Terrorism is defined as a deadly act which causes fear in peoples lives. It is mainly caused because of the hate towards certain group of people. The weapon of terrorism targets the non-combatants in order to achieve an objective through the use of deadly acts is termed as terrorism. These acts are also similar to the acts performed during the freedom struggle in many countries, but the act of terrorism has a vast difference with the freedom struggles. There are several reasons for the act of terrorism as portrayed by the media experts. They are poverty and economic disadvantage, ethnicity, religion, inferiority problems, government suppression etc…We can distinguish terrorism in two different categories. They are Domestic terrorism and International terrorism. Domestic terrorism involves attacking their own people and opposing their government for certain reasons. On the other side, International terrorism involves people taking the weapon of terrorism for religious beliefs and making it as a medium for portraying their message to the world by these deadly acts.
As there are several reasons for the act of terrorism, I am going to explain the causes of terrorism in the lives of Ajmal Kasab (terrorist who performed the Mumbai attacks), Faisal Shehzad (who was accused for car bombing in U.S) and S.A.Baasha (Coimbatore 1998). The terrorist that are mentioned here have three causes for them to fall in the pits of the terrorists organisations such as Lakshar-e-Toiba and Al-Queda. Poverty proved to be a major cause for Ajmal to join the terrorist militant groups in Pakistan to wage terrorist activities on the people of Mumbai in 2008. The best reasons for many of the people to become terrorists are dedicated to the cause of religion. This is very much true for the above mentioned terrorists of Faisal and S.A. Baasha. The religion that comes under my scrutiny is Islam or Muslim. Though this is not a terrorist religion, many terrorist uses Islam as a medium to achieve their objectives. In the case of Faisal, his prime target was United States as they have allied with Jewish country Israel. In the mindset of the Islamic terrorist, they believe that if they suicide and kill people in the process of terrorism, they go to heaven and before Allah. S.A.Baasha, mastermind of the Coimbatore 1998 attack is also a Muslim and was head functionary of the Muslim fundamentalist group Al-Umma. This group was formed to fight against the oppression of the Tamilnadu government on Muslims and their fellow men. So they formed this terrorist organisation to oppose the government by attacking the majority group in Tamilnadu, the Hindu’s.
Poverty and Terrorism
Terrorism is one of the deadliest acts prevailing in the world. There is no country without terrorism. Destruction of infrastructure, killing of non-combatants is the results of Terrorism. Terrorism is prevalent in countries like Pakistan, Africa, Iraq and Palestine where poverty has engulfed the lives of the people. Poverty causes many innocent people to target non-combatant to get rid from hunger. This has also been advantageous for the militant groups to target these people by offering money and influencing them to join their groups. These innocent people join these terrorist organisations to save their families from poverty. These people become an instrument to execute the commands of the genuine terrorists. “Rich are getting richer, Poor are getting poorer”. According to the media resources, they say that extreme poverty and hunger are the main causes for a person to become a terrorist. IMF and World Bank are trying to reduce the income inequalities in many countries by giving aid to the needy. Poverty was the main cause in the life of Ajmal Kasab, the only person caught and accused for carrying out the Mumbai attack in the commercial capital of India, Mumbai. Ajmal Kasab, a poor boy who had all the ambitions of a normal boy to go to school and earn a good job to save their family in the future. But, Poverty and unemployment changed his mind to join Lashkar-e-Toiba to kill 166 people in the bloody 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Ajmal Kasab comes from Southern Punjab, from the province of the Rawalpindi district which has become a recruiting ground for the religious militant groups of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Al-Queda. According to the crime branch investigation, Kasab was a street criminal who joined Lashkar-e-Toiba just for the money that they promised to give his family in order to carry out the Mumbai 26/11 attacks. Kasab comes from a poor family in Okara district in Pakistani Punjab. He and his parents made their living by selling snacks to the small shops around their village. Their life in that village was terrible and this has caused him to become a street criminal. It was at this stage, when Kasab while going around the bazaar streets to buy a gun he came across LeT stalls who offered him and his family Rs 1,50,000 only if he becomes their soldier to wage terror on non-combatants. Extreme hunger and poverty compelled him to join LeT and carry out the Mumbai Massacre killing 166 people and injuring more than 200 people. It is only in the hands of the government to reduce poverty by improving employment in their districts and villages. The government should come up with some projects which help the people to live a better life.
The Holy War (Jihad)
The holy war or Jihad began was dated back to 623 B.C when the founder of Islam, Muhammed gathered a group of 300 men and fought against an enemy group of almost 1000 men in a place called Badr. In that battle, Muhammed lost only 14 men and defeating his enemy in the war. Muhammed recruited more soldiers to join his army. After two years, he trained and assembled more than ten thousand army men who fought for God (Allah) and his Prophet. They conquered Mecca and many other places with ease. In fact, in later years Mecca became the holiest place for all Islam’s. Muhammed during his old ages wrote his revelations as Koran, a book of God’s commands in accordance with belief, prayer, conduct and matters of law. After Muhammed’s Death, Adu Bekr became his successor and the leader of Islam. In his regime, he drifted away from the written principles after stating that there lived no Prophet to authorise their millitary actions. He formed a more vigorous army and waged a war against the enemies of Islam in Arabia in the first Jihad. Thus Islam served as the guide and justification for the acts of terror against the enemies and the oppressors by Faisal Shehzad.
