Terrorism does not originate from religion

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Jennifer Blanco | Contributing Writer



President Barack Obama directed the nation and millions around the world this week at the summit on Countering Violent Extremism. It was truly a poignant speech, clearing up misconceptions many have about the Muslim faith. He rejected the notion that terrorism stems from islamic values, and urged us to do the same.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a terrorist organization, claims to be motivated by Islam; they commit hateful crimes in the name of Allah. President Obama discredits their claim. He says they are motivated by violence and not by any religious ideals. This fallacy leads many people from different faiths to fear Muslims and discriminate against them.

“If you kill one innocent person, it’s as if you killed mankind,” Obama quoted from the Quran.

If it wasn’t obvious before, I think this speech clarified any false pretenses people had about the Muslim faith. Their religion does not endorse violent acts of terrorism.

Terrorism emerges from corrupt political regimes, a declining economy and alienation in society. ISIS creates animosity among religions and gains power when we ignorantly fear the unknown. As President Obama stated, ISIS wants to cause a clash of civilizations by pinning religions against each other.

It isn’t about religion, it’s about power. Obama claims that building schools and promoting economic growth for families abroad will encourage anti-terrorism by keeping children out of trouble and away from the hands of ISIS.

Terrorism is much more complex than the economy and education. Political corruption and oppression has led individuals to radicalize for centuries. Despite economic status or religion, political instability has forced rebels to emerge. For instance, Obama noted that Osama Bin Laden came from a wealthy background, and still became one of the biggest names in terrorist history. Economic growth itself will not eradicate terrorism. Only democracy can do that.

Obama admitted there is something everyone could do to help stop terrorism, including ordinary people. By not taking part in racial profiling and eliminating anti-muslim sentiment, our focus can be on preventing terrorists organizations from emerging.

Alienating muslims or acting out against them will only empower groups like ISIS and goes against what our country believes in. We are a country based on freedom of religion. Thus, rather than judging religions or races, we should judge their motives.

Many presidents have given speeches about countering violent acts of terrorism. In my opinion, none have tackled it as effectively as President Obama. In order to prevent a future “clash of civilizations,” we can’t be bystanders. There is something each and every one of us can do to help tackle the fight on global terrorism, one kind gesture at a time.

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