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The True Reasons for Terrorism, Why Terrorism Fails, and How to Stop Terrorism

It is often incorrectly believed that the purpose of terrorism is to cause fear and the eradication of people who do not share the same religious beliefs as the terrorists. While this belief has some truth, it greatly underestimates the true reasons for terrorism.

Terrorists believe that they have no alternative options for their political, economic, and/or religious grievances and oppression. As a result, terrorists kill and maim random civilians at random places and at random times to give publicity to their causes. In return, terrorist believe this publicity would cause more violence and uprisings. Eventually, terrorists believe this will ultimately force changes in favor to their political, economic, and/or religious demands.

The flaw with the logic of terrorism is that violence begets more violence. The oppressing group that is being terrorized will become even more oppressive and violent to the oppressed group and maybe even to other people; and in return, the terrorists will escalate their efforts too. Alternatively, if a violent terrorist group seizes power thus becoming the oppressors themselves, the newly oppressed group of people will then seek revenge. Either way, terrorism leads to more violence and killings without an end in sight.

Furthermore, most of the non-Muslims and some Muslims believe, to a certain extent, that Islam is a religion of hate, oppression, intolerance to others, and murder because of the beliefs, customs, and actions of religious Islamic extremists. Even each denomination of Islam, women, and other subgroups of people in Muslim countries are being brutally oppressed and even killed by other Muslims. For these reasons and many others, many people in the world associate the Muslim religion with terrorism.

What the Islamic society needs are other alternatives for change. Such as, it was Gandhi who taught and practiced peaceful resistance. This morale high ground caused several major changes including the peaceful liberation of India from the British Empire. Unfortunately, certain interpretations of the Muslim religion allow oppression, murder, and terrorism.

The only possibly option to change certain Muslim beliefs, and therefore terrorism, is for a fundamental change in the morality of the Islamic religion, just like what happened to the Christian religion. So far, exposure to Western and Eastern beliefs has not sufficiently influenced a lot of Islamic customs or beliefs. Only a major religious and/or civil rights movement from within the Middle East could influence the Muslim religion into being more peaceful and thus preventing future acts of terrorism.

The only method that I can imagine this working is if Muslims realize that terrorism does not work and therefore openly renounce Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. Only after this internal change, could other revolutionary alternatives start to take hold both within and outside of the Muslim religion.

by Phil for Humanity
on 09/23/2007

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