I was in Australia for a master course in creative writing in the year 2007. Once in the class we entered into a discussion on fundamentalist terrorism. My classmates, all of whom were Australian, indiscriminately associated terrorism with the terror attack of 9/11. And when I said that even in India fundamentalist terrorism exists and is caused by religious groups, one of them asked me, ‘Is that because you have many Muslims there?’ I remained flabbergasted even after the discussion.
Now there is little surprise that for most people in the world, fundamentalist terrorism is always Islamic. Even in India it is considered just Islamic. It is Hindu as well. However, the point that fundamentalist terrorism can be Hindu is covertly sidetracked. Events like 26/11 or 9/11 are highlighted to such an extent that it appears that there is no form of fundamentalist terrorism other than that of Muslim. In this sense, 26/11 has become India’s 9/11. Indians have started associating terrorism and fundamentalism with the Mumbai attack of 26/11. Though this attack was undoubtedly perpetrated by Muslim fundamentalists from Pakistan, it is sad that for any Indian fundamentalist terrorism is only ‘Pakistani Islamic’.
Here, I do not want to say that fundamentalist terrorism is not Islamic. Rather I want to say that it is also Hindu or it cam be Christian or even Jewish. Just as it is believed that terrorism is only Islamic, it is believed that it has no religion. Though all religious people are not terrorists, it is escapism to say that terrorism has no religion. All Islamic people are not terrorists, but the 9/11 terrorists were Islamic. All Hindus are not terrorists, but a Hindu terrorist group is responsible for multiple bomb blasts in Malegoan in India.
It is correct that Islam should not be generalised for ‘terrorism’ and a mosque should be allowed to be built near the 9/11 site. Similarly, all Hindu fringe groups should not be looked as potential threats. Hindu or Islam, no religion or group should be generalised for ‘terrorism’. However, it is wrong to avoid saying ‘terrorism has no religion’.
To avoid saying ‘terrorism is no religion’ is ‘Escapist Secularism’. An immature secularism. To avoid saying ‘terrorism has no religion’ is similar to ignore the cause of terrorism. Secularism should not be an escape from ‘Fundamentalism’. It has become escapism because it has never given a place for man’s fundamental questions whose answers most religions have tried to seek.
Secularism or modernism has failed in the matter of fundamental questions of life. On the one hand religious secularists (half traditional half modern) say that every fundamental question of life has been answered in their religious doctrines; on the other hand they have adapted themselves to a modern way of life despite its contradiction from their purely religious doctrines.
The religious secular people have no explanations for this contradictory behaviour of theirs. Fundamentalists hate such adjustments. They consider such adjustments are a threat to their religion. This makes terrorists be able to justify the killings of the people of their own religion in their terrorist attacks.
Irreligious secularism either puts humanism more important than any religious or spiritual quest of life or sees every fundamental question of life in the preview of science (western science?). Nietzsche claimed the death of God. This humanist cultural experiment, as John Carroll says, goes to the extent of the belief that there is nothing. Thus, nihilism is the inevitable end point of humanism. The concern is whether we can believe that this is all there is. Can such belief (or unbelief?) become universally accepted? Though such acceptance seems less likely, it enters into the life of ours as it slowly and stealthily spreads through the one-way market globalisation. First, it insinuates itself into our life through technology, consumer goods and newfangled gadgets and it continues to grab us until we realise the effects like restlessness, loneliness, hatred and anxiety. If this is all there is, why do we suffer these problems? Humanism has no answer to this question.
We belong to either of the above cases. Our response to such conflicts is generally to escape. We become escapists, because we afford to escape. We can indulge ourselves into the endless forms of different non-destructive orgies. And those who can not escape or cannot afford to have such endless orgies are motivated for destruction. They enjoy an orgy of annihilation.