This is not a thread to debate religion, politics, or sociology. Also, whether or not terrorism, or any specific form of terrorism, constitutes acceptable behavior according to any specific religion is also out of scope and belongs in GD.
A recent thread has raised the issue again of Islam and its seeming ability to foment terrorism.
It does seem to me that the majority of terrorist activity today (and in recent years) that has religion as a major inspiration seems to be Islamic. Typically, political and/or social issues are also part of these groups and incidents, but the religious aspect takes a major seat.
How many examples can you give of current and/or recent terrorist incidents or groups that are based around a religion other than Islam?
I would propose the Ku Klux Klan and the Irish Republican Army as potential examples. Both of these claim to stand for significant political and social issues, but both of them have some form of Christianity as a central tenet. Abortion clinic bombers could also be included, although they seem to be pretty loosely organized. Are there any other examples?
Are there any Jewish terrorist organizations? Buddhist terrorist organizations? What is the sound of one hand setting off a car bomb?
There was fairly serious Sikh extremism, dedicated to making the Indian Punjab a separate state. The blew up an Air India plane in the 80’s near Ireland, killing over 300. The extremists in Vancouver were trying for a double-header but couldn’t count, so the second suitcase blew up during transfer in Narita killing a baggage handler. (The more charitable view is they were trying to blow up two aircraft on the ground simultaneously, but again, couldn’t count time zones properly).
The movement eventually culminated in an occupation of the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Indian Army cleaned them out of there, killing most of the extremists. Two of Indira Gandhi’s own bodyguards then decided it was their sacred duty to take her out in retaliation.
I see on the BBC that the recent memorial service on the anniversary of the Temple battle devolved into a club and sword swinging brawl among Sikhs.
I don’t know enough to say if the Chinese Boxer Rebellion qualifies as a religious movement - although part of the mythos is that the members believed they were blessed and therefore immune to western weapons.
There’s also the Buddhist monks of Tibet; in a terrorist movement reminiscent of the Sadducee Suicide Squads, they would set themselves on fire in public to protest Chinese occupation. These actions also tended to set the local Buddhists to rioting against ethnic Chinese. It’s sufficiently religious in nature that the Chinese government severely restricted some movements and communication to and from monasteries.
In general, many of these tend to be ethnic/nationalistic fights, from the IRA to the Chinese to the Tibetans, Sikhs, etc. Religion tends to be an additional feature of the fight. The Israelis have occasionally arrested Christian Palestinians, for example, who were working with the Palestinian side. The Palestinians and Israelis both want the same land, they’d be two ethnic groups fighting even if they were all the same religion; the religious difference just makes the distinction sharper. Similarly the IRA was more about Irish locals vs. English immigration and domination (a few hundred years after the fact). I don’t recall hearing about special treatment accorded English Catholics by the Irish.
I disagree, or at least, I think they’re about as religious as Al Qaeda. It’s not an accident that the KKK’s trademark is a burning cross; it’s a symbol of faith, and was often accompanied by hymns and prayers. They accept only Protestant Christians the same way that Al Qaeda accepts only Sunni Muslims.
I’m not aware of any religious terrorist organization that doesn’t also have significant political demands. Bin Laden’s Open Letter to America, laying out his reasons for the 9/11 attacks, has at least as many political demands as religious ones. The IRA likewise has primarily political goals, as do the various Protestant organizations that they oppose. The Tamil Tigers are primarily Hindu, and the government that they oppose (and accuse of genocide) is primarily Buddhist. There was a U.S. funded and trained Buddhist terrorist insurgency in Tibet for quite some time after the Chinese invasion.
(Slightly off-topic, but I remember reading a fascinating academic paper on the definitions of terrorism. The authors asked several dozen experts on the topic to define terrorism in a sentence, and then looked at all the definitions to try to see what they all had in common. The result: the world’s greatest terrorism experts could not agree upon a simple definition. I’ll try to find the paper)
While I think you could realistically call them terrorists, they don’t really ever seem to be acting on behalf of an organized group, but rather are acting on their own. The OP was asking specifically about religious terrorist organizations, and I don’t see an organization here.
I’d also draw a distinction between people who murder doctors who provide abortions and people who bomb or burn abortion clinics. I’m not aware of any abortion clinic arsons or bombings that killed anyone, so I’d put people who do that on par with eco-terrorists who cause property damage but don’t actually physically injure anyone directly, or at least strive not to do so.
By what possible logic do the Tamil Tigers count as a ‘Hindu’ organization?
Hindu terrorism exists, notably among far right wing Hindus in India, but the Tamil Tigers are not it. They are (or were, I guess) a secular far-left organization that appealed much more to Marxism, socialism and national liberation struggles than they did to the Hindu gods.