Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Suicide Attack: Assessing the Role of Culture and Religion

Suicide terrorism is one of the phenomena that the Afghan people in general and those who live in Kabul in specific face it as a common war issue in the country. Kabul witnessed another suicide attack on Kabul intercontinental Hotel, today, 21 Jan. Suicide bombing and attacks is now a political and strategic problem in our society. Suicide terrorism requires us to analysis this phenomena in a comprehensive manner in order to find its root causes and address them duly.
One of the issues that everyone may agree about it is; the almost epidemic-like increase of suicide attacks over the last decade in our country, especially, past 6 years. Today, Taliban, ISIL and other terrorist organizations rely heavily on suicide attacks to achieve major political goals with the least cost, and according to the Pape, “the attacks are growing in both tempo and location”.
Suicide terrorism maybe political or transcendental. And the typical Afghan suicide terrorism is religious. They are motivated basically by the effectiveness of suicide bombing as a military strategy, need to national and personal humiliation and hatred of The Westerns and their national allies.
Means of Suicide terrorism
According to Crenshaw, “technological improvements in explosive devices alongside the growing ease of access to technological information on the Internet are main major factors in the increased use of suicide bombing in terror attacks”. The means in Afghanistan both are provided by local and neighboring countries to their specific agents to continue the proxy war in the country. Since the terrorist groups have high illegal incomes, they easily can access to these means through the local and international markets.
Cultural and Religious Factors
Culture and religion are the two strong factors that can motivate and direct the people to suicide. The research shows that they also influence concepts and expectations of life after death as well. According to Durkheim (1898/1951), the wide differences in suicide rates across countries are probably explained at least by cultural and religious differences.
Although, Islam promises life after death, it condemns suicide as a means of achieving it. Islam permits a person to kill him only when doing so that prevents from committing a murder, performing incest or worshiping a false god. In Islam, the preservation of life, supersedes all other religious and social dicta and even preserving the life of a person has been considered as equal to preserving the life of the whole humanity. Persons who commit suicide for other than permitted reasons are maligned; they may be buried only outside the cemetery.
For a true Muslim, using suicide is not a method of attaining goals. They draw a line between suicide and martyrdom in a way that precludes suicide bombing. Nonetheless, I would like to clear it that Islam has strictly forbidden suicide. The Shiite survival code (Taqiyya) adheres strongly to the preservation of life.
How, then, the suicide terrorists explain suicide bombing?
False Information, the terrorist organizations provide false information to their affiliates; they put all blames on the shoulders of their enemies and claim they are only the victims of the war. For, example the Afghan Taliban group claims that, ‘The war has been imposed on them”. And they just defend the Islamic Emirate and the people of Afghanistan against the foreign invaders.
Misusing Jihad, as a self defense strategy
Islam has allowed the Muslims, to defend themselves and their territories if attacked by the enemies. Here, the role of religion in justification of suicide is very paramount; because religion as the framework of action and culture as the operational zing apparatus of the Islamic teaching can be vilely misused by the terrorist groups to motivate the Muslims to join their overall Jihad campaign including the suicide terrorism. According to the Jihad Strategy of the terrorist groups, ‘Self Defense’, is the core object of their war and ‘Jihad, is the strategic apparatus that can realize this goal. To motivate enough the Muslims, especially those with very little education and a superficial knowledge of Islamic teaching, they target to attract the conservative Muslims, as the most vulnerable victims of their war campaign. They also, misuse some of the Holy Quran verses, as if the other religions followers, especially the Jews and Christians, are the arch enemies of the Muslims which the United States of America and Israel symbolizes them, as they claim. Using this tactic, they have succeeded to attract the vulnerable segments of the society and have used the most conservative ones as the most strategic tools of their wear; the suicide bombers, with few costs and huge achievements.

To sum it up, suicide bombing is increasing used as strategic tool by the terrorist groups to achieve their goals. Although, suicide is not allowed in Islam, the terrorist groups have successfully misused ‘Jihad’, the Self Defense, as justification tool to deceive the consecrate members of the society to act as their strategic tool against their western and pro western allies in Islamic countries, including Afghanistan.