In most cases, the National Institute of Justice researchers use the FBI’s definition of terrorism:
“The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
This definition stresses methods over motivation, but does not address, for example, a religious leader promulgating a belief system that posits terrorism as a pious act. Teaching or instigating terrorism should also be a crime.
Anyone committing a terrorist act is insane. There is no credible, rational argument one can contrive to defend the sanity of a terrorist. Mentally disordered people are programmable weapons of mass destruction — literally. Programming mentally disordered people to commit terrorist acts should be classified as a crime against humanity and punishable by an international court.
In the US, in some cases, our judicial system has punished the instigator of terrorism more severally than the those who have actually perpetrated the violence:
Charles Manson was convicted on a first degree murder charge of Sharon Tate, but the actual act of murdering Ms. Tate was committed by his followers. He instructed the to murder. The murders his followers committed were motivated by Manson’s bizarre belief system. The Manson Family murders were, in fact, acts of terrorism. Some of Manson’s followers, who actually committed the acts of violence, are no longer incarcerated. Manson remains in prison.
An Imam or an Evangelical Christian preacher, who teaches followers a belief system which morally justifies terrorism should be held more accountable for the violence resulting from their instruction than the terrorists themselves. These clerics are fundamentally no different than Charles Manson. Using socially respected religions, whether it be Christianity or Islam, should not offer sanctuary for the cleric.
After all, anything can be justified by selective interpretation of religious texts. Even atheists can find an appropriate scripture quote from the Christian Bible to justify their belief that God does not exist:
See what I mean?
Eric Rudolph committed acts of violence because of his belief that on-demand abortions should not be sanctioned by the government. He has a right to his belief, but he had no right to deprive other people of their inalienable, God given right to exist. There is no rational argument to support his actions. An omnipotent God, by definition, has the power to make real His will. If God preferred no abortion clinics exist, then He could it make it so without the help of Eric Rudolph. Eric Rudolph is mentally disordered. His justification for his actions are utterly disconnected from a coherent rational argument.
Was he programmed by a cleric contorting religious texts for a specific purpose, or did he arrive at justification for his actions by himself?
I don’t know the answer to this. Our law enforcement community, apparently, has no law they can use to investigate those who preached at a church Eric Rudolph frequented (assuming for the sake of argument he attended church; I have no idea).
Anyone declaring a Jihad is no different than Charles Manson. Allah is no different than the Christian God, in the sense that both are believed to be all-powerful. If Allah is truly all-powerful, then he needs no help from flawed humans to enact His will. To believe otherwise is to imply Allah is weak. To believe otherwise is to call Allah imperfect. Jihadists are in fact, blasphemers. Like Charles Manson, those advocating others to join them in a Jihad should be criminally prosecuted for a crime; leading a conspiracy to commit criminal violence against humanity.
Jihadists sincerely believe they are called by Allah to harm those who oppose Allah.
Allah, in His infinite wisdom, has called me — an infidel— to write this article.
I advocate for justice. I advocate the prosecution of the literate who inculcate followers with the belief that, committing violence against the innocent is morally justifiable. Religions are not people. They cannot be put on trial. Imams and other clerics can be prosecuted. They should stand in judgement before a world court as the Nazis did during the Nuremberg trials.
Prosecute the sources of theological-based terrorism and terrorist acts will likely decrease. Soft-handed religious clerics will take an interest in their followers not committing terrorist acts. They will surely find new scriptures to preach, once their comfortable positions are at risk for advocating for violence.