- What are some of the characteristics that distinguish religious terrorism from secular terrorism?
Characterizing terrorism, one should accept the fact that that there are its different kinds with religious terrorism being one of the strongest in recent years. In this respect, it is critical to understand the factors that distinguish religious terrorism from its secular counterpart. First, the supporters of religious terrorism have a strong ideology that is based on faith in God as a main justifier of the committed violent action. For example, the members of ISIS follow a specific religious code of conduct where the Prophet is their role model that gives an example of the deeds the terrorists implement. Furthermore, another critical indicator is that religious groups such as ISIS and its supporters aim at creating a state that is governed by a religious code, which is why it has a medieval religious nature. As a result, religion enters the everyday life of terrorists guiding them in all their actions including violence. For instance, the suicide pilots responsible for hijacking planes that crashed into Twin-Towers at 9/11 had thorough printed instructions of their casual activities many of which had reference to God’s support. Therefore, the founders of religious terroristic groups use religious dogmas for triggering violence and having the members of their movements as puppet-believers committing any action they want.
- Does religion encourage violence among its followers?
It may seem that religion has nothing similar with violence and pursues the achievement of a greater good and agreement between people. However, many religious texts have parts where the prophets or other personalities use violence or provide specific comments about it. As a result, such parts of the holy scripts, such as Quran, require accurate analysis and adequate explanation by skilful religious specialists given to the believers. At the same time, it gives a possibility for terroristic leaders to create a wrongful religious basis that initiates a new, aggressive and violent religious group. For instance, in the instruction book discovered among the papers of a Muslim suicide-pilot of United Airlines Flight 93 there were words “If God grants any one of you a slaughter, you should perform it... Do not disagree ..., but listen and obey”. Another example is the words of the leader of a religious movement of Sikh stating “unless you are prepared to die ... you cannot be free... ” and providing sense to violence against other religious groups. The illustration of the Sikh religious group in India is also notable because it is full of violent symbols and ideas making them a core of this religion. Therefore, as it is demonstrated by the examples, religion can encourage violence among the followers not only in the case of misinterpretation, but by its dogmas.
- Does terrorism flourish because of the media?
Modern terrorism has been influenced by the media because of its widespread images of violence and the shock stimuli. Scholars state that before the attacks of 9/11 different media sources and Hollywood worshiped violence of action, horror and catastrophe films provoking shock of the public. As a result, terrorists understood that it is possible to actualize some of the situations in the enlisted films and use them as a means of terroristic influence. A controversial irony of this situation is that the images of the films were brought to reality by those, who loathe America’s pop culture. Another aspect of this issue is the media coverage of the terroristic attacks because as terrorists observe the impact of their violence they understand that they succeed in their acts. Similarly, terrorists may even use the information from the media for creating the plans of their attacks. For instance, in the case the media shows the residence of the President in detail, a potential terrorist would have a plan of the facility. Therefore, it is critical to control the media in order to reduce the terroristic threat.
- What, if any, restrictions would you place on media coverage of terrorism?
It is necessary to introduce a range of measures regulating media reports of the terroristic acts. Among them should be prohibition for depicting the victims of the attacks and the sounds of the people’s reaction, and prohibition of screening governmental facilities and such structures and airports and train stations. These measures would reduce the feedback that allows the terrorists assuring that their actions are successful and initiating other attacks. Moreover, it is important to control the media for such content that propagates terrorism or admires it, or increases its respectability or legitimacy. This restriction would allow restraining the policy of the terroristic leaders directed towards drafting new recruits. Similarly, it is necessary to control the Internet because there were cases when terrorists spreader their information, propagated terrorism and initiated draft to their organizations online. It is evident that the Internet has become a strategic tool of terrorists promoting religious terrorism and initiating cyber-terrorism acts, which is why this media requires strict control. One of the examples of progress in this direction is termination of social network accounts of terrorists and their supporters.
- Could President Carter have avoided the long hostage-crisis in Iran?
First, one has to note that the situation with the hostage-crisis in Iran was extremely difficult for President Carter because he was at the center of attention of the world’s media. The experts claim that he was bombarded by messages from different media making him the key figure of the situation and creating a case when almost any his deed might have been criticized. Moreover, he was responsible for his personal reputation and “domestic authority and international prestige”, which led to the fact that his decisions were delayed. The reason for such delay was completely logical because President Carter attempted to produce balanced and thoroughly weighted opinion for saving the enlisted authorities. Therefore, in the case the media had restricted access to the details of this case Carter’s solutions could have been more rapid.
- What were the similarities and differences between President Reagan's and President Carter’s approaches to terrorism?
As one may understand from the analysis of the historical sources, both President Reagan and President Carter had almost similar approaches to terrorism. The similarities of their approaches are more vivid in the case one addresses their attitude towards the hostages. Thus, both presidents felt sympathetic to victims of terrorism and took the fact of hostage-capturing too personally. In his memoir, Carter states that he was obsessed by the idea of the American hostages; similarly, President Regan noted that he felt an intense compassion for the hostages in Iran. As a result, their approach to hostage situations was similar as they wanted to release them safe as soon as possible. As a consequence, bot of them experienced deep stress that affected their decisions and may even done worse restraining the production of adequate solutions for hostage-crises.
- How should a nation’s leader handle terrorism crises?
To my mind, the nation’s leader should deliver the responsibility for handling terrorism crises to skillful specialists and enclose the detailed access to the details of such cases to the media. The reason for this is that the figure of the President is based on the political assumptions whereas terrorism crises require the involvement of specialists in crisis management and anti-terrorism. However, in the case the President shares the duty of handling such crisis, he or she should encourage dissent among advisers, analyze the effects of the situation and the outcomes of different solutions. Moreover, the President should not treat any hostage situation or a terroristic threat personally because of the possible emotional breakdown as a consequence of stress overload that would negatively affect decision-making processes. Lastly, the media representatives should be present only at special conferences that give the basic information about the conflict restraining the impacts of journalists to expose the details of such cases.