Terrorists fear life without violence

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 9, 2005


Following Thursday’s bombings in London, this question pounded through my head with renewed intensity.

Terrorism became the dominating force in U.S. foreign policy following September 11, 2001 and rightly so. Unfortunately the painful theme of terrorism existed long before that painful day.

Even though I was quite young, I remember the seemingly endless hostage crisis in Iran. I remember the confusion I felt as a young boy following the terrorist attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon, which left 220 Marines and 21 other U.S. service members dead.

Whenever it seemed terrorism might disappear from the international scene, new attacks occurred. The first World Trade Center bombings, the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. The list seems endless.

Following every new act of terrorism, one so-called expert after another provides a hypothesis to explain the violence.

One theory the &uot;experts&uot; provide to explain why some Muslim extremists engage in terrorism stems from their hatred of Western culture. According to the &uot;experts&uot;, some Muslims fear their beliefs and values will disappear as businesses originating outside of the Middle East and other aspects of Western culture become more common in Islamic nations. This fear may explain an initial backlash, resulting in some violent responses, but every culture faces an influx of foreign influence. I doubt this motivates people to maintain the level of violence that continues.

Experts point to the poverty existing in these nations and argue it leads to such a level of frustration and hopelessness that some people feel violence is the only outlet they have. However, poverty covers a great portion of the globe and most people suffering from its grip do not respond with acts of international terrorism.

Simply stating terrorists &uot;hate freedom&uot; is much too simplistic of an explanation.

No one denies the frustration over the Israeli/Palestinian conflict motivates many Muslim extremists to become terrorists.

However, I find it impossible to believe that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict provided motivation for terrorists, many of which were Moroccan, to bomb a train in Madrid, Spain.

The &uot;experts&uot; returned to tell us the terrorists carried out this attack in anger over Spain’s involvement in the war in Iraq.

The previously discussed ideas play a major role in creating an environment capable of producing terrorists. No one denies this.

However, I believe another reason exists to explain why the violence continues to grow. The terrorists love the culture of violence. Islam is no longer their religion, but rather the violence they create in its name. Obsessed with the glory and recognition they hope to attain with their senseless violence, Islamic terrorists have long since forgotten the true teachings of Islam. Religion no longer motivates them. Fear motivates them now.

Fear of life without this culture of violence.

Instead of seeking positive or peaceful solutions to the economic and social problems they face, they pursue only violence. I fear violence is all they know.

I just hope we discover a way to stop people bent on violence solely for the sake of violence.