terrorism, the country or people fighting are no better than the terrorists themselves as they end up killing innocent victims. Other means of fighting terrorism can be used and they tend to yield better results. According to the bible, Jesus taught that those who live by the sword die by the sword. Gandhi also taught that when people use an eye for an eye that only leads to blinding the whole world. The cycle of violence has to be broken, and creative means of fighting terrorism developed.

One way to fight terrorism is to reach out to the poor countries that the terrorists come from and lend a helping hand. They can be helped through assisting them with the things that they need. That way, seeds of peace and love are sown and the people can see that there is no need for all the violence. Things like food and medicine can help these people solve the major issues that they have. By doing this, we shall be embracing some of the root causes of terrorism like injustice, poverty and hopelessness. Removing the justified or unjustified cause of terrorism that is the feeling of injustice, another cause of terrorism, can also help eliminate or reduce terrorism. Most terrorists feel that some countries such as the United States and some countries in Europe are superior to others and therefore tend to dominate the world. The countries involved can hold a dialogue and eliminate these beliefs and feelings that are the basis for terrorism.



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