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Islam not main cause of radical terrorism, report by Christian group says

Sheikh Haruna Jjemba believes that ‘radicals’ are behind the murders of 12 Muslim leaders in Uganda. Courtesy Photo.

A new report by a Christian group of schools and community projects, titled ‘Enough is Enough’ says Islam is not the main cause of radical terror attacks, with other factors such as mental health, deprivation and family breakdown more important.

High numbers of terrorists do not practise the faith they claim to fight for, the report claims, and many drink alcohol, take drugs and visit prostitutes – habits forbidden by Islamic teaching.

Author of the report, Ian Sansbury who is director of the Oasis Foundation that seeks be a socially compassionate and inclusive Christian voice in public debate and policy said: “This report makes tricky reading for anyone quick to blame religion for all the world’s problems. Nor will it sit well with those who believe Islam is a religion that leads people into violence.”

Oasis Foundation says the factors, mental health, deprivation and family breakdown among others, are ignored in government responses to extremism and calls for ‘a more honest narrative on radicalisation’ that recognises the different causes of extremism and invests in ‘character formation’ and skills such as conflict resolution.

Last year and this year, security officials in Uganda registered reports of unknown assailants ambushing and killing a dozen of the country’s leading Muslim clerics.

The government said that ADF insurgents, among others, are responsible for the killings. Others blame them on an ideological struggle within the Muslim community or a result of a fight over property and money.

In countries like Nigeria, militant Islamist group Boko Haram – which has caused havoc in Africa’s most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and abductions – is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

Boko Haram regards the Nigerian state as being run by non-believers, regardless of whether the president is Muslim or not – and it has extended its military campaign by targeting Christians, neighbouring states.

The group’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, according to CNN.

Given Oasis Foundation’s report, critics certainly urge that religion can play an active role in conflict and, in Muslim majority societies, religious identity does appear to be at the heart of violence perpetuated by groups like ISIS and the Taliban.

Rameza Bhatti, a student of political science and sociology in his interview with national news outlet, Huffington Post, said he believes the link drawn between religion and war is a very tenuous one.

Less than 7% of wars throughout human history were ‘religious in nature’ according to the 2008 Encyclopedia of Wars, which looked at a total of 1,763 global conflicts.

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