Choose an instance of Religiously motivated or “approved” terrorism from history.

Choose an instance of Religiously motivated or “approved” terrorism from history.

Choose an instance of Religiously motivated or “approved” terrorism from history. Upon review of several references, provide a brief synopsis of the era (the narrative, i.e., the who, what, when, where) and citing from the study of multiple scholarly sources (not time limited) posit an analysis (the how, most importantly the why, and the what if) of the actions involved. Consider and propose possible indicators suggestive of a developing terrorist action, and potential mitigation/prevention measures.


Instructors require that the papers be in length between 2-4 pages in addition to a title page and references. A clear introduction (identifying the problem the analysis will tackle and the significance), the body (enumerating the multiple essential points and demonstrating the critical, logical, analysis), and a clear conclusion (reiterating the findings, ideally with a direction for further investigation) are expected. Introductions and Conclusions should be titled as such. The main body of the case should have appropriate section and sub-section titles. The Universal Intellectual Standards apply: clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, logicalness, significance, and fairness.

Please remember to properly cite all supporting sources for your argument.

One would expect no less than three (3) and preferably five (5) scholarly journal references of recent (less than 10 yrs) vintage, unless the example event occurred more than 10 years ago.

Case Study 2 (due on June 19) will ask you to present an act of religiously-inspired terrorism. But as you examine this week’s DB, it’s good to be thinking of this next assignment already. In order to do that, you have to apply the class definition to an incident to determine whether it meets all of the elements. But are there instances of religiously-inspired behavior that would meet the definition you’ve chosen, but that you would NOT want to think of as terrorism? Does it matter whether the target government of an attack by non-state actors was evil in itself? Did you consider that in your definition? The Soviet Union (USSR) was doctrinally atheist as a communist nation. Many would attack it and its representatives and other targets whenever and however they could, often in the name of Christianity (Russia had converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity in 988 CE, while the October Revolution that catapulted the communist Bolsheviks to power occurred in 1917). In the first couple of decades of the USSR’s existence, the government murdered 25 to 30 million people, and brutally imprisoned millions of others. If citizens attacked even “soft” Soviet targets in resistance, were they engaging in terrorism according to the class definition? If so, is that really the definition you want to go forward with?

In December 1095, the First Crusade began, with successive Crusades going on for 200 years, until 1291. Did Christians muster up in Europe and England and move into the Middle East to do violence because Islamist terrorism was being committed against Christians there, or were the Christians invading Muslim lands the actual terrorists? Or did the conduct of neither meet the definition of terrorism, whether their violence was religiously inspired or not?

In this upcoming week you will be delving into and analyzing religion as a justification for terrorism. As we are all products of our environment, and most people have some underlying religious orientation, approaching this from an objective perspective can be very difficult. Academically critical, objective and dispassionate analysis demands that we step out from behind the lens through which our own personal, spiritual and/or religious views have given us. It is not an easy thing to do.

Both of us (Barry and John) were raised in the Catholic Church. Yet we have been compelled to examine the faith, its doctrines and its conduct through more than 2,000 years of existence as objectively as possible. Has “corporate-level” Christianity ever engaged in any actions that could be considered terrorism? Certainly, many people, within and without the faith, have made that argument. Still others insist that Christianity has always been on the side of good. Have others, outside of the official and strategic decisions of the Church, engaged in possible terrorism in its name? What of the Ku Klux Klan, a US southern Christian organization that regularly used the “Cross” as its symbol? The same questions must be asked of the world’s other largest expansionist religion: Islam. Many Muslims decry terrorism in the name of the faith. However, many of those who are called Islamist terrorists insist that there is no such thing as “moderate” Islam, and that if a Muslim does not agree with their actions and support them, then he (or she) is an apostate. Even Buddhism, which is generally accepted to be the gentlest and most peaceful of all religions (if it even meets the definition of a religion) has seen its instances of devotees turning to violence in furtherance of a political goal.

Thus, religion is and can be a motivation for terrorism, but it is only one of many possible motivations. Ultimately, what distinguishes an act of terrorism from a pedestrian-level of the identical behavior is that it is committed for the ultimate goal of forcing the target government to change an existing policy. That is a political agenda and goal, even if that “political” agenda is to have the country change the way it deals with members of a particular religion. The same is true of other motivators, such as secular political goals, social/cultural goals and other ideologically-based goals. They all, ultimately, have a political agenda. And no matter what the motivation, if it meets the elements of the definition of terrorism, then it is .

Answer preview to Choose an instance of Religiously motivated or “approved” terrorism from history.

Choose an instance of Religiously motivated or “approved” terrorism from history.


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