There have been several terrorist attacks across the world. These attacks are happening in the name of God, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist. They are unrestrained, in discriminant and extremely violent. For instance, in the United State of America in 2001 September 11, 2996 people were killed, over 6000 others were maimed or injured and $10 billion of infrastructure and property damaged.
However, there is a lot of debate about what is “religious terrorism”. Sedgwick suggests that it could be defined by its immediate aim. Firstly, the immediate goal is purely political and secondly, the ultimate religious. Moreover, what is common is the use of force and threats to achieve its goals. Therefore, “religious terrorism” can be understood as a treat or use of force with the purpose of influencing or coercing governments and or society toward religious goals.
Furthermore, Gregg distinguishes three types of aims the “religious terrorism” wishes to achieve. Firstly, there are those that wish to achieve religious government. For example, Timothy Mcveigh who belonged to a terrorist organization named Covenant, the Sword, and Arm of the Lord (CASA) bombed the City of Oklahoma to call for Christian theocratic government and Christian Identity movement who are likeminded with CASA wishes to achieve the same goal (a theocratic government). The Al Qaeda who not only wishes to established religious governments in their own national territories but extend such terrorism to go beyond borders in the name of “Jihad”.
Secondly, there are millennialist, those who wish to hasten the coming of the Messiah. For example, Al-Qaeda terrorist network committed suicide in a standoff with the USA government, in which 15 hijackers participated in the attack. The aim is to destroy the world to create a new and better world.
Thirdly, those who wish that all citizens within its territory conform to their faith interpretation. In this instance, violence and threats are aimed at those who have different religious beliefs and do not conform to their worldviews.
In conclusion, whatever the aims and wishes are, the tactic is callous, it is by means of terror and violence to force people into accepting religious views and the way of thinking they do not believe in. To maim and kill people in the name of God, to hasten the coming of the Messiah and achieve religious governments through violence is totally unacceptable in this democratic age and the modern world. There are other peaceful means of persuasion that can be used such as political education, religious tolerance, and dialogue to achieve these goals.