I have always been someone who hates any type of marginalisation, be it educational, religion of otherwise. But in 21st century Great Britain and the rise of Al Qaeda, Isis, or I.S. (whatever name you wish to give it) Western Europe no longer feels like a safe place to be at all.
I decided to begin at the beginning – what is a terrorist? This definition is provided by dictionary.com:
‘the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes’
Going back into history, what is Isis? BBC writes a comprehensive article on this if you wish to read it.
Isis in short
This is my brief understanding, from reading the BBC article;
- Born in Iraq under Saddams rule as a factionist rebel group.
- Has grown as it forcibly takes land across the Middle East.
- Is run as a ‘state’ in its own right but isnt recognised as such.
- Is one of the richest groups of its kind in history: funded predominantly using black market oil sales.
- Originated in Islam but has taken its own interpretation of the religious beliefs.
- Members of Isis are trained from as young as 3 to believe that their death will bring them closer to Allah. It isn’t termed as a suicide mission, it’s defined as Martyrdom.
Religion in history
At this point I just want it to be noted that Islam is not the only religion to have been associated with an extremist group.
This was a religious conflict in the early modernist period which resulted in the birth of Protestant state churches. This conflict has boiled over a number of times in history since, for example, Northern Ireland, originally a Protestant v Catholic conflict, but now I would argue much more ingrained than just religion.
Ironically even though this event in history was originally an British monarchy assassination attempt by some British Catholics, it’s now an event that is commemorated across the world every November!
Klu Klux Clan
After the American Civil war, members of the democratic partly organised the Protestant led KKK or Klu Klux Clan. They began engaging in arson, beatings, destruction of property, lynching, murder, rape, tar-and-feathering, whipping and intimidation via such means as cross burning. They targeted African Americans, Jews, Catholics, and other social or ethnic minorities. They claimed their aim was to re-instil Protestant values.
The Irish Replublican Army, a factionist group was created in 1919 as a successor to the Irish Volunteers, a militant nationalist organization founded in 1913. The IRA’s purpose was to use armed force to render British rule in Ireland ineffective and thus to assist in achieving the broader objective of an independent republic, which was pursued at the political level by Sinn Féin, the Irish nationalist party. From its inception, however, the IRA operated independently of political control and in some periods actually took the upper hand in the independence movement. Its membership overlaps with that of Sinn Féin.
Then we might go on to ethnic cleansing.. which has been associated with the KKK and many other historical events, including Adolf Hitler, (although incidents of Jewish ethnic cleaning go right back to the Middle Ages and beyond) but has also occurred many many times, including Chechnya, Sudan, East Timor, amongst many many others.
What is different now?
- Media is much better (and faster) at reporting terrorist events.
- We got better at making things to kill each other with.. bombs that can be made at home, easily available guns and so on.
- This has been going on for decades and decades and decades. Its just getting more recognition because of the wide range of high profile attacks, the impact of which rely on high profile reporting.
There will always be disagreement in the world.
I will never condone it. But, one Muslim extremist doesn’t make the whole Muslim religion terrorists.
One Christian gunman murderer doesn’t make all christians gunmen.
No matter how clearly historical or religious documents are written, there will always be multiple ways to interpret them years down the line. Look at the treaty of Waitangi, for example. There have been disagreements about that right from the day it was signed.
Think about it. How did Brexit occur? Because many many people in Britain felt marginalised. Not listened to by the masses.
How do Isis recruit their new subside bombers? By targeting the exact same types of people. By teaching – brainwashing children from a very very young age so when they grow up they know no different.
Don’t misinterpret me here. Terrorism is NOT ok. We are meant to be living in a free world. Radicalising youngsters and brainwashing them is NOT ok. Picking on innocent people randomly across the world and slaughtering them is NOT ok.
This isn’t new, it’s been happening through history.
Look at Northern Ireland. My parents are both Irish and moved from their home land to England to get away from the violence. At the time, it was never certain who was associated with the IRA and who wasn’t, so the whole Catholic religion was targeted and that’s why so many people lost their lives in the Irish ‘troubles’.
I can see why – subsequently, the muslim religion is suffering the same fate. It doesn’t, however, make it right.
It deeply saddens me that these events throughout Europe and the world are starting develop irrational hate and turn us on ourselves.
All this does not mean we have to turn into racist extremists ourselves. People will believe what they believe. There is nothing the world can do about that. What you can do something about, is how you react to it and what you subsequently choose to believe.