Shil1978 is a science buff with 11 years of experience writing about of psychology and related-topics.
Terrorism is perhaps one of the most challenging problems of our times. For some of us who have not seen the effects of terrorism firsthand, its effects may have not hit home yet. But can one say for sure that we are safe? It doesn't matter anymore which part of the world you live in. The unfortunate reality is that terrorism has gone global and every world citizen is equally susceptible and vulnerable.
So what do we do? Should we resign ourselves to the fear that terrorism can't be fought and that there is no solution? I believe there are solutions. First, though, we need to understand what causes terrorism.
Popular Perceptions for the Causes of Terrorism
- Poverty: One of the most popular explanations is that poverty breeds terrorism. I don't think this is true at all. You can find my article titled "The Myth of the Poor Terrorist" that details relatively well-off (rich or middle class, well-educated) extremists, who've carried out or planned to carry out strikes. So, I don't really buy this connection between poverty and terrorism. There are also many poor places around the world where there are no terrorists at all (parts of South America, Africa, and Asia come to mind), so this idea is just a favorite catchline of some intellectuals who can't find a better explanation.
- Undemocratic Governments: Some argue that nondemocratic governments breed conditions that extremists can exploit to further their own agenda. I don't buy this idea either. North Korea is nondemocratic and so is China and I don't see either of them breeding "global terrorists" who plan attacks around the world.
- Alienated Intelligentsia: I believe this can provide a good explanation. If you look at some of the high profile conflict areas and the individuals involved, you almost always see that there is an intellectual class that rules the hordes of fanatics. There is a brain behind all the bombings you see, isn't there? And in most cases, these are educated, well-to-do people who have everything in life but have a sense of disaffection or alienation. They aren't happy with the way the world is at present and want to do something about it. These are the most dangerous terrorists, far more than any of the foot soldiers who carry out the actual attack. These are the brains who brainwash young and confused men and quite often children as well.
- Indoctrination: What happens when you teach a kid that X, Y, and Z are your enemies and that they mean no good to your people. That these other people are in fact the devil. Can you expect a well-rounded young man to emerge out of all of this? Don't think so. What you can expect to get with this kind of tutoring is in fact a Talib who has a worldview akin to a frog living in a well. No wonder then that these guys can do the worst atrocities and yet justify it on the basis of religion.
- Ethnicity: Some argue that ethnicity and injustices (perceived or real) are one of the root causes. Well, perhaps this is true, but not totally. While one may be brainwashed into thinking that your people are being persecuted when in fact they are not, the truth is that there are millions who are killed by their own same ethnic group and religion. Saddam Hussein killed his own people for example and one can argue that he perpetrated more atrocities than any other foreign power, yet he was viewed as a hero in his part of the world by people of countries surrounding Iraq. Why? This again demonstrates the fact that ethnicity has nothing to do with it.
- Charities That Aren't Charities: There are countless of these charities that collect funds in the name of various causes but what they in fact do is fund terrorism. As with any business, the business of terrorism needs funds and this is by far the best way for fanatics to obtain funds; others being collecting ransom money, drug money, etc. There are also many countries that support these charities in the name of religion. They have millions of dollars to spend and they do so by funding these charities and religious schools, which in fact use these funds to fund terrorist activities and building more schools of indoctrination.
My Solutions to Rid the World of Terrorism
It may be difficult, perhaps impossible, to stop a determined individual who wants to commit an act of terrorism if they get through every security check, but there are some things that can be done to limit the spread of extremist violence and divert their support.
- Keep a Check on Extremist Clerics: Many of them have found a refuge in Western countries, having been driven away from their own countries for being "too radical." How do they manage to get into Western countries? Are they not screened? Is this "democracy" at play? Do we view these people as being "persecuted" by "undemocratic" countries and hence deserving of refuge? These clerics are the most dangerous of all extremists. The foot soldiers carry out the attacks and go away (in the case of suicide bombers). However, these clerics (the brains) keep cultivating and harvesting fertile and confused minds; educated, illiterate, rich, or poor, all are equally affected by their vitriolic sermons that call upon waging war on the West. Countless young minds have fallen prey to these clerics and the ironic thing is that they do so under the very noses of our "democracies." Should democracy, therefore, prevent us from deporting these clerics back to their home countries? Would or should this be considered a violation of "human rights?"
- Make Aid Accountable: Developed countries give millions of dollars to countries such as Pakistan, for example, in the name of "economic aid." Well, it is a good thing to give aid, but shouldn't this aid be monitored and the recipient countries made accountable as to how they have spent this money? It seems most countries who give aid just think that they have done a good job giving the aid. They leave it at that. Especially if these countries are ruled by corrupt leaders; all this aid has basically gone either into the pockets of these leaders or gone into affiliated extremist groups, who might in fact come back and bite the very hand that feeds them. History is testimony to these mistakes yet lessons are never learned.
