Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The FDU Religion and Terror Think Tank

This is the blog of the “FDU Religion and Terror Think Tank.”

We studied in our main textbook (Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God) the five scenarios for solving the problem of religious terror and violence:

1. The forceful eradication of the terrorists
2. “Cracking down” – one step back from wiping them out
3. Violence wins
4. Separation of religion from politics
5. “Secular authorities embrace moral values, including those associated with religion.”

We ranked these in order of likelihood based substantially on the facts that we have studied in this course in one discussion.

We ranked these in order of preference based substantially on the facts that we have studied in this course and the principles of your own self-interest in a second discussion. We also spelled out the criteria that govern our self interest.

We ranked these in order of preference based on the facts that we have studied in this course and the principles of our moral compasses in a third discussion. We spelled out the criteria that govern our moral compasses.

In the final essays reproduced here we set forth, “My plan to end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace.”

The title speaks for itself. We explained our plan and why it will work – based on our knowledge and on facts derived from this FDU course.

My Plan to End Religious Terror and Violence and Achieve Lasting Peace by MP

Since I have been taking this course, I was really disturbed to see people committing violence and taking other people's lives . Terrorism is a hard thing to stop. Its very hard to end religious terror and violence because with religion people will follow others and they will do the same. I feel as though I can make a change in religious terror and violence because I think people don't realize that religion shouldn't be used to organize violence. " But the term terrorism has more frequently been associated with committed by disenfranchised groups desperately attempting to gain shred of power or influence" (J pg5). So terrorist wants to show that they have power to do what they want to and also wants to recruit people to join their powerful group. Children are even brainwashed and are picking up on what their elders are doing. From when I first started this class , the second chapter was about religious terror. The main reason for religious violence is for the public to witness and its for religious purposes. Killing people is a serious thing and terrorist are taking innocent peoples lives who have no clue of what's going on. Religous terrorism can happen at anytime and people really can't prepare for this because its so random. Terrorism is simply used to draw as many peoples attention as it possible can and is used to scared people. Trying to end religious terror and achieve lasting peace will be very hard to do. Because there are so many people who are trying to follow rebel and try to kill as many people as they can such as suicide bombers. The suicide bombers are going to be the hardest ones to stop because they can strike at anytime and they are willing to give up their life in the process. They also being they will be rewarded pleasure and their family members will be rewarded with cash and honor. So they believe that they are being rewarded double because of their honor and their family being rewarded and being set after their death. The way I would approach the situation is by reaching out to the children and telling them how much violence is wrong, so they would understand how wrong violence is because it generally starts with the children and how they pick up on things. Because most religious terror is used to influence others to follow what they do. Terrorist need people to follow them so they can have a sucessful plan. Young children usually pick up on things quick and are easily influenced by older people. The suicide bombers rate is going up everyday and I think this plan can help decrease it. Creating peace for everyone is the main goal because the world would be safer if there was peace around the world. Bring world leaders and religous leaders together to talk about world peace. With the bombing of the World Trade Center people around the world didn't feel safe and it really shocked the whole world. Osama Bin Laden really influenced those suicide bombers and he felt proud about destroying the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center Bombing really had people scared and putting an end to terrorism seemed impossible when then that event happened. The world would be a better place if terrorism didn't exist in this world , people would be in a better mood and wouldn't have to worry about things. That was a perfect example of theater of terror. People were scared for their lives and most of all people didn’t feel safe. “The spectacular aerial assaults on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001 are dramatic illustrations of this theoretical display of violence” (J pg 122). With displaying violence in this type of way that the whole world would see it and I was even scared because I didn't safe to even come outside because I felt that if terrorist could attack the pentagon they could attack me at anytime. I think by displaying peace and showing how the world would be a better place with peace. My plan will work because I don't think its enough people trying to fight for world peace. I feel like I can make a difference in this world. I feel like my knowledge for terrorism is very good because reading what J was implying and he really help me understand terrorism alot better and why terrorist do the things they do. By understanding different religions helped alot because they terrorist had a plan and a reason for what they did. Some felt that God was telling them to do and some believed that after life was going to be better and more pleasurable. Challenging terrorism is a big task because people are always going to rebel but my plan can be the first step towards ending terrorism and eventually with time end terrorism. Stressing the fact that we are off better with peace in the world is a big issue and we can achieve this mission. It will be hard to but it can be accomplished. But I feel like if nobody comes up with a plan then things will only get worse than what they are now.

My Plan to End Religious Terror and Violence and Achieve Lasting Peace by LS

My plan to end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace is based on Mark Juergensmeyer’s fifth scenario for solving the problem of religious terror and violence. The scenario is "secular authorities embrace moral values, including those associated with religion" (243-244). It seems to me that this would be the most logical scenario if government conjured up least a minimal level of mutual trust and respect for religious values (and overall societal morals). I really don’t feel that one person alone could end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace; and I especially think it would be impossible for me alone to persuade secular authorities to embrace religious values. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all share similar moral values and I feel that if government embraced those values that it could help stop religious terrorism. To help contribute to this, I will do the only thing I know how to in this situation... pray.
“[I]n the wake of secularism, and after years of waiting in history’s wings, religion has made its reappearance as an ideology of social order in a dramatic fashion: violently” (Juergensmeyer, 248). And public violence is the most powerful because it’s the most dangerous. Also, it’s the most eye-catching, mind-boggling way to get a point across. Christian militia and other religious terrorists feel that we live in a Godless nation anymore and that something has to be done to set our priorities straight, by showing us how morally wrong we are and using violence to do so. Yes, it is pretty hypocritical to use violence (something in itself that it morally wrong) to prove to secular authorities that their morals are wrong. If only our government and other secular authorities around the world based our political systems off of moral values (even those associated with religion). Juergensmeyer claims, "The most successful solutions are those that have been forged on a moral plane–those that have required the opponents in the conflict to summon at least a minimal level of mutual trust and respect" (243). It seems highly unlikely to get religious activists, terrorists, and governmental authorities to come to a compromise on their value systems, but what could be done to make this possible? If only the world could agree on the same morals and values, but we all have different governments and different religions. Juergensmeyer says, "This respect has been enhanced and the possibilities of a compromise solution strengthened when religious activists have perceived governmental authorities as having a moral integrity in keeping with, or accommodating of religious values". (243)
According to my religious beliefs (Christianity) God listens and answers the prayers of His faithful people. To start off my plan I will pray faithfully about the situation at hand (war and peace). Also, without ceasing to pray, I could write congress and other secular authorities about embracing religious values and how I think that it would help contribute to world peace. I could re-write this essay to direct it to the secular authorities and attach a petition signed by members of my church and community. My church has about a thousand or more members so the petition could get quite lengthy enough to get their attention.
In conclusion, the best solution to end religious terror and violence and achieve everlasting peace throughout the world would be to collectively compromise with one another’s moral values and embrace any values and beliefs associated with everyone’s religions. I wish that the world could agree on the same morals and values, but all I can really do about it is pray. Juergensmeyer ends his book Terror in the Mind of God with this statement that I also believe to be true: “...[R]eligious violence cannot end until some accommodation can be forged between the two [secular authorities and religion]... then, the cure for religious violence may ultimately lie in a renewed appreciation for religion itself” (249). By becoming active and contacting secular authorities with Juergensmeyer’s theory of them embracing moral values, even those associated with religion, as a possible solution to achieve everlasting world peace... one person could possibly make a difference. Personally, I agree with Juergensmeyer and Niebuhr "that what religion provides society is not just high-mindedness, but also a concern with the quality of life–a goal more ennobling than the simple accretion of power and possessions" (246).

My Plan to End Religious Terror and Violence and Achieve Lasting Peace by JS

"As we go further and further into the 21st century, a culture of violence continues to grip society as we know it." (Essay #1, 9/30/05, Paragraph 1) This growing culture of violence continues to push the world further and further away from an end to religious terror and violence. This is why the plan I have devised focuses on changing the landscape of our society for the purpose of making lasting peace a realistic goal rather than a pipedream. My plan is not a simple list of tasks, each of the four main steps will likely take years to reach its full effect. But trying to achieve peace and end religious terror in today's world is equivalent to building a skyscraper on a cracked, eroded foundation - it will never last. Many things have to change first; we have to create a climate in which lasting peace can be obtained. This is why the key theme of my plan is "sacrifice"; governments, the media, and the general public must be willing to make sacrifices for my plan to have any chance of success. From my readings of materials in this course, I have identified three major categories of religious terrorists: Hardcore terrorists, such as Osama Bin Laden, are completely devoted to their religious cause and the use of violence. They adopt a "warring attitude" and "no longer (think) compromise is possible...or...did not want an accommodating solution in the first place." (Juergensmeyer, 149) Another category of religious terrorists, Fringe terrorists, are not devoted to the religious cause, but are more than willing to exercise the use of violence. These terrorists are marginal men and are the category most affected by the counter-terrorist measures of secular governments. The final category of religious terrorists are Survival terrorists. This category refers to people who join terrorist groups mainly out of fear and anger over the actions of secular governments. They are completely devoted to their religious cause, but are hesitant to use violence. These are people who once lived normal, peaceful lives until they felt morally obliged to defend the survival of their religion after perceived attacks from secular governments (i.e. wars, the prejudicial societal attitudes towards particular religions, etc) In this paper I will map out my plan to end religious terror worldwide and achieve lasting peace.

