Religion can inspire people’s potential and make them undaunted in the face of death. However, countless disasters have broken out when religious extremism and terrorism combined with each other. Religious- based terrorism has become a major form of contemporary terrorism. Currently, the world’s situation has experienced drastic changes and religion as a supernatural deity worship met the requirements of people’s spiritual sustenance. Therefore, the religious- based terrorism as a type of terrorist activities spread around the world rapidly and it will long exist. This essay will firstly discuss the similarities between terrorism that is primarily religious and terrorism that is primarily secular. Following this, it will discuss the differences between terrorism that is primarily religious and terrorism that is primarily secular by analyzing one act of contemporary religious violence in detail. Finally, it will analyze the reason why it is not possible for terrorists to achieve their aims by using violence..
Similarities between terrorism that is primarily religious and terrorism that is primarily secular
After experienced the “9 â€¢ 11” incident in 2001, a discussion on the so-called “fourth wave of terrorism” had risen. Unlike the previous several waves of terrorism, religious issue has become the main motive force of this new terrorism (David C. Rapoport, 2001). Religious-based terrorism means “for the religious or political reasons, a religious group, organization, government or individuals attacks their religion or other religions and use violence against the innocent civilians or property.” ¼ˆAref M. Al- Khattar, 2003¼‰
Although driving by different forces, the religious-based terrorism and secular terrorism use violence to solve their problem and bring the society a great panic. First, both the religious-based terrorism and secular terrorism are act of violence. They convey their ideas and intentions to certain social groups by those planned violence. They seek political change by the public impact of violence. Second, the religious-based terrorism and secular terrorism are always unpredictable. Organized terroristic activities have a shelter and it is difficult to predict in advance. When and where will the terrorist activities occur? What are their aims? How terrorist activities start on? All of these issues are unknown until the terrorist events happen. Its unpredictability expanding the effect of terrorist violence and terrorism becomes very difficult to deal with. Third, the victims of the religious-based terrorism and secular terrorism have a symbolic meaning. The potential victims of terrorist attacks are not really randomly selected. These targets are the symbol of what the terrorists want to attack because of their status, their location or their activities. Fourth, the religious-based terrorism and secular terrorism’s action usually has a specific political purpose. Terrorism has a political purpose which includes two situations: Firstly, some groups or organizations use such means of violent and terrorist to achieve their own political purposes. Secondly, they adopt that means of violent terrorist to change social political thoughts.
Differences between terrorism that is primarily religious and terrorism that is primarily secular
The religious-based terrorism and secular terrorism are different in those issues of motivation, legitimization and justification. Some Islamic fundamentalist organizations are the typical delegate of religious-based terrorism. They advocate to restore the original form of Islam and to establish a theocracy country. Terrorism is the stock in trade of the Islamic fundamentalist. The Muslim Brotherhood is a representation of fundamentalist. This organization was established in 1928 and its initial aim is to “resist Western cultural influence on the Arab world.” Since its inception, the Muslim Brotherhood spread its influence in the Arab world, and gradually evolved from a religious organization to a paramilitary terrorist organization. Hamas is an organization which is derived from the Muslim Brotherhood. They put forward a very aggressive struggle aim: destroy Israel with a holy war and establish an Islamic state in Palestine ultimately. After the Cold War, the terrorism activities of Islamic fundamentalist have become increasingly frequent and prove to be the most dangerous terrorism in the world (Bar S, 2004).
Take Islamic fundamentalist terrorism for example. Compared with the secular terrorism, they considered violence as a sacred act or duty and terrorist activities have been given a sacred name. Killing is “glorious” if it is for the sacred religious. Secular moral fetters, struggle of the human nature dissipated in this “glorious”. Terrorists use murder and they have no limitation on the political impact, moral and practical conditions that limited secular terrorism. ¼ˆBruce Hoffman, 1993¼‰
Religious allow terrorists to find a way to legitimize their acts of terror. Many religious doctrines have violent sanctions content to urge their follower filled with admiration to the God. Terrorism is a natural supporter of violence. It captured this feature of religion, misleading those devout followers. These followers believed that violence is an expression of worship and they were taking away the sinners in accordance the will of God. Therefore, they not only will not feel guilty for the murder, but believes their actions are legitimate and sacred (Sedgwick M, 2004). Compared with the other types of terrorism, their “enemy” is broader and numerous. This fact doomed religious-based terrorism are much bloody than the other types of terrorism.
The religious-based extremism terrorists are both victimizer and victim. Piety to the religious is their spiritual motivate of carrying out terrorist attacks, but not the root causes of terrorism. They had lived quietly in the world which many religions exist there like most people. They protected their religion carefully, but their religion gradually declined under the impact of Western culture. Those desperate followers have to take the extreme method of killing to eradicate those who threaten their religious beliefs and it seems that those numerous religions may erode their faith. Those experiences in the real-life, including the power politics of Western countries, economic sanctions, military strikes, made them feel that they are victims and they have the right to retaliate to these people who bring them disaster. Terrorism will not grow up without any reason and no one born a suicide bomber ( Jones JW,2009; Roislien HE, 2005).
Analysis of the possibility for religious terrorists to achieve their aims by violence
Since the nineteen eighties, various types of world’s religious terrorist organizations developed rapidly. The ravages of terrorism have brought great harm to the international community and undermine the normal social order. Terrorism intensifies various contradictions and becomes a major threat to the peace of the world. Therefore, many governments condemn atrocities of the terrorist and have made it clear that they will fight against terrorism.
In recent years, the international community has joint together to act against terrorism. Many countries recognize that anti-terrorism can not be met by one country alone. They must rely on the strength of the entire international community. Contemporary terrorism is more like cancer, which spread and undermined the body health of the community seriously. It undermines the international peace and social stability, which lead the international community into deep fear. So compromise with terrorists is generally refused by the whole world. Recently, many countries have committed to the fight against terrorism and have made remarkable achievements. Therefore, in this situation, religious terrorism is difficult to achieve their goal by violence.
Same example can be used to illustrate the above conclusion. Organizations of Islamic fundamentalists, like Hamas, have not achieved its goal by using violence. Although causing great damage¼ŒHamas suicide bombing attacks do not destroy Israel and have no positive effects on the establishment of an Islamic state in Palestine. Instead¼ŒGaza as the stronghold of Hamas has been blockaded by Israel since 2007. As a result, Hamas lost the ability to launch large-scale attack in a long period of time.
Religion is an important component of human civilization and its contribution to mankind is undeniable. The ethical and legal norms it advocates still play an irreplaceable constraints role of people’s behavior for peace and stability of human society. But religious-based terrorism undermined international peace and social stability, which lead the international community into deep fear. Anti-terrorist is imperative, but it is also essential for each country involved in terrorism to rethink what makes them become the targets of terrorist attacks. If people use violence to combat with religious terrorism, this will only lead to more conflict of civilizations and more severe social panic. However, elimination of terrorism is an extremely complex and difficult task. So the religious-based terrorism will long exist. Therefore, all the countries involved in terrorism need to find the root causes of religious-based terrorism .What they can do now is try to prevent terrorism and minimize losses caused by terrorist activities.
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