Wow, the pendulum swings fast these days. When we taught courses on religion and terrorism just a few years ago at FDU, it was a fresh new idea that religion was one of the prime informative factors in terrorist ideologies. We spent a lot of time and effort to show how religion fit into the mix of motivations and justifications of terrorist activity.
Nobody was saying five years ago that it was, "just about religion." So either times have changed -- or the Times has relaxed the editorial review of is feature articles. We think the latter. The article summarizes recent research -- leaving out the whole subject of religion with the exception of this one muddled example, an apologetic that appears to diminish the factor of religion in Islamic terrorism:
...The Koran prohibits suicide, religious scholars say. But some Muslim groups insist that by classifying the bombers as martyrs, their self-destruction becomes permissible because it is a form of self-sacrifice, and because it is honorable to die in battle against infidels. Much new research also ascribes the phenomenon to other motives that are more personal or temporal, including a desire for honor, dedication to a leader, vengeance, peer pressure (first identified as a motivation among the Japanese Kamikaze fighter pilots), and the material support that a terrorist group promises to extend to a martyr’s family after his death...Here as a corrective to the skewed Times article is our linked guide to our thirteen substantial blog posts of study resources in the analysis of the connections between terrorism and religion.
- Questions about American Christian Terrorism
- Marginality, sexual despair, political powerlessness, masculinity and terrorism
- Religion and Jewish Terrorists
- What is a Religious Culture of Violence and Terror?
- Who were Shoko Asahara and the Buddhist Aum Shinrikyo Religious Terrorists?
- How did Religion Motivate Sikh Terrorists?
- What is the Logic of the Theater of Religious Terror?
- Why Do Religious Terrorist Martyrs say that they aim to kill the demons?
- What do Sexuality and Humiliation have to do with Terrorism?
- Will the War Against Religious Terrorism Ever End?
- From Kahane to Osama: How Do Men Make Religious Terrorism Into Cosmic War?
- How can we end religious terrorism and achieve the peace of God?
- Concluding Questions on Religion and Terrorism