Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Religion and terrorism.

The issue of terrorism in not new for our civilization, our society has dealt with various forms of terrorism since its existence. Most ugly form of terrorism is lethal violence and most people are mainly worried about this form but it can also manifest itself in so many other forms which are equally detrimental. There is no doubt that any form of terrorism is harmful to any society or civilization, so the issue is undoubtedly very important for all of us. Arms and weapons industry is huge player in this area and it has tremendous influence on how world politics works, the revenue of this industry depends on feeling of fear and there is nothing better than terrorism to infuse this feeling among people of any country. Any society suffering with any form of terrorism faces so many problems, first of all day to day lives of its citizens get severely affected in many ways, many people live in constant fear of attack and it creates feeling of insecurity and distrust among its people. All these things are not signs of healthy society, it affects its growth, stability and productivity. So it is always better to address problems related with any sort of terrorism on priority basis. Ignoring such problems doesn't make them to go away on its own, rather they can give rise to so many other problems which can be very damaging to any country in long run.

Many countries are battling with issue of terrorism in various forms for years. As a Indian I know very well how it feels living in a country to be at receiving end of terrorist attacks on regular basis. Situation in India is not as bad as many other places in world but still one can feel the heat of terrorism. People try to label these acts of terrorism in so many ways, many times these terrorist groups label themselves, they choose to attach themselves with certain region, ethnic group or religion to create an impression that they are fighting for that particular group's interests. In last few years there is increasing use of terms like 'Islamic terrorism' all over world or 'saffron terrorism' in India, these terms try to link some particular religion with terrorist activities happening in that region. The clear intention behind this is to indicate that that particular religion is used as a instrument to incite people to perform acts of terrorism. So the question we need to ask is, is there any relationship between religion and terrorism? Especially when almost everyone claims that all religions teach peace. It is widely claimed that all religions of world spread the message of love then what is the reason same religion can be so easily used to spread hatred and violence? Why are people willing to kill each other in name of religion? Is this a fault of those people or religion gives them this opportunity by being ambiguous about use of violence? Is it possible that in reality almost all religions teach both hate and love, peace and violence? When such extreme options are available people conveniently use the portions of that particular religion which suit to justify their actions of love as well as hatred. I know some of these questions might make some people feel very uncomfortable and might even offend some devoted followers of religion but nevertheless we need to ask them. It seems people very easily get offended nowadays, I was surprised to hear that nowadays speakers need to give a 'trigger warning' before saying anything which might be contrary to some popular belief or against some widely accepted ideology. But we need to ask these questions so that people can understand about this very complicated and sensitive issue. If there is any relationship between religion and terrorism, then we all should be very careful in dealing with some aspects of religion and factors which trigger violent reactions should be recognized and acknowledged.

Most of religions went through various forms of struggles to establish themselves in this world, one can easily read about these things on internet. Some religions originated in very hostile environment and have to fight some bloody wars to defeat their enemies and establish their presence, this might be the reason most of them include recommendations to fight against their opponents (enemies). These recommendations might have been necessary at that time as that was time of 'might is right' era but such conditions don't exist any more. Most of us now understand that all these religions are like personal hygiene products in market, the only difference is that in this case people get this product from their family or parents and few of them chose it on their on (by using the process called conversion). But the truth is that religion is a form of personal welfare product, so different people can have different religion as it suits their requirements and needs. Most of us also understand that there is no eminent threat for any ideology or religion in most of civil societies. Most civilized countries offer their residents right to practice any religion of their choice. If that particular religion is relevant and useful it will survive or it will fade away with time. This is a simple rule of market, if the product is popular and sellable it will stay in the market or something else will replace it. As I said most countries have freedom to practice any religion, some Islamic countries don't have this freedom and we all know the situation of human rights and freedom of expression in those countries. The point I am trying to make is, any violence propagated in name of some religion is in extreme danger is false and a lame attempt to justify some heinous acts.

The truth of matter is every religion needs to own things happening in its name, it doesn't matter if they are good, bad or ugly, they need to take responsibility of all these things. The propagators and followers of any religion can not be selective in owning things about their own religion. They just can't only talk about good things about their religion and purposely ignore all the bad and ugly things. This is called hypocrisy, where someone tries to project only one side of any issue or topic conveniently ignoring other sides as they don't suit their purpose. Historically every major religion has been used to commit autocracies on its non believers at some point of time. Some sort of discrimination was practiced or still is in practice against non believers of that religion. Rather than accepting these things various explanations are offered to justify these acts either directly or indirectly. This is one of the reason why most people don't hesitate to justify the violence in name of religion as almost everyone else has done it, so why not us. Many of these heinous acts get some sort of legitimacy if they are committed in name of some religion. Somehow every religion will have some group of followers who will justify such things and try to dominate the course of discussion.

It seems religion has capacity of generating extremely good or extremely bad emotions in people. Some groups use both these extremes to serve purpose of their organizations. But the problem is most followers are really prompt and attentive in praising good deeds by people from their own religion but at the same time they are little hesitant or completely reluctant to accept many bad acts committed in name of their religion. People need to owe these acts and criticize them in strongest terms if they consider them wrong. Strong criticism from outside of that religion helps to radicalize some of its supporters and it helps the purpose of groups who want to misuse that religion rather than acting as a deterrent. Because no religion takes criticism from outsiders very kindly, because it is assumed that outsiders will criticize mainly out of hatred or jealousy. This is why it very important that strong criticism should come from various factions of that same religion and then only any positive reform is possible. Until these things start happening on large scale it is quite possible religion will be vulnerable for misuse by some bigots from their own fraternity. Today it is Islam tomorrow it might be something else or even something new. Our social and political class need to show courage and commitment to address this problem without getting into a trap of not hurting anyone's sentiment type of mentality. Please remember that as most saints belong to some religion most terrorist also have religion and they clearly mention it. As religion owns these saints they need to own these terrorists also. It is a job of everyone to reject these violent ideas no matter from which holy book or religion they come from. Unless we all unite to fight this evil we will continue to suffer because of it, so lets unite and fight this evil of religious terrorism together.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

No comments:

Post a Comment