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Religious extremism has been a major factor in the most recent terrorist assaults, and the Global Jihad still poses serious threats on a global scale. As one of the fundamental steps in eliminating terrorism, Western culture and other nations have taken the initiative to determine the main causes of terrorism. Terrorists are interested in the history from the era of selective terror to separation and independence. Terrorism emanates from Muslim countries, notably those in the South and Middle East Asia (White, 2013). The distinctive features of the religion and culture in these areas increase terrorism, and there are no definitive solutions to such actions. However, the common belief is that religion is one of the motivators to terrorist attacks in the society as perpetrators of different terror attacks have in the past claimed religious inspiration towards such acts (Pillar, 2011).
Today, religion is a primary component of various cultures in the society and has become part and parcel of different practices in the community. Furthermore, religion is unpredictable regarding the cultural identity of any society, and thus it is challenging to distinguish culture and religion – culture and religion are directly related or interlinked, and such symbiosis relationship triggers destructive consequences that result in perpetrating and supporting terrorism. For example, Islamist terrorists portray violence as a divine duty or sacramental act that is executed towards theological demand. Besides, culture and religion are practically inseparable, and thus culture is responsible for the much needed social cohesion in order to legitimize religious-motivated terrorism.
Religions such as Islam provide the essential grounds for nurturing terrorism in the society, making Islam a predominant instigator of terrorism. The resulting grounds are fertile for the growth of different aspects of Islam culture that pose a lot of danger to security in the world. For instance, Muslims through the religious grounds glorify some of the ancient and powerful Islamic empires, which is critical to reviving the Muslim’s great days. In addition, through religion, there is the inherent culture of warriors in which people are punished in the form of blood revenge, respect, honor, and in God’s name (Graeme, 2005). Such cultures have existed since the era of Prophet Mohammed and Muslims would want to continue with such practices to fulfill their religious beliefs. While such forms of punishments are meant to differentiate between infidels and Muslims and for collective identity in Muslim nations, the shift to attacks or violence through twisted or incorrect religious justification generally evolves and becomes a way of life in certain communities.
The other twisted religious perception that influences terrorism is Shahadah (the concept of martyrdom) – self-sacrificing one’s life to sanctify God’s name (Graeme, 2005). For instance, Muslim communities advocate for martyrdom through religion in which they create ‘martyr worship cultures’ that are in the form or image of suicide bombers or attackers. Even though religion such as Islam prohibits suicide, religious leaders have come up with interpretations that justify suicide terrorism (the modern smart bomb) under religious authorization as acts meant to defend the dignity, lands, and religion of Islam (New Hope Cw Farm, 2010). Such religious interpretations have resulted in false beliefs among followers who consider suicide terrorism as heroic.
In conclusion, religions such as the Islam influence terrorism through twisted religious perception such as the concept of martyrdom and culture of warriors. Even though religion does not openly advocate for terrorism or any similar phenomenon, it contributes significantly to providing the necessary support (favorable environments), which enable religious sages to serve or meet specific aims or political modules by using contemporary methods and interpretations that convince the followers.
Graeme, Steven. (2005). "Profiling the Suicide Terrorist". INTERSEC; Volume 15, Issue 10.
New Hope Cw Farm. (2010). The Christian Radical. Volume 4, Issue 3.
Pillar, R. P. (2011). American Perceptions of Terrorism in the Post-9/11 Decade. Combating Terrorism Center (Ctc) Sentinel; Volume 4, Issue 9.
White, J. R. (2013). Terrorism and Homeland Security (8th ed.). Belmont CA: Wardsworth Publishing Company, Cengage Learning. ISBN-13: 9781285061962
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