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How Religion Influences Terrorism

Religion and terrorism are two different ideas. These activities specifically vary from one another and are motivated by various objectives. Terrorists use coercion and fear-mongering to incite violence to grab the attention of the authorities. Contrarily, religion is based on a strong belief in something supernatural that promotes peaceful coexistence. Both faiths aim to inspire adherents to alter their lives to please God, despite significant major variances. Those who follow either set of guidelines must behave differently to accomplish their objectives. A terrorist could, for example, murder helpless individuals to criticize the government. A believer must be devoted to their deity and lead a virtuous life to get assistance. It consequently becomes unclear if there is a causal relationship between terrorism and religion or whether one has an impact on the other. This essay examines how religion affects terrorism by examining Islam and Christianity.

Many terrorist organizations explain their actions by citing religious principles. Since the 11th century, terrorist organizations and personalities, such as the Ismailis Nizari, have murdered influential people to overthrow corrupt governmental and religious regimes. The prevalence of terrorism driven by religion has also increased recently. Many terrorist organizations, including Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, the Army of God and Boko haram, target people of different religions. According to research, these organizations believe it is right to murder people in the name of their deity because it represents his might (Shapiro & Maras, 2019). These organizations also radicalize people and inspire others to follow their views. For instance, the terrorist group Boko Haram abducted hundreds of female students in West Africa and forced them to convert to Islam. They were then used to detonate suicide bombs after becoming radicals.

The Qur’an is quite clear about what Muslims must and must not do. The Qur’an often warns believers against acting like terrorists. First, forcing someone to change their faith against their choice is against the law. The Cow 2:256 asserts that religion is powerless. Second, The Cow 2:190 asserts that people should not be hostile since God detests hostile people and commands Christians to fight in God’s way (Dawson, 2018). Homicide for any purpose other than those permitted by law is prohibited by Qur’anic verse 6:151. Certain writings seem to support terrorism. Under Surah 8:12, Allah will terrorize unbelievers and order believers to amputate their fingernails and skulls. These works, meanwhile, could be misapplied and misinterpreted under the wrong circumstances. It seems sensible to think that Islam forbids terrorism.

Some terrorists are inspired to commit crimes by their faith in Christ. The Bible is used by extremist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as justification for their horrible deeds. These organizations claim verses like Numbers 31:18, where God commands the Israelites to slaughter all men and women save virgins, whom they are to adopt as their own. However, the Bible forbids all forms of attacks, comprising terrorism. Terrorists named Charles B, R. Berry, and Jay are believed to have attacked bombs, family planning workplaces, and media organizations in 1991 (Dawson, 2018). They also held anti-Semitic prejudice and alleged that God had approved of their terrible actions.

Most terrorists base their justification for their conduct on a misunderstanding of religion, which they then use to justify their crimes. Despite this, this behaviour is strictly banned in Islam and Christianity. The vast majority of those who engage in acts of religious terrorism are devout believers but have a limited understanding of religion.


Dawson, L. L. (2018). Debating the role of religion in the motivation of religious terrorism. Nordic Journal of Religion and Society31(2), 98-117.

Shapiro, L. R., & Maras, M. H. (2019). Women’s radicalization to religious terrorism: An examination of ISIS cases in the United States. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism42(1-2), 88-119.

Writer: Will Richardson
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