We offer to our friends and fellows in London and Nigeria our sympathies as religious extremism has robbed the world of more innocent victims. At least four people are dead including the attacker and at least 20 are injured after a car deliberately struck pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. In Nigeria, 5 suicide bombers targetted a refugee camp that housed people fleeing the violence of Boko Haram, killing 4 and injuring 18 more innocents. There is obviously no justification for taking the lives of innocent people.
Although religious extremism isn’t the sole source of hateful ideological terrorism, it has been used as a successful tool to rob its victims and even its adherents of their humanity. Islamic extremists use violent scriptures (Not that there aren’t also violent scriptures in other Abrahamic religions) in their sacred texts to inculcate hatred. To be fair, these same texts also have scriptures exhorting nonviolence while also advocating unjustified violence. Like the cliched Biblical example of turning the other cheek while at the same time reveling in violence like this less often repeated Psalm:
Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
Some religious adherents ignore the exhortations to violence against innocents in Abrahamic texts. Others are indoctrinated with them to not feel basic empathy for a fellow human being. Religious extremists are fed a steady diet of hate, making the monstrous acts of today possible. This hatred is integral to an extremist’s religious identity. An identity that robs its innocent victims of their basic humanity and permits terrorizing them.
Still, there is no making sense of the senseless.