- Stop the Flow of Terrorist Funds: Stop the rich countries that fund construction of religious schools without proper background checks. Pressure them through diplomatic channels to fund charities and religious schools only after proper verification and certification that they aren't indulging in any radical propaganda and brainwashing their students to wage holy wars. Also, improve banking laws at home as well as in developing countries to ensure that fanatics don't benefit from lax regulations and circumvent the system by getting funds to their plans.
- Securing Defenses: There is no alternative to this. Fact is there will always be people out there who want to harm you and it is on you to defend your country by securing it as best you can. Stricter screening of people who come into your country would be required. This doesn't mean one has to close one's doors to everyone; however, one should at least keep an eye out for undesirable radicals who mean no good.
- The Solution That Will Never Be: In closing, let's talk about a solution that will never be—that is a peaceful solution. People who think that one can negotiate peace with fanatics are unfortunately living in a make-believe world. Honestly, what can you negotiate with terrorists? What are the negotiating points here? What can we offer to them and what would they accept? Some terror groups, for example, want to see a world that is nothing like the one we know. Are we prepared to compromise and have them have their way on this? Should we turn back the clock and go back a few hundreds of years to a time when the dominant groups were different from those now? Many of these "brains" behind the most dangerous extremist groups want just that—their own utopian world governed by their own utopian laws. Some people just don't like the idea of "fighting." However, when you are confronted with an irrational enemy who sees no sense or knows not what their aims really is, other than blowing up people because someone drilled that into them, what can you do but fight and defend?
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2010 Shil1978
Brad on June 22, 2018:
Until people can either agree that they have the same God with the same rules, or that there is no God there will always be terrorists trying to use God or the lack of God against the others.
8 BALL LEGEND!!!! :D on February 25, 2018:
thanks!!!!!!!!____this article was really helpful as it had the answer to everything I wanted.
BRUCE LEE on December 23, 2017:
MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THE EMPHASIS
Silent killer Philippines on November 22, 2017:
Thanks for the in formation
abiodun on November 01, 2017:
waooooh,am really impress with this article,it so understandable ,i read it today after so many years it being posted.pleas can i get some copy for terrorism (i mean in PDF form).....KEEP IT UP MY DEAR
specy on June 14, 2017:
well elaborated article .
email@example.com on May 04, 2017:
This is very much productive and clears ambiguities which someone has about terrorism and also helps solving out the menace which has just brought a quagmire and precariois situation today. Every country wants get rid of from this menace but better way to tackle down this menace is to follow the ideology of peace. The re-engineering of brainwashed minds who are just traped in it through one way or the other. The better way is not to annihilate the madrassas but to teach the people a way of peace and prosperity which could then lead them to saving the innocent lives rather killing...
Shil1978 (author) on January 22, 2017:
Thank you for your comment. Since I originally wrote the article, more and more educated young men (Muslims mostly) have joined terror outfits like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Whether it be the Bangladesh attacks, which were carried out by young, college-going educated young men, or the numerous educated who have joined ISIS and committed barbaric atrocities.
Yes, political system that has led down people may have contributed, but I think it's much bigger than that. It is mostly religious ideological based. You can say they have a warped sense of Islam and what the Quran wants them to do.
In that sense, Muslim clerics haven't helped. I've read reports of Muslim clerics who've provided aid to earthquake victims in Pakistan recruiting orphans and brainwashing them into their warped sense of the world.
Young, fertile minds that undergo such brainwashing can hardly be expected to grow up to find a job and raise a family. They might just go off and fight a "holy" war sadly.
The promoting of Wahabbi brand of Islam in countries such as Pakistan and others is also very damaging. I think you can see the effects of that in your country where sectarian clashes are taking place and Ahmediyya people are being persecuted and so are Shias.
Mariyam from Pakistan on January 22, 2017:
Dear Shill.. its been six years after you posted your article and today i get to read it.. Although situation has aggravated more with in these last 6 years.. however, as I am from Pakistan I just wanted to clear a few things about poverty and madrassahs.
you are indeed right that poverty is not the only cause for terrorism but it is a main cause. however, our governance situation and continuous psychological assault by the hands of our own govt. have also forced many well educated into extremism.
but the poverty you see in USA and the poverty we are living in Pakistan is so different that you can not even imagine. statistics say that more than 80% of us are living with less than a dollar a day.. but i am sure myriads are even without that half a dollar begging for food or getting it for free outside a shrine. here poverty is nothing to live for, no opportunities for future, no justice, no education, no job, nobody feeling pity for other.. and now nobody even trusting the next person. so these poor people provides a ready recruit for radical movements.
some clerics here are very strong, we had an episode of clearing a madrassah "lal Masjid" many years ago and we are still bearing the brunt in the form of more radical movements and suicide bombings originated after that episode.
political negligence definitely is a reason and it is a great suggestion that funds coming to countries like ours should be monitored.