The first step of my plan, "Indefinite Isolation" deals with eradication of Fringe terrorists. This step comes from one of Juergensmeyer's scenarios referred to as "Terrifying Terrorists". He states that harsh punishments could "frighten them by raising the stakes associated with involvement in terrorist activity." He also explains that fringe members of these groups are likely to be the most affected. (Juergensmeyer, 231) While Fringe terrorists are marginal men, many of them are willing, and sometimes eager, to die. This is why I propose secular governments take the punishment of death off of the table. Instead of execution, governments should place people convicted of furthering a terrorist act in isolated detention for 25 years-to-life, and people convicted of supporting terrorism/hindering the prosecution of a terrorist act/conspiracy for 10+ years. When these marginal men join religious terror groups, they are seeking "a meaningful life and a proud death." (Essay #3, 11/23/05, Paragraph 4) They are seeking a life where their "actions have a direct effect on the world." (Essay #3, 11/23/05, Paragraph 7) This phase of my plan robs them of this sense of empowerment, as well as the opportunity for martyrdom. Instead of dying in a massive explosion which claims many innocent lives and makes them a noble martyr to the other members of their group, they sit alone in a small cell and are rendered completely insignificant. This will serve to make terrorism a less appealing option for marginal men, it will deter them from this path. The eradication of these Fringe terrorists is not an unimportant objective, as they are used by religious groups as assets, due to their willingness to die, kill, and take great risks. And "...the fewer fringe members a religious terror group has, the fewer (total) members they have, and (the) fewer members they have, the weaker the group is." ("Concluding Weeks", Likelihood of the scenarios 12/5/05, Jon Searing)

The second step of my plan, "Censorship of media", is where the aforementioned theme of sacrifice comes into play. Worldwide news networks and the internet have brought "a new development in terrorism: the extraordinary widening of terror's audience." (Juergensmeyer, 142) "Without being noticed...terrorism would not exist...Terrorism without its horrified witnesses would be as pointless as a play without an audience." (Juergensmeyer, 139) One of the primary reasons why terrorism is so heavily covered by the media today is because terror groups are becoming more and more effective at utilizing the "Theater of Terror". They are using this concept to "captivate (the) audience, to get and keep their attention for as long as (they) want." (Essay #2, 10/26/05, Paragraph 1) The amount of coverage terrorist acts receive is more important to religious terror groups than many people realize. In his conversation with Mark Juergensmeyer, Mahmud Abouhalima said the greatest threat to Islam was media misrepresentation. He stated that "secularism held a virtual lock on media control and that Islam did not have news sources to present its side of contemporary history." (Juergensmeyer, 140) This is an advantage secular governments should use to reduce the climate of fear. They should forbid news stations from showing the horrible destruction and death caused by acts of terrorism. It will not diminish the acts themselves, but it will reduce the "...horror (that travels) far beyond the number of people immediately affected by the blast." (Juergensmeyer, 140) I am not suggesting governments forbid news services from reporting on actual events, the last thing we as a people should do is burrow our heads in the sand and pretend everything is fine. However, the repeated displaying of death, destruction, and mayhem offers nothing positive to society, and only serves to spread fear, encourage hostility, and (indirectly) support terrorism. While this step of the plan would undoubtedly be controversial, it is not completely unfounded. Juergensmeyer himself acknowledges the possibility that terrorist acts "would not happen as frequently, or in the same way, if the enormous resources of the news media were not readily at hand to promote them." (Juergensmeyer, 142) If this step is taken along with the successful adherence to the 3rd step, then we will be on track to a healing process that will eventually lead to the end of religious terror.

The third step of my plan is simply “Avoiding war.” I believe this step is critical for two reasons; 1 - Going to war validates the beliefs of terrorists, and 2 - Going to war sends a terrible message to the people of your country. Juergensmeyer talks of the dangers of a war on terrorism, claiming “that it can play into the scenario that religious terrorists...have fostered: the image of a world at war between secular and religious forces...(and) makes recruitment to their causes easier...” (Juergensmeyer, 230) And when you consider that these religious groups are led by Hardcore terrorists, the stronger they are, the farther away from lasting peace the world is. Going to war helps build up the third category of terrorists I mentioned earlier, Survival terrorists. These are people who feel their religion is being threatened and thus join terror groups out of a sense of moral obligation. So if we can avoid entering into a war against terrorism, we can dramatically reduce the numbers of these Survival terrorists. The “terrible message” I spoke of refers to our governments casting blame for religious violence. For example, the United States invaded Afghanistan only a few weeks after 9/11. This sends a message that Arabs and Muslims are the problem, not just the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. I do not believe the U.S. Government viewed their decision as a war on Arabs, but I do believe it was viewed that way by many people in the American public. Perception is reality, and when a government invades Afghanistan, and enters into a war in Iraq just 17 months later, the public will begin to believe that the entire Middle East is a threat, not just Islamic extremists. And if the general public views any particular religion as a “terrorist religion”, there can never be lasting peace in the world. After events such as 9/11, Muslims should receive our support, not our hatred. As Juergensmeyer points out, "supporting moderate leadership within the communities...would diminish support for the extremists." (Juergensmeyer, 237)

The previous two steps serve to set up this fourth and final step “Establish culture of compassion”. The onus for this step is placed on both secular governments and the people. After the previous three steps have been successfully taken, secular governments can begin a shift from a climate of fear to a climate of compassion. This fourth stage is not attainable unless the previous 3 stages are successfully completed. Society, by and large, takes its cue from the government, and this can be either positive or negative. The American government, for example, has definitely made the public aware of the terrorist threats facing the nation. Whether or not these warnings constitute "scare tactics" is not my concern at this time. But there is no doubt that the public today is not willing to show compassion for devout Christians and Muslims because they fear in doing so, they maybe excusing the actions of their more zealous compatriots. Hate, blame, and vengeance cannot possibly heal the world of terrorism. To end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace, the government has to make their people realize that showing compassion and understanding is the right thing to do. Secular governments have to convince their people that there is nothing wrong with a religion that requires its members to pray five times a day, or compels its members to speak out against abortion. In the very last paragraph of his book, Juergensmeyer states that "...religious violence cannot end until some accommodation can be forged between the two (religion and civil society) - some assertion of moderation in religion's passion, and some acknowledgment of religion in elevating the spiritual and moral values of public life." (Juergensmeyer, 243) If this is reached, and people come to the realization that hostility and blame will only incite more religious violence, the world will be on the fast track to the end of religious terror and violence, and a time of lasting peace.

In conclusion, the primary reason why my plan is far-fetched at this point in time is because secular governments are of primary importance to this plan, and right now world peace is simply not a priority. Governments feel pressure from their citizens to " vigilant in their surveillance of potential terrorist groups, diligent in their attempts to apprehend those suspected of committing terrorist acts, and swift in bringing them to courts of law." (Juergensmeyer, 237) But I do believe my plan can work if it is executed successfully. It eradicates the Fringe terrorists, who seek only the support and justification to exercise violence, draws the Survival terrorists away from terror groups, and widens the gap between the Hardcore terrorists and their respective religions. Once the fourth stage is completed, the world will undergo a self-healing process. This process will not be short and will often test the patience of the public, secular governments, and religions around the world. But when the self-healing process is completed, the world will be living in a climate of understanding and compassion, where Hardcore terrorists like Osama Bin Laden simply will not be able to survive.

My Plan to End Religious Terror and Violence and Achieve Lasting Peace by TC

Martin Luther King III said, “We all have to be concerned about terrorism, but you will never end terrorism by terrorizing others” (Subzero Blue). Terrorism has been around since people have roamed the earth. There has always been conflict between groups of people. Is there really any true way to end terrorism? While there may not be a clear answer to this question, it is important to understand that any ground gained on the fight to end terrorism will take time and will be a process; it is a process because simply making one adjustment or taking one action, will not bring about a great enough change to end terrorism altogether. There have been several plans developed to put a stop to terrorism, some of which were found in Juergensmeyer’s Terror in the Mind of God. One important proposal includes making a compromise between the two groups. Another strategy, not outlined in the text is to develop a way to “humanize” each group. Finally, changing the United States’ political policies would also lessen the threat of terrorism.
When a compromise is struck between the terrorists and the terrorized, in essence, terrorists are winning. “This is the outcome for which every religious activist, understandably, has yearned” (238). However, this type of solution can only be successful at ending terrorism if 100% of both groups are satisfied with the compromise. It may be impossible to achieve that kind of acceptance. "A few activists may be appeased, but others may be angered by what they regard as a sellout of their principles" (240). An example of this type of failure can be seen when looking at the situation in Israel. The Palestinians and the Jews have been fighting over the land that they consider to be their holy land for centuries. “In an attempt to inspire peace amongst the two groups, some of the land of Israel has been divided between them” (Essay #1, Paragraph 2). This decision was made between Yasir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin believed that “Israelis believed in peace and were ‘ready to take a risk for it’” (Learning Unit 3). Unfortunately, not all of the Jews and Palestinians agreed with the decision of their leaders. “Instead of creating peace for Jews and Palestinians, there has only been more conflict because of the close proximity to each other” (Essay #1, Paragraph 2).
Part of the procedure of terrorism for many groups includes a way to dehumanize their enemy. For example, Rev Michael Bray, a Christian anti-abortion activist, “accomplishes the task of depersonalization by creating jokes about abortion clinic workers. “Bray explained that jokes that ‘mock evildoers’ reinforce a ‘right posture’ of ‘loathing, not happy tolerance’”” (176) (Essay #3, Paragraph 3). By taking away the enemy’s humanity, the act of killing them does not seem wrong. In order to end this type of motivation, governments that are known to be targets for terrorism need to work on a way to humanize their image. If the two sides can find a way to become more understanding of one another’s viewpoints, there would be no cause for terrorism. Perhaps the United States could accomplish this by sending more aid, wanted aid, to the developing countries. These countries may be in need of food, clothing and healthcare; they are not interested in the United States’ “military aid” that it is infamous for giving. By forming a rapport of understanding with the countries that are inhabited by terrorists, terrorism is sure to decrease.
Finally, the United States should change some of their political policies. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the United States is notorious for stepping in to other countries’ affairs when not wanted. It has gained the title of “global police.” By entering into these different countries unsolicited, the United States has become a focal point for terrorist threats. This is most likely why the World Trade Center and Pentagon were targets of terrorism. Osama bin Laden targeted America because he regards the United States as “‘the biggest terrorist in the world’” (182). Every time there is a problem within other countries of the world, the United States military is sent in to moderate. Clearly, this has had adverse effects on America. “The U.S. State Department’s counterterrorism unit reported that during the 1990s, 40 percent of all acts of terrorism worldwide were waged against American citizens and facilities” (182). If the United States were to change its political policies to decrease its actions in other countries’ affairs, this percentage may decrease proportionately. Less military force from the United States will mean less animosity against the United States.
There are many strategies to ending and decreasing terrorism. Whether these plans will work is yet to be seen. The only thing one can do is to try them and hope that the plans will be a success. Will terrorism ever end? That is a question that cannot be answered today. Nonetheless, it is imperative that each individual does his/her part in terminating terrorism. The world can be changed one person at a time.

Works Cited
“Subzero Blue.” December 14, 2005.

My Plan to End Religious Terror and Violence and Achieve Lasting Peace by SW

In order to end religious terror and violence we must all work together. There is no way that it can be done by just one country or one religion. It has to be a worldwide project. We must all compromise and put the past behind us. If religion has taught us anything, it should have taught us to forgive and forget and do what is best for the followers.
However, we can not have plans that are one sided only for example; “In September of 2002, the US announced its new official policy regarding security called the National Security Strategy (NSS). This strategy came to be known as the “Bush Doctrine.” In this new policy, the US will use “pre-emption” against a possible enemy, in other words, attacking before being attacked. In this new policy the US does not have to be attacked or even have proof of a threat. It just has to believe there is a threat and then attack. In this policy, the US does not have to go to the United Nations to try and resolve the conflict or threat peacefully. This new policy of “pre-emption” was tested when the US attacked Iraq in 2003.” A Plan like this will get us no where, as we are experiencing currently.
On the other hand Israeli - Palestinian have a plan to end their violence. They are proposing “A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. The plan establishes a realistic timeline for implementation. However, as a performance-based plan, progress will require and depend upon the good faith efforts of the parties, and their compliance with each of the obligations outlined below. Should the parties perform their obligations rapidly, progress within and through the phases may come sooner than indicated in the plan. Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress. This plan seems more realistic than the Bush Doctrine. The Israeli – Palestinian want to make things work, and are not just trying to get rid of the problem on a temporary basis. It seems to me that there are pros and cons to every plan devised, but there should always be hope that one will work.
After examining these two ideas to end violence and promote peace my plan is as follows. First I think we need to remove our troops from overseas, they are not doing any good over there. I feel that they are only antagonizing those that we should be making peace with. I know that Bush sent them over there to prove that we will not stand for being harmed by other countries, but it is time for them to come home. There is no need for this “Cosmic War.” Second step would be a change of government. We live in a Democracy and we should be proving to other countries that they should as well. We need someone in charge who is willing to protect us, but also willing to solve the problem. Nothing is going to get solved by continually bombing the Iraqis and killing off their people. If anything it is only making them angrier with us. We need to show the other countries that we are willing to make changes if they are willing as well. We as people do not want to live in constant chaos. Third step would be to join together. If we all join together and devise a plan that everyone is willing to agree on then we could stop all of this nonsense. Before that is done we must prove that we are trustworthy and willing to do this one hundred percent. Proving to be peaceful, trusting and willing to work on the problem should create peace among all the countries that are at bay.
If these steps are taken I feel that there might be a good chance that we could turn things around. If those suggestions don’t work then we could always turn to J’s five scenarios (pgs. 236-246). Although I do not feel that four and five will do anything, we could always use one, two and three. Scenario number one would be my first choice; “forceful eradication of the terrorist.” This way we can take care of the problem with one step. Many Americans feel that we should just take them all out and that would solve many of the world’s problems. I do not totally disagree with that, I feel that it should be done in a more peaceful manner, but we have to do whatever works, but peace should always be the first choice. “Cracking down” would also be helpful in the plan to rid the world of this violence. Cracking down proves that we are still willing to work on being peaceful, but they must agree to do the same. Scenarios one, two and three should not be the way the world works, but it seems to have come to that point.
There has to be a way to regain peace and end the violence throughout the world. It should not come down to who has the bigger weapons, more money or bigger militaries. It should be a matter of keeping our people safe and happy, but the world has lost sight of that, and unfortunately some religions are using their following as a justification for the violence. As we have learned in class this is not a new thing. It has been going on for years. As the world’s technology advance, so should the thinking of the world’s people, and now is the time. We should be focused on living happily and safely. There is no reason to blame the religions for this dysfunctional world we are living in. We should be looking at the parts of the religions that promote peace not war, and if we are not willing to do that, then we must be willing to live in a violent society forever.

Ending Religious Terror and Violence for Lasting Peace by SC

I am not morally an advocate for any level of violence or in instilling terror in any form to any individual in order to achieve the ends of my means. But I understand more clearly from the previous and current events of global terror and participating in this class that there is a precedence being set among terrorist movements around our globe that want to get their point across by any means necessary. Because of this notion I have come to terms with my own morality and values and realize that I must make a stance for world peace now and for the future generations, by understanding the problem and stating the methods that I feel comfortable with in order to end world terror that may enable lasting peace.

Juergensmeyer has shown us through, “Terror in the Mind of God” that documents the global rise of religious terrorism and the odd attraction of religion and violence that by trying to understand the thought patterns of some movements members “we can speculate on the conditions that makes it likely for cosmic war to be located on a world stage” (J 164) and we can begin to rationalize their actions. As Maxwell stated, there cannot be a method to the solution of world terror without first “determining its root causes” or properties, which constitute religious violence and what makes it possible (Wk 12 12-02-05).

To understand the root causes of the current problems for Judaism, one must look back two thousand years to the birth of Christianity and it’s separation from its beginnings in Judaism. With this separation came the beginning of centuries of suffering and persecution against the Jewish people, their culture and their religion. With the Holocaust, the Jews were singled out as being “comprised of an inferior race” (Modern Anti-Semitism 1) and a threat to mankind requiring their mass executions. Many fled to Palestine in the hopes of setting up their own nation-state and to avoid any further persecution. But as Baruch Goldstein stated and the world knows today, “Jewish people in Israel are the victims oppressed in their own land” by the government and the Arabs who are arrogant in thinking that they had a right to the land on which they lived (J 50).

It is the notion of perceived humiliation that the Jewish people feel justifies their acts of violence and based on the “pursuer’s decree” of Jewish legal precedence that morally obligates a Jew to halt someone who presents a mortal danger to Jews. Present-day tensions are also characterized by Yoel Lerner as the treasonous, illegal forming of a government that was negotiated between liberal Jews, Arab votes and the PLO, the anti-Jewishness of Rabin’s policies that forfeited Jewish authority, giving away state land and
the expansion of Palestinian authority in the West Bank (J 49). But, in order to protect the political entity of the state of Israel, the Jewish societies ancient roots and the world redemption of Messianic salvation the Jews and many other movements, like them, are resorting to defensive violence. They are caught up in cultural, political and military dimensions thus causing a global chain-reaction of violent retaliations that, according to worldview must be stopped for world peace.

As history has shown and Juergensmeyer has conveyed about destroying the violence, instilling the fear factor, negotiating compromises with activists and diffusing the violence through separating religion from politics are all solutions that are difficult to implement and do not always work in achieving peace. Either they treat others like an enemy or they open up the door for others “to respond like an enemy” in order to appease their constituencies (J 242).

