Religion, Terror and Violence: Some Questions

Good thoughts.

Harnessing Chaos

Among the latest commentary following the Charlie Hebdo murders was a discussion on the BBC programme, Daily Politics (13/1/15, available on BBC iPlayer for a while). The discussion was billed as concerning ‘religion and terrorism’ and ‘religious extremism’. There was no expert in the field of religion and terrorism (or indeed, say, a French social historian) and it instead featured a sort of religious and non-religious liberal balance of Richard Dawkins (introduced ‘scientist and atheist’), Nabila Ramdani (introduced as a ‘French-born journalist…who is a Muslim’), and Giles Fraser (introduced as ‘an Anglican priest’, though, as the guest for the whole of the show, his role as priest-in-charge at St Mary’s Newington and Guardian columnist was noted). The segment opened with a montage of Islam, terror and violence and the debate was, fairly typically, about whether religion was inherently violent, whether Islam was at this time especially violent, whether the…

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