My penpal, Chinwei Wong, and I talked about the impact religion plays in terrorism especially in the Protestant/Catholic tension in Ireland and the Islam/Judaism tensiont in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Below are excerpts from our conversation about religion which carried on over numerous e-mails.

“How you think religion plays a part in terrorism?
I think the second question is especially interesting because in Ireland there was a lot of tension between the Protestants and the Catholics.”

“Religion is a huge part of the equation. I’m generalizing here, but I think religion blinds people from seeing logic and reason. Religion can be a tool employed by political entities to shape what the people believe. First of all to be motivated enough to be a suicide bomber against say, the US, you must first hate the US. I think manipulation of religious beliefs is the source of that hate. ”

“Since we were talking about reigion, what are your thoughts on the Israeli/Palestinean conflict? Do you think that also has a lot to do with religion?”

“Regarding the Israeli/Palestinean conflict, i’m sure religion must have had a part to play. I’m not really acquainted with the background of the conflict though so right now with the construction of the security wall going on, it seems like a struggle between two political entities, with Palestine at the obvious losing end. The idea of martyrs undoubtedly originated from religion. If i recall correctly, those people were fighting for their “promised land.””