Terrorism has no religion

This research explores the idea of extremism and how its found in every religion and group.

Nowadays We are living in a world of fire. What happens in one place affect the whole world and certainly terrorism has always been the spark that ignite this fire. Todays media coverage along with the current events made Some people argue that Islam is the main reason for terrorism. Moreover, it helped spread the idea of “Islamophobia” that made many Muslims around the world suffer from discrimination. However, terrorism has no religion and therefore, Islam can’t be blamed for the brutal terrorism we face worldwide nowadays as it has been shown throughout history that Extremism is everywhere, not only in Islam but also in Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism.

What we are witnessing nowadays of terroristic events is usually blamed on Islam and Muslims as being extremists owing to the fact of jihad being part one of the pillars of Islam. The truth is Islam is like any other religion that calls out for peace and equality. lots of people ignore that truth and take one part of the story translating it to what serves their own political purposes and agendas. They extract the concept of jihad out of its context and they are not aware of it.

Moreover, the wide spread view that consider terrorism as an exclusively Islamist phenomenon has ignored that fact that The majority of the Muslims in the world are fighting against terroristic groups and condemning terrorism. There have also been Muslims in the west who have cooperated with authorities to stop a terrorist act before it occurred. Muslims suffer at the hand of these brain-dead extremist more than any other groups. moreover, majority of those who are on the front-lines fighting against Islamic extremist are Muslims. It is the Iraq army, Syrian Army, the Somalian army, the Nigerian Army, the Afghan army, etc who are the ones shedding their blood battling to exterminate these groups from their countries.

The extortion against Islam has ranged from mistreatment of Muslims all over the world promoting the term Islamophobia till hate crimes being committed against Muslims worldwide.

Starting with the term Islamophobia that has been rooted nowadays in views of many western societies. Wajahat et al. defines islamophobia as an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life (9). Such a term has been the reason of many sufferings for Muslims all over the world.

Some meaningful data is illustrated in a report made by Gallup about various aspects of respect, treatment, and tolerance towards Muslims worldwide Through various research vehicles and public opinion polls. The report reveals that 52% of Americans and 48% of Canadians say the West does not respect Muslim societies. Smaller percentages of Italian, French, German, and British respondents agree. It suggests that many Muslims around the world agree that they are not feeling respected by those in the West. The report also suggests that more than half the sample being questioned for the report do not agree that Muslims in the West are treated as equal citizens. This belief adds to the perception of Muslims being excluded from social, political, and civic life in Western societies.

In another report, titled ‘Forgotten women: The impact of Islamophobia on Muslim women in the UK’ commissioned by the European Network Against Racism, Muslim women have been found to face difficulties in workplace. The report finds that 43 % of Muslim women in the UK feel a difference in treatment in job interviews because they are Muslim , specially those wearing hijab. 50 % of them thinks that wearing hijab is a major factor for such a decimation and a principal reason for missing out many opportunities. The report’s authors explains that hijab wearers can be targeted for their beliefs since hijab is perceived as visibly marking out a woman’s faith compared to other faiths with less visible attire. This idea resembles the fact that Although some Jews grow a beard, people would perceive a man with a beard to be Muslim.

There are many examples of Islmophobia in western countries. For instance, in 2009, a ban on minaret construction has been put to referendum by the largest party in Swiss parliament. The government opposed the ban, since it could harm the country’s image and the views of the Muslim people of Switzerland. However Nearly 60% of Swiss voters voted in favor of the ban.

Terrorism doesn’t have to be connected to a religion or to a certain kind of faith.

An analysis by a California State University research group has drawn the attention towards the increasing Violations made against Muslims. Those violations include assaults on hijab-wearing students; arsons and vandalism at mosques; and even Hate crimes. Brian Levin, a criminologist at California State University, San Bernardino says, “The terrorist attacks, coupled with the ubiquity of these anti-Muslim stereotypes seeping into the mainstream, have emboldened people to act upon this fear and anger,”. Brian explains that these reactions is perceived as a reflection of the alleged claims that accuse Islam and only Islam of terrorism. Consequently, a state of anger has loaded people’s hearts and thoughts against Islam.