Sneha Bartaula on January 19, 2017:
What i wanted wasnt here but im satisfied with this answer. I didnt got my ful answer but i got half answer . I am happy that i at least got answer
Shil1978 (author) on January 03, 2017:
@ sulaiman, honestly the US gets blamed for a lot of things by a lot of nations and peoples, but I'd advise a lot of these nations/peoples to self-reflect and see whether their own leaders and systems are working well for them. I'd guess that the answer to that would be a resounding no.
A good democracy provides checks and balances to keep corrupt and dictatorial tendencies in check. No democracy is perfect, but I believe a democratic system is better in the long run.
sulaiman on January 03, 2017:
i believe with out any shadow of doubt is the US forging policy and their global domination by forcing democracy on people
Shil1978 (author) on December 06, 2016:
From what I read about the recent incidents there, this all was a result of the killing by Indian law enforcement of a terrorist leader? My question would be why did Kashmiris choose to react to the death of this terrorist with violent protests? Do you support using the gun? Do you believe in violence?
Deaths due to violence is always sad, but violence is a vicious cycle and the only way out is to choose peace and not the gun.
SHAH from Jammu &Kashmir,India on December 06, 2016:
U r rght but do u really believe that there is terrorism in J&K.Thousands of innocent s were mercilessly killed by Indian troops.Those who lost their brothers,father or son have no choice.So they turn rebels.Are they terrorists?
Dawson R on November 14, 2016:
One of the other reasons why terrorism comes into play is religion. With today's version of terrorism, Islam is influencing/inspiring the ISIS group. Hope this is helpful
Nandini Singh on October 20, 2016:
I find the given information very useful as I am the part of a model united nations in my school and these type of articles are really crucial for me. It was interesting to read through it and have such good refrences. Hence I would like to prefer these articles in future also...thanks
anando on October 17, 2016:
very well made list
PTuSHA on October 10, 2016:
really helpful for my project
rahul on October 07, 2016:
hai ! i thought that religious is the main factor for this terrorisn for eg. like the ISIS who thought that islamic should be obeyed by all the nation.
Tina on September 22, 2016:
Surjon on September 08, 2016:
I also think it
ayushi on January 08, 2016:
The points raised here are certainly true... but i must stress on the fact that poverty is a cause of terrorism... we all know about kasaab, the terrorist involved in the 9/11 Mumbai attacks... he ran away from home just because his parents could not get him some new clothes on eid . his parents were promised money by the terrorist organization...
malik on January 23, 2015:
lakhsh on January 16, 2015:
PeterStip on December 12, 2014:
terrorism is a non issue. at least for the common person. You go to work, you pay you bills you live your life. Terrorism is a state made enemy. After the fall of the berlin wall the United States needed an enemy. The wapon industry needed an enemy, the politicians needed an enemy to get votes (it's a fact that a war is the best way to get votes.) So the US created an enemy in the form of Ossama Bin Laden. Terrorism is politics. The chance that you personaly will be terrorised by a terrorist group is incredible small. The chance that you will be killed by a gun of a policeman or a playing child with a gun is much bigger.
And by the way, what is a terrorist in the first place? It depends on which side your on. To me the CIA uses terrorist methods and aren't any better than the people they claim to fight against.
Brad on November 29, 2014:
The cause of terrorism today and for a long time is Religion, than government oppression, and then idiots.
Religion is the most ironic cause of terrorism, but its followers believe that they are doing the work of their God. The only solution is to convert to their religion, or get killed.
Robert Sacchi on September 13, 2014:
Good article. One thing I would point out about Undemocratic Government, they tend to sponsor terrorism. North Korea has carried out terrorist attacks against South Korean targets, including an attempt to assassinate the South Korean president. Saddam Hussein attempted to assassinate U.S. ex-president George H.W. Bush. These are just two quick examples.
Mohammed from Iraq on March 24, 2014:
if you look at the terrorism in the middle east, you will see that rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar are their main supporters, Asama bin laden was Saudi and he had a strong connections with the high classes of Saudi Arabia , Saudi Arabia is known to be number #1 supporter for the Qaeda in the world and especially in the middle east.
And Qatar known to have a huge funds and small number of population need to prove it self on the scene, this why we see it moving around trying to participate in any political or social causes. And off course the best way to do it is to support the fighters in Syria and Iraq to do suicide attacks .
Stopping the Flow of Terrorist Funds means stopping the Flow of Saudi and Qatar funds.
pinky on September 17, 2013:
yes shil you are right and it depends on us that we are taking any step to finish terrirism or not or just we are talking about it not doing anything..............
