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General News of Friday, 24 March 2017

Source: Class FM

Delink religion from terrorism – Lecturer


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Esther Armah, an international journalist and lecturer at Webster University, has cautioned against how terrorism is defined in recent times in relation to religion.

According to her, terrorism should be separated from religion because it will lead to criminalisation of religion, making people who believe in that religion a threat to society.

Speaking on World Affairs on Class91.3FM on Friday 24 March in the wake of the terrorist attack at Westminster in London, she cautioned against marginalisation, saying it has the tendency to turn people into terrorists since it makes them lose their sense of worth.

“Language matters, so the way in which we define and describe terrorism in this modern day has become particularly attached to the religion of Islam and there must always be care not to criminalise religion and, therefore, bring all of those who worship it under the threat of terrorists who are about to become dangerous to any particular society,” she stated.

“The reason that’s important is because we are witnessing the rise of white nationalist movements in Europe and all of those movements are Christian in nature. We don’t necessarily hear of the rise of the danger in Christian terrorists in connection with those people and yet that is the kind of violence they are committing.

So I want to raise the point about exploring, defining and discussing terrorism. We [need] to make a distinction at this point between Islam and the rest of the world. And what we do is criminalise the religion, which means anybody who worships it now becomes somebody who represents a threat.

That’s how it’s been treated in the United States of America and we see the chaos and the fear that it has caused.”

She further identified isolation as a factor for people forming terrorist groups.
“The other thing is the economics that create terrorism are often isolationist tactics. When you isolate individuals and groups and they become marginalised in the society, then they become a danger to that society because they have no stake, they have no worth, and all of those things contribute to those realities,” Ms Armah added.

“I, in no way, excuse the violence of those who commit terror. They should be condemned and they should suffer the consequences, but I do think critical analysis though matters.”

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