comparing fanatics with terrorists
As the world poises to respond in some way to the growing threat of terrorism, one must decide what the best response really is. Over the course of human history, there have been numerous cases of fanaticism, most in the name of religion, many that were a political ideology, and some that were able to enlist millions of followers. Which ones had the largest following? Those in the name of religion. In spite of the fact that recent memory brings to mind the political ideological fanatics like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin etc., the facts, over all of history, support that religion brings the most into the arena of fanaticism in order to bring favor to those who believe in some form of afterlife. If the present life on earth is unpleasant for those individuals, then becoming a fanatic to ensure ones place in "paradise" is even more likely to occur. Numerous groups of religious fanatics fill the history of mankind, with various isolated parts of the world as their center. The Aztecs and Mayans, the Persians, Greeks, Vikings, Celts, Mongols, Shintos,etc. all based many of their activities on some form of religion. In smaller numbers, but no less fanatical, were the Jones cult, the Heaven's Gate cult etc. The common theme many shared was the way to "Vahalla", "Paradise", 'Heaven" (choose a name for an afterlife), was to commit war, to die in battle, or to have as many as possible join you on the journey to the next life, a life that is guaranteed to be better than what one now has.
The current group of fanatics the world is having to deal with is of course, Muslim fanatical extremists. The problem we face is understanding that if their belief embraces an "end of times" scenario, one that has definitley been identified as part of their preaching or proselytising, then we have to understand that changing that view will not be an option. The only thing that can be done is to encourage other Muslim leaders to preach that extremist way is wrong and not a reflection of their core religion of Islam, and in fact will not enable them to reach a "paradise" in the afterlife. Hopefully this will prevent NEW converts. Once this groundwork has been laid, then any and all Islamic fanatics that remain will need to be killed or imprisoned, a formidiable task to say the least. Simply going to war or trying to "contain" them wthout understanding this fact only adds fuel to the fire of those fanatics who can then say " We warned that the West would invade and attack us....now they have done just as we predicted...therefore, our version of Islam is the one true version as the predictions, written a thousand years ago, have come true...join us if you wish to attain a place with the Prophet in paradise" ! In the meantime, the West can continue "surgical strikes", and degrade their capability, but we best not assume that economic or any other type of sanction will take away anything from those who have nothing but their AK-47. The world and human rights activists will also need to gird their loins in preparation for more atrocities that are a perverse way of trying to force the West to join in on "the end of days".