Shil1978 (author) on September 12, 2013:
Pinky, what do you mean by "be sincere with our nation?" As for "act together against terrorism" - I do agree though it is easier said than done. The participation of the people does help, undoubtedly, in combating terrorism after all terrorists do live amongst us for the most part and if we can alert the authorities about them (if we know of anything) surely that would help. However, terrorism is a complex problem and needs addressing at multiple levels, not just one or two.
pinky on September 09, 2013:
i like your presentation about terrorism but in my opinion the real solutin was to be sincere with our nation and to act together against terrorism honestly then our country would be clean from terrorist and also terrorism
Shil1978 (author) on June 25, 2013:
Ian, I believe you now :) Thanks again for your kind words!!
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on June 25, 2013:
Sorry to say it, Shil, but I meant every word. It was an exceptionally well written and mature look at a serious problem without ever appearing to have taken sides.
Well done again.
Shil1978 (author) on June 24, 2013:
A pleasure hearing from you Ian - thanks for your kind words. I don't think it deserves as much praise as you shower it with, but I am not complaining :)
Yes, I share your feeling about some of the comments. I guess it is impossible for some to view this subject dispassionately!!
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on June 20, 2013:
Hello, my good friend.
What an amazingly well put together hub. I admire this work because it is sensible and not biased; neither is it "anti" any group.
I was sad to read some of the comments. They don't seem to understand what sensible statements and "solutions" you offer.
binwaayeel from kenya on February 26, 2013:
2. i think you forget all possible definitions of "terrorism".
2. i think the causes are colonization, and forciful democracy.( what about if some people don't want democracy?)
3. i thin stopping terrorism is simple, leave the people alone they'll leave you alone.
A on January 29, 2012:
I think what we need is to look at the situation from the other persons shoes, instead of easily dismissing off terrorists as irrational people. All terrorists have a political motive and use religion as a mere tool to justify their acts. I'm sure you're familiar with the term, "State-terrorism"(the original meaning of terrorism as we speak of today, as practised by the French Government, during the "Reign of Terror"). I believe the 9/11 attacks on the US were called for by the US themselves. Their involvement in the Middle-East, forming partnerships with dictatorial governments to get their hands on oil resources are only a few of the causes of your terrorism. I'm not saying that violence is the best method to resist State-terrorism, but the world needs to realize where these people are coming from. The number of casualties from terrorist activities are not even close to a fraction of the casualties from state-terrorism.
Violence leads to more violence. The more the US gets involved with, in the affairs of other states, the more terrorists it breeds. When the US army kills an Afghan, it's created 10 new enemies. The Afghan killed usually has a family he's left behind. His son's will go on to hate the US for killing their father. And the cycle continues. I think we need to commend the Japanese here, who I personally am a great fan of. After the Hiroshima incident, instead of making plans of revenge, they adopted a policy of peace, something the US should have thought about after the 9/11 attacks.
John Swarriz on November 26, 2011:
There are pacifist and violence solution.
I think we can find a several solutions ,for instance . In Sudan , The govt exchange the land by the peace; therefor, it became two countries which are living in peace .So, by these they resolve the problem ; Meanwhile, we can find another solution which is faced the violence by violence ,and apply the rule which tell : "if any one forced you to go one miles , go with him two miles" , as in Sri Lanka when it eliminates terorrism by a miltiray action .
Russelltwyce from Canada on August 12, 2011:
Terrorism can be stopped easier than that. If you want to stop people from crossing a bridge, you just need to make the bridge impassible. Actually it is far better to destroy the bridge altogether. Note that I'm not talking here about a physical bridge but a theoretical one.
All terrorists commit terror acts for a political motive. So if the bridge linking ordinary people with a political structure can be made impassible, all terrorism will end.
Faisal Zaheer from Karachi on March 21, 2011:
I would request that you see the BBC documentary titled "The Power of Nightmares". What the movie basically shows is that for many decades the fear of "Communism" was used by some governments to exploit the masses and after the fall of communism, a new fear was needed and this was created and is now known as "terrorism".
Shil1978 (author) on December 24, 2010:
Twilight, that's awfully nice of you to say, thanks! Thanks too for educating me on the word "Paki." Should have known better than to go by what some Pakistanis on online forums had to say on the matter.
Now that we have a resident expert on all things Pakistani right here on HubPages, I don't have to wonder about such things any longer!! Thanks again for the explanation :)
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on December 24, 2010:
Hi Shil. Why is it when I see that some people have posted a hub, my heart sinks, and when I see Shil1978, my little heart smiles and I open it with interest?
In the UK; well in London, at least. the word Paki has been retrieved form the minds and mouths of the racists here, who hijacked it in the first place, and is now used with affection. "Pak" in Urdu, means clean and it is a badge worn with pride. Several of my Pakistani friends and (some others) refer to each other as "Paki" and I love it when I also am called by that name.