In my opinion the solution to world peace is through a movement that promotes
success by opening the door to communications. We all have different opinions on religion, cultures, the importance of our histories, morals and values and it is about time for our own colors to be shown. Politically, our government has always demanded respect but it is our turn to compromise and “summon at least a minimal level of mutual trust and respect” (J 243). The perception of others as satanic deceivers can not continue “the more so if it is a grand enemy, a satanic foe in the scenario of the cosmic war” for this will escalate the violence by proving others justifications (J 176). If, according to Justice Brandeis and Timothy McVeigh, “our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher that teaches the whole people by its example” (J 167) we must begin to realize that it is up to us to begin the path towards peace.

In addition, there are also other avenues that can be taken simultaneously along with promoting trust and respect in order to obtain world peace. First would be for the U.S. to stop sponsoring terrorism on an international level so it would be easier for us to bargain with other countries to get them to have terrorist come out of hiding, for apprehension and conviction. The United States needs to examine its policies concerning its alliances and support of Israel and others that are promoting anti-American sentiment among terrorist. Our government needs to begin to govern ourselves more accordingly and on a moral plane and begin to educate people on the effects of violence. People who are more educated are more likely not to result to violence in order to solve problems. Education would also banish mystical and unrealistic religious beliefs of rewards in the
afterlife, value theirs and others lives. And a final solution for extreme terrorist, which is against my morals but realistically acceptable now is the realization that if extremist leaders are eliminated such as Osama Bin Laden so that we can begin world peace by eliminating the violence that this form of plague upon humankind has instilled.

In conclusion, it is obvious that past efforts to stop world violence have been ineffective resulting in our current cosmic war. The strategies and scenarios have had their limiting capabilities, limited degree of success and have created much destruction around the world all in the name of human interest and concern rather that global interest and global concerns. The path to global peace should begin at our door since we are the super power or nucleus that has the most chance of changing mankind’s thinking to implement the inevitable social, economical and financial partnership that the world will eventually share in the future. We need to realize that we have a dependence that requires the cooperation towards a world view that all deserve the right to personal freedoms towards human interest and concerns and peace.

Work Cited

Juergensmeyer, Mark “Terror in the Mind of God”, 2003 The Regents of the University of California.

Forums: Wk 12

My plan to end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace by RC

     In today’s society, there is a fear that has risen and now haunting humanity.  Recently, the world has witnessed and for that matter experienced what we have come to know as religious terrorism.  The outcomes of religious terrorism have been unfathomable.  It is only because we have experienced it that we know it truly exists.  The violence that it has spawned is horrifying events.  The September 11th attacks on American soil are an example of this.  Examples of religious terrorism are “In virtually every religious tradition—not just Islam. A Christian terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building. A Jewish activist, Yigal Amir, assassinated Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. A Buddhist prophet, Shoko Asahara, orchestrated the unleashing of nerve gas in the Tokyo subways near the Japanese parliament buildings. Hindu and Sikh militants have targeted government buildings and political leaders in India.” (Juergensmeyer, Religious Terror and the Secular State, 1) Ultimately, from the perpetrators of these vicious attacks to innocent civilians living their everyday lives the goal is the same.  Everyone wants a peaceful existence.  
     Moving toward a peaceful society involves a lot of planning.  Everyone must be taken into consideration.  For peace to come to fruition, a plan must include the following components: “That vision of the future should stress life over death: individual educational and economic opportunity. This vision includes widespread political participation and contempt for indiscriminate violence. It includes respect for the rule of law, openness in discussing differences, and tolerance for opposing points of view.” (  
     According to Mark Juergensmeyer, author of the book Terror in the Mind of God,
when it comes to solving the crisis involving religious terrorism, ironically it may be possible to “heal politics with religion”. (243) With respect to the aforementioned vision of a step toward a peaceful existence, “The most successful solutions are those that have been forged on a moral plane – those that have required the opponents tin the conflict to summon at least a minimal level of mutual trust and respect.  This respect has been enhanced and the possibilities of a compromise solution strengthened when religious activists have perceived governmental authorities as having a moral integrity in keeping with, or accommodating of, religious values.” (243)  Furthermore, “Though religion has scarcely been perceived as being neutral in the same way that art, education, and sports have been, virtually every religious tradition has projected images of tranquility that are even more profound and unifying.” (247)
     In conjunction with education, respect, and opportunity there is a chance that we will achieve peace.  Education will maximize this prospect of peace because according to the 9/11 commission report, “Education that teaches tolerance, the dignity and value of each individual, and respect for different beliefs is a key element in any global strategy to eliminate Islamist terrorism.” (  Although the report specifically refers to Islamic communities, it could apply anywhere.  
Supporting education is essential.  Many tools can be used in order to educate for example, the 9/11 commission report offers the following suggestions (once again, this is targeted to the Middle East however, this could apply anywhere):
  1. The international community is moving toward setting a concrete goal-to cut the Middle East region's illiteracy rate in half by 2010, targeting women and girls and supporting programs for adult literacy.

  2. Unglamorous help is needed to support the basics, such as textbooks that translate more of the world's knowledge into local languages and libraries to house such materials. Education about the outside world, or other cultures, is weak.

  3. More vocational education is needed, too, in trades and business skills. The Middle East can also benefit from some of the programs to bridge the digital divide and increase Internet access that have already been developed for other regions of the world.  (
Moving toward peace is a process that requires determination not only from political leaders and religious activists but also from humanity.  Just as it took generations for our global society to evolve to the times that we are living in now, it will take time and patience on the part of many to proceed.  


Juergensmeyer, Mark.  Terror in the Mind of God.  University of California Press.  2003.
Juergensmeyer, Mark.  Religious Terror and the Secular State.   From Harvard International Review, Winter 2004.  eScholarship Repository, University of California /22  2004.

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

My plan to end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace by MM

     Violence in religion has been happening since the beginning of time. In every religion whether Christianity, Judaism, Islamic, Hinduism, or Buddhism, there has been violent terrorists’ acts towards other religions, because these terrorists groups feel they are protecting their own religion, and that this is how God, or their deities, wants them to act. In Christianity the terrorists who attack the abortion clinics do this because they feel it is immoral, in Judaism the terrorists are fighting over ancient roots. Who does the state of Israel belong too? The Jews, or the Arabs, and in the Islamic terrorists groups, they hate the U.S. because of secular political and economic power. In Hinduism, the terrorists hate that India has become an independent state, and in Buddhism, with the terrorists of the Aum Shinrikyo movement, their violent acts were because they believed that Armageddon was beginning. Thus, all this violence leading to theaters of terror, and producing cosmic war within this world with martyrs and demons, and giving these terrorists a great sense of power.
     In our study through the mind of Mark Juergensmeyer he has shown us the root causes of comic war, how these violent terrorists groups respond in essence to their beliefs, and how we can possibly achieve some peace in this violent world. He has shown us that religion doesn’t cause the violent terrorists acts, but in turn religion has made the acts possible to achieve for these terrorists. “All terrorism is violent, and its violence may be performed for symbolic as well as strategic reasons.” (Juergensmeyer pg. 220) Through religion, terrorists have a great deal of power which is shown through performance violence, which in turn is justified through their morals and in the power of their government; thus leading to cosmic war. “Religion is blamed as the root cause of cosmic war,” (Essay III, 11/23, pg. 5) because most of these terrorists are fighting over God’s will, as they all translate God’s knowledge into their own interpretations. When one lives within these cultures of violence even though they don’t morally agree with the terrorist acts, they are glad that the acts happened because they feel they are being violated by their own government. What all these religious terrorists groups have in common is this, they don’t see the secular society boundaries around religion, thus allowing it to public places, they have rejected the laws with their own values and institutions, and they have went back to their religions beginnings with a more demanding and vibrant form of their religion. How do we end these acts of religious violence and have peace here on earth?
       In our text Mark Juergensmeyer gives us five possibilities in order to achieve peace, all of these scenarios seem helpful, but the one that I would pick in order to have lasting peace is the fourth scenario. “One of the reasons government is easily labeled the enemy of religion is that to some degree it is.” (Juergesmeyer pg. 228) You must have church and state separated in order to have peace on earth, in that religion shouldn’t have a spot in public life, and that way you would view social order as a secular nationalism in a natural law, thus being applicable universally. You must find the root causes of the terrorist acts and know how they essentially operate together, and know that cosmic war and symbolism play the role in motivating and justifying the violent terrorist acts because of political and secular authorities. “It addresses the identities and images which are at terrors roots the relationship between violence and religion.” (Week 12, 11/22, Burkey) Even though religious activists want to have religion at the heart of public matters, they first must learn that this can not be the case. “I think it must come from internal and external elements.” (Concluding week, 12/2, Burkey)
      In order to stop cosmic war the members of all the religions must be willing to moderate their religious views, and not have any negative symbolism in their society. In order for this kind of transformation to take place there are two things that each society must do, as a reasonable representation of cosmic war, everyone in the religious communities must understand their form of social struggle, and then the enemies have to accept this without being threatened by them. “Secular authorities can effect this criterion by resisting the temptation to act like an enemy in a cosmic war and being open to a social role for religion on a less violently confrontational level.” (Juergensmeyer pg. 242) Even though when one is attacked by an enemy it is very hard not to retaliate back, but in order for peace you must not because then you will have more terrorist acts, then in turn they don’t destroy all their targets, which makes you produce more cosmic war. This leads to a never ending cycle like the world we live in today. “Taking religious aspects out of politics would be helpful in a world like this.” (Concluding Week, 12/14, Burrell)  
     For this peace plan to work everyone in your society must have the education and knowledge for understanding how to keep religion and politics separate. We will have to start with the education process in order for our societies to know how to keep peace on this earth. Everyone must learn not to make their own religion issues the center of each political debate. “All wars eventually end, in long struggles especially; the pace of war sometimes changes: there are small victories, occasional breaks, tentative resolutions, and attempts to forge reconciliation.” (Juergensmeyer pg. 233) One must also learn to appreciate their religion within themselves providing a moral order and getting back to the Enlightenment values in your society. The violence will end in time, but will it end in my lifetime? There is only one man who knows the answer to that question, and hopefully I’ll still be here if that day ever happens; to see a peaceful and lovely lifetime on this earth.

