Unless something is done, these terrorists will eventually gain access to weapons of mass destruction, placing millions of lives at risk. Governments are taking extraordinary actions to try and prevent terrorist attacks. Billions are spent on defense and Homeland Security, and yet not a penny is spent to address the cause of almost every conflict on earth religious extremism.
Terrorism looms like a black cloud on us every single day. The extremist, who exists in every religion, is the tail that wags the dog. When a Muslim kills himself and others in a cafe', or a Jew assassinates the Prime Minister, or a Christian bombs an abortion clinic, killing doctors and nurses, it's the same thing a perversion of the word of all of the religions. When one of these events occurs, the truly pious typically remain silent, while the name of their religion is sullied and degraded by these misguided acts.
The solution to terrorism, religious extremists and world conflicts is in our hands today. Governments cannot do it alone; they need the religious of the world to be active collaborators to eliminate this blight. It is time that we call upon the leaders of the world's religions to become loud and continuous allies in the battle against those who have risen up from within their own ranks to wage war on humanity, not leaving it up to governments alone to respond to the disastrous effects. Religious leaders must loudly condemn these violations of religious doctrine to their own members, to members of other religions, and to the secular public. It must be clearly known and understood that persons who have used the holy name of religion for violence and death are universally condemned by the religions whose name they have sullied and mocked. The Internet and email are powerful communication tools and should be used along with our traditional print media, radio and television, as well as billboards and leaflets.
It is not always easy to speak out. The fear of offending others or being misunderstood and misquoted in the media is great. The truly faithful leaders must not allow their fear of offending others to stand in the way of promoting the true universal religious message, which protects life and forbids murder and suicide. To be effective, this message must reach those within the religion and outside it, thus forging a unity among their own members, along with other religiously inspired persons and members of secular society, with the result that the zealots are cut off as the cancer that they are.
If government has a role, it is investigation and enforcement of existing laws. Terrorist operations are funded through fraudulent fundraising and organized crime, such as the drug trade. Governments can investigate the funding sources of terrorists and stop the fraudulent activity. Tragically, some of the funding for these destructive acts has come from well-intentioned persons who have given to various charities. Where laws are broken, the government has a role to track down and punish the offenders.
The misguided who are fooled into following false prophets can be reached with the truth, but will only accept that truth when it comes from their religious brethren, not from governments. Throughout history, religiously motivated violence has been tolerated by far too many of us, leading to far too many tragedies. For the first time in history, a new strategy that will work is feasible: Rally the forces of good, religious and secular alike, to come together to stop the violence created by rogue individuals who manipulate others into violence, while falsely using the name of religion simply to advance their own personal agendas.