The next example for conducting the Deadly acts of Terrorism is Faisal Shehzad. His cause for becoming a terrorist can be stated as his true belief in his religion, Islam. Faisal Shehzad comes from a well-educated and a rich family. He was accused for planting a car bomb in the commercial street of New York by the FBI. Faisal comes from a family of rich national heritage. His father served in the Pakistani Air force as a Air vice Marshall, a brother, who is a mechanical engineer in Canada, a uncle who is former Inspector General of Frontier Corps and his father-in-law who runs a successful business in Karachi. Faisal is very different and doesn’t fit the profiles of a Jihad terrorist. According to the media, Faisal has a looks of a common man who wages a war against America just for the cause of hatred and for the belief of his religion.
Faisal was educated in a private school and went to university as a professional scholar. For his master degree, he went to United States on a student visa and was graduated from University of Bridgeport in 1990.He then joined an American firm where he met his love Huma Mian who was a citizen in U.S. He led a happy life with his wife in America. His happy life came to an end when he discovered the violent version of Islam and of the holy war. When he was accused and was caught for planting the car bomb in the busy streets of Times Square, his residents in Pakistan was shocked and remember Faisal as a boy who came from a decent family with strong millitary background and a Muslim who didn’t believe in the rules of the religion. Faisal in this case took the weapon of terrorism to express the anger and hate against the Americans which led him to the activity.
The terrorist activity of Faisal to set off a bomb in the Times Square of New York had made him the Pakistan’s first Jihad terrorist. In this present situation the militant organisations around the world recruit terrorist according to the terrorist activities that they are going to perform. Nowadays, the terrorist like Faisal are recruited by these organisations to carry out huge operations like that of the Twin Tower Attack in 9/11 which require knowledgeable skills. The main reason for that is that the western recruits have more knowledge and education about the place where the attack is going to be held and to perform the complex task like flying a commercial aircrafts to demolish the buildings.
The concept of Jihad as depicted in Koran believes to be a perfect reason for most of the terrorists like Faisal to carry out terrorists attacks on innocent people. The most annoying part is that the political leaders fail to suppress the terrorist activities because to their own faith and belief object them to do so. Whereas, many Islamic leaders who believe that holy war and terrorist activities are against the act of religion Islam, there are some clear evidences and justifications written in Koran to carry out such bloody acts of terrorism.
Communal Riots and Terrorism
The riots sparked between two religions in a country also cause many people to take terrorism as a weapon to show their vengeance against each other. The example for this cause of terrorism can be illustrated by the Coimbatore 1998 bomb blasts. The communal violence that had occurred in India can be stated back to 1980’s when 1200 Hindu’s converted and started to worship the gods of Islam in 1981. Since then there were many people converting to the religion Muslim in order to get social empowerment. The people of Hindu religion visited the places of the converted Muslims to return back to their religion. These incidents increased the tensions between both the groups and provoked many people to become terrorists. Another important reason for this incident is that of the demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodya in Uttar Pradesh in the early 1990’s. There was an organisation formed to protect the welfare of the Muslims and was named as Al-Umma. This organisation was funded by a Muslim business man and became influential after series of attacks in and around Tamil Nadu state in India during 1997. Al-Umma, the organisation formed by the Muslim fundamentalist group was headed by S.A.Baasha and was funded by a Muslim businessman. S.A.Baasha came from a middle class family and was a timber merchant in Coimbatore. His main aim was to protect the welfare of Muslims from the majority community and the government. He was accused and arrested for attempting murder on the leader of Bharthiya Janatha Party (BJP), Krishnamurthy but was released due to lack of evidence and because of the government’s interventions in the case. The DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kalagam) was at regime and released S.A.Baasha and his colleagues just because they didn’t want to hurt the feelings of Muslims and reduce the number of votes from the minority Muslims. After many riots curtailing the sentiments of Muslims, S.A.Baasha and others decided to plant bombs on the city of Coimbatore. Coimbatore was known as a Manchester of India and was on the rise in economic front. It was one of the fastest growing cities in India and was subject to the next IT hub of South India. Demolition of Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh by the BJP leader L.K.Advani was also a prime cause for this event. The Coimbatore blast took place when L.K.Advani planned to visit Coimbatore for an election campaign in 1998. There were 13 consecutive blasts which took place in eight different places in Coimbatore. All the blasts took place just around the radius of 12 kilometres and there were around 60 people died and more than 200 people injured. After the post violence, the city saw an economic drift that took place due to these terrorists’ attacks. Moreover, even after Al-Umma was banned and its members were arrested, the tensions prevailed for more than 5 years. These riots also provoked hatred between two communities and enmity among each other.
Terrorism has many causes to show their vengeance on other people. Of the three terrorist that we discussed in the essay, they had three different reasons to choose terrorism as their weapon. Ajmal, a young boy who joined the LeT, became a weapon for the terrorist organisation to make money and save his family from hunger. Faisal, who was rich and well off American citizen decided to choose the path of terrorism to wage a holy war against the Americans. Whereas S.A.Baasha, who is a common man with a small and happy family resorted to terrorism just to oppose government who oppress their religion in India. These three terrorists represent the three ends of a triangle that are groomed by the militant groups around the world. In a broader view, we can say terrorism as a functional utility. Terrorists use violence on non-combatant people in order to achieve a particular goal like releasing of the prisoners, for money or for the holy war. The causes of terrorism in the minds of people can be blamed at the government who didn’t suppress the issues at the initial stage.