Combating Terrorism

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Combating Terrorism Powered By Docstoc
                                                                                    Dr J. B. Saldanha

1 Introduction
       At the birth of saviour the multitudes of the heavenly hosts praised God saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he
favours” (Lk 2:14). The Gospels tell us that the mission of Jesus was to bring peace
and salvation to humanity. Pope John XXIII in the introduction of his historic
encyclical Pacem in terries emphasised the aspirations of human beings in attaining
true peace on this earth. He said, „Peace on earth, the profound aspiration of men and
women of all times, can be firmly established and sustained only if the order
established by God is firmly respected.‟ Pope John Paul II in his Easter message for
the year 2003, makes a mention of the teachings of Pacem in terries and says that the
words of the Blessed pope remain as timely as ever at the dawn of the third
millennium, tragically marred by acts of violence and conflicts.
       The world at the dawn of the third millennium seems to be flooded with crime,
conflicts, violence and terrorism. The fall of the twin towers in New York, the
Afghan brutalities, war in Iraq as well as in Israel, the imbalances caused in the
African and Asian continents, the Latin American struggles are matters of concern for
the international community. Pope John Paul II in his Easter message 2003 makes a
reference to the worldwide phenomenon of conflicts and expresses his concern as
            With profound grief I think of the wake of violence and bloodshed,
            with no sign of ceasing, in the Holy Land. I think of the tragic situation
            of many countries on the African continent, which cannot be
            abandoned to itself. I am well aware of the centres of tension and the
            attacks on people’s freedom in the Caucasus, in Asia and in Latin
            America, areas of the world equally dear to me.2

       Uprooting terrorism is an imperative in contemporary society. Terrorism is an
absolute evil and no one can justify any state or a political system that supports
terrorist activities. In an advanced society like that of ours terrorism cannot be

  This articles was published in “Combating Terrorism: A Holistic Approach”, ed. John Sequeira, Dhyanavana
Publications, Mysore, 2004, pp. 121-145.
 John Paul II, Let There be an End to the Chain of Hatred and Terrorism. The Easter Message of
Pope John Paul II. Available from
tolerated under any form. Terrorism has become a global menace that needs to be
collectively conquered. All institutions such as political, social, ethnic and religious
need to join hands in combating terrorism. The church joins its hands with the secular
institutions in curbing the poisonous roots violence and terrorism, for it goes against
human dignity. Here we attempt to present a church response to the tragic situation of
terrorism as she emphasises her concern in protecting human dignity for justice and
peace on this earth.

2 Unjust Socio-Political Structures and Violence
       The oppressive situations, may it be political, social, cultural or religious,
dehumanise humanity. Oppression in any form is evil and it is necessary that all join
hands in fighting against evil. Any struggle for justice should be supported. However,
if any struggle for justice and peace becomes the cause of hatred and violence, then it
is necessary to avoid such unbecoming situations. Nowadays it looks like that some
people do not have faith in peaceful means in solving the problems related to social
justice or any dehumanising situation. They recourse to violence and terrorism,
forgetting that violence causes new situations of injustice. No problem in our society
can be solved through violence and terrorism for it destroys humanity itself instead of
bringing peace and justice to this world. Any establishment of injustice causes grave
harm to the basic rights and dignity of human persons. It is necessary that one fights
against the unjust power. But it is not possible to counteract tyrannical abuse through
tyranny itself. We should not go back to the barbaric law that prompted the rule –
„eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth?‟
       The problem of terrorism today transcends the geographical boundaries. One
can see indigenous terrorist groups as well as groups involved in cross-border
          Terrorism is a phenomenon that recommends violence as a vehicle
          to achieve political and social goals. Terrorism claims that it is a must
          for change. But at the same time terrorism cannot be identified with
          revolution. Terrorism is an isolated and usually abortive attempt at
          destroying the existing fabric of society. It lacks popular support,
          being diametrically opposed to revolution, which can and often has,
          as history testifies, successfully mustered the popular support of the

 Thomas Anchu and Jose Kuttianimattathil, eds., Grow Free Live Free (Bangalore: Kristu Jyoti
Publications, 1985), 46.
Terrorism believes that might is right. It believes in solving the problems of the
society through violence and terror.
       The church cannot bow down its head to the principle „might is right‟. It
opposes this view and in the bargain searches answers to the nagging questions
arising from terrorist activities. The church willingly accepts the responsibility
eradicating the menace of terrorism from its roots and in this venture in joins its
hands with people of good will.4