My plan to end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace by JM

In order to designate a plan and put a resolution together, we must first come to the realization of what religious terrorism is and what it has done to the world as a whole.  We must walk down the path to the historic realms of terrorism and decide what is the best way for religious violence to disappear.  Religious violence is a tough subject to talk about, but all in all we must face it, that since September 11, 2001 religious violence has not yet been put to rest.

The meaning of religious terrorism is the public acts of violence at the turn of the century for which religion has provided the motivation, the justification, and the organization of the world's view.  Religious terrorism is considered to have been lurking around for quite some time now and has an ethnic identity that has become the most important of all security challenges.  The most popular religions that evolve terrorism and violence are those of the Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist religions and occur mostly because they tend to keep track records of previous disastrous and violent acts.  . Religious terrorism has had an effect on all political, social and global changes throughout the world.

Religious violence springs from a desire to find a clear purpose in the confusion of a world dominated by American capitalism.  Fundamentalism fills the “God-shaped hole” in secular modernity.  Terrorist groups emerge in response to sociopolitical grievances, using religion to enlist desperate individuals who justify murder in the guise of martyrdom.  Believers sublimate feelings of rage and hopelessness in the blissful experience of a divine-sanctioned mandate to avenge the perceived oppressor.  Terrorism is less a military target than a powerful idea (Stern, Jessica. Terror in the Name of God: Why Militants Kill).  In a global war most targets have been chosen citizens from other countries and nations. They are usually supporters of Pakistani, Egyptians, Palestine, Sudanese, Algerians, Indonesians Malaysians and Filipinos.  These wars are meant globally around the world for everyone to see so that they are viewed as a “war against the world.”  They are meant to make a powerful impact on the public and to receive the attention globally so that religious nationalism becomes culturally restricted.  These kinds of war suggest an all or nothing struggle against an enemy who is determined to destroy what they have longed to destroy for some time.  “No compromise is deemed possible.  The very existence, of the opponent is a threat, and until the enemy is either crushed or contained, ones own existence cannot be secure.” (Juergensmeyer, Religious Terror and Global War)

Juergensmeyer obtained three common things regarding attitude within a violent religious movement.  The first he explains is how terrorists reject the compromises with liberal values and secular institutions that most mainstream religions have made, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist.  Second, radical religious movements refuse to observe the boundaries that a secular society has set around religion – keeping it private rather than allowing it to intrude into public spaces.  Third, these movements try to create a new form of religiosity that rejects what they regard as weak modern substitutes for more vibrant and demanding forms of religion that they image to be essential, to their religious origins (Juergensmeyer, Religious Terror and Global War).  

     Within the occurrence of Bin Laden’s cadres, the authority of religion has given a moral legitimacy of employing violence in their assault on the very symbol of economical power.  It has provided a metaphor of cosmic war, an image of spiritual struggle that every religion has within its repository of symbols – the fight between good and bad, truth and evil (Juergensmeyer, Religious Terror and Global War).  A system of symbols in the use of a cosmic war and religious violence entail cultures that are in some form of battle against struggle.  They continue warfare because they cannot live up to the struggle, therefore not being able to control it.  Such struggles are battles against the most chaotic aspect of reality: death and all that is able to control death: disorder, destruction, and decay (Juergensmeyer, 161,162).  By evoking and then bridling images of warfare, religion has symbolically controlled not only violence but also all of the messiness in life (Juergensmeyer, 161).  
Juergensmeyer identifies culture to be the ideas of social groupings that are related to terrorist attacks and that also follow an ethnical and social value to a specific social unit. Religious violent acts come from biblical myths of the bible, religious organizations and legends from the past that have not yet been completed.  For example, the Sikh tradition uses violence within the images of weapons, and blood, Christianity follows their religious violence through the word of God and the bible while Muslims follow the notion of the Jihad.   The idea of violence in Islamic culture is justified by force although the means are to be of non-violence and peace. (Juergensmeyer, 80)  Islamic belief is a call on for forgiveness, love and tolerance, but if Muslims are aggressed against, then force of violence will be used to put an end to the aggression. (Juergensmeyer, 80)  According to Juergensmeyer, violence is a form of punishment sometimes in the means of defending a faith.  He explains that outside the Muslim world, force and violence are a means of cultural survival and the survival is through the existence of the jihad, which is defined as striving to get through a "holy war."  Unfortunately, "the jihads by Islamic law does not allow it to be used for personal gain, or to justify forcible conversion to the faith: only conversions regarded as valid are those that come about non-violently through rational suasion and a change of heart."  (10/04/2005: paragraph 1 Juergensmeyer, 81) 
Religion has played out a major role in both a culture of violence and in terrorism because it is a characteristic that is being used throughout all different faiths and is causing key destructions among many people and places in the world.  “It takes a community of support and, in many cases, a large organizational network for an act of terrorism to succeed.  It requires an enormous amount of moral presumption of the perpetrators of these acts to justify the destruction of property on a massive scale or to condone a brutal attack on another life especially the life of someone whom they scarcely know and against whom on bears no personal enmity.”  (09/12/2005: paragraph 1 &2 Juergensmeyer, 6)  
In order to end religious violence, we as Americans must first learn how to accept the flaws on all sides of a religion.  All religions must learn how to get along in a worldly fashion and learn how to avoid violence.  Everyone must come together and speak freely about what the problem is and somehow come up with an idea of compromise on how it can be worked out.  We must learn how to respect the beliefs and values of other religions and by any means try to consider the families and children of the people who are dieing.  Everyone needs someone to love and someone to support them in life.  Everyone needs someone to stand by and to hold in the middle of the night.  But, if these wars continue on, than many people will be losing out on these charitable moments in life.   People of different cultures must not bring up there children in an environment where violent encounters take place.  They must teach their families to love and respect people from other religions.  There are so many other ways to get personal and moral satisfaction in life.  It’s okay to be dedicated to a religious group, but not one who uses violence to solve its troubles.   I believe that the scenarios in the book “Terror in the Mind of God,” have deciphered many important resolutions for defeating religious violence.  Of course many may be more of importance than others, but the necessary means to destroy religious violence stems from the government and the society as a whole to try and stop these acts.  As Americans we are willing to fight until the end.  We don’t want to continue to hurt others, but unless terrorists are able to control themselves and stop hating the American people the sooner we can all be part of a happy world.  Once we become a happy world, then the world can come in peace at last.  There are no more words that can resolve religious terrorism.  The only way is to compromise and if no one is willing to do this than there never will be peace on earth.  There is no guarantee that making peace in the world will work for everyone, but there is always that one minor chance that just maybe it could.  This would change the lives of many people today and make most of the worries fade away.  
Although terrorism is the main focus throughout the world, we must be careful and consider that those who believe in the violence of religion are still out there somewhere waiting to condone more violence against the world, but those who do believe in a specific culture are not always out to get you either. (09/12/2005: paragraph 1 &2 Juergensmeyer, 6)  
Work Cited

Stern, Jessica. Terror in the Name of God: Why Militants Kill

Juergensmeyer, Mark. Religious Terror and Global War.

Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God. University of California Press. Third Edition. 2003.

My Plan by MJB

In this essay I will propose my plan to end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace. My plan is designed to be a general one; therefore I refer mainly to the second half of Juergensmeyer’s book. The goal of the essay is to take the theoretical notions developed in the second half of the book and apply them to a practical plan aimed at reducing religious violence.

My plan contains both micro and macro levels of action which corresponds roughly to the internal and external causes of religious violence. I believe that one of the greatest insights of Juergensmeyer’s book is that the phenomenon of religious violence in the modern era is in one way or another a product of globalization, and therefore its causes operate on both the global and local levels. Thus, for Juergensmeyer, “what makes the terrorism of recent years significant is the breadth of its audience, a scope that is in many cases virtually global” (p. 144). Juergensmeyer has also noted the ways in which globalization, whether it be global communications (Chapter 7-Theater of Terror), political globalization (proliferation of secular society-a theme present in every chapter), or economic globalization in the form of American economic dominance (p. 184) play a role in religious violence. It seems to me that these issues require a global policy (macro level) which largely consists of members external to the particular religious traditions in question.

