A Different Perspective On Terrorism
Scott Atran is an anthropologist who gives us a very unique and interesting perspective on the roots of Islamic terrorism in his book Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists. The notable conclusion of which is that, in the current ‘War On Terror’, there really isn’t a mono-causal relationship between terrorism and Islamic Fundamentalism. He bandies about huge chunks of empirical evidence to back up his argument that terrorism is, at least in it’s more modern shape, the result of leaving a socially dis-enfranchised group of people in a state of moral outrage. Policy makers should therefore stop buying into right-wing religious bigotry, and forget about the Quran, the 72 virgins, and what have you, when trying to address the roots of radicalization.
Scott Atran is one of a few atheists who understands that religion cannot simply and naively be replaced without immeasurable consequences.
Buy the book. It will change your beliefs on what makes a terrorist.
(side note: I think people will always try to justify their actions in the context of their religion because it can be a multiplier that conveniently turns the issue into a closed argument. But I also think Christianity, as opposed to Islam, is different because Jesus’ message was pretty straightforward. )