3 What is the Church Doing?
       The terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 has caused not only death and
devastation but also a great amount of anxiety among people. The terrorist attacks
have been still continuing in different parts of the world. The innocent are the victims
of such atrocities. A New Yorker stopped a clergyman on September 11 and posed
this question: „Where is God in this death and devastation? Where is the Church in
these terrible events?‟ In events like this the people are rattled by terror. In such
moments the church cannot run away from people who isolate themselves. Instead
the church must bear witness to the fact the trust in God is powerful enough to
overcome fear caused by terrorist activities. In such situations the
          Church must can best minister in this new atmosphere of fear not
          only by proclaiming its message, but by demonstrating a divinely
          inspired conviviality that no fear can suppress. Worship and prayer
          together, yes often as possible. But join also as the people of God
          with as many neighbours as possible, to share a meal, play some
          music, whack a volleyball or discuss a movie. Show that the church
          is a place where perfect love overcomes all fear, and where trust
          defines a way of life.

       At times people tend to think that the church is slow in responding to situation
that cause anxiety among people. At the same time it is consoling to note that the
church in various parts of the world does not hesitate to take a clear stand against any
kind of violence or terrorist activities.
          Perhaps the most theologically compelling answer Christians can
          give to anyone who asks where the church is in this particular time of

   John Fernandes, “A Christian Response to Terrorism,” Dhyana: Journal of Religion and
Spirituality 1(April 2003): 71.
   “Overcoming fear: Churches role in Face of Fear Propagated by Terrorist Activities” The
Christian Century, October 24, 2001, available from…
/article.jhtml/overcoming fear.
          travail is that it is with the victims and those who mourn for their loss.
          The church’s identification with the circle of victims rests in its
          witness to a crucified God who suffers with us all to the very end of
          our darkest, most desperate moments

      The teaching of the church is certainly unambiguous on terrorism. The
Catechism of the Catholic Church while speaking about respect for bodily integrity
has said that torture and terrorism go contrary to the integrity of the human person
and his dignity. It says,
          Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means
          of threat they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are
          morally wrong. Terrorism which threatens, wounds and kills
          indiscriminately is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which
          uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the
          guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for
          the person and for human dignity.

      Immediately it adds yet another note condemning any kind of torture in
disguise of law and calls us to pray for the tormentors and their victims. On this point
the Catechism has said,
          In the past times, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate
          governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from
          the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own
          tribunals the prescriptions of the Roman law concerning torture. She
          forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident
          that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor
          in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the
          contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is
          necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims
          and their tormentors.

Thus, while condemning terrorism and terrorist activities, the Catholic Church insists
that terrorism is contrary to respect for the legitimate rights of the human person and
for human dignity. This calls us to go back to the teaching of the Church on human

    “A Habit of Ministry” The Christian Century, October 10, 2001, available from /cf_0/m10…/article.jhtml/a habit of ministry.
   John Paul II, The Catechism of the Catholic Church (New Delhi: CCBI, 1994), no. 2297.
  John Paul II, Catechism, no. 2298.
4 Human Dignity and Human Rights in the Biblical Background
       The word „image‟ in Hebrew means selem and „likeness‟ means Demût. Selem
stand for the physical similarities with external representations and demût softens the
idea conveyed by selem as to avoid any misunderstanding of making humans equal to
God.9 For the Israelites there was no question of identity between God and humans
while they spoke of humans in the image of God. However this denial of equality
with God did not negate an intimate relationship with God. The dignity of human
person finds its importance and significance in the persons‟ intimate relationship with
       The Old Testament covenantal relationship can help us to understand the
meaning of human rights. Yahweh, the God of Israel redeemed his people from the
Egyptian slavery under Pharaoh and brought them to the land of promise. As the
People of God reflected the great doings of their God they came to the realisation that
the God who redeemed them was also their creator God who bestows his mercy and
love on his people. The image of creator God made it clear to the Israelites that God
had created them out of his love. God had shared his own life with humanity. This
God could not tolerate the inhuman situations of sufferings of his people in Egypt
that brings about deliverance from bondage of slavery. It is an indication of God
desiring to make his people whole so that they could live in human dignity. The
Israelites also had the realisation that the loving God is a just God - a God of
righteousness and Justice.
       In Hebrew sedaqah is the term for God‟s righteousness and mispat is the term
for God‟s justice in concrete circumstances. God‟s justice is seen in reference to the
anawim of the Lord. It refers to the powerless where God is in defense of the
powerless, in aid of the orphans, strangers, poor, and the widows. In a theological
dimension it refers to justice as a response for all that God has done to the people. So
also it has a sociological and eschatological dimension.11 The Scripture reads, “How
faultless are His deeds, how right (mispat), all His ways. A faithful God, without
deceit, how just (saddiq) and upright He is” (Dt 32, 4). The older passages speak of
God as chastising (Dt 33, 21, Am 5,20, Dn 9, 6). The later texts speak in the sense of
messianic restoration, which is to be the flowering of God‟s justice (Is 45, 8, Jr 23, 6).
In the New Testament justice consists in striving for Christian perfection (Mt 6, 33).
For St Paul, Justice of God is mainly salutary and salvific activity in the redemption