Eric Lichtblaul in his article Crimes Against Muslim Americans suggests that ,according to a recent analysis based on reports from the news media and civil rights groups, the rate of suspected hate crimes against Muslims has tripled since the attacks in Paris.

in the United States physical violence against worshipers of Islam is increasing. In fact CbsNews lists a string of attacks on Muslims near their mosques happening recently. For example, a doctor who was trying to attend morning prayers was shot just outside after being approached by a group of three men at a mosque in Houston. Also in Brooklyn, New York, two Muslim teens were beaten outside a mosque during a midnight prayer. Police didn’t classify the incident as a hate crime claiming that the suspect attacked the victims because they made comments about his girlfriend. However, the mosque urged the police to investigate the attack as a hate crime since One of the victims said the attacker called him a “terrorist” as he kicked him (“Attacks underscore fears”).

A more dangerous form of such a extortion against Islam has been shown in killing Muslims in some countrues like Maynamar. the case of Myanmar (Burma) features a state of sheer hatred, socio-economic oppression, mental torture, physical abuse and ultimately genocidal annihilation for Muslims living there. Burma Muslim minority, the Rohingya, are being denied citizenship and other fundamental human rights since the Burmese state considers them as immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Muslims in Burma have witnessed the worst kind of genocidal operation at the hands of extremist Buddhists who rule their country. owing to the gravity of the humanitarian situation in Burma ,Norway, a non-Muslim state held a two-day day session that called for an end to the ongoing injustice and suppression of Rohingya Muslims in Burma. The participants, who included seven Nobel laureates, termed whats happening in Burma as being no less than genocide ( Hussain and Wasli).

Terrorism doesn’t always have to be connected to a religion or to a certain kind of faith. Elliott Balch in his article MYTH BUSTING: ROBERT PAPE ON ISIS, SUICIDE TERRORISM, AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY talks about professor Robert Pape at the university of Chicago who has studied many cases of suicide terrorism and his findings that suggest that there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. He goes on to say that The top root of suicide terrorism is ‘nationalism’. It’s about land, it’s about power, it’s about politics; it’s not about faith. Faith is just a cover. Some terroristic groups like Boko haram in Nigeria , Al Shabab group in Somalia and Huthis in Yemen perform terroristic attacks on the people of their own country who are Muslims as well. Such domestic attacks don’t have to be connected with any kind of faith or religion it could be ways of power seeking or authority control.

Domestic violence taking place in many countries nowadays has nothing to do with religions in most cases and it is considered to be the most wide spreading and dangerous type of terrorism. In many cases, the violent attacks are not performed by named groups or organizations that adapt a certain belief of faith. Unlikely it is performed by what is called “lone wolves” or “leaderless resistance” groups which is mostly composed of just two men. The majority of such attacks has a political or psychological dimension and Many of its prosecutors are believed to be mentally ill. A recent study of domestic terrorism conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) suggests that 74% of the terroristic incidents happening in America over the last six years were carried out by lone wolves and the rest was planned by a named organization (“The Age of the Wolf”4). One of famous domestic incidents in America is The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which occurred on December 14, 2012. Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 students between the ages of 5 and 10, and six adult workers then he killed himself. Its considered to be one the deadliest mass shooting at a grade school in U.S. history and the third-deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history. Those incidents prompt the ongoing non solved debate about gun control in the United States.

In addition , the study found that more people have been killed in America by non-Islamic domestic terrorists than jihadists (“The Age of the Wolf”4). Although this report highlights the severity of this form of violence, the American government, who claims to be a strong player in the war against terrorism worldwide, has been focusing heavily on Islamists and jihadists since 9/11 events. Directing their resources towards battling Islam and jihadist exclusively ignoring the various forms of domestic extremism that is spreading in their country.

It has been shown throughout history that Extremism is everywhere, not only in Islam but also in Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism.

