The Real Terrorism: Jihadist Terrorism or Racism?

The Real Terrorism: Jihadist Terrorism or Racism?

The physical and mental effects of terrorism in a nation is not an issue to be overlooked. Over the years, the concept of terrorism has grown rapidly to the extent that one wonders what terrorism really is.

Terrorism is a contentious term to define, due to its complexity nature. According to the popular definition, terrorism is the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political or religious aims.

Terrorism can be traced to the 1st century AD and has kept evolving  over the centuries. It was a tool employed by government to instill obedience to the state until the mid-19th century, when it began to be associated with non-governmental groups.

Terrorism, as we have today, has evolved and taken different recognized shapes. Anarchist, socialist, fascist among others are associated with terrorism. The prominent of them is the Jihadist terrorism.

The ideologies behind this terrorism includes that the killing of many self-proclaimed Muslims is required because they have violated Islamic law and are actually disbelievers, the glory and heavenly rewards of martyrdom, the need to restore and purify Islam by establishing sharia law, and the supremacy of Islam over all other religions.

The fast growth of Jihadist terrorism all over the world cannot be underestimated. Prominent terrorism activities with escalating violence in the new world can be traced to Jihadist terrorism. Since approximately 2000, these incidents have occurred on a global scale, affecting not only Muslim-majority states in Africa and Asia, but also states with non-Muslim majority such as United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Russia, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Israel, China, India and Philippines.
The largest numbers of incidents and fatalities caused by Jihadist terrorism have occurred in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen and Syria. According to the Global Terrorism Index 2016, in 2015 four Islamic extremist groups were responsible for 74% of all deaths from Islamic terrorism: ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic all over the world, these Jihadist terrorism activities continues to grow. Jihadist influence keeps growing in places like Africa's Sahel region, India, Turkey, Nigeria and Isreal. Not to divert from the obvious, we all can easily agree that Jihadist terrorism is a threat.

The obvious question is: is Jihadist terrorism the only dangerous threat mankind face?

Another threat mankind face is racism. Racism is the prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. The issue of racism is not a new concept, rather a trending and disheartening concept. Racism is traceable to the European age of imperialism, and  the Atlantic slave trade; which was also a major force behind racial segregation especially in the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and South Africa under  apartheid.

Racism activities trends from politics to genocide. Racism has played a role in  colonial projects including the European colonization of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Over the years, racism in the United States of America has led to the killing of African Americans by police officers and vigilantes.

The long history of racism activities includes the killing of nine black parishoners during a Bible study at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina, burning of at least 6 predominantly African American churches, genocides such as the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and genocide of Serbs, and much others  in the 19th and 20th century.

We live in the acclaimed 21st century, yet racism is still a prejudice in our society. In 2014, a police officer shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. In 2014 as well,  Eric Garner, an African-American man was killed by policemen in New York. In 2016, two black men were shot dead by police; and days ago, George Floyd, a black man was pinned to death on his neck by a Minneapolis police officer. The list of racism victims and activities is endless.

Racism doesn't exist in the United States of America alone but also in Asia, United Kingdom, South America, Middle East and North America. Though racism is widely condemned throughout the world, however, it is disheartening that the activities keeps progressing.

Subsequently, one tends to question the difference between the Jihadist terrorist who kills his fellow human for his religious ideologies and the racist who kills and adverse his fellow humans based on race and ethnicity.

As much as we will like to criticize the Jihadist activities for killing thousands of innocent based on their religious ideologies, we should as well question the racist activities. We should, in addition, dispose measures that has been put in place to curb the Jihadist activities in stopping racism.

It is dispriting and disturbing that in the world, there is war against corruption, war against sexual assault, war against terrorism, war against crime, but there is no war against the clothed racism.

© Kolawole Judah Oluwatobi, 2020
300l, Department of English Language.
Lagos State University.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

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