Religious revenge by terrorists needs to be curbed

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/24 20:28:40

The Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for recent terror attacks in Sri Lanka that killed more than 320 people and injured about 500 others. 

However, Sri Lankan authorities are investigating a local Islamist organization called National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ). The state minister of Defense, Ruwan Wijewardene, said the attack was in retaliation to the shooting massacre on mosques in New Zealand. 

Experts generally agree that it is difficult for local extremist groups in Sri Lanka to carry out such large scale devastating terrorist attacks, and suspect they have links with international terrorist organizations. The attacks resemble the modus operandi of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Sri Lanka and New Zealand are separated by a huge distance, and there is no record of hostility between the countries. However, the two attacks have linked the disparate nations with religious hatred created by extremists. Such an instance is unprecedented.  Countries need to be aware of the toxic effects of this trend on religious relations. Terrorists clearly want to "mobilize the masses" with attacks labeled "religious revenge", to create communal divides, and find ways to sow chaos and instability. The globalization of religious sentiment has become one of the more prominent ideological phenomena. When a conflict over religion occurs in one place, the followers of the religion in other areas tend to get involved through the spread of public opinion and other means. In addition, there may be many aspects to a dispute, but the religious aspect gets overblown by public opinion. In our view, terrorist attacks in New Zealand or Sri Lanka should not be labeled "religious conflicts". These are terrorist attacks launched by extremists. Governments around the world should respond urgently to prevent the spread of religious hatred. 

However, due to the double standards adopted by the US and other Western countries on terrorism, the global unity around counter-terrorism has been greatly weakened. It is regrettable that there are still differences and disputes over counter-terrorism. 

Therefore, counter-terrorism cooperation is important, and it is equally important for sovereign states to prevent the infiltration of extremism in a country. Extremism will change in form and produce unique ways of harming every country. But, the consequences of destroying the legal order and endangering public security are similar. 

That it will be easier for extremists to foment religious hatred in the coming days is worrying. Some countries, including the West, may not be able to curb the practice. There is a high probability of new terrorist attack targeting believers; such a vicious event may spread panic among people and mislead the public about the nature of terrorism.

China has been the most powerful country in being able to keep out international extremism, and today that is especially our strength. China advocates the sinicization of various religions.

We must resolutely maintain the social and spiritual independence of Chinese society and thwart attempts by extremist groups to enter the country. No matter how chaotic the world is, we have to make sure that our landscape is good. 

This is an editorial of the Global Times Wednesday. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn 



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