Following the arrest of another local Muslim on terrorism charges, we again wonder as to the motivation for such behaviour. To explain it simply in terms of religious extremism is to misunderstand it. For a deeper explanation, we need to look at the origin and history of the ideology of Islam, which, in this regard, is quite different to that of Christianity.

Islam was established in Mecca in the year 630, following a successful insurgency led by the Prophet Muhammad. This military history of Islam is reflected in the Koran. This legacy is a highly relevant factor in explaining current day terrorism and insurgencies. Thankfully, not all Muslims follow this tradition to extremes, however it does mean that Islam has certain characteristics that are different from other religions. Like it or nor, we all should be aware of this.

What is the solution? We should be encouraged to examine our beliefs in the light of reason and evidence. If our beliefs are found wanting, we should discard them. The truth may be uncomfortable, but it is ultimately gratifying. The secular values of honesty, compassion, freedom and justice provide the only lasting path to peace.

Sep 14, 2012