Micro-level policy will be authored by moderate voices within the particular religious tradition in question and will address causes that operate at the local level. In addition to noting the global scope of modern religious violence, Juergensmeyer is also keen to note the prevailing local or societal conditions which facilitate religious violence. Invariably, a micro-level policy must isolate those notions which we have found are common among violent religious traditions, and it must treat the particulars of each religious tradition. For example, “what is strikingly similar about the cultures of which they are apart is their view of the contemporary world at war” (p. 153). Here Juergensmeyer is referencing the notion of cosmic war, which has negative and violent effects at both local and global levels. However, the sources of the problem are the micro and internal conditions of the given tradition. What is key here is to ask what conditions within the specific tradition make the notions of cosmic war and the idea of martyrs and demons so effective. This is a micro war of ideas. What will be paramount in the micro and internal battle is being able to proliferate different interpretations of religious texts; ones which are less hostile and more conducive to tolerance.

The logic of this proposal is that the idea that religious violence is a complex phenomenon which has multiple causes and multiple affects at different levels (micro and macro). Internal and external causes have affects on both the micro and macro levels. Therefore, what we are dealing with here is a social system of religious violence; with a system being defined generally as a set of interrelated parts.

I agree with Robert Jervis in his System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life that in a system relationships are never simply one to one linkages, and “this means not only that behavior rarely has one effect, but, more importantly here, that in order to produce a desired change, the actor must do several things” (Jervis 1997, 291). For Jervis, this applies to all social life in general terms, and the policy implications are simple: “effective action is often made possible by employing multiple policies that constrain and work with the dynamics of the system” (Jervis 1997, 291).

Thus what we are doing with a macro-level policy addressing external causes, and a micro-level policy addressing specific internal causes, is attempting to account for the multiple levels, causes, and effects witch are operating in the specific events we have studied this year. However, though the macro-level and micro-level are separate policies aimed at addressing different causes (macro-level addressing the issues of a secular world order along with globalization and its various components; micro-level largely trying to redefine the symbolism embedded within each tradition, namely cosmic war, satanization, and redefining martyrs and demons), because we are dealing with a system, we must not forget that macro and micro levels interact, and thus communication and coordination between them will be essential. We can forget the macro-level causes, such as western economic dominance (form of globalization) have both macro and micro level effects, and in turn micro-level causes, such as the monopolization of interpretation of religious texts, have both micro and macro-level effects.

Therefore, I propose that an international body, most likely the United Nations, establish a council on religious violence with the aim of reducing religious terrorism through non-violent means, while upholding a mutual respect for both secular and religious life. Members of this council would meet to draft binding, multilevel, coordinated policy to address religious violence. Such a council would not only consist of members of sovereign political states (traditional members of the United Nations), but it would also include respected members of the various religious traditions, as well as, members of academia who have studied these phenomena and are best able to facilitate the forthcoming policy. For such a council to be effective, the nation-states would have to accept that the religious and academic community has a right and a place in authoring policy. This will be essential for a comprehensive approach, and it will also be good for avoiding the fear, that such a project is nothing more than a “war on religion.’

Obviously, this policy requires the “willingness to accept the notion that there are flaws on one’s own side as well as on the opponents” among members of both the secular and religious tradition (p.152). The premise of this council with “the aim of reducing religious violence through non-violent means, while upholding a mutual respect for both secular and religious life” means that Juergensmeyer’s final solution, that of healing politics with religion would be the underlying goal of this endeavor. Juergensmeyer’s first three solutions either involve explicit violence, or implicitly (in his third solution) recognize violence a legitimate means to a strategic end. Therefore, the commitment to non-violent means rules them out. His fourth solution, separating politics and religion, although it may be the long run outcome of such a policy, is ruled out in practice because it violates the commitment to respect both religious and secular life equally.
Thus, healing religion with politics is bound to be the most feasible and longest lasting solution, and addressing the different causes at different levels simultaneously will allow us to grasp the complexity of the problem and will eventually lead to a system level tendency, that of a reduction of religious violence across the globe.

Thank you, I have enjoyed the class.

Jervis, Robert. System Effects: Complexity in Social and Political Life. Princeton University Press, 1997.

My Plan to End Terrorism by LG

     Terrorism is something that has plagued the world for decades.  Terrorists have used their religious beliefs as an excuse to use violence.  Regardless of which religion the terrorist comes from, their targets are usually the same, which are secular governments.  Many terrorists feel that secular governments have no sense of moral values.  Furthermore, their main goal has been to overthrow their power, indicating that they want to take over.  Although the above stated is the main reason why they attack, another reason for attacks is in defense.  Some religions not only have a fear of the government, but they also have a fear of other religions, because they think they may try to invade their land.  There have been many attempts made, by governments and other religions, to try and stop terrorism, yet none have been successful.  However, is there really a perfect plan that can stop religious terror and violence, bring peace to the world?  I would like to think that there is, but I also believe that it is going to take united effort from everyone to make it work.
     I feel that one of the main reasons why we have terrorism is because there is a lack of understanding from other cultures.  The United States tends to be a target for many terrorists, and it is quite understandable why that is so.  The U.S. is such an ethnocentric country.  We feel that are the superior country in the world, and that everyone should be just like us.  “The reason bin Laden gave for targeting America was its list of ‘crimes,’ which included ‘occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors and turning its bases in the peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples’” (Juergensmeyer 182).  Other religions feel that we are a huge threat to their entire livelihood, and that is why they feel the need to attack.
     My plan comes in conjunction with one of Juergensmeyer’s fifth scenario, healing politics with religion.  I do strongly believe that we need to respect the cultural, and in this case, the religious beliefs, of people who are different from us.  Terrorists attack based on what their religion tells them.  “When people have a belief in a religion, especially when it’s a strong belief, they tend to use that as a foundation on how they govern their lives” (assignment #2, 9/30/05, ¶4).  I feel that if we were to make, even a small effort, to understand their lifestyle, it would show them that we do have moral values, and that were not out to just murder people.  “The possibilities of a compromise solution strengthened when religious activists have perceived governmental authorities as having a moral integrity in keeping with, or accommodating of religious values” (Juergensmeyer 243).
     Gandhi once said that “an eye for eye will make the world go blind.”  I also feel that we should not fight fire with fire.  The whole purpose of terrorists planning these grand attacks is to get the attention of a particular party.  If we retaliate and attack right back, it is just going to fuel the terrorist even more. “A belligerent secular enemy has often been just what the religious activists have hoped for” (235).  “If secular authorities embrace moral values, including those associated with religion, then it might make it a better place to live.  I don't think there is anything wrong with respecting one's moral values.  I think the reason we have so much problems is because there is no respect for others.  If we respected what other people believe, (not saying we have to agree with it) we might be able to live a better life” (Forum #13, 12/14/05, Chantelle Burrell).  In the future, the terrorists are not going to want to attack a group of people who have not only shown that they have a sense of moral values, but also shown respect towards their religion.
     Would this be a plan that could really stop terrorism and create a world of peace and harmony?  I think that if this had chance, it might just work.  It is just unfortunate that we live such an eye for eye, tooth for tooth society.

