Since 9-11 the United States mainstream media have focused on “Radicalized Muslim Extremists”. Those on the Right and especially in the Republican Party get upset when a terrorist act involving a Muslim isn’t called “Radicalized Islamic Terrorism” or “Jihad”. They seem to focus more on the label than the act itself which I’ve always found interesting.
Now a President cannot simply make broad statements declaring something as Terrorism because he is the Head of State and must contend with other Head of States who are still friendly to us that and who may be Islamic. His words carry the weight of our nation, our military and our foreign policy. This has applied to each and every President before Obama and every President to follow regardless of what mainstream pundits want to say. Now professionals in the State Department, FBI, CIA, Law Enforcement have specific “legal” criteria before they can label anything as “Terrorism” or anything else of that nature. So they tend to be measured when they make statements, but not as measured as the President must be.
However, from a social media point of view which is where I speak from, I take the rule of social media and laymen around the country and world and have a very simple definition of Terrorism. I see it as an act designed to cause harm and death of innocent people to make a point of some sort. Many apply the term “Radical Islamic” when describing a terrorist act committed by a Muslim. I see that as a fair point. I actually have no issue with that. However, when you apply that label, you must consider that despite what many want to believe, because of what they hear on mainstream media or read on social media, Muslims are not the only group that can be radicalized.
I really get annoyed with people like Bill Maher, who although despising all religions as mythology, singles out Islam as the worst. He says that from its roots it permits radicalization resulting in terrorism around the world. Bill is naïve. History shows clearly that there isn’t a faith or ideology that hasn’t had members “radicalized” to commit terroristic acts that they then in turn use some fragment of their faith or ideology to support the act. History is replete with extremists of some faith using violence against those within and outside that faith to commit violence. This is true with the Jews, the Muslims, the Christians, the Sikhs, the Buddhists, all faiths to include Atheists. It is also true that often the majority of victims from these groups tend to be members of the same faith. More Muslims are being killed by Radicalized Muslims than those from outside the religion. Doesn’t help when Christians help the radicals in killing more Muslims.
We need not go way back in history for examples like the Crusades, the last century provides enough examples for us. In Ireland, extremist Catholics and Protestants battled each other with terrorist attacks. These attacks spread outside Ireland to England. In the Soviet Union, radical extreme Atheists under Stalin annihilated the Russian Orthodox Church, destroying their churches and sending the faithful to gulags to die. In Israel today, radicalized extreme Jews in small communities commit terroristic acts against Palestinian Muslims. In the Indian Sub-Continent, radicalized extreme Buddhist are slaughtering Muslims. In Africa a radicalized Christian sect has declared Homosexuality an act punishable by death. And in this nation, we have radicalized Christians in the KKK, Neo Nazi Groups citing their faith to burn down Black Churches, kill minorities, kill homosexuals, stalk harass and kill abortion providers. In fact since 9-11 the vast majority of all terrorist acts of violence in this country have been committed by radicalized extremist Christians, not Muslims. However mainstream media likes to focus on only the Muslim acts because news has gone from telling the public what they need to know to what they want to know.
This is my theory for you all to consider.
Radicalization has little to do with your faith or ideology. It’s more about your psychiatric and sociological environment. It’s more a result of a mental break than a religious break. However, once broken those involved grasp for anything real or imaginary to justify their violent acts.
With the exception of Atheists, radicals can justify their acts by citing obscure Holy Book verses in or more likely out of context so they can say it’s with their God’s blessing. Again, it can be Allah, or the Jewish or Christian God (who in theory is the same God but that is another rant).
Atheists try to explain it from a warped Humanism justification removing the constraints and lies of the opium of the masses.
No matter, the problem isn’t the faith or lack thereof, it’s the radicalization that is to blame. Don’t blame Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs or Atheists per se for the acts of the radicalized extremists, blame the extremists. Perhaps explore what environmental and/or psychiatric factors played into the radicalization and look for ways to mitigate that.
One thing is for sure, you create a vicious cycle when you blame and harm a faith for the acts of their extremists because that does tend to radicalize others, which radicalizes us and the cycle continues.