Hitting Close to Home
Eight people were stabbed at the Crossroads mall in St. Cloud. Those eight people did not know the day was going to take a terrible turn. Violent acts like this without a motive seem to point towards terrorism. The Star Tribune reported that the “attack suspect referenced Allah during attack”. It is obvious that this was an act of terrorism, but people do not understand every aspect of it. Unless there is some mental disorder involved, a person usually does not kill just to kill. There are more complex reasons behind terrorists’ actions. Dahir Ahmed Adan was described by community leaders as a “quiet and studious young man” which does not coincide with the violent attack. It seems simple what is morally wrong and what is morally right. Why are followers of terrorist groups unable to grasp the morals that come so easy to us?
Nearly everybody is familiar with the terrorism issues with groups such as Al Qaeda and Isis. Many may say that the people are some sort of monsters, that are unable to feel remorse or know what is morally right. Somehow people think that the logical thing to do is to assume an entire group of people were born ignorant enough to twist violence and death into a solution. It is easy to say that some people know right from wrong and others simply do not. This however is not the case. For many young children, it is easy to be persuaded.
In Iraq a sixteen year old boy named Diya tried to kill a truck full of U.S. Marines with a homemade bomb. It took convincing from one terroristic leader to lead Diya to believe that Americans were “godless occupiers.” Another boy named Naqibullah disappeared from where he had been studying and was missing for five months before being arrested as a suicide bomber for the Taliban. Violent extremist groups are able to trick people into following them. With enough conviction unknowing people can be manipulated and convinced to believe wrong as right.
This deathly form of persuasion can also go by the name “religion.”
Trust in Religion
Religion is viewed by most as a positive spiritual connection with a deity. Though it is hard to admit, religious followers are not always being guided in the right direction. They look to a higher power for guidance, trusting without question. When people do not find an immediate connection to a God they trust a leader. Not all leaders are positive role models. They so eagerly trust anything that is told to them by a spiritual leader. Osama Bin Laden, one of the most influential spiritual figures led others to the attack on the twin towers but he had his own support system with the Taliban and his father who had been a spiritual figure in his life.
Many of the lessons in religion are peaceful and when followed can make the world a better place. Not everything should be completely trusted and taken literally in religious scriptures. We tend to forget many of the verses of the Bible are violent. Verses like “utterly destroying the men, women and children of every city,” and “each killing his brother and friend and neighbor” are found in the bible. Christians used to be quite terroristic but they were only following what the Bible says so is it really insane to doubt most things that the religion teaches?
Extremists who follow the Islam religion can take the Koran too literally. It is not necessarily that Islam is a violent religion, because the Bible is very violent but as humans evolve and learn we change our views. Changes have had to be made about equality among race, gender and sexuality. If the Bible was taken literally, Christians would also be terrorizing people. This unmodern, literal approach to religion leads to chaos.
Religion Leading to Terrorism
In the Islam religion the Koran has violent passages that are taken literally by extremists. The website, The Religion of Peace states that “The context of violent passages is more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God. Most contemporary Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book’s call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about justifiable violence.”
When viewing terrorist acts it is easy to say that the terrorists are evil or some sort of monsters, but it is all that they have been taught. When people want something to guide them, a cult or negative teaching can be an outlet that they take without thinking twice. It is not that thousands of people were born evil. It is simply a fatal form of persuasion that causes people to not think for themselves. Few people who are subjected to one religion at a young age really develop thoughts of their own and allow them to experiment for themselves.
They trust their spiritual leaders to teach them and they never get to an age where their minds are fully developed. They are unable to make an informed decision and soon they think the rest of the world is filled with evil that they must eradicate for the world to finally be peaceful. It seems twisted that they have a goal of peace, same as everyone else, but have been tricked to think violence is the only answer.
If all Christians followed what was written in the bible word for word, they would be no better off than the terrorist groups. The difference is that terrorists follow their violent verses, mostly because religious leaders convince them it is the right thing to do. Their religion and its extreme leaders are the very spark that has ignited this terroristic war we see in the world around us. Does it not make sense that not everything in the religions that are taught to us should be trusted?
In religious groups children are taught from a young age that their beliefs are correct. Only a select few children decide to question the beliefs and knowledge that is taught to them. If they do not question it, the beliefs are the only truth to them. They do not develop opinions of their own. They tend to mirror those around them, instead of allowing their minds to build their own perception of life. There are giant masses of people who all think the same things are truth because that was what they were told over and over. This sort of mob mentality can allow terrorist groups that are taught of discrimination and violence, to believe it.
There is no flaw in genetic makeup that makes an entire group of people cruel. Once one person has some horrible revelation of inhumane treatment that results in an improvement to their own life, naturally people follow. A person that is generally kind and generous can be turned cruel by an instinct to follow a strong leader. All religious followers should rethink what they have been taught with an open mind.
Each religious group can look at another and feel like they truly know what they have been taught is so obviously morally wrong, but how can we know who is right? Can any religion or leader be fully trusted?
In October of 2000, USS Cole is attacked by suicide bombers that were sent in a boat by Osama bin Laden. They had enough trust in him and their religion to give up their lives and take the lives of others. Full circle, worship turns to warship.
Featured Image: Terroristic War