Is religion the root cause of terrorism?

2014-12-16 22:16

Is religion the root cause of terrorism? I dont think so.

The most recent outrage by the Pakistani Taliban that led to the death of 141 people including over 80 school children in Peshawar leads me to this question: is religion the source of violence and the wars we have been witnessing? That's the unhelpful stereotype punted by so many, including I will wager, commentators to this blog piece.

There are many books and op-eds that have been written blaming terrorism on Islam mainly. Chief amongst them includes atheists such as Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) , Christopher Hitchens ( God is not Great) and, Jessica Stern (Terror in the name of God).

The common thread is that religion is bad.

Interestingly, Rennie Naidoo's blog piece entitled "An inconvenient truth:Religion is a form of madness" on this platform is instructive and a must read. He argues that there is nothing moderate about religion and that it has outlived its purpose. He goes on to argue that "religion like racism is a petty way for people to feel a sense of group distinctiveness" and that " it appears that there is simply no limit to the stupidity of their actions to maintain or elevate this sense of distinctiveness."  He certainly has a point or points to enable us to engage.

Then there is Karen Armstrong's "Fields of Blood-Religion and the History of Violence". She debunks that dominant narrative blaming all the violence/terrorism on religion.

So is it? Is there, for instance, substance in the Marxist narrative that religion is the opiate of the masses which, in my opinion, inferentially has led to so much violence and injustice? What do you think?

Now that I have aroused if not stirred many an antagonist and protagonist,if you be either one of them,lets hear from you.Lets join the discussion. Let's engage in dialogue and not diatribe for in the former lies,I believe, the keys to the gates of solution. That's my appeal to you reading this.

I saw hope and encouragement in the recent hostage incident in Australia by an Iranian which saw a flurry on social media such twitter under the hastag "Iwillridewithyou" in support of Muslims by ordinary Australians against reprisals. Instead of a backlash Australians rallied together and, for all intents and purposes,have decided to show those mad men and women who seek to infuse and polarise their society with their toxic philosophy,that they are much more mature and rational in their response and reaction.

We need an insight into the acts of otherwise inexplicable horror and insanity and to be able to suggest how terrorism might effectively be countered,if not,prevented.

One thing is clear as the US "Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report" tasked into the CIA's detention and torture, a over 6000 page report, which took four years to complete,has concluded.Namely that the so called 'enhanced interrogation techniques' employed by the CIA has had no effect in countering the inexplicable horror that terrorism brings.

Jessica Stern's interaction with extremist members of Christianity,Judaism and Islam is instructive. Don't take my word for it. Read her book for yourself and make your own conclusions. Her interaction has led to the discovery that the Islamic jihadi and that Christian fundamentalist, Timothy McVeigh, have much in common. She too has a point.

Thank you for reading this initiative and for agreeing to participate in finding that key to the gate of solution.

Saber Jazbhay


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