My Plan to End Religious Terror and Violence and Achieve Lasting Peace by LC

     In Section Ten of Mark Juergensmeyer’s book, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, several ways as to how terror can put to an end are discussed.  They consist of the idea that terrorists can be eradicated by force, governments can crack down on terrorism by implementing strict punishments, terrorism can win, religion and politics can be separated completely, or that secular authorities can adopt moral values.  Although alone all these various ideas have numerous benefits as well as draw backs, one may consider that if these various ideas were put into action together in combination or series that they may be more successful in putting an end to religious terror.  
     Furthermore, I believe that if a proactive stance is taken against acts of religious terrorism, then a more positive result will follow.  This is why my plan to end religious terror and violence and achieve lasting peace would be to propose that terrorism be dealt with by first implementing a plan where terrorists were eradicated by force.  Then any remaining terrorists would be subject to strict adherence to government regulations and any acts of terror or insubordination would not be tolerated.  Also at the same time, programs to help with economic reform of countries subject to terrorism would be put into place in order to prevent terrorist groups from taking hold once again.  Once these first two steps were complete, then steps could be taken to separate religion from politics in government to prevent religious terrorism from happening again.
     This multi-step plan may be effective against terrorism because firstly, any current terrorists either plotting to commit acts of terror or that have already carried out such acts cannot be rehabilitated or deterred from acting violently by any other way other than force.  They have already acted violently or have considered doing so and can only be stopped by forceful action.  This ideology has been seen in various instances for example in Section Twelve Juergensmeyer states that, “The U.S. government, joined by other governments around the world, is working through intelligence, law enforcement, military, financial, and diplomatic channels to identify, disrupt, capture, or kill individual terrorists.” (Juergensmeyer 12.2)  
Furthermore, the U.S. has even threatened other countries suspected of offering sanctuary to terrorists that force will be used against them as well if they do no give up suspected terrorists.  The ultimate goal being that terrorists are kept on the run and therefore cannot plan attacks and will ultimately tire and make mistakes after which they will be caught or killed by authorities.  
Additionally, the U.S. has spent a great deal of its economic resources in making the country’s borders more secure by actively seeking out terrorists who try to enter or exit.  For instance it has even been recommended that, “The U.S. border security system should be integrated into a larger network of screening points…” and that, “…Extending those standards among other governments could dramatically strengthen America and the world’s collective ability to intercept individuals who pose catastrophic threats.” (Juergensmeyer 12.4)  The idea of securing countries such as the U.S. and it borders furthers the idea of a proactive attitude towards eradicating terrorists and has thus far kept the U.S. safe since its implementation post 9/11.  
However, remaining proactive and forcefully trying to eradicate terrorism alone will not work to achieve a peaceful, terror-free society.  Once must also set into effect strict penalties and repercussions for those who are not caught and eradicated by force.  Governments should put into effect strict punishments for committing or planning acts of terror that will serve as a deterrent for others considering committing terrorist acts, thus creating an end to further acts of violence once the initial terrorists have been either captured or killed.  
In addition to a strict crack down on potential terrorists, governments should also work towards ways of improving the economy of nations who are considered at risk for being havens for terrorism so that these countries do not have to rely on the money that terrorist groups bring in to survive.  This idea has already been looked into to combat terrorism post 9/11.  For example in the 9/11 Commission Report, it is recommended that the U.S. should engage other nations in helping such countries to develop their economies by creating economic policies that encourage development, more open societies and opportunities to improve living conditions.  
Finally, with the forceful eradication of terrorists, the crack down on remaining terrorist organizations and improved economic conditions for countries susceptible to terrorism, government would be free to implement the final stage of the plan to end terrorism.  The final step would be to completely separate religion and politics.  This would be effective in helping to end religious terrorism because if religion and politics were kept as separate entities, then religious terrorism would be less likely to reoccur due to the act that ruling political parties could have no say in religious matters.  This would mean that potential terrorists could not attack political targets because they simply no longer have anything to do with religious matters.  This is also demonstrated when Juergensmeyer states in his paper, Religious Terror and Global War that, “Politics have become religionized as struggles in the real world become baptized with the absolutism of religious fever.” (Juergensmeyer 5)  In other words, in some instances where religious terror is rampant the line is blurred between religion and politics, which increases the instance of religious terror.  If there was a clear separation of where one societal aspect ended and the other began then the two issues would not be mixed together and conflict would not result.  
In conclusion, there is not one set scenario by which all religious terror can be eradicated.  However, perhaps by combining a few different methods of combating terror, lasting peace may be achieved.  By taking Juergensmeyer’s ideas of using force to eradicate terrorists, followed by enforcing a strict crack down on terror.  And then using economic reform coupled with the separation of religion and politics, it is my hope that such peace can one day be achieved.

Works Cited

Juergensmeyer, Mark.  Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) University of California Press; 3rd Rev&Up edition (September 1, 2003)

The 9/11 Commission Report.  Accessed from on December 12, 2005.

Juergensmeyer, Mark.  Religious Terror and Global War.  Global & International Studies Program.  University of California, Santa Barbara, 2002.  Pp. 1-13.

Plans To End Religious Terrorism by RJB

     My perceptive on putting an end to religious terrorism is that of a global vision.

  1. -The initial approach is to settle the Palestine-Israel conflicts, which involved the Jews reclaiming of the West Bank and the retaliation of the Palestinians.

  2. -Organize A United Global Religion Alliance.

  3. -Setting A Global Precedent To Fear Terrorist Through The United Nations.

  4. -Cracking Down Terrorist Who Refuse To Follow The Precedent In Place.

     These plans, if taken into consideration will work, because terrorism is a global issue and the whole world feels the impact whenever terrorist strikes in any nation because this is the era of globalization. Because of globalization, people traveled from place to place and impact their belief on others, for this reason religious ideas of different groups has spread and mingled together. The fact that the Islamic faith belongs to the Arabs, Judaism belongs to the Jews, and Christianity belongs to Christ's’ followers, is no more. There are different types of religions out there, those we have studied and those that are in other parts of the world, including native religions that we do not know about.

   Forming a United Global Religion Alliance may help to ease the power struggle of religious leaders. We always relate to the negative effects of religion, but religion can also make a positive impact on the secular world.  In a combined force, it may also help
People see the positive side of religion as to only dwelling on the destructions that religion has cause, (Dr. Tvee Zahavy-1994 revision), Apocalyptic Orthodox Judaism. It also may help people understand and respect other religions. Based on the entire forums on Mark Juergensmeyer’s,“Terroror In The Mind Of God”; most students got the insight on how other religions operate, and the broader scope of religion was open to students which led little or no narrow mindedness, (Globalization, The Backlash Of Religious Terrorism?), please see learning unit 11: The mind of God. Terrorism always have a political stigma behind it, so the united religion organization will bring together religious leaders as well as leaders of the secular government to discuss strategies to minimize and prevent terrorism.

    When the global organization is formed, strategies will be set to attack the thresholds of these terrorist and precedents will be set for a form of capital punishment for every one involve in terrorists acts. After all of the plans are organized and enforced, any terrorist or terrorist organization disregarding the world alliance, will be cracked down and receive the capitol punishment as specified accordingly.

  Probable Origin Of Religion Terrorism
  The whole chapter on “Zion Betrayed” (chpt. 3:45-60) was very interesting and disturbing. The Diasporas of the Jews may have been the roots to terrorism. The Israelites justification is the reclaiming of their ancestral homeland, which may have brought disrespecting the rights of the indigenous inhabitants (Palestinians) on the land. The Palestinians being in fear of their land taken away from them, opposed with violence, and this violence act have since spread throughout the Middle East among Arabs and around the world. The Israelites, based on Biblical history are supposed to

Be the chosen people of God, yet they have perpetrators who justified their deeds of violence with cultural, political, and military defense. However, looking at both sides of the coin, to be spread all over the world, not having a place to call home is very difficult. Society usually focus on the human rights of the black people because they were brought here as slaves and they have lost on their own identity, but I believe the Diasporas of the Jews should be taken seriously also because it seems like the same situation. Further, according to the Holy Bible which most religious believe in, that land was promised to the Jews.

     Yoel Lerner was one of Jewish activists who yearned for a Jewish society in Israel. He hoped for the restoration of the ancient temple in Jerusalem, the exclusive right of Jews to settle on the West Bank of the Jordan River and the creation of a state based on biblical law. In his view the prophesied Messiah will come to earth only after the great Jewish   temple that was destroyed almost two thousand years ago was rebuilt and made ready for him (the Messiah). The control of this sacred land was very essential to him and he regarded it as heretical to give it up to the Arabs, (p 46-47). All of this issue led to the death of Baruch Goldstein, and Yitzhak Rabin who was in a peace process, (49-50). Many Jews to this day all over the world have that notion of Yoel Lerner.

Restoration Of Peace
      Based on these factors, I would initiate peace effort between the Palestinians and the Jews through the United Nations. The views of the Palestinians should be acknowledged, so this process will begin with a proposal plan to get representative from every nation including religious leaders. This plan of action will entail that the Israelites and the Palestinians take into consideration, the views and opinions of the United Nations peace grounds and abide by it.  A world precedent must be set for all Arab nations and Jewish nations as to how to live in peace with each other. There should be amendments in
Sharing the land in a peaceful manner because both parties have bindings to this land.

     J give us an insight on the potency of religion in certain pockets of public life: religious ideas and the sense of religious community have been endemic to the cultures of violence from which terrorism has sprung; how the drama of religion has been especially appropriate to the theater of terror; how images of martyrdom, satanization, and cosmic war have been central to religious ideologies; and how these images and ideas have been agents of social empowerment, personal pride, and political legitimization, and how religion has made a claim on public life, (219-220).

2. With respect to these factors, I would go with J. second scenario on terrifying terrorists, (236-237), a scenario, in which the threat of violent reprisals or imprisonment frightens religious activists that they hesitate to act, because lot of alternatives have been given to bring about peace, but to no avail, terrorism is still on the rise.

In retro of the discussion forum J give reflections in learning units seven and eleven on the reality of religious violence as a public challenge in regards to globalization. Also, I tend to agree with Taryn A. Clark that religions and cultures are fighting to retain their beliefs and cultural identity, (forum # 12, Globalization-11-27-05).  Although he made notations for the reason why, this point was very interesting because, reference to the Jews and Palestinians Warfare may be contributed to this factor also. Therefore, when global efforts are organized the secular government can conquer religion terrorism and restore global peace among these nations and look at religion in a positive manner.

