Recently, after a meeting with representatives of the Armed Forces, National Police and Attorney General’s Office, the head of the National Anti-Terrorism Agency said that Indonesia’s antiterror drive should focus more on prevention. Reasonable as that sounds, it requires that one understand what exactly drives people to terrorism.
The recent terrorist attacks in Norway provide some insight.
The perpetrator of these horrific crimes, Anders Behring Breivik, is often described as a “madman.” That he appears crazy is clear. Only a crazy man could get it into his head to kill dozens of innocent strangers. …………….
So what lessons can Indonesia learn from all this?
First, terrorism is not unique to one religion. Not too long ago, after Indonesia was reprimanded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the situation of religious minorities in the country, I argued on these pages (“In Indonesia, America and Europe, Inter-religious Strife Begins With Fear,” May 22) that fear is the root cause of intolerance and hate, not religion. Breivik’s manifesto makes clear that much the same applies to terrorism. Just as intolerance and hate are not unique to any one religion, because fear is a human emotion, terrorism is not unique to one religion.
Second, terrorism is, in essence, a political problem. The right-wing parties of Europe cannot be blamed for bringing to the forefront Europe’s many problems within its multicultural society. But their populist response, deliberately oversimplifying and misrepresenting the issues and solutions by blaming Muslims and left-leaning politicians, is dangerous………..