  G. Karakunnel, The Christian Vision of Man (Bangalore, 1984), 80.
   R. P. McBrien, Catholicism (San Francisco, 1989), 152.
   J. Limburg, “Human Rights in the Old Testament,” Concilium 124 (1979): 21-25.
(Rom 1, 17). The Christian way of doing justice flows from being born of God (1 Jn
2, 29) and is closely connected with the exercise of Christian Charity (Mt 25, 37-46,
1 Jn 3,10).12

5 The Catholic Human Right Tradition
        The Catholic Church has been actively involved in protection of human rights.
The protection of these rights benefits millions of people of the world. It can also lead
to international tension and conflict. In 1963, Pope John XXIII in his encyclical
Pacem in terris boldly affirmed a wide variety of human rights including the right to
life, the right to food, clothing, shelter, rest and medical care, the right to culture and
education, the rights to freedom of expression, association and free exercise of
religion, the right to work, organise and form labour unions, the right to private
property and right to judicial protection of all human rights. 13 This teaching of John
XXIII did not spring up all of a sudden. The influence had come from the biblical
tradition, as well as from Augustine and Aquinas but with special growth through the
writings of the popes of the modern times beginning from Leo XIII.
        Pope Leo XIII in Rerum novarum had stated that humans precede the state (RN
7). According to him all the legal and political institutions are to be evaluated against
the standards of human being. However the concrete implications of equal human
dignity were structured by the means available for institutionalising social
relationships. Thus he did the groundwork for the modern catholic thought of human
       It was Pius XI in Quadragesima anno (1931) had focused on the economic
patterns that lay behind the worldwide depression and by which human dignity was
threatened and oppressed. For him, the respect humans claim to material, bodily and
even psychological necessities were ultimately founded on the human person which
transcends all other needs. Pope Pius XII considered dignity of the person as the
foundation of moral order. He discussed the issue of human rights in the Church
situation of Eastern Europe under Soviet influence. He based his vision of the society
as a community of morally responsible citizens. However he did not give an
elaborate, systematic treatment on human rights.

  L. F. Hartman, ed., Encyclopaedic Dictionary of the Bible (Turnhout: 1963), 1251-55.
   The insights on the human right tradition in the Church has been summarised from D.
Hollenbach, Claims in Conflict: Retrieving and Renewing the Catholic Human Rights Tradition
(Ramsey-Toronto-New York, 1979), 41-100.
       John XXIII in Mater et magistra (1961) reaffirmed the fundamental value of
human dignity. He saw human person as the foundation, cause and end of all social
institutions (MM 157 & 200). He linked it also to the common good. As we have
already noted in 1963 he issued Pacem in terris which in a systematic way elaborated
the theory of human rights as a framework for national and international peace,
centred around the dignity of human person. Gaudium et spes places the norm of
human dignity within the framework of uncertainty and anxiety of a technocratic
world with constant changes. The tensions are seen as a result of conflict within
human existence itself.
        The 1971 Synod in its final document, „Justice in the World‟ refers to human
dignity in a dynamic interrelation with each other. It locates the concrete content of
dignity in the kind of relationships which actually govern human interactions.
Evaluating critically the unequal distribution of income, investment and trade, it calls
for awareness towards the new modes of understanding human rights (JW 12). The
document does not work out a list of rights but affirms several particular rights such
as self-determination, right to participate in economic, political and social structures,
right to preserve ones cultural identity, right to religious freedom, due process and
fair trial, rights of life and bodily integrity, the right to the presentation of truth in
communication media, the right to freedom from manipulation by images presented
in the media and the right to education. (JW 17,18,19, 23, 24, 25, 26) The document
has a social analytical character with fundamental vision. Hence the concern of the
Church for human dignity is clear in affirming the values of human person with rights
and duties. Laborem exercens (on Human Work, 14 September 1981) and Sollicitudo
rei socialis (on Social Concern, 30 December 1981) of Pope John Paul II, are
emphatic on social justice, in the light of natural law and the bible. “Continuing the
direction taken by John XXIII and Vatican II in the endorsement of the United
Nations Declaration of Human Rights, he has insisted that economic, social and
cultural rights are also equally normative.”14 Pope John Paul II‟s Centisimus annus
(The Hundredth Year, 2 May 1991) stresses the need of protecting all persons from a
new kind of enslavement and also reaffirms the papal statements of the past on
capitalism and communism.
       The question of human rights and dignity in the Church‟s tradition therefore,
calls to treat all people with love and respect, for the human beings are created in
God‟s image. The people being the part of God‟s creation must respect the order on

   G. E. McCarthy and R. W. Rhodes, Eclipse of Justice. Ethics, Economics and the Lost Tradition
of American Catholicism (New York, 1992) 181.
which creation is based. Going away from this with individualism, greed, lack of
solidarity, justice and mercy would be sinful. In this way the Church has attempted to
present and promote human dignity. The catholic tradition understands human dignity
as indicative. Hence human persons have dignity and they are sacred and precious.
Here the human dignity becomes the norm to guide and judge the behaviour, a
guiding rule formulated by reflexive human consciousness. Therefore human dignity
is considered as a concrete reality. The concrete claims of human dignity calls for a
continual revaluation of shifting material, social, economic and political conditions.
       Today the world economic order makes millions of people impossible in
satisfying their basic needs leading to the denial of individual and social rights. This
can make people angry and that can also lead people to involve in terrorist activities.
Though the chances are slim, the Church should not find an excuse in these structures
for not doing anything. The Church can challenge the structures in the following
     1. Creating awareness among its members especially among the office bearers, an
        awareness of what is at stake.
     2. The multinationals rule the developing world and the developing world has no
        lobby. It is fitting for the Christian Churches as disciples of Christ, to speak for
        the poor nations making their voice heard, especially for those who have no
        voice at all.
     3. If the Churches of the developed world provide help for the developing world,
        the most important consideration should be to provide support for those people
        who are exerting pressure for the total liberation of the oppressed and the
     4. The Church is one of the moral institutions. It must expose the existing
        injustice of world economic orders. It must continue to appeal to human
        conscience to commit themselves to the full establishment of human rights.15

6 Changing the Consciousness
      The atrocities of the terrorist make us think of them as mad people. Ranjit K.
Pachnanda gives a long list of causes that lead people to become terrorists. The
following factors, according to him, can lead to terrorism:
     (a) Actual or perceived inadequacies of the political system.

  N. Greinacher. “The Responsibility of the Churches in the First World for Establishing Human
Rights.” Concilium 124 (1979) 112-114.
     (b) Colonialism.
     (c) Communalism.
     (d) Racialism.
     (e) Attack on religion.
     (f) Political persecution.
     (g) Human rights violation.
     (h) Economic exploitation.
     (i) Unemployment and poverty.
     (j) Alienation feeling.
     (k) Undermining authority.
     (l) Frustration, especially youth frustration.
     (m)       Financial gain.
     (n) Political atrocities.
     (o) Threat from other terrorists.
     (p) Failure of other non-violent methods.
     (q) Erosion of values.
     (r) Social conflicts.
     (s) Seeking of identities/search for identities.
     (t) Perceived betrayal by community leaders.
     (u) Hero worship.16
       As such these people are not mad nor can they be labelled as criminals with
political rationalization. They are in fact altruists and intellectuals but with violent
attitudes that emerge from their political, religious or cultural convictions and beliefs.
They carry with them their on political, economic or ideological grievances. Very
often it reflects injustice that exists in our political system.
            If the political ethos is infected by the unprincipled search for power,
            if fundamentalism and parochialism are instigated for personal gain,
            if business and administration are permeated with the culture of
            corruption, if the people are divided on caste and communal lines, if

  Ranjit K. Pachnanda, Terrorism and Response to Terrorist Threat (New Delhi: UBS Publishers‟
Distributors Ltd), 27-28.
           rich are callous in pursuit of consumerism and poor continue to groan
           under the burden of their poverty, it would be virtually impossible to
           ensure internal security. If countries want their economic
           development to take place, they must ensure a congenial investment
           climate. Poverty, unemployment and starvation will only lead to civil
           war. Hence, countries must fight terrorism, unemployment and
           poverty and not themselves.

       Anthony Egan identified two types of terrorism – terrorism „from above‟ and
„from below‟. In terrorism „from above‟ surrogate forces and death squads are used
giving the government plausible deniability and terrorism „from below‟ is an activity
of committed people or groups to overthrow the political power.18 These groups
believe that they work for a unique cause of higher good. They consider their fight to
overthrow the existing governments or political power is a mission given to them
either by God or deeply rooted in their beliefs, convictions and ideologies.
       If the situation has to change, it is necessary to change this sort of ideologies
that lead people to suicide attack and in order to refute such ideologies one must
make a deep study of these ideologies. The fundamentalists groups in Islam as well as
terrorism groups concerned with their Christian identity such as white supremacist
share similar convictions. Their reasoning involves religious fanaticism, hatred
towards the targeted group and paranoia of a new world order. It is necessary to know
exactly their conviction and then only such ideologies could be refuted and
counteracted. Anthony Egan opines that terrorism needs to be combated ethically for
the long-term solution to the problem of terrorism lies not in legislation, but with
changing consciousness. This means not only educating people to the threat, but also
shifting people‟s attitudes. According to him,
           there seems to be a terrible equation in the world today (one going
           far beyond terrorism): Ethnicity + Nationalism + Deprivation +
           Religious Fanaticism = Slaughter. Although antireligious Communist
           and Nazi governments exemplified state-sponsored terrorism in the
           past, today the least violent societies are often those where religion
           is weakest. Do religious authoritarianism, dogmatism and
           fundamentalism contribute to terrorism? … Peace among religions
           would contribute to a culture of peace and tolerance, in which
           terrorist violence will lack fertile seeding-ground. The Christian
           churches and other faiths should create a culture of tolerance among

   Pachnanda, Response to Terrorist Threat, 221-222.
   Anthony Egan, “Dealing with Terrorism,” In The Christian Century, October 1st, 2001, available
from /cf_0/m10…/article.jhtml/ Dealing with Terrorism.
           people while working for social healing and reconciliation. Given our
           assumption that terrorists are twisted altruists, we need to encourage
           and build a culture in which altruism can be directed toward creative
           and non-violent activism. This is our greatest challenge as a church,
           our greatest opportunity (together with other people and
           organizations of good will) to combat terrorism.

7 Terrorism, the Just War Theory and Christian Pacifism
       In response to 11 September terrorists‟ attack the American President Mr Bush
declared war against terrorism. Using the criteria laid down in the Catholic just war
theory, a group of leaders of catholic institutions later condemned the decision of the
American President as unjustifiable. They pointed out that “over two months of daily
bombings with all their attendant human and material costs, including tremendous
military expenditures that rob the poor, are not appropriate to our legitimate right to
seek out and bring before an international court of justice those responsible for the
September 11th attacks”.20 From the point of view of just war theory the immunity of
non-combatants and inadmissibility of indiscriminate attacks on innocent people is
unacceptable and that is exactly what happened when America reacted against the
terrorist attack.
       The idea of just war finds its roots in Stoic philosophy. However, St Augustine
(354-430 A.D.) formulated the idea of Christian approach in using force. The
Challenge of Peace the pastoral letter given by the United States Catholic Bishops in
1983 states that Augustine was convinced that war is a consequence of sin in the
world. The wars are tragic and sinful. So it calls to avoid the violent wars that break
the relationship with God and humanity. Often the innocent become the target in war
but the rights of the innocent victims takes precedence over the rights of an unjust
      St Augustine proposed a triple criteria for the use of force: a just cause (for
defence, not for aggression), properly instituted authority (emperor not private
person) and motive of love (human dignity to be respected and unnecessary violence
to be avoided). St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.) and the Dutch jurist Hugo
Grotius (1583-1645 A.D.) made contributions to the growth of the just war theory.

