Empowering Immigrants with Purpose Defