The Link between Terrorism and Religion
From time immemorial, religious bigots have attempted to legitimize violence in the name of God. Contemporary acts of extreme violence such as terrorist attacks are often justified as ‘holy warfare’. Terrorism carried out in the name of the faith has long been a feature of human affairs. The histories of people, civilizations, nations, and empires are replete with examples of extremist true believers who engage in violence to promote their belief system. Some religious terrorists are inspired by defensive motives, others seek to ensure the predominance of their faith, and others are motivated by an aggressive amalgam of these tendencies.
Most people are mistaken when they say that terrorism is synonymous to religious extremism. Terrorism branches out of religious extremism.
The most well-known terrorist attacks are the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and the 9/11 attacks on the world trade centre in the USA.
Most people are mistaken when they say that terrorism is synonymous to religious extremism. Terrorism branches out of religious extremism. In the current century, it is becoming the most obvious and evident form of religious extremism. It is therefore extremely essential to control it. Religious terrorism is a global phenomenon that has gripped the world.
Case Studies –
In 1972, Sinhala and Buddhism were declared the official language and religion by the then Sinhalese- controlled Sri Lankan government. The Hindus, who constituted 15% of the population and had their own language, took this action by the government as an affront. The Hindus who constituted a majority in the northern and eastern coast with 15% of the total population considered this action by the government as an affront and demanded an independent state in their area in 1973.
As a result of oppression by the ruling Sinhalese Community, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam was formed by Velupillai Prabhakaran in 1976. After three decades of violence and conflicts, Sri Lanka’s government defeated the ethnic separatist insurgent group LTTE in May 2009.
The Sri Lankan government has been trying to contain the situation ever since, by targeting civilians through threats, surveillance, and clampdowns on activities and free speech, so that there are no more insurgencies in the future. The Tamil population in the north have benefitted from humanitarian groups having greater access to the area. The last of the nearly 300,000 civilians illegally confined in military- controlled detention centres after the war moved back into communities, although not necessarily to their home areas. Tens of thousands of persons still live with host families or in temporary accommodation, and several thousand are not able to return home because their home areas have not been de-mined. Although the government claimed to have considerably decreased its military presence in the north and east, credible accounts indicate that military personnel still frequently intervene in civilian life.
The root of the conflict over the border region of Kashmir dates back to the partition of India into a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan way back in 1947. Nationalism is at the core of the dispute, but religion has an important role to play as well.
Palestine and Israel
The Gaza Strip was a part of Great Britain’s Palestine mandate from the League of Nations from 1917 till 1948. The 1948 Arab- Israeli war led to the arrival of Palestinian Arab refugees that tripled the region’s population. However, these refugees were denied Egyptian citizenship, thereby they remained stateless. After the 1967 war, Israel occupied the region and established settlements there, but autonomy for the area was promised by the Camp David Accords. The Palestinian uprising in Gaza in 1987 led to political unrest and violence, and the Gaza Strip remained under frequent military curfew, imposed by Israeli troops sent to suppress the violence and maintain order.
The Israeli occupation has been extremely oppressive and has violated several international laws regarding military occupations. Palestinians have minimal control over their lives with the Israeli militia controlling movement within the territories themselves and frequently placing towns under military curfew. Israeli forces invade places like schools, hospitals, places of worship, injuring many, occasionally killing some, and regularly imprisoning men, women, and children with minimal, if any, legal procedures.
This situation has led to various Palestinian resistance activities, both armed and unarmed, and widespread popular uprisings but this hasn’t prevented the Israeli forces from invading Gaza. Over 5,000 Palestinian men, women, and children are currently being held in Israeli prisons without legitimate trial and are held without being charged for a crime. The Israeli have blocked food and medicine from entering Gaza, which has led to a major humanitarian crisis.
The root of the conflict over the border region of Kashmir dates back to the partition of India into a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan way back in 1947. Nationalism is at the core of the dispute, but religion has an important role to play as well. The pivotal point in Kashmir’s modern history was when the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, decided to join his Muslim majority province to India rather than Pakistan at the time of partition. From then on Pakistan has contended that the Muslims in Kashmir are being held captive by India, and the issue continues to resonate powerfully with the Pakistani public while in contrast, India insists that the Maharaja’s decision was in accordance with the internationally agreed upon method of partition.
…these “Madrasas” have also become centers of notorious terrorist activities where students are taught to show disrespect other religions and fight and kill in the name of Islam.
The Muslims living in Kashmir are divided amongst themselves in terms of ethnicity. This internal fragmentation has complicated negotiation efforts. For instance, in the Northern areas, the Shiite majority regularly clashes with a Sunni minority that is closely aligned with the Pakistani military and central government in Islamabad. Kashmir’s ethnic and religious diversity has now become the stage for a wider set of adversarial contests between India and Pakistan. Many locals, regardless of their faith tradition, have been caught in the middle victims of national militaries or insurgents or both.
The word “Madrasa” refers to a place of religious learning and usually refers to institutions where students gain deeper insight into Islam. These are generally common in Islamic and Arabic countries. However, on the flip side, these “Madrasas” have also become centers of notorious terrorist activities where students are taught to show disrespect other religions and fight and kill in the name of Islam. There are around 18,000-24,000 registered Madrasas in Pakistan and countless more unregistered seminaries. There are as many as 83 illegally constructed mosques and seminaries in Islamabad alone. Unlike Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Iran, the state controls religious learning to prevent sectarian disharmony in society. On paper, the government plans to demolish unregistered Madrasas but the government has been hesitant in doing so, fearing a violent backlash like Laal Masjid. There are innumerable cases of torture, rape, violence and terrorism, which have been connected to Madrasas in 2011. The Education Ministry was provided over $70 million in aid to modernize the curriculum in Madrasas but the funds haven’t been utilized due to non-cooperation from the seminar. It is common to hear of Christian girls in Pakistan being raped. In most cases, girls are victims of a vicious hate crime. Hate crimes are criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. Even India doesn’t have many stringent laws against racism, discrimination and incitement to discrimination and laws previously present haven’t been implemented.
It has now become more imperative than ever for nations to come together with a sense of equality and community in order to attain a peaceful world where each citizen can be not only be addressed as a citizen of their respective countries but can be known as a citizen of the world.