  “War on Terrorism Unjustifiable Say Some Catholic Leaders” The Christian Century, January 7,
2002, available from…/article.jhtml/War on Terrorism
Today among the additional criteria the principle of proportionality and principle of
non-combatant immunity are important.
        The principle of proportionality means that the good expected of war must be
proportionate to the damage caused and the cost incurred at war. Here in fighting a
just war the response to aggression must be proportionate to the kind of aggression.
One has a right to defend against unjust attack but the response should not destroy
totally the planet. The principle of non-combatant immunity prohibits directly
intended attacks on non-combatant and non-military targets. It is a delicate principle
for it is difficult to define what constitutes a „military‟ target and a „non-combatant‟
zone. Though complex and crucial the just war theory requires also using moral
means in the pursuit of a just end.
       According to Clausewitz, war has threefold purpose. (a) to impose our will on
the enemy, to do which (b) we use the means of maximum available force, with (c)
the aim of rendering him powerless. We can thus note a distinction military and
political object.21 Clausewitz had witnessed horrors of war of his time. But that does
not permit him to see war as an isolated act or to treat the outcome of war as final.
According to him the political objective is the goal and war is the means to achieve
the goal and the war as means is not to be considered in isolation of its purpose and
proposes to keep the wars limited. To him it is important to look at the goals of war.
“Once it has been determined, from the political conditions what a war is meant to
achieve and what it can achieve, it is easy to chart the course.”22 What is important is
not the advantages but a final balance after the war that makes sense.
        One can find theological and ethical criticism against the just war theory.
Arguing theologically Christian pacifists say that just war theory replaces Jesus‟
commandment of love and non-violence by natural law. So also they criticise the just
war theory for implicitly denigrating trust in God‟s providential care of humanity and
world. No doubt human beings have the responsibility to defend themselves. Some
just war theorists take the state for loyalty excluding God totally from the picture.
Ethically arguing they say in today‟s nuclear age it is beyond control to wage a
limited scale war and if principle of proportionality cannot be followed the just war
theory becomes irrelevant. Some argue that the just war theory has legitimated war
instead of restricting the same. The supporters of just war theory responding to the
criticism quote St Augustine‟s point that war is a necessity because of sinful human
history. They point out to the ideal proposed by Christ of the kingdom of God, and

     C. Clausewitz, On War, eds. M. Harward and P. Paret, (New Jersey: 1976), 624.
     C. Clausewitz, On War, 656.
the reality of present day history. They suggest that in the real world compromises
seem to be necessary.
        Christian Pacifism23 in the background of the Sermon on the Mount hold that
the swords need to be abandoned and spirit of fellowship to be cultivated. They
consider suffering is to be endured by the followers of Christ. They see God in the
suffering and not in the powerful rulers. Christian pacifism is not passivity but a
commitment to human rights by way of non-violence means. They consider non-
violent means do not dehumanise or alienate the adversary. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(1929-1968) and Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) have used these means in our century
itself. Though sounds idealistic it has contributed to Christianity by way of witness to
Christ and seems to uphold the prophetic role of the Church looking critically at the
society to make it the kingdom of God.
       Both Christian pacifists and just war theory defenders see war as an
exceptional affair who start from the moral presumption against the use of force and
they propose to develop positive requirements for peace in the world instead of
armaments and wars, and they wish to limit the kinds of total claims in the name of
political or military necessity.
           But pacifism and just war provide radically different approaches to
           the moral analysis of global relations, and it is important to
           differentiate these two perspectives when assessing the moral
           conduct of states. Whereas pacifism rests on a presumption of non-
           violence, the just war doctrine assumes that limited, discriminatory,
           and proportionate force is not only an acceptable tool of international
           justice but a necessary instrument for promoting and maintaining a
           just global order.

