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An orange jumpsuit has become the symbol of gory terrorism today. A brave cartoon is blasphemy. A skull cap is a mark of murder. A Muslim name is an invitation for intolerance.

Ironically, religion created by human beings, destroys them today. Values of love, sharing and enlightenment have been perverted into hatred, jealousy and ignorance. We holler for justice and initiate campaigns for tolerance and acceptance on social networking sites, and paradoxically refuse to adopt these values ourselves. Is a morphed understanding of religion the reason behind growing extremism? Yes, partly.

Since the beginning of human civilization, money and power have driven us. The desire to control, dominate and expand, all in the name of progress and development has motivated us in all our pursuits till date.

From imperialism and colonialism, we have reached a uni-polar world exploiting territories for natural resources. For the world powers today, the world is an oyster and every pearl residing in the oil-fields of developing countries is theirs.

In the midst of economic and political imbalance, clear lines of division have demarcated the world into the Global North and Global South. This inequity has forced abject poverty and powerlessness onto millions. Give them a feeble disguise in the name of religion and kaboom-you have terrorism on your platter. What they can’t obtain by merit, they decide to take by force.

Jihad, erringly translated as religious war, is terror plain and simple. ‘As -Salaamu-alaykum’ or ‘peace be upon you’ uttered by every terrorist in the ISIS Caliphate mourns its philosophy of bloodshed.

The ideal society, according to the Qur’an is Dar as-Salam, literally, “the house of peace” of which it intones: And Allah invites to the ‘abode of peace’ and guides whom He pleases into the right path. What a joke.

We have slipped back to the time of brutal force and senseless action of the Crusades. Man, inspired by the idea of advancement, is back at square one. Religion is merely a garb for political and economic greed. Losing a few million lives is just a part of this bargain.

The growing number of non-believers and atheists worldwide is not surprising. However, religion per se isn’t wrong. Rather, the misinterpretation and distortion of religious principles essentially that of realizing the innate human potential for goodness, leads to wars and terror.  A few perverted minds have created a devil’s workshop in the Middle East, and many of their attacks are a result of our activities. How? You ask.

Well, we have internalized the belief of superiority of our own religion, we organise high decibel directionless debates, we claim to love our brethren but refuse to shield them during riots, we turn up the volume of speakers blaring religious music to muffle the sounds of other religions and embody religion in dress and show-off but not in spirit.

We argue furiously and highlight the merits of our own religions, failing to realize that the principles are the same. We claim to respect, we don’t even tolerate. And that is the tragedy of humans. There is nothing ‘human’ left in them.

Do beheadings and terror attacks make us realize our follies? We know the answer and push it past the recesses of our useless brains and continue. It’s a travesty of all things we claim we stand for.

Thank you Mr. Donald Trump-you make us realize how hollow we are.

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