Terrorism Doesn\’t Discriminate

by | Nov 19, 2015 | BD Voice | 1 comment


While we celebrated Diwali across the globe last week, this festive week also brought some news, which shook the entire globe. The recent terror attacks in Paris was tragic and insane. The entire world was shocked and realized this attack is not just on one city but it is an attack on entire humanity. The recent terror attacks across the globe has nothing to do with religion. These attacks don’t discriminate – Muslims, Jews, diverse neighborhoods mourn together.

As French President François Hollande said the attacks in Paris targeted “youth in all its diversity,” the 129 victims of 19 different nationalities.

But is retribution the answer, which also equally fuels hatred and does not discriminate between innocent civilians and terrorists. Terrorism requires a global response founded on inclusion, fairness and international legitimacy, not one of indiscriminate retribution.

Hence the burning question is, “As terrorist groups grow, fragment and proliferate, how do we stop terrorism?

On September 11, 2001, terrorists hi-jacked four airplanes and killed more than 3000 people in planes and on the ground in New York City and the Pentagon. Two weeks later the FBI connected the hijackers to Al-Qaida.  The lose network of Islamic terrorists became public enemy #1 for the United States in its war on terror. But now there are several Islamic terrorists groups staging attacks around the world.

And in Africa, another Islamic militant group Boko Haram ravaged, looted, kidnapped & murdered innocent girls in the northern part of the country that’s largely ungoverned. These groups all say they are driven to their extreme and violent actions in defense of Islam. As terrorist groups change, grow and new ones are created, how can we stop it? It’s a complicated landscape that is stretching intelligence and military forces and leaves us asking

How can we stop terrorism?

One of the recent campaigns of  KQED Education in January 2015 ( #donowterrorism in http://ww2.kqed.org/ ) tried to answer this very question.

Interestingly, in April 2015, UN Security Council tried to address this issue as well. While terrorist groups were increasingly recruiting young, disenfranchised people into their ranks, there was broad proscar agreement among the more than 60 speakers in the Security Council that youth must instead be at the heart of efforts to counter violent extremism and promote peace.

“Young people drive change, but they are not in the driver’s seat,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he opened the first ever formal debate on the topic. 

From Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen, the cultural and religious fabric in the Middle East, intricately woven over centuries, was being torn apart by terrorists intent on eliminating the very diversity that had given rise to many of the world’s great civilizations,

There is a vital need for a rational and far-reaching response to the recent terrorist acts focusing not only on the terror attacks but also on terrorism, in general, and, more importantly, on its root causes of injustice and exclusion. Poverty, ignorance and weak family ties created fertile ground for recruitment of young minds who can be moulded into human bombs.

Briefing the Council, Peter Neumann, Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Professor at King’s College London, agreed that young people who traveled abroad to fight with terrorist groups shared a sense of exclusion.  Extremist ideologies preyed upon those feelings, he said, urging more inclusive societies to prevent that precondition for radicalization.

He said – “We need to focus on “pull” factors enticing young people into violent extremism — including the search for fellowship and identity and desires for financial gain, protection and solidarity — and the “push” factors, which included poverty, marginalization and unemployment”.

Hence one of the ways to combat this global evil would be to focus on the development approaches that are aimed at reducing the factors that created environments of exclusion. This becomes the recruitment grounds for extremists and conducive to radicalization.

The representative of Nigeria said that to combat Boko Haram, her country had adopted a “soft approach” involving peace, security and development; it engaged multiple stakeholders including parents and community leaders.

So lets pledge to counter terrorism by building more inclusive communities. This needs to start at global, national and individual levels. After all, Inclusion starts with “I”.

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