Terrorism and the Society
Terrorism is defined in the United States as the use of violence to cow the population or influence their political or religious beliefs. In the United States, terrorism is highly feared, especially after the incidents of September 11. However, the United States government has taken serious measures to assure people of their safety from global terrorists. The United States army, as well as its intelligence security services, is always alert to any threats posed by global terrorists. Indeed, terrorism nearly caused homophobia and religious intolerance in the United States. Having been executed by Muslims, the American people literally developed phobia for Arabs or persons of Muslim faith. This was due to the fact of associating Islam with terrorism. According to terrorists, they have a religious duty to fight Americans and their allies everywhere in the world. True to their threats, global terrorists continue to pose a significant threat to the rest of the world (Chaffee, 2011).
Relevance to the Community
Terrorism is relevant to the community in the sense that it threatens the very fabrics of the international community. The vice has been used by its proponents to drive a religious wedge between Christianity and Islam. In their operations, terrorists have admitted that their primary aim is to eliminate non-believers. They believe that Islam is the superior religion and that anyone, who holds a contrary religious belief, is a non-believer. The fact that nearly all terrorists profess the Muslim faith has certainly fueled the animosity. While Christians feel unfairly targeted for their belief in a faith, Muslims have severally sworn to go for them. In light of this, governments have treated Muslims with suspicion, especially with regard to travel documents. This has caused untold suffering to innocent Muslims, who have been held on suspicion of terrorism simply because they have Arab names. It is a reality that continues to strain religious and racial relations around the world (Chaffee, 2011).
The United States, in its fight against terrorism, has invested a lot of money in the army and warfare. In addition, it continues to support their allies abroad to help dismantle the global terror networks. Being a highly sophisticated terror group, the United States has had to use the modern technology to track and kill its masterminds. In most cases, the terror operatives are based in the rural areas with hardly any infrastructure. This means that a lot of technology needs to be invested in the fight. The war on terror has become a significant factor in the politics of the United States. Due to the substantial government expenditure in the fight against terrorism, citizens have become concerned about how the government manages terrorism. In fact, the war on terror is the current face of the United States’ foreign policy. Terrorism is clearly relevant in the social context of the world, and the United States in specific (Bruce, 2006).
Religious Values and Social Norms
Muslim extremists insist that terrorism is their religious duty and that they attain religious holiness by killing non-believers. They actually cite the holy Quran to support their acts of terror. Indeed, this is the reason it has been difficult to fight terrorism because one cannot effectively fight it without being accused of fighting Islam. To some extent, extremists have penetrated the mainstream church and gone the extent of using the Muslim pulpit to preach religious intolerance. In religious terms, Muslim extremists believe that it is their call of duty to eliminate Christians or non-believers. However, the Christian point of view detests any acts of terrorism. Christian clerics are on record urging their followers to desist from acts of retaliation, maintaining that it will only make the situation worse. The Christian faith values peace and forgiveness for all mankind. Perhaps, this emanates from the fact that they were historically persecuted, yet they never raised arms to fight back. Basically, it is a conflict of faiths, where one strongly supports terrorism, while the other opposes it so strongly. Nevertheless, religious terrorism does not absolutely relate to any religion in the world. As the mainstream Islam maintains, terrorists are not part of them and are only using religion to advance their own warlike interests (Chaffee, 2011).
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Terrorism is an act of social deviance and smacks of intolerance. It is against social norms of tolerance as it principally seeks to intimidate persons to adopt contrary beliefs. For instance, terrorists have used this strategy in Kenya, Ireland and Cyprus in order to undermine the state. They seek to coerce people to stop cooperating with the state, thereby limiting the influence of the state. This way, they will be able to fight the state given its disorganized and disjointed nature. Analysts point out that terrorists usually take advantage of weak political systems to advance their interests. In Kenya, they usually strike Christian churches in belief that Christians will retaliate by burning Islamic mosques. Their main desire is to stoke religious animosity so as to limit state control of the country’s social affairs. In this manner, they can be able to execute their terror plans unabated. In the United States, Al Qaeda’s striking of Twin Towers was symbolic (Bruce, 2006).
Terrorists’ main aim is to polarize the nation by drawing the country’s attention to global struggles that usually go unreported. For instance, the South Moluccan hostages of 1975 that occurred in the Netherlands were not reported to avoid polarization. However, Al Qaeda decided it was time for the international community to know about it. They believed that their terrorist interests would be advanced if the world knew about those things. Indeed, the West responded with distrust for Muslims. After the September 11, the world treated Muslims with suspicion wherever they went. They could not travel to any part of the world without going through a rigorous process of vetting to ascertain that one was not a member of the global terrorist group. However, it did not stoke religious war because people were patient enough. In the face of the hostility, people remained tolerant of Muslims. After all, terrorism was about Muslim extremists, not all Muslims. According to scholars, terrorists are motivated by the desire to forge a sense of solidarity among Muslims in supporting the terror. That is why they always try to make war on terror look like it is war on Islam. This is purely the creation of terrorists who want to stoke the religious tension in the world. This is against social norms as well as moderate religious beliefs. Only religious extremists of their ilk can profess such beliefs (Chaffee, 2011).
Relevant Ethical Theory
In ethical terms, terrorism is largely ambiguous. The interpretation of terrorism is subjective and depends of people’s individual bias opinions. Traditionally, it has been described as the use violent actions to force social or political change. Indeed, terrorism has become commonplace in global politics and its moral basis being persistently questioned. Basically, act utilitarianism justifies terrorism to a considerable extent. Most people acknowledge that terrorism has been used at some point in the history for the good of humanity. This only leaves people confused as to whether current global terror is justifiable or not. For instance, during the American Revolution, the revolutionists used terrorism to instill fear in the British loyalists and their tax collectors. In addition, they incited fear into the Americans, who were reluctant to embrace the spirit of the revolution. This way, they were able to get the numbers that eventually strengthened their revolution to succeed. It goes without mentioning that while the world celebrates the American Revolution as the ultimate triggering factor of global change, it should be cognizant of the fact that terrorism was a part of the revolution. This certainly justifies terrorism as a necessary act that should be embraced for the good of humanity (Chaffee, 2011).