It has been shown throughout history that Extremism is everywhere, not only in Islam but also in Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism. Just because they don’t get as much coverage as other Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS[1] or Boko Haram2 doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. President Barack Obama speech at the National Prayer Breakfast last February stressed that Muslims are not the only players who share in terrorism and religious extremism. He mentioned that Christianity has a dark side citing the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition as two examples. Obama wasn’t attacking Christianity but rather, was making the point that just as not all Christians can be held responsible for the horrors of the Inquisition, not all Muslims can be blamed for the violent extremism of ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaeda or Boko Haram. He got a lot of flak for his words which have clearly arouse the anger and the irritation of far-right Republicans at that time.

Many extremist Christian groups exist nowadays and their violent acts has been deeply rooted in our societies obscured by biased media and political stalks. For instance, Eastern Lightning, also known as the Church of the Almighty, is a Chinese Christianity cult Founded in 1990. It believes that Jesus Christ will return to Earth in the form of a Chinese woman and that their duty is to slay demons as the world is coming to an end. No one has been exempt from Eastern Lightning’s violence even Christian groups. In 2002, they kidnapped 34 members of a Christian group called the China Gospel Fellowship in order to force them to join their cult. In 2010, they killed a school student whose relative wanted to leave their cult. More recently in may 2014, Zhang Lidong one of the cult members beated a 37 years old women in Mcdonalds in Zhaoyun because she refused to give him her phone number. Alex Henderson in his article “6 Modern-Day Christian Terrorist Groups You Never Hear About” said that Lidong expressed no remorse of the victim and that he said, “I beat her with all my might and stamped on her too. She was a demon. We had to destroy her.”( Henderson). Lidongs’ words show how his cult adapt an extremist terroristic ideology that is far away from the magnanimous moderate teachings of any religion.

Another example Many cases of Judaism extremism has been illustrated from the very beginning of old history uptill now .Starting from the Zealots and Sicarii till the spread of Zionism and the dreadful acts that happened in Ghaza and Palstine. Zealots were an old aggressive political party known for its opposition to the pagan Rome and the polytheism. Being extremely concerned with achieving the welfare of the national and religious life of the Jewish people ,they despised even Jews who were seeking peace and conciliation with the Roman authorities. Extremists among the Zealots were known as Sicarii, a word with Greek origin “sikarioi”, meaning “dagger men”. Their identifying characteristics were : victimhood, no compromises, use of daggers to resolve issues, generating hate, and creating victims .They turned to terrorism and assassination by visiting public places with hidden daggers and striking down the people who supported Rome. The Sicarii played a major role in provoking the Roman’s aggressive response against the Jewish population in Jerusalem ( “the new sicarri” ).

Later in history, a Jewish terrorist gang called Irgun along with the help of a more radical group called the Stern Gangs committed Two major terroristic events. Those two events were the bombing of the King David Hotel in journalism resulting in killing 91 people in 1946. The second one is the massacre of Deir Yassin in 1948 that led to the death of 260 Arab residents of Deir Yassin village. Most of whom were women and children. The brutality of this massacre was described by the observers of the Red Cross and the United Nations who visited the scene. They said that the houses were first set on fire and the occupants were shot down as they came out to escape the flames. One of the disgraceful scenes been described by them is the scene of a pregnant woman having her baby cut out of her stomach with a knife (Past Zionist-Jewish Terrorism).

The Shocking fact is that Menachem Begin the head of Irgun group, who was later awarded the Nobel Prize for peace, is the same man who planned for those two events. Israel Ex prime minister Shamir was originally a member of the same gang, then he moved over to the even more radical “Stern Gang,” which committed many brutal atrocities in order to found the state of Israel on the expense of the innocent people’s lives. He defended the various assassinations committed by the Irgun and Stern gangs claiming that it was the only way they could operate, because they were so small.

