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Today in Terrorism

Taliban killing of church workers (July 19, 2007)

On this day in 2007, the Taliban kidnapped 23 South Korean evangelical Christians in 2007, killing two before releasing the rest in a $20 ransom deal with Seoul.

Yet again another terrorist attack where religion A kills members of religion B.

I’ve said it before and I am forced to say it again. When it comes to religion there are those who are very intolerant of anything that does not rigourously default to their beliefs. Most of these are pain-in-the-ass idiots who love to lord it over everybody else. A small number will go to the nth degree and use violence to impose their views.

Religious terrorists are obviously from that latter category. They simply cannot tolerate any views within their faith that do not 100% coincide with their own. It truly is ‘my way or the highway’. Or as Bernard Lewis put it so well ‘I’m right, you’re wrong, go to hell’.

The litany of religious terrorist groups is a long one. If you are interested in a non-academic survey, check out my latest book (2019): When Religion Kills: How Extremists Justify Violence Through Faith. The sad truth is that there is no shortage of religious extremists.

The Taliban really hate other religions

For most, however, it is Islamist terrorists who appear to dominate this scourge – in many ways that is accurate, at least over the past 40 years or so. Al Qaeda (AQ), Islamic State (ISIS), Al Shabaab, Boko Haram…the list is, alas, a long one. And, despite statements to the contrary by self-styled ‘experts’, this bunch is not going away any time soon. I fear I will be writing columns and recording podcasts for years to come.

One of the more brutal groups – and that IS saying something! – is the Taliban in Afghanistan. These terrorists have been around for a quarter century and continue to kill and maim Afghans – military as well as civilians (including women and children) – on a daily basis. That the US under President Trump is engaged in peace talks with these extremists makes a mockery of the phrase ‘peace talks’.

True to form, the Taliban hate other religions. Today’s featured attack is a good example. On this day in 2007 Taliban terrorists were behind the kidnapping of 23 South Korean missionaries, and killed two, leaving their bloodied bodies by the roadside. Two female hostages claimed to have been repeatedly raped by their captors. The rest were eventually released.

Interestingly, the freed captives faced criticism back in Seoul for going to Afghanistan in the first place. Their government was believed to have paid a $20 million ransom for their release: yes, the South Korean regime gave $20 million to terrorists.

How much national resources have been spent on these 23 crazy people? Proselytizing in an Islamic country? They prayed for their own death. I wonder why the government negotiated for their sake to begin with.

Captives faced criticism back in Seoul for going to Afghanistan in the first place.

This just goes to show that religious intolerance is not limited to the jihadis. Maybe John Lennon had a point after all:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Programme Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of five books on terrorism.

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