Reference-Terror In The Mind Of God – 3rd Edition, Mark Juergensmyer
                  Apocalyptic Judaism –1987, Dr Tzvee Zahavy, revised 1994

Peace by JA

     I don’t believe there is any one thing that will work to stop all terrorism.  They all have their different reasons for doing the things they do.  Some fight to make a political statement to their government that they are not doing things correctly.  Other organizations fight because they believe that Armageddon is coming and the world has to become prepared for the end.  Another collection believes war is necessary in order for the coming of their Messiah.  Ultimately their all concerned with the end of days and the coming of their Savior, but they all have different ideas about how to go about preparing.  Therefore, it is difficult to answer the question in just one way.
     I believe there should be one large task force that encompasses every country.  They should be set up like the United States government, where there is a process of checks and balances.  This way the best interests of the people will be looked after.  However, in order for this to be successful, the countries and the political leaders have to be willing to employ whatever programs this task force develops.
     In the case of the Israeli conflict, they may have to be confined to their countries and left to kill each other.  Eventually in their case, one side will win. Both the Jewish and the Muslim leaders believe they have equal right to the same land, and neither group is willing to let go of the fight.  For example, Yoel Learner spoke about having a complete Jewish community:
He hoped for the restoration of the ancient temple in Jerusalem, the exclusive right of Jews to settle on the West Bank of the Jordan River, and the creation of a state based on biblical law (J, 46).
The Jewish activists are willing to fight because they want to bring the coming of their God, and they don’t believe it will come about until they have complete occupation of the land.
     However, the Muslim fighters have a more intense desire and meaning behind their actions.  They don’t see any type of compromise and are treating this entire situation as a war.  Abouhalima, a Muslim leader said:
Stressing the point that all human efforts are futile and that those who bomb buildings should not expect any immediate, tangible change in the governments policies as a result, Abouhalima said that real change-effective change-“is not in our hands, only in God’s hands (J, 65).”
     Both groups believe they are doing God’s work.  They are willing to fight to the absolute end.  They have killed political leaders when they have attempted to create some type of agreement for peace.  Therefore, there may be noting a task force can do to stop the fighting in Israel.  The only thing that would help is complete annihilation of the terrorists.  This would either happen through the task force seeking them out and imprisoning them or killing them.  The other option would be to leave them to kill themselves, because eventually one group will have to give up.
     Another religious terrorist group that has a similar problem is the Indian Sikh movement.  They have a deep hatred toward their government.  They are fighting oppression from the dominant religious group, the Hindus.  They are also battling the existence of a caste system that keeps them from being able to move up in society.  These groups have their reasons for fighting and have gone as far as to murder their political leaders. Indira Ghandi, for example, was killed when she was the leader of India.
     A Sikh leader explains why they are fighting against the government, Mann said that the purpose of the movement is not simply to rebel against Hindu power but to “protect the Sikh community from secular influences (J ).”
     Therefore, in the case of the Hindu-Sikh movement, the task force can take a stance towards healing politics with religion.  The government takes the moral high ground when responding to the terrorists.  I think that it will work when it comes to the problems in India because the Sikhs are against secularism.  Therefore, the task force should come together to help create laws as well as institutions that will support the morals of religion.  In the case of the British response to the Irish, the government did not overreact to the terrorists, which made it harder for their enemies “to portray the government as a satanic enemy (J, p.244).”  
     The task force would have a difficult time deciphering which solution would be best for each band of terrorists.  However, I do believe it would be a combination of both cracking down on terrorists and creating laws that focus on a higher moral plane. Using these two would cause a lot of people to be happier within their communities.  People would feel safer, knowing that they don’t have to be afraid to ride the bus everyday.  Who knows how differently things would have been after the September 11th attacks if President Bush never succumbed to the provocations of the terrorists.  The whole world may have a different outlook on the American people.  The perfect example of both of these tactics used together was in the case of the Buddhist terrorists.  The government sought out a lot of the leaders and killed them.  Then they put into place a “fund for the financial support of Buddhist schools and social services, and created a ministry of Buddhist Affairs (J, 244).”  The leader of Sri Lanka knew exactly what he was doing and successfully created peace with the Buddhist community.
     This combination is a viable solution but it is a lot of work and would require a lot of cooperation from the governments of the countries.  The task force should be able to successfully implement strategies to attack and infiltrate when needed, because it would be made up of people all over the world that have information about the terrorist organization.  They would also be in a better position to make laws that would serve the people better.  They can take from different societies that have had successful outcomes and try to alter it to suit different countries that are having a difficult time.  
     My solution for ending religious violence and creating lasting peace is to put together a major task force made up of people from every nation and country.  Then the task force would seek out the major leaders to religious terrorist organizations, and  institute programs to help those that are fighting against their government or secular forces.

Ending Religious Terror and Sustaining Peace by CF

     I woke up late on Tuesday morning, September 11th 2001. So late in fact that I decided not to go to class that day. So instead I turned on the morning news and began to make my breakfast. I never finished it. Instead I stood in awe as I watched a live feed of one of the burning twin towers in New York. My first thought was that there had been a terrible fire, but then my awe turned to horror as I watched a commercial plane fly straight into the other tower and explode. What had the world come to was my only thought for the next 16 hours. That has been the thought on most Americans minds since the terror attacks of September 11th. Since the fall of the Soviet Union religious terrorism has been the greatest threat to not only our national security, but to world stability at large. Fear and violence have threatened every nation of the world and has come from every great religion; not only Islam, but Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and even a new and extreme form of Buddhism. In the “Post 9/11 world” our government has mad it their sole goal to eradicate and protect the United States from religious extremists who would threaten our interests both foreign and domestic. But, is a “War on Terror” really the way to go about it, is religion really the problem, and should religion be the main focus of our government’s efforts in wiping out global terror? These are very difficult questions to answer, and there may net even be a complete answer. The current administration seems to think this is the best course of action, but I feel very differently. The only way to truly rid the world of religious terror is through international cooperation, teaching of global tolerance and relying on the worlds religions to help teach their parishioners that violence in the name of religion is a deplorable act.
Just a few weeks after the September 11th attacks the United States had officially declared war on Terror. Such s declaration sounded very good, and let the American people know that our government and our President were not going to stand for global religious terror any longer. Unfortunately the only way our government knew how to physically go about this was by declaring war on an actually nation, which at first was Afghanistan. This worked in practice and, according to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on The United States, was the best way to attack and pursue the al Qaeda and punish the government that harbored and supported the terrorists. Military action against terrorist harboring nations is an active way to begin a war on terror, but it should not be relied upon as the only way to fight terrorism. Religious terrorism does not conform to conventional warfare. It does not stay behind any one boundary or with in any one country. The use of massive armies and expeditionary forces no longer works in the twenty first century. In fact, rolling a battalion of tanks and a full regiment of infantry into a capital city will only further infuriate terrorist organizations and breed insurgents. Terrorist organizations recruit in every country and rely on taking fairly educated lower middle class youth from poor nations and teaching them about the evils of the western world. Even the best military intelligence cannot counter this. To truly declare war on terror our government must link and communicate with small international military strike forces, the countries security and intelligence agencies (the CIA and NSA), and law enforcement agencies not only here in the US but also in other countries, like Interpol.
     The use of force is only one aspect of a war on terror. Terrorism is an idea, a taught philosophy that instructs young impressionable men and women that it is ok to forfeit their lives for an ideal that deliberately causes death, pain and suffering to millions of people. The only way to counter such ideologies is through change. As a country we must first analyze why some people in these nations hate and fear us. Is it simply a feeling of emasculation felt by males in the developing world as one writer has posed it, or does the western world have to reevaluate the way it does business with the developing world? This can be done with the aid of the United Nations and other NGO’s through out the world. Fighting violence with violence will only cause more hatred. As Gandhi said, “does not an eye for an eye make the world blind?” The nations of the world must also work to educate their own citizens and not to frighten them into anti-terrorist rhetoric. This nation has used scare tactics to try and frighten its citizens into wanting to further the out dated methods of fighting a war on terror. Rather than using a color coded terror alert system, our Department of Homeland Security, and the similar departments and ministries in other nations should only put alerts out when credible intelligence has been analyzed and acted upon to prevent a terrorist act. Scaring the general public will do nothing more than cause panic.
     Now to the question of religion, does religion breed such violence in thought and deed, or is religion the victim in all this? According to our government, Islam is not the cause of terrorism and no one should blame the Muslim people as a whole for the acts of a few extremists. Our government has come to the conclusion, however, that Islamic extremism and terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda pose a clear and present danger to our national security. They ignore the fact that the most numerous of the recent acts of terrorism in the United States has come from Christian fundamentalists living in the country. Terrorists like Timothy McVeigh used books like The Turner Diaries to attempt to rally white Christian Protestants in the US to rebel against the nation in some sort of race war. There are also groups in Asia, such as the Aum Shinrikyo sect of Buddhism in Japan who teach apocalyptic rhetoric to their followers with the aid of hallucinogens. They were the terrorists responsible for releasing serine gas in a Tokyo subway in the mid 1990’s. Religious terrorism is a global problem and needs to be looked at, by each nation, on a global level. Religion influences billions of people around the world because of its claim of providing a viable answer to the great questions of life. It forms the structures of morality and ethics that many countries are governed by. It is an extremely powerful tool that has been used to both better and degrade humanity. I still genuinely believe that the basic teachings of the world’s major religions are good and morally just. It is up to the religious leaders of the world to help in the teaching of global tolerance to maintain any peace that could be established once the hearts and minds of those prone to terrorist errors of thinking have been won.
     The post 9/11 world is a truly scary place, but it doesn’t have to be. If we apprehend the terrorists where they are, prevent the spread of terrorist ideals, Use the United Nations to amend our ways of dealing with developing nations and have the world’s religious leaders try to help teach tolerance to the believers all over the world. It’s not a short order and an extremely hard goal to accomplish, but not an impossible one. All it would take is for the leaders of the world to step back and reevaluate the way they have been doing things for the past 60 years. Hopefully, if things progress in the fashion I have just described, no one else will have to wake up to planes crashing into tall buildings, or worse.