Fanaticism and Terrorism

Bharat Dogra

Various incidents of violence and various attacks related to religious fanaticism linked to terrorism have been causing enormous distress in various parts of the world and there is absolutely no doubt that very urgent steps are needed to check this fanaticism, its ideas as well as the violence linked to it. In order to be able to do so one needs to understand why so many people particularly youth continue to be attracted to this path which is extremely irrational and equally dangerous. Here people are concerned with only one important aspect of this complex question in the context of predominantly Arab nations.

But two facts deserve serious attention. Firstly over the years the Arabs and fellow citizens in various countries have suffered many injustices and indignities resulting in huge deprivation to millions of people. However if they want to resist this injustice or in a spirit of justice, if they want to ensure that those responsible for this injustice get proper punishment then secular, democratic, legal and constitutional avenues are denied to them. On the other hand linking up with forces of religious fanaticism provides them some avenues for this and at the same time may provide some economic gains as also some economic security for their families. At several levels one can see that forces of religious fanaticism with several ideas very similar to those of declared terrorist forces continue to get enormous economic and other support through legal channels and in very open ways. At the same time many activists and leaders known for their commitment to democracy and secularism languish in jails or suffer other repression. It is quite clear that very powerful forces have been active to prevent the emergence of secular, and democratic alternatives which have broad-based support of people and do not agree to be remote-controlled by any outside forces.

It is in this complex situation that many youths continue to be attracted to the irrational as well as dangerous path of religious fanaticism and terrorism linked to it. Efforts to create strong democratic and secular avenues are therefore very necessary.

Vol. 48, No. 50, Jun 19 - 25, 2016