       War on terrorism in the context of recent attacks will not help the objectives
combating terrorism. The reason for this is very simple. Any military response fuels
anger and hatred. This will make the terrorist to inspire new recruits to fight back and
commit more terrorism. Hence, it is better to come out of war as well as the rhetoric
of war. Instead invest energy to search for the perpetrators and bring them to
international court at Hague through international police investigation.25
   B. R. Hill, P. Krutter, and W. Madges, Faith, Religion and Theology (Connecticut, 1990) 364-
   M. R. Amstutz, review of But Was It Just? Reflections on the Morality of the Persian Gulf War,
by D. E. DeCosse, ed., Christian Scholar’s Review, 23 (1994) 445-446.
   “War on Terrorism Unjustifiable Say Some Catholic Leaders” The Christian Century, January 7,
2002, available from…/article.jhtml/War on Terrorism
Unfortunately the calling for peaceful ways of the members of Interfaith Coalition,
mentioned earlier, to end terrorism did not make headlines in the newspapers.
However, “in seeking solutions to terrorism that are consonant with peace and justice,
the coalition emphasised that responses to terrorism must include looking at and
treating the root causes of terrorism: poverty, despair and oppression.”26

8 We Cannot Function in Isolation
       Is there specifically a „christian‟ perspective in explaining the phenomenon of
terrorism as well as its eradication? Answer to this question is a difficult one. While
eradicating the menace of terrorism from our society it is not necessary to look for a
separate „christian‟ explanation. No doubt, the biblical inspiration can enlighten in
dealing with this problem but such a perspective need not be totally different from
other religions‟ perspective. As John Fernandes suggests,
           if we go to the root of the evil and to the effort to root the evil out, we
           do come to the realization that the Christian perspective is not
           different from that of others. We hope that it is the same as any
           objective perspective. It is basically a truly human or humane
           perspective. Thus it should be in line with a common perspective with
           other faiths and world-views. We would rather call it a ‘Biblical
           perspective,’ or a ‘Judeo-Christian perspective’. What we mean by
           ‘Christian’ here is our approach to understand and analyse the
           phenomenon of terrorism, and much more to search for ways of
           ‘rooting out’ terrorism, taking guidance and inspiration from Judeo-
           Christian scriptures, experience, theology and praxis.

              We search for answers to the nagging questions arising from the
           occurrence of terrorist action. We look for inspiration and guidance
           as to what we should do, and how we should go about doing it to
           eradicate the menace of terror in our world from whatever sources it
           comes. It is a common search with all ‘people of goodwill’ leading to
           common praxis

      In this regard, the church has to also join its hands with people of good will.
The responses to the global terrorism have emerged not only from religious leaders

   “A Just Peace is more Sensible than Militarism” The Christian Century, March, 1, 2002,
available from…/article.jhtml/ A Just Peace is more Sensible
than Militarism.
   John Fernandes, “A Christian Response to Terrorism,” Dhyana: Journal of Religion and
Spirituality, 1 (April 2003): 71.
but also from different organizations as well as eminent personalities worldwide.
They are an inspiration to us and they speak for themselves:
     a) “… the soundest strategy, that we can pursue today, consists of perseverance,
        of patience, of resolve and will, of reinvigorating the moral culture of the free
        world and about being clear about the true nature of the challenges of terrorism
        that the civilized world faces.” (From the verbatim record of sir Tej Bahadur
        Sapru Lecture on “Reflections: 11 September 2001 and After” delivered by
        Shri Jaswant Singh, Minister for External Affairs, 17 October 2001).28
     b) “… it is necessary that we bear in mind that no religion preaches terrorism. The
        fringe elements of society, which seek to cloak terrorism in a religious garb, do
        grave injustice to both their faith and its followers. Our revulsion against their
        barbaric acts should not prejudice us against the innocent people who practice
        the religion, for which the terrorists claim to act. If this happens, we would
        only be furthering the terrorists‟ agenda of fermenting hatred and division in
        society along communal lines.” (The Indian Prime Minister‟s Address to the
        Nation, 14 September 2001).29
     c) “Terrorism is not a Christian, Buddhist, Jewish or Muslim belief. It is to be
        condemned no matter who the perpetrator, be it an individual, a group or a
        state. … In essence, therefore, to tackle the issue of terrorism in its entirety, we
        need to follow a three pronged strategy of going for individual terrorists,
        moving against terrorist organizations and addressing disputes around the
        world in a just manner.” (Address by the President of Pakistan, General Pervez
        Musharraf at the Fifty-Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly,
        10 November 2001).30
     d) “Terrorism threatens every society. As the world takes action against it, we
        have all been reminded of the need to address the conditions that permit the
        growth of such hatred and depravity. We must confront violence, bigotry and
        hatred even more resolutely. The United Nations‟ work must continue as we
        address the ills of conflict, ignorance, poverty and disease. Doing so will not
        remove every source of hatred or prevent every act of violence. There are those
        who will hate and who will kill even if every injustice is ended. But if the
        world can show that it will carry on, that it will preserve in creating a stronger,

