For this month’s non-IA requirement, I attended the “Terrorism and the Middle East” debate in Jennings hall. Because I am an International Studies major, I thought this talk would cover extremely prevalent and important topics of discussion. My specialization is Security and Intelligence, so not only was this debate interesting, but also provided necessary knowledge. On the panel was an OSU faculty member, Dr. Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute studying Arab Politics and terrorism, and Dr. Edward Crenshaw, an associate professor at Ohio State.
The first topic mentioned was radical Islam. Dr. Rubin read some verses of the Quran which had violent undertones, and explained how these verses can be misinterpreted by terrorist groups who misconstrue the real meanings. When I went to Turkey this past summer, I was fortunate enough to meet an Imam and ask him questions through a translator. One of the questions I asked was “Why do only women cover themselves with headscarves, and why are women the only ones who must cover their legs in mosque?” The Imam’s response was “because this is what is written in the Quran.” From this, I realized for faith, in any religion, many followers do not question the scriptures at all, and take the “guidelines” in their most literal sense.
Along with Islam, illiteracy and poverty contribute greatly to terrorism. In societies where these illiteracy rates are high, there are no resources for young children to progress socially or education wise. Because of this, terrorist groups form around a common belief, which makes them feel empowered. Often times, terrorist leaders or organizers study their religion in depth, and use this to their advantage when “recruiting” younger men.
Terrorist attacks have increased all across the globe because more extremists have been immigrating to the United States in groups. When this happens, extreme views are shared amongst a group of people with the same intentions. There were significantly fewer terrorist attacks in the late nineties because immigrants with extreme views were more spread out through the United States. Because of this and the lack of fast technology, ideas were not shared as quickly and often. With current immigration policies, the US should integrate immigrants into the current population to decrease the likeliness of terrorist attacks on US soil.
All in all, this event was extremely informative and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in global or current events. I believe it is crucial to understand how different countries interact, and how these interactions affect migration patterns on a global scale. The speakers were very well versed in their fields, so it made the event even more impactful. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to hear such educated speakers!