In addition, Maoist fighters in Tibet have been labeled terrorists by the West. They are basically fighting against an oppressive regime, yet they have been labeled terrorists. It is quite confusing considering that they are also pursuing a justifiable course. In Iraq, the resistance forces that are fighting against the illegitimate occupation by foreign forces have been labeled terrorists. It appears the word terrorism is subjective and only used for convenience. While the United States currently leads the fight against terrorism, they should concede that they have been beneficiaries of terror in the past. In fact, it is postulated that the United States initially armed the Muslim terrorists as a strategy to fight their opponents during the Cold War. The fact that the same terrorists have turned against them now should not necessarily make terrorism illegitimate. In North Vietnam, freedom fighters that were struggling against foreign forces occupying their country were also labeled terrorists. In this manner, the world is made to believe that they are evil people that should be avoided like plague. However, this is far from the truth, given that their philosophy is nearly the same as that of the American revolutionists. They are just patriots trying to find their democratic space in their country (Stern, 2000).
The fundamental element that is evident in all these instances is the fact that violence was their last resort in fighting injustice. At the point, where revolutionists took up arms, they had tried dialogue without any success. In their opinion, the fight was for the greater good of humanity and, therefore, justifiable. The same can be said of Muslim extremists who use religion to promote terrorism. Initially, their actions were not justifiable considering that there was nothing good they were fighting for. However, the fact that the world blindly blamed Muslims for all acts of terrorism and treated them quite unfairly strengthened their resolve to fight back. They viewed it as an affront to the faith by non-believers. In their opinion, it became a religious war rather than the war against terror. This significantly justified their acts of terror. In fact, most terrorists blindly believe that the United States is not against terror as such, and that they are more interested in fighting Muslims. This belief was strengthened by the fact that Americans became hostile to Muslims after the September 11 to the extent of burning their mosques and stifling their individual rights. Essentially, utilitarianism theory of ethics justifies terrorism that is used for the good of humanity (Chaffee, 2011).
Relevant Political Theory
Terrorism is derived from the political theory of collective violence. It is closely related to criminal justice, religion and economics of social justice. According to political scientists, it borders on the provisions of anarchism. Basically, this is what terrorists try to achieve with their violent activities. It principally aims to attack the very values of organized governance, thereby rendering them irrelevant. Terrorism ideally thrives where there is no organized structure of governance. It is evident in Somalia, where terrorists have ensured that stability does not return. Although the country usually conducts democratic elections, the elected leaders hardly serve their full terms as the terrorists sponsor a coup d’?tat to get them out of power as soon as they settle down to govern. In order to make the government unpopular, they wage a campaign to paint it as a puppet of the West to perpetrate Western interests. Given the animosity between most Muslims and the United States, they often succeed in making their elected governments unpopular. Notably, extremist Muslim clerics have infiltrated Islam to the extent that young people cannot distinguish what Islam is really about. They use religion to wipe emotions against the West so that people can resist any interventions by the West to put in place organized governance. Basically, they want to maintain the state of anarchy in the country (Bruce, 2006).
Anarchism is said to be the root of global terrorism. In the 1840s, anarchists used the same tactics to inspire rejection of the state by its people. They principally made the country ungovernable by the state in order to conduct their illegal activities uncontrolled. With the intensified global fight against terrorism, terrorists understand that they can only thrive where there is no government. They prefer to hide among people and conduct their activities like other citizens. In the presence of an organized government, their illegal activities would easily be identified by the state and eliminated by the state police. According to historians, the first revolutionaries used the same tactics to achieve their means. In order to dismantle the retrogressive form of governance, they started by significantly weakening it. They ensured that there was no organized governance before taking charge and establishing a democratic system acceptable to all. While revolutionists used anarchism for the good of humanity, the same cannot be said of global terrorists. They are clearly pursuing a different agenda, although camouflaged as a fight for justice. Indeed, it explains why Muslim extremists have succeeded in convincing fellow Muslims that the fight against terror is essentially a fight against their religion. They are basically using tactics that have succeeded in the past. According to Mikhail Bakunin, terrorism has become a propaganda war, rather than a religious war, whereas Muslim extremists want the world to believe. They believe that nothing should stand on their way of justice. In light of this, they promote the use of weapons of mass destruction to achieve their means when it is convenient. Essentially, they lack the very moral ethics they claim to fight for, unlike original revolutionists (Chaffee, 2011).
In conclusion, terrorism is defined in the United States as the use of violence to cow the population or influence their political or religious beliefs. It is relevant to the community in the sense that it threatens the very fabrics of the international community. The vice has been used by its proponents to drive a religious wedge between Christianity and Islam. Muslim extremists insist that terrorism is their religious duty and that they attain religious holiness by killing non-believers. They actually cite the holy Quran to support their acts of terror. In ethical terms, terrorism is largely ambiguous. The interpretation of terrorism is subjective and depends of people’s individual bias opinions. Nevertheless, act utilitarianism appears to justify terrorism to a substantial extent. Most people acknowledge that terrorism has been used at some point in history for the good of humanity. Terrorism is derived from the political theory of collective violence. It is closely related to criminal justice, religion and economics of social justice. According to political scientists, it borders on the provisions of anarchism in that it seeks to dismantle all forms of organized governance in favor of anarchy.