News of violence and terrorist attacks are but ordinary spices in daily lives of almost all people in the world. Violence seems to be dominating the world over the supposed to be peace ruling the world. What made the situation worse is to hear and find out that these acts of violence have been attributed to religious organizations and movements who justify their acts as the will of God.
The Jihadists, the Kharijites and the Christian Identity movement might have been just three of the many violent groups who are proud to be held accountable with massacres or mass killings believing that God and Allah bless them for doing such. In this paper, we will be looking at the brief history of these violent religious groups including their principles. This is primarily with the aim of establishing the link between religion and violence. This paper also aims to find out the answer to the question on how far can people go in the name of their religions.
IN order to carry this out, this writer preferred to study the backgrounds of the Jihadists, the Kharijites and the Christian Identity Movement as examples for this study. These groups have been chosen for the reason that they are probably the most prominent groups in our time and that they have been accountable for most of the international violent acts in the recent years. THE JIHADISTS Of the several Islam sects, the Jihadists might have been one of the most radical groups. These groups have been using radical forces such as bombings and violent killings of non-Muslim people.
In 1993, the Bombay bombings have been accounted to the Jihadists, which incidents said to have been part of the group’s attempt to provoke massive anti-Muslim violence in the area (Sultan Shaheen). In another incident, their violent means of spreading Islam was exhibited in Afghanistan when they killed about 30 thousand non-Muslim residents in Jammu and Kashmir. Jihadism according to Shaheen can be traced from their “central belief system that is based on a willful misinterpretation of the Islamic concept of Jihad. ”
It is however important to look into the roots of Jihadism and their ideologies from the true Islamic doctrines as 1Jihadism is not actually embraced by the general Islamic community in the grounds that Jihadism in its sense is anti-Islam. In its strict Islamic doctrine, jihad, in the context of the Quran, means, “to strive to one’s utmost for what to one is the noblest object on earth” (Wuthnow, Robert, 1998). For the Jihadists however, the connotation of effort and the word “strive” to enforce Islamic doctrine has been used as a license to kill those who oppose.
Quran, in the meaning of Jihad condemns this acts of violence since embracing Islam does not need to be by force (Maulana Mohammad Ali, The Religion of Islam) Maulana commented: “The Jihadists are killing people and oppressing humanity under the garb of preaching Islam and enforcing Islamic Sharia for which they really have no authority” The Talibans of Afghanistan are proponents of Jihadism ideals. These Islamic radicals believe that non-Islamic nations are inherently corrupt. They are particularly against the foreign policies of the West especially on issues of war and peace who they though is trying to control the world.
It is therefore part of their mission to destroy America being one of the considered “Kafir” who deserved to be killed (Auster, Lawrence, 2006). For them, all non-Jihadists are Kafir, a tag they account for those who “deny the oneness and prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (Sultan Shaheen). They strongly believe that the destruction of the secular world is a necessity in order to give way to the realization of worldwide Islamic utopia (Kirshner, Sheldon). They are especially in strong opposition to modern western liberalism, which they regarded as flawed, and evil and the concepts of democracy and human rights and freedom.
They too oppose to the establishment of international institutions, which they consider illegal and sinful (Spencer, Robert). For the jihadists like Osama Bin Laden, was against there evil states are carried out for as “holy war” one of which was their war against the Soviets in the 1980s, and themselves are regarded as mujahedin, which is to say “holy warrior” (Thomas, Gary). Mary Habeck, well-known scholar who specializes in studying religions and their doctrines said that Jihadism is an extreme version of Islamism of which members account for no more than one percent of the total Islamic population (Habeck, Mary, 2006).
They regard themselves as the only true believers and that the rest of the people are worthy of attack and destruction for their unbelief. They fight and kill violently because they believe that “the faithful cannot wait for ideological change but must use violence to create the Caliphate” (Habeck 2006). Finally we can say that the jihadists’ ideology is deeply rooted with the Caliphate and this have brought them in war against the world outside jihadism as they believe it is but part of God’s plan (Gartenstein-Ross, David 2007).