A terrorist proudly displaying his Koran
When people think of terrorist they immediately think about Muslims and Islam but they fail to realize that it's not all about the religion, it's about nationalism as well. A search in Bing will reveal three definitions for nationalism but I will only use one that serves the purpose of this post.
excessive devotion to nation: excessive or fanatical devotion to a nation and its interests, often associated with a belief that one country is superior to all others http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+nationalism&qpvt=nationalism+defined&FORM=DTPDIA
The last part of that definition is important because it points out a very specific point that I would like to make. What gives the country a belief that they are superior to all others? The answer is quite simple: religion. At the foundation of ones religious beliefs is the idea that god has chosen your nation as a people and selected them to be his representatives on earth.
The middle east can clearly be defined as a theocracy, where its laws are intertwined with the beliefs of their religion of choice. By subjugating women, stoning idolaters, killing infidels, etc. they are led to believe that they are carrying out their gods will.
But Muslims are not the only ones that have participated in acts of terrorism. Here in the U.S. we have our own homegrown terrorists. They have resorted to bombing abortion clinics, murdering doctors who practiced abortions, etc. All of these acts of terrorism find their root cause in religious beliefs taken to the extreme. If you add a dash of extreme patriotism then you have the perfect formula for a creating a terrorist.
Our nations Constitution emphasizes the separation of church and state, yet the church is everywhere to be found in our government. Our currency both coins and bills have the inscription 'In God We Trust' our national Pledge of Allegiance contains the words 'one nation under God' and our court rooms also have the 'In God We Trust' inscription and made witnesses in a case swear to tell the truth with their hand on a bible and the words "so help me God."
In this country there were states that made it unlawful to run for any public office unless you professed a belief in the national god. Today's politicians like to make sure that the nation knows that they are "god fearing men/women." The media shows them coming out of church services etc. to help boost their image in the public eye. I'm pretty sure that an openly atheist politician wont get too far in the polls. Simply because like it or not the Christians as a whole are the majority vote.
Religious extremists use their beliefs and ideals as a catalyst and seek to impose them on the rest of society. Some are very outspoken about it while others use more subversive means Christians for instance seek to infiltrate government from within in order to be able to have a say as far as our countries legislation is concerned. They oppose abortion not because they personally oppose it but because they believe that their god is the giver of life, and therefore to have an abortion is a form of rebelling against god.
Religious extremism in all its forms is dangerous to us all. A religious fanatic doesn't think along the lines about what's best for our society as a whole or his or her community. Every decision they make is tainted by religious prejudice and ultimately has some ulterior motive that will favor their ideals.