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The Role of Religion in Terrorism and IdentityResearch Paper

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Radicalization and self-identity are some of the key terms related to what is normally happening in the world today: terrorism. Radicalization is blamed for the rising occurrences of terrorism cases around the like the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Al Shabaab in East Africa, and the jihadist's movements in the various Islamic States in Lebanon and Syria. They have caused structured and adverse terrorism in various parts of the world. Borum (2011) mentions the different interpretations among scholars and even psychological and sociological experts while trying to explore the whole concept of terrorism in the world (Hossain, 2008).

The occurrence of the recent attacks in Paris, Beirut, Kenya, Nigeria, Canada, among others, all raise many questions on the turn that humanity is taking as regards life. What does happen to individuals to make them engage in such activities? What has lacked in the society or what is the factor behind the evolution of this behavior among the people? For how long will the people go "mad" and start killing others like animals? All these questions are explained behind certain adherences to the religion, which spans sociological and psychological changes among the people, thereby resulting in the present understanding of radicalization. Nevertheless, radicalization does not take place without the influence on the person, which is the identity Borum (2011) suggests that the world changes with the attachments that people absorb into their lives. The changes and transformations that take place among the people are essential and influential in influencing the change of attitude, intentions, among other attributes in people (Borum, 2011).

This study analyzes the concept of radicalization and self-identity especially on origin, understanding, the present state, and the future possibilities associated with radicalization and the way human self-identities will be tied to the happenings in the world. The study has explored the processes of identity formation besides understanding the concept of identity and self-identity. The theories that inform the process of identity formation have also been explored together with the factors essential and crucial in influencing the formation of identities in people. Much of the study has also endeavored to explore the role that religion plays in the process of identity formation. The concept of religion concerning identity has also been explored (Hossain, 2008).

The concepts of identity, identity formation, and the influences of religion have then been brought together to explore the concept of terrorism, defining out who is a terrorist. New forms of terrorism that have emerged in the world have been studied, with special reference given to those that have taken place in the middle east and other parts of the world like that of the 9/11 in the U.S. More specification has been given to the study of the rise of ISIL and the process of radicalization in the Middle East, specifically Lebanon and other related regions. Finally, the study has summed up the theme with an analysis of the cases of adjudication that have been done in the U.S., explaining how the identity transformation worked about these cases (Hossain, 2008).

Define clearly the concept 'identity.'

The Oxford English Dictionary defines identity as 'the characteristic determining who or what a person or thing is.' This definition is also further appraised by the understanding that identity refers to a collection or sum of the characteristics that define a person or a thing (Liles, 2012). Therefore, identity is what defines a person. The characteristics used to define a person include those that are physically felt, psychologically derived, mentally studied and realized, and those that come from the synthesis of what a person does or how he does things in life. For instance, a soldier is identified, or his identified is realized and understood through attributes like being disciplined, hardworking, persevering, skillful, accurate, and strong, among others. A terrorist would be identified by the attributes of being selfish, merciless, inhuman, and inconsiderate, among other attributes (Hossain, 2008).

The identity of a person considers not one or two things; rather, it considers some things that inform about everything on a person or a thing. The specific activities determined by a person are the actions. The most notable are the actions, which are informed psychologically by the inherent cognitive values in a person (Hossain, 2008). From these attributes, a person can be understood and explained regarding the impulsive gestures, the thoughts, the actions, and the feelings. It is from the concept of identity that one will be able to understand that people are sometimes influenced in one way or another, through their identities, to engage in extremism from the ideologies that impart them into their lives hence forming extremist identities. Hossain (2008) indicates that it is possible for a person to be involved in anything depending on the nature of the identity that has been developed and activated in a person. He identifies some influences associated with the formation of identity, the effects of different identities, and the development or extremist identities. Of most importance from this study is the fact that identity is a driving force in the life of a person. It is from the nature of the identity and its attributes that one can formulate the behaviors, actions, and even the feelings of a person (Smith, 2008).

Keaton and Gearhart (2013) in his research indicates that identity is something that no one is born with, rather, it is developed. The different developmental processes that a person undergoes in the process of growth and development can influence an inherent identity. Identity is a factor of many things, and becomes a force influencing the decisions, actions, and feelings of a person when it has developed. Keaton and Gearhart (2013) further say that identity is influenced by the external and the internal factors, but its decisiveness is personal. In most cases, identity has been referred as 'personal identity' and not just identity. The identity associated with terrorism and radicalization is derived from the personal identity that has been influenced by some factors, most of which are external. Identity evolves through the course of life (Keaton & Gearhart, 2013).

Some of the aspects of identity are out of control in a person while others are intentional and can be controlled amicably. The identity is demonstrated through some factors like how a person dresses, responds to the pressures of the society, and how a person views and interacts with people. Identity influences a person to take life as a sanctified thing, influences a person to perceive life as nothing, and can be terminated with ease. The religious philosophy influences the belief system in a person. Such a belief system is initiated by the actions of a person based on the nature of decisions that have been taken (Keaton & Gearhart, 2013)

Mention Identity Formation Process

Identity can be viewed from different perspectives. These perspectives are informed by the mechanisms that contribute or cause the formation of the different and distinct personal identities in people. They are the discourses under which identities are formed and perpetuated in the society (Identity and Pluralism: Ethnicity, Religion, and Values, 2008). They include cultural identities, ethnic identities, national identities, religious identities, cultural identities, among others. Cultures vary depending on the nature of people within a region around the globe. Culture is a way of people in a certain place at a particular time and with a certain realm of the environment. Culture has a great power to influence the identity of a person. For instance, the culture of the people of the Middle East makes men in this region to treat women as 'nothing.' Culture belongs to a group of people and transmitted from one generation to another. Thus, it has to be transmitted in through different channels like encrypting it in the identity of the people, education, among others. On the other hand, a religious identity refers to a collection of beliefs together with rituals and practices that have been made intrinsic in a person, like adhering to codes of beliefs that inform the decisions and intentions of everyday life (Smith, 2008).

Of much significance, with relevance to the topic under study, are the religious identities, and their significance in the lives of the people. The religious identities touch on the history, the pieces of writings in the form of teachings, the mythology, the mystic experiences, and the traditions of the people. All these have the innate power to influence the identity of a person, and hence can make a person make rational and even irrational decisions leading to actions. Other forms of identities, which are categorical and influential in the process of identity formation, include the national identity, like the identity of the people of France. These people mourned the deaths of the Paris attacks by offering flowers, candles, and many other such things to the death and the victims (Identity and Pluralism: Ethnicity, Religion, and Values, 2008).

Identity Formation Process

The process of formation of identity refers to the development of a person's distinct personality, perceived as an entity that will persist in a certain… [END OF PREVIEW]

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