More recently, In June, 2015 an arson attack on a church on the shores of the Sea of Galilee left one Catholic monk hospitalized and caused nearly $1.8 million in damage. Andrew Lawler in his article Jewish Extremists’ Attacks Rattle Christians in Holy Land raise concerns towards the increasing Assaults on churches by right-wing Jews. He argues that Those assults are signs of tension between Christians in Israel and a growing movement of Jewish extremists who look forward to cleansing Israel of any religious minorities.

Moreover, Hinduism had its own share in that extremism rally introducing the term “Saffron terror” which is used to describe acts of violence done by Hindu nationalism. Hindu extremist organizations started to spread in India carrying out multiple terrorist attacks like 2006 Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing (Hyderabad) and the Ajmer sharif dargah blast.

Taking the example of The 2006 Malegaon bombings as a saffron terroristic act. on 8 September 2006 in Malegaon, a town in the Indian state of Maharashtra, a series of bomb blasts took place. firstly the bombings was blamed on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) by The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). However, in 2013 the Hindu extremist group Abhinav Bharat was blamed for the incident. On 25 April 2016, the court found the initial ATS charges to be fabricated and released the nine Muslims previously arrested.

In conclusion, terrorism has no religion and therefore Islam cant be blamed for the terrorism spreading in our world. Just as all religions call for peace and mmagnanimous teachings, any of their members can go extremist since extremism is everywhere. However, the main concern shouldn’t be about one religious community targeting the other; the concern should be towards the brutal fate the unarmed and innocent human beings are facing as victims of the terroristic acts. People must be vigilant and mobilized to preserve and protect human rights. They shouldn’t hate or fight based on religion. There are no us and them.

References:

“AGE OF THE WOLF: A Study of the Rise of Lone Wolf and Leaderless Resistance Terrorism”. Montgomery, Alabama: Southern poverty law center, 12 Feb. 2015, <https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/d6_legacy_files/downloads/publication/lone_wolf_special_report_0.pdf>

“Attacks underscore fears that anti-Muslim violence on the rise.” CBCNews, 3 jul. 2016

<http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/06-Jun-2015/genocide-of-muslims-in-myanmar>

Balch ,Elliott. “ MYTH BUSTING: ROBERT PAPE ON ISIS, SUICIDE TERRORISM, AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY” CHICAGO POLICY REVIEW, 5 May. 2015

<http://chicagopolicyreview.org/2015/05/05/myth-busting-robert-pape-on-isis-suicide-terrorism-and-u-s-foreign-policy/>

Gallup.com

<http://www.gallup.com/poll/157082/islamophobia-understanding-anti-muslim-sentiment-west.aspx>

Henderson, Alex. “ Army of God? 6 Modern-Day Christian Terrorist Groups You Never Hear About” AlterNet, 1 April 2015

<http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/army-god-6-modern-day-christian-terrorist-groups-you-never-hear-about>

Hussain, Ejaz and Maqbool Wasli . “ Genocide of Muslims in Myanmar.” Daily times, 6 jun. 2015, <http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/06-Jun-2015/genocide-of-muslims-in-myanmar>

Lawler, Andrew. “Jewish Extremists’ Attacks Rattle Christians in Holy Land” National geographic , 24 Dec 2015

<http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/12/151224-israel-jewish-terrorism-arson-christian-church-multiplication/>

Lichtblau , Eric. “ Crimes Against Muslim Americans and Mosques Rise Sharply” the newyork times, 17 Dec. 2015

<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/18/us/politics/crimes-against-muslim-americans-and-mosques-rise-sharply.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0>

“Past Zionist-Jewish Terrorism — Some Historical Facts“ Rense,

<http://www.rense.com/general21/pastzionist.htm>

The Independent

<http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-muslim-women-face-double-bind-of-gender-and-religious-discrimination-report-warns-a7049031.html>

“The New Sicarii “ alternative insight, jun. 2011

<http://www.alternativeinsight.com/The_New_Sicarii.html>

Wajahat Ali et al. “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” .Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress, 2011

<https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wpcontent/uploads/issues/2011/08/pdf/islamophobia.pdf>