Shil1978 (author) on December 23, 2010:
Let me assure you Twilight, they were far more than scribblings and thanks for all those wonderful words!! It has been wonderful communicating with you.
I did notice that in your profile. Honestly, I would be terrified of visiting that country, with all of the goings on there, but perhaps you should visit with due caution of course and with the help of a good Pakistani friend perhaps.
Btw, most Pakistanis don't take too kindly to the use of the word "Paki." Apparently, they take that as some kind of a slur!!
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on December 23, 2010:
What a lovely, compassionate. eloquent and passionate reply to my scribblings. Great to exchange views with you, Shil, I will read your 'The Myth of the Poor terrorist' with interest.
As you may note from my profile, I was born in the part of British India which is now Pakistan, and I love the idea of visiting the country, but fear I would not be welcome there. Poor little Paki (me)
Shil1978 (author) on December 23, 2010:
Twilight, it is a pleasure having you visit by and comment, so feel free to comment in as many (or less) words as you can. You know, Twilight, I've started to hate that expression, i.e. the "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." This expression had some credibility in the good old days when things were different. These days, I feel it is used more as an excuse than anything else. I am not sure civilians were fair game in days gone by, that mass killings and bombings were in fashion or publicized beheadings the craze it seems to be now for the terrorists.
It is interesting that you mention Pakistan. Well, I've studied that country, its politics, its workings pretty closely for some years now and I agree with what you say about the "financial aid." I might add that the "military aid" should not be ignored either. I've never believed that Pakistan is the 'ally' that the West would like to believe it is. As you point out, a lot of the 'aid' is routed to either corrupt politicians or to the military establishment. The ordinary people of Pakistan don't benefit in any fashion from this so-called aid. It seems to the rulers of Pakistan, having hundreds of nuclear weapons is more important than uplifting the condition in which its people live. I recently read that the Pakistanis are building bombs at a faster rate than ever, so that says something doesn't it, about where that government's priorities are!
So, when Pakistan is at the receiving end of disasters like earthquakes and floods, it is the extremist/terrorist organizations that are at the forefront of carrying out relief and rehabilitation - needless to say, this provides them easy recruits ( I am told that they aren't shy of recruiting young kids towards their 'just' struggles around the world). It is no wonder to me then that there are many poor kids whose futures are doomed due to these Mullahs and Imams.
You are quite right also when you point out the dangerous ones being the intellectual and well-educated ones ( I did write a hub about this very subject ).
I think the problem here is that they are lost in foreign lands, unable to assimilate/identify with the host country. It is a classic pattern that one gets to see with the Pakistani-origin lads in the UK and other countries. There are also homegrown ones, who decide to put their engineering and special skills towards developing bombs that kill innocents by the scores. How sad isn't it? I don't like to point to religion, but I wonder why so many are enamored about 'Sharia' or about establishing the "Caliphate?" Basically, going back in time than looking towards the future?
I don't hate any religion and like you, Twilight, I apologize for any hurt caused to anyone by any of my words, but it is a fact that most terrorists in today's world and terrorist actions carried out come out of a certain ideology/belief system, a twisted one I'd like to believe, for I know many, many Muslims who've been the most wonderful people I've ever met and whom I am friends with.
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on December 23, 2010:
I am embarrassed to comment on this excellent hub in just a few words. So many people have commented eloquently and rationally. The hub, itself, Shil, is very well written and not at all biased. I have little to add, other than the repeat the old expression, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".
I disagree with you concerning the relationship with poverty and terrorism. No, the very poor, as you and others have stated, don’t have time to worry about the West and Islam’s battle with the West. What they are completely occupied with is the day to day struggle to feed families and pay for the weddings of daughters and all that goes in the Family System that is Pakistan. (to use a country which is frequently accused of being the breeding ground of terrorism and terrorists,)
Give as much as financial aid as one wishes; there is a good chance that it will find its way into the pockets of corrupt politicians. I am sure that the like of Mr Asif Ali Zidari would gratefully accept your donations.
Pakistan spends enormous amounts of money on its nuclear deterrent, and this comes at a time when very few, other than the rich, are offered education in that country. The madrassas, however, always have open doors, and it is the Imams and Mullahs there; frequently ill educated men who give their muddled versions of Islam and their incorrect ideas of Jihad, who welcome young and impressionable boys. Few of these Imams and Mullahs even understand Arabic and recite the Qur’an in that language, but only speak and think in Pashtun Urdu, Sindhi and a plethora of local dialects.
It is a fact that a very poor man may be persuaded by some clever agitator or terrorist to commit an outrage by strapping a bomb to himself, because he has been promised that if he does this “In the name of the cause” his family will be rewarded financially and kept safe for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately the poor sod has no way of knowing if the other part of the bargain has been honoured.
