Friday, July 15, 2005

Religion Can Be a Bitch

While watching the news on the July 7th London bombings, I saw a brief discussion on the methodology of the attack. The speaker stated that terrorist attacks are like theatrical events; the point is the intended emotional impact upon the audience. The number of deaths or injuries is not neccessarily important. After a few days of letting that stew in my brain, I decided that statement was inaccurate since terrorist groups may have vastly different goals. The Japanese religious group, Aum Shinrikyo, also known as Aum Supreme Truth is a good example. They are most famous for the March 20th, 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, 1, 2. The well-coordinated attack killed 12 and injured several thousand. In 1984, Shoko Asahara founded the religious organization later called Aum Shinrikyo. He drew his theology from Tibetan Buddhism, a deity called Shiva, some elements of Taoism, the Book of Revelations in the New Testament, the writings of Nostradamus, physicist Nicola Tesla's so-called death rays, and the science fiction Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. Asahara's sanity is questionable at best. Asahara MAY have begun as a sincere practioner of Buddhism, yoga, and meditation. Eventually, his group grew in size and wealth, attracting young and highly educated people recruited from some of the most elite Japanese universities. By 1989, though, Asahara's group had become a cult, requiring followers to turn over their personal savings, cut all ties with family members, and use various drugs to facilitate "proper" behavior. Kidnappings, assaults and threats against recruits and their families were also reported which led a lawyer, Tsutsumi Sakamoto, to work on lawsuits against the group. In November, 1989, members of Aum Shinrikyo murdered Sakamoto, his wife, and their one-year-old child. These first murders were precursors to the terrorist attacks that they believed would trigger Armageddon, a massive war that would kill almost every person on earth. Religious terrorists kill for a goal that is based upon their faith; political terrorists still deal within the real world. While Osama Bin Laden may wish to defeat the western industrialized nations, even he is not willing to risk total annihilation of the human race. Enough for tonight. Coming soon, how to explode a nuclear weapon if you have weapons grade uranium. Hint: it's easier than you think. Technorati tags: , , , , ,

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