Relate International Terrorism with Ethno-National Identity Problem
What is the root cause of terrorism? What drives a terrorist group to commit acts of violence? Is it the environment they are born in to or is it a trait that is developed over time as a result of their upbringing? The term ethno-nationalism can be defined as “the combination of both ethnic and national identities in some way for a political purpose, usually to infer superiority over some other group or groups”. This identity is what brings a terrorist group together and serves to invigorate their extremist actions. Through an ethno-nationalism identity terrorists are able to not only empower their case of taking on the identity of “freedom fighters” but also to recruit and retain supporters willing to join their cause. Across the globe the ethno-nationalism identity problem is responsible for the dilemma of international terrorism.
Terrorism can be defined as the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. It is an act intended to cause fear perpetrated in the name of some type of political, ideological, or religious goal and is not concerned with the safety of civilians. Terrorist acts throughout the centuries have been performed with the goal of spreading a system of belief, viewpoint or opinion. International terrorism is evident in almost every nation at one point in time or another. From places like Baghdad, Iraq to New York City terrorism impacts the world. From suicide bombers in Jordan to car bombs in Kabul no one is free from the effects of terrorism.
In order to understand the term ethno-nationalism and its contributing factors to terrorism it is necessary to define it in its simplest form. The dictionary defines an ethnic group as a group of people who identify with one another, or are so identified by others, on the basis of a boundary that distinguishes them from other groups. These boundaries can be cultural, political, ideological, religious, or economic in nature. It isn’t necessary for a person to reside in their country of origin in order to be considered part of an ethnic group. Sunnis for example are part of an ethnic group. Albanians are part of an ethnic group. Another characteristic of ethnic groups is a link in time such as the history of a people. The history of an ethnic group binds them together. Nationalism can be defined as a desire for political independence, patriotism, or even an excessive devotion to a nation. “National identity is the person's identity and sense of belonging to one state or to one nation, a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one's citizenship status. National identity is not inborn trait; various studies have shown that a person's national identity is a direct result of the presence of elements from the "common points" in people's daily lives such as their national symbols, culture, blood ties, or history” (Wikipedia 2011). Through the deprivation of religious ideologies, the struggle to maintain cultural standards, and the opposition between national identities international terrorism is generated. So what cases can we provide in order to support the theory that international terrorism exists because of the ethno-national identity problem? Let’s look at the terrorist group known as the Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). The group is believed to have come into existence around 1998 in The People’s Republic of Bangladesh, a country in South Asia on the north littoral of the Bay of Bengal. The Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Party of the Mujahideen) aims at establishing the rule of Islam in Bangladesh through an armed struggle. “The outfit is opposed to the establishment of democracy and calls for the conduct of government under Islamic law. It is opposed to cultural functions, cinema halls, and shrines and seeks to “free Muslims of the influence of anti-Islam forces” (South Asia n.d.). “On August 17, 2005, near-synchronized blasts of improvised explosive...
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