In this country, it is the “intellectual” middle classed terrorist; perhaps British born Asians or Converts to Islam who are the most dangerous. Look at the new convert to Islam. He wears a Salwah Kamiz all the time, he grows his beard in the manner of the Prophet (pbuh) and attends Masjid (Mosque) frequently more times than his fellow Muslims; he says Insh’Allah at the end of every sentence, whether he uses it correctly or not… they are also ripe picking for the Abu Hamzas of this country.
If I have offended any person here, whether Muslim or not, I beg you, forgive me, because when the word terrorist is used in this country (the UK) one immediately thinks of Islamic radicals and “Jihadis”. These terrorists, Shil, are seldom “crazy”. Madness applies to a different form of socially disruptive behaviour… they are, very often, very focused young men and women, who mean well.
Yes, I meant to use that expression… they MEAN WELL, and more harm is done on this planet by misguided people who mean well.
They are frequently students in some of our best Universities, where this sit and talk late into the night; start to cut lectures; miss their spiritual homeland; miss the practice of Islam going on around them all day and night, and very soon, start to wish for Sharia, and hope they can be instrumental at bringing it about.
Oops! I think I've used more than a few words.
Danie Van Gilder on November 19, 2010:
EDUCATE THE WORLD ON PEACE-full activities, not cause separate hating groups to be TAUGHT by education IN MANY different nations.
Shil1978 (author) on November 04, 2010:
Thank you, FF, for stopping by and sharing your views on this subject in such detail. Thank you also for sharing your hub - I'd bookmark it for a read later on!! Thanks again for visiting by :)
Paul Swendson on November 03, 2010:
I like that your hub recognizes the complexity of the "war on terror." You mention a bunch of possible causal factors, and you recognize that there is no single approach to deal with the problem. I tend to view terrorism as a criminal act, and just as you can never fully wipe away crime, the terrorist threat will always be there. All that you can do is take actions to minimize the threat.
As other comments have pointed out, however, the word terrorist is a tricky term. I'm sure that there are some in the world who view the United States and other governments as promoters of terrorism because their military forces sometimes kill civilians. Others would argue that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.
In your hub, however, I get the sense that you are talking specifically about Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists. They are also, however, not a single entity, and various circumstances might draw people to their various causes and organizations. Unfortunately, the United States has made a couple of general errors. We have had a tendency to lump people together into the generic category "terrorist," sometimes including people - "Muslims," "Arabs," etc. - in this grouping who do not belong there. And second, the U.S. keeps thinking in terms of war, believing that toppling governments and invading nations will somewhow minimize the threat. As you say, some basic security measures are probably more effective than conventional military operations. Here are some further thoughts:
Shil1978 (author) on August 03, 2010:
Thank you bobluisusa for stopping by and commenting. Am not too familiar with the issue of naxalism in India, but I'd read up on it for sure. Thanks for directing my attention to that matter. Thanks again for visiting :)
Shil1978 (author) on July 14, 2010:
Thank you Mytipen for stopping by and commenting. Quite a realistic view - I agree with you!
mytipen from Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A on July 13, 2010:
I think that Terrorism is simply a reaction to some perceived political injustice that's been committed against the perpetrator. Even though some crazies carry out attacks once in a while, most major attacks are in response to some political move or another. Sadly, terrorism is here to stay because to eradicate it will mean rethinking world politics and that's impossible.
Shil1978 (author) on May 12, 2010:
Thank you Elliot for stopping by this hub and for your comments. I wasn't actually trying to address the question of (where) terrorists come from specifically in this hub.
I tried to focus more on the possible causes and solutions. Appreciate your insights!!
elliotm on May 12, 2010:
I think that you bring up some interesting points but that this article fails to recognize that terrorists come from widely divergent backgrounds and are motivated by a plethora of different reasons. For example US soldiers join the military for vastly different reasons, some are patriots who truly believe in the righteousness of their cause, others seek the discipline of military life to solve their personal issues with things like poverty or drug abuse and others are simply aggressive men who wish to live out their COD fantasies in real life. The same is true of terrorists, some are nationalists (Palestinians), others are religious extremists (Taliban) and some are simply misguided or troubled youths who are seduced by radical clerics, such as many of the American, Canadian or European born terrorist cells.
Shil1978 (author) on May 01, 2010:
If only things were so simple and easy, alas! I am afraid its not. Prohibition tends to increase curiosity. You talked about warnings on sex, violence - isn't it true that young people ignore these warnings and visit these sites anyways?
If they are told these sites are taboo, they'd tend to check them out more - its a double-edged sword. As for categorizing radical clerics, its not so easy to determine who's to be focused on, since not all clerics are brazen and espouse their views publicly.
To identify them, you need infiltrators within the community - it needs to be a police operation, don't think Amnesty is suited to do this job or has the capability to. Interesting ideas though KS, thanks again for your perspective.
kschang from San Francisco, CA, USA on May 01, 2010:
The online sites and radical leaders can be handled easily: education. :)
And here's a more radical solution: interstitials. Require "hate sites" or radical sites to give a warning:
WARNING: You are about to enter a website that advocate violence against certain groups. Are you *sure* you wish to enter?
We already rate TV PROGRAMS with warnings on sex, violence,language, and so on. Why not Internet websites?
As for radical clerics... simply have someone equally determined, maybe Amnesty Intl, hand out flyers in front of their mosque or whatever. :D It'd be interesting. :D
Shil1978 (author) on April 28, 2010:
I agree with the "having more time on their hands" theory. This is a complex problem and would require a mix of strategies. There is no one solution that can be applied across the board.
There is also the problem of online sites that seek to brainwash people. Also, local religious leaders who instead of seeking to impart religious education exhort people to take up arms in the name of God.
If we can address these issues by having the concerned countries on board, probably we'd make a small beginning!!
kschang from San Francisco, CA, USA on April 28, 2010:
Not all people who were highly educated are free of personality defects. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "Nigerian Bomber", was relatively young, with little direction in life, and easily influenced, despite having received quite a bit of education. Studies have shown that more affluent and more highly educated people have more time on their hands to think about stuff.
When you think about it, much of protesters, even in the US, are people from relatively affluent families: they actually have SPARE TIME to take up causes! The really poor are too busy making a living.
I guess I gave "too" simple of an answer. While education is part of the key, one must also provide channels to people so they can voice their concerns and grievances through legitimate means, so they don't have to do it through terrorism. This, plus surgical attacks on radical leaders, will be the key in controlling terrorism.
Shil1978 (author) on April 27, 2010:
I agree, kschang, that education is the key in a wider perspective. However, what explains the "highly educated" terrorists? One would have thought that education would have enabled them to see things more humanely and clearly, but has it?
One of the things I note in this hub is precisely the fact that most of the masterminds/ideologues, who call upon the masses to take to terrorism are well educated, well-to-do individuals. How can one deal with this class?
I appreciate your perspective on this hub. Thanks for dropping by kschang!!
kschang from San Francisco, CA, USA on April 27, 2010:
Poverty is not the problem, I agree. However, poverty is one of the factors that pushes one over the edge, esp. when it latches onto a radical cleric's recruiting call.
Just the other day two black kids (18 or so) were arrested for randomly beating up a 57-year old Chinese man on the street, in Oakland, CA, having previously beat up the victim's son just minutes ago. The son survived, but the older man died after cracking his head on the hard pavement. The two's defense: they were just looking for somebody to beat up, being angry about life in general.
If they latched onto some sort of radical cleric, would they have turned into terrorists? I would not bet against it.
The REAL solution is education: present Islam in a normal calm manner, and offer the education FREE. We have to beat the radicals at their own game: educating the next generation. They have madrassas, we need the same, and more of them.
Shil1978 (author) on April 21, 2010:
Thank you DM for dropping by and for your comments. Glad you liked this hub!!
DustinsMom from USA on April 21, 2010:
I think you pretty much nailed this one. Great hub. I agree, religion is also a factor not to be forgotten about. It is a scary world out there.
Shil1978 (author) on March 06, 2010:
Thank you, Tony, for dropping by and for taking the time to express your viewpoint in such detail. Coming to the specific points you raised, I'd like to elaborate on my points.
As for the undemocratic governments, I agree some terrorists do come from undemocratic governments, but what I was trying to convey is that not all terrorists come from undemocratic governments, so one can't just say broadly that undemocratic governments are in a way responsible for their citizens becoming terrorists. Of course, some undemocratic governments may support terrorists, but in and of itself, an undemocratic regime necessarily does not make its citizens take to terrorism.
Tony, if you do analyze the terrorist attacks (high value ones in particular) of the last decade or two, they have had masterminds who weren't poor by any means. The "poor terrorist" argument to me doesn't hold, primarily because without these "brains" much of these high-profile, casualty-intensive attacks wouldn't have happened. Also, as I point out in my hub, the poor have different priorities than to readily take to some idealistic goal, which are generally the preserve of the more educated, perhaps bored, perhaps confused, well-off men/women.
The "armies of the US or UK" do not blow up innocent civilians with a plan. Equating them to Al-Qaeda is really so wrong. They are not in the business of killing innocents, and I am sure when they do end up unintentionally killing civilians in air strikes or what have you, that they'd feel terrible about it. Do you think the guy who plans to put a bomb in a train or a bus feels guilt? Feels sorry? Can the two be honestly equated?
The example of ANC is not a fair example. Also, this example would seem to make Osama Bin Laden as being somewhat of an equal to Mandela. Again, this equation is disingenuous. The two aren't comparable by any stretch of the imagination.
Tony, what I am saying here is that we aren't fighting rational, logical people, who we can sit across a table and negotiate. They are stateless actors, most of them, and they aren't fighting for freedom of their region or peoples. They want to see the world order change and be like what it was some hundreds of years ago. They seek uniformity. They seek imposition of their law, their culture on the rest of the world. And, they are not seeking to do all of this through peaceful means, but with brutal inhuman acts of terror. So, how should you really deal with that? Diplomacy and peace and all the good words sound nice and proper, but would any of that work in dealing with the Osamas, Ayman Al Zawahiri's, Mullah Omars?
Tony McGregor from South Africa on March 06, 2010:
This Hub is important, though I have to say I don't necessarily agree with all of it. For example, your using of China and North Korea as disproving the idea that undemocratic governments cause terrorism doesn't hold water - there are plenty of terrorists who do come from undemocratic countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, etc, etc. We also need to be quite clear that Muslims are the only terrorists. That is far from the truth.
If you profile terrorists they generally do come from poor situations (the rich terrorists tend to be the propagandists and leaders), have low levels of education and there is some genuine grievance felt by the group from which they come. Add into that mix religion and/or ideology and you have a potent killing machine.
And at the same time one has to recoignise that conventional forces kill and maim far more people than terrorists ever could. So the whole terminology of terrorism becomes slightly suspect. Who is really sowing terror in the world? Certainly Al Qaida is, but what about the armies of the US or the UK? They strike terror into people also. The dictators of the world do provide terrorists with the reasons for conducting terror.
Margaret Thatcher once said that the ANC would never rule South Africa because it was a terrorist organisation. Well look at us now! And Mandela, once imprisoned as a terrorist, is now a respected world leader.
I'm not condoning terrorism, not at all. Nor am I making excuses for it. I am totally opposed to violence from any quarter. In trying to rid the world of terrorism we need to be very aware of all the complexities that go into it.
I agree with you totally that there are so many far more worthwhile things to do than fighting and killing. Like debating important issues here on HubPages!
Thanks for an important Hub.
Love and peace
Shil1978 (author) on March 04, 2010:
Dearest Al, nice to hear from you, as always - thanks for dropping by. Btw, I see that you've changed your profile pic, looking great :)
Yes, completely agree with you Al. Exactly my point. You can't negotiate with these unstable minds, can you? They themselves have no fixed goal that they seek. Its some sort of fantasy world that they live in and hope to achieve.
They don't want to live in the present - they love the past just so much more!! For them, changing with the times is anathema. They'd rather drag us all back to medieval times with summary executions of condemned people and what have you, as the Taliban do so frequently now!!
Its a sad state of affairs. Let's hope for a better, peaceful world. There's much to achieve being humans than to get yourself blown and taking a few other humans along with you! Arts, music, culture, science, philosophy - humans were meant to excel in these, not born to kill other humans!!
Mystique1957 from Caracas-Venezuela on March 04, 2010:
My dearest Shil...
It is hard to deal with the fact that some human beings manipulate information to reap hatred and therefore commitment to perform violent, absurd, inhuman acts of violence. The point we should not forget is that these people are sick in their heads. They do not have conventional thoughts. They relish their own conceived world and break every possible oath they have sworn to uphold. It is Anarchy what they seek! They do things in the name of a God we do not understand. It certainly isn´t my God! You have good pointers here. Let´s hope something can be done to avoid an unnecessary bloodshed!
warmest regards and blessings,
Shil1978 (author) on March 03, 2010:
Thanks Larry for your useful insight on this subject. Yes, you are right - madrassas are a real problem and should be tackled, not by imposing but rather by convincing the countries and peoples involved that there is a better way - a more well-rounded educational system. The "religious schools" that I mention in the article did refer to madrassas, so its an issue to be addressed!!
Problem though is there is a lack of foresight and courage amongst the leadership of these countries to do anything about it. Probably, it has to do more with preserving their own power!!
It is an asymmetric war and yes, asymmetric means need to be adopted!!
Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on March 03, 2010:
Hi Shill...Nice followup Hub to your outstanding Hub " The Myth of the poor terrorist "...The one component I might add to your list of root causes of terrorism is religion...
There is no reversing the teachings through Madrassas of radical Islamic thought other than eliminating them completely and interjecting a more modest and enlightened form of Islam...One that supports women's rights, the sanctity of the individual, and the tolerance of other faiths...
That is where our present form of terrorism must be challenged with all the determination that terrorists have for our extinction...This is an asymmetric war that can only be resolved through asymmetric tactics and strategy....Larry