Following the news that the Government has apologized for endorsing a lesson plan which asked students to think themselves into the position of suicide bombers, Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley said:
“It is a shame that the Government appears to be distancing itself from exactly the kind of initiative with which children, and indeed many others, need to engage.
“Conversation should not be confused with consent. It easy to pontificate on the 'causes' of events like the London bombings, but it is much more difficult to face up to the complex intertwining of factors which are behind them. But this is what needs to happen, if we are to develop a generation of people who effectively address and respond to terror.
“We need a generation that can understand what motivates 'the other'. They need to appreciate how the actions of Western governments, in what is seen to be the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the denial of justice to the Palestinians, and support for autocracies across the Middle East for many years, are major sources of discontent for a large number of people. They need to understand how this has helped breed the anger that in turn produces an unaccountable minority willing to use terror tactics. They must also gain an understanding of the undeniably religious dimension of terror, albeit of a variety not held by the overwhelming majority of religious people around the world.
“In 2005, Ekklesia urged a more honest, open and rigorous conversation about the roots of terror. It highlighted that the role of individuals and civil society as well as religious mediators and governments, is of crucial importance in facing insurgency and terror. The question remains how the government is going to pursue such a strategy, if retreats from initiatives which will attempt to do this. It still clearly needs to move beyond the politics of fear”
Following the London bombings in 2005, Ekklesia produced a paper entitled: “Beyond the politics of fear” suggesting that initiatives which increased understanding amongst all parts of society about what motivates suicide bombers, and those who support them, was vital to addressing terrorism. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/research/090705londonbombings