Again, there was dark smoke billowing from razing reddish flame moving into the sky. It wasn’t from a prophet’s sacrifice for the atonement of sin(s) going to the high heaven but brutal destruction of lives which are to be locked in the dust. Alas! It was Medina – a city which is only eclipsed by Mecca in the Islamic circles – in Saudi Arabia. As if that wasn’t enough, Jeddah and Qatif had shares of sorrow perpetuated by insane minds, in the same country, same day.
A lot has been said about the unending global madness that has been plaguing the world. Often, the topical discourse has birthed more allusive statements in the course of backlash against violence done by fellow humans that shouldn’t in any way be in a sane society.  Hence, the citizens of the world are beings of indifferent reasoning. And this is eclipsing bilateral or multilateral agreements between and among countries, which are done for the aims intended, and shut down the drains once the deals are settled.
There is a widespread belief that the major cause of terrorism is religion. Religion in this sense, most often than not, has been concentrated on Islam with major exclusion enjoyed by other existing religions and secularisation. Thus, the rise of Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is the exaggerated fear, hatred and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life.
The Muslim community is really under beleaguerment for the incidences of the past and present that is reshaping the current and moulding the future. Sadly, the people discriminated against are the victims of the perpetrators. How do one explain the lives of Muslims living in Iraq or Afghanistan? Are they all terrorists?
“How do we stop young Muslims becoming radicalized?” is the question we now continually ask. But it’s a deeply misleading question because it points us in the wrong direction. Why? Because it contains a hidden assumption that it is radical ideas, specifically Islamic theological ideas, that are the root cause of turning a young lad to a suicide bomber. According to the radicalization hypothesis, it’s conservative Islam and the dangerous ideas contained in the Qur’an that motivate murderous behaviour.
The world has jumped to an easy and, it seems to be obvious conclusion. The evidence of terrorism without close inspection seems to be stacked against religion. Men with beard, veiled women, turbans, and some Arabian look tend to lead people to think about Islam and terrorism. This particular phenomenon is hyped by the media as a result of the phobia that has gripped the Western societies after the 9th September, 2001 (popularly referred to 9/11) attack in the United States of America. The perpetrators of the attacks on Brussels, Paris, Syria, Abuja, Kano, New York  and other places  have all claimed inspiration from their religion. The theory that first impression matters and last longer, impact social interaction can not be jettisoned. It is because it can be proofed but not in any way a rule to be obeyed. Thus, the foremost attack from Al-Qaeda gave the general impression about Muslims from non-Muslims. Subsequently, groups like Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affirmed the conclusion that Islam is responsible for terrorism.
If religion is the cause, Islam should not receive the brunt alone. Extremists in other religions are every bit as capable of acts of terrorism as radical Islamist, and to pretend that such don’t exist does the public a huge disservice.
Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist and a non-Muslim carried out the Wisconsin Sikh Temple Massacre on 12th August, 2012. Jim David, sympathizer of Christian Right, on 27th July, 2008, walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville and shot at random, killing two and seven injured. Eric Rudolph, member of Army of God equally carried out the Olympic Park bombing on 27th July, 1996.
Terrorism is not fundamentally caused by theological differences in religion but it is also driven by politics. Al-Qaeda, along with its affiliated groups, does not attack the West over theological differences between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The grievances expressed by Al-Qaeda are broadly political in nature and address, explicitly and implicitly, such issues as economic oppression and political corruption. While public documents and communiques put forth by Al-Qaeda or its followers  normally start with statements invoking religious themes, the grievances expressed and objectives are always political in nature. Terrorism, like war, is the continuation of politics by other means.
The radicalization hypothesis steers us away from the real causes of terrorism. If you want to find a terrorist, look for people buying potentially dangerous chemicals, sophisticated arms, producing bombs secretly and not people saying their prayers.
Rather than blame a religion for outward acts of violence, we’d do well to also look at other factors affecting the lives of people who become radicalized. Like religion, other factor in a person’s social and cultural environment shape who they are and what they do.
Can we blame Islam for the terror attacks?
FAB Obisanya writes from his Personal Computer. 

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.