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 Society, 31(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 & Terrorism, 42(1-2), 88-119.
Terrorism and the Media
Around the world, terrorist activities have increased. Various terrorist groups have emerged, threatening the peace and security of many countries. The expansion and growth of social media and the internet have increased terrorist groups and activities. Terrorist organizations use the media to expand their operations and activities and to pass information to the general public to create fear. There is a need for the media to provide people with enough information related to terrorism whenever they arise.
Role of the media in the war on terror
Firstly, the media helps alert the general public on areas they are likely to face attacks from terrorists. Security agencies use the media to caution people on measures to avoid being attacked whenever there is a threat. Also, the security agencies can intervene and provide the necessary security to neutralize or prevent the attack from the terrorists on time. That will assist in preventing the loss of lives and properties of the people. On the other hand, the media has been accused of promoting terror activities. Terrorist groups use the media to spread propaganda and threats due to its accessibility (The newsmaker, 2022). Since most media compete with each other and are profit-driven, they allow terrorist groups to advance their agenda through the media. They are at liberty to advertise whatever narrative terrorists wish to promote. Additionally, since terrorism attracts significant attention from the public, the terrorists have adopted this strategy not only to make the victims suffer but also to attract large needed attention around the globe. Terrorists have understood the power of media and are now applying strategies to attract media attention to their activities (CNBC, 2016). With the expansion of internet connectivity, they know how to use technical equipment such as video cameras to create images that will help to create a massive impact through the media. Therefore, it is difficult for the government to prevent terrorist activities through the media.
Media providing information regarding terrorist organizations and operations
I believe the media need to provide US citizens with sufficient information regarding terrorist organizations and operations. Media is a very powerful tool for informing and updating the American people. Enough information will help the citizens prepare and know what actions and steps to take to remain safe. Media has a broad reach among the people; thus, it can inform US citizens about terrorist organizations and operations that are likely to occur in target places (Asongu et al., 2019). Through that information, the citizens can avoid visiting those places, relocate from the target places, take precautions, and know in advance what to do in case terror attacks occur.
The Jerusalem terror attack is the first event in the media that helped the masses to know the number of injured people. According to NBC News (2022), five Americans from the same New York family were reported to be injured due to the incident when a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a bus park). People were not only able to get vital information on time but also to know some of the places to avoid. Another instance is the 9/11 attacks, where the media was used to identify victims, conduct investigations into the attack, and helped to document the attack for future reference. Also, the media helped arrest seven people in June 2006 in Miami who were plotting to attack the Sear Tower in Chicago. It was found that the terrorist belonged to Al Qaeda. Through that information from the media, security operatives could take control of the situation and safeguard the citizens from the attack.
In conclusion, the media plays an integral role in the war on terrorism. Terrorist groups use the media to instill propaganda and fear among the people. Also, the government uses the media to inform and caution people on areas to avoid or which are prone to attacks. Therefore, there is a need for the press to provide the masses with enough information to prevent terrorist attacks.
Asongu, S. A., Orim, S. M. I., & Nting, R. T. (2019). Terrorism and social media: global evidence. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 22(3), 208-228.
CNBC. 2016, September 19. Social Media The Engine Of Terrorism | Power Lunch | CNBC [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id6vlsSfSJQ
NBC News. (2022, August 15). Five Americans Injured In Jerusalem Terror Attack [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkoIe3z_tfs
The newsmaker. (2022, July 29). Will new French social media law fight terrorism? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23ZgStNccY4