   K.R. Gupta, ed., International Terrorism: Responses of India, Pakistan and the United States,
(New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, 2002), 38.
   K.R. Gupta, ed., International Terrorism: Responses, 121.
   K.R. Gupta, ed., International Terrorism: Responses, 172-173.
        more just, more benevolent and more genuine international community across
        all lines of religion and race, then terrorism will have failed.” (Fighting
        Terrorism on a Global Front by Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General of the
        United Nations, 21 September 2001.)31
     e) “Terrorism is based on the persistent and deliberate violation of fundamental
        human rights. With bullets and bombs – and now with hijacked airplanes –
        terrorists deny the dignity of human life. Terrorism preys particularly on
        cultures and communities that practice openness and tolerance. Their targeting
        of innocent civilians mocks the efforts of those who seek to live together in
        peace … The best long-term deterrent to terrorism – obviously – is the spread
        of our principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for
        human life. the more that spreads around the globe, the safer we all will be.”
        (Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Remarks to the United Nations General
        Assembly Special Session on Terrorism, 1 October 2001.)32

9 Conclusion
       The magnitude of the trauma sustained by the victims of any terrorist attack is
unexplainable. But they are the last and the least to receive any attention in the event
of an attack. The communications and intelligence systems tend to be busy with laws
enforcement. But this is not enough. What is needed is to develop a comprehensive
system of response. The feeling of helplessness and rejection causes injury to the
victims. In such situations, “victims of terrorism require much reassurance, comfort, a
willingness to listen and much support, not only from law enforcement and
emergency personnel, but from the entire criminal system, friends, family, the
community and the society as a whole.”33 Terrorism is a degrading and dehumanising
attack on the society as well as individuals. It is nothing but the destruction of the
self-esteem of a community. It affects the whole system. The Church needs to be with
the governments in developing effective strategies for counteracting terrorism and
with the victims to assist them to overcome the trauma of terror.
      In a colloquium related to world peace, held in Paris from 8-10 February 1989
organised by Goethe - Institute, Paris and UNESCO, Hans Küng in his core paper

   K.R. Gupta, ed., International Terrorism: World Viewpoints, (New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and
Distributors, 2002), 548.
   K.R. Gupta, ed., International Terrorism: World Viewpoints, 562-564.
   L. R. Reddy, The Worst of Global Terrorism, (New Delhi: A. P. H. Publishing Corporation,
2002), 101.
had said that it was impossible to have world peace without religious peace. He had
pointed out that,
     1. Religions in the course of their history have brought not only peace but also
        strife because of fanaticism.
     2. Fanaticism is connected to the questions of truth. Every religion considering
        itself true shuts out or ignores others.
     3. A conversation between the religions on the question of truth is promising if
        every religion is ready to exercise self - criticism.
     4. Every religion has its own criterion of judging what is right and wrong but
        going beyond this internal criterion could it not be possible to apply some
        external ecumenical criterion to be applied to very religion? Based on this he
        proposed a humanum. That meant that only religions which promote humanity
        could be true and good religions.34
       The mission of the church, therefore, is to use the language of compassionate
love of Christ. Jesus‟ message has always been that God is love. He fed the hungry,
clothed the naked, and comforted those who were mourning. In moments of crises he
stayed with the people. Where is the Church when terror strikes the innocent people?
The Church, the leaders of the community as well as the followers of Christ must rise
to the vocation. No doubt the church too will be in shock and grief in such moments.
It is essential to overcome such kind of grief and anger so that the church is in
apposition to cater for those who are in grief and pain.
       Let me conclude using the words of Pope John Paul II, “Let there be an end to
the chain of hatred and terrorism, which threatens the orderly development of human
family. May God grant that we be free from peril of a tragic clash between cultures
and religions. May faith and love of God make the followers of every religion
courageous builders of understanding and forgiveness, patient weavers of a fruitful
inter-religious dialogue, capable of inaugurating a new era of justice and peace.”35

  K. J. Kuschel, “World Religions, Human Rights and Humanum,” Concilium 209 (1990): 97-99.
  “War on Terrorism Unjustifiable Say Some Catholic Leaders” The Christian Century, January 7,
2002, available from…/article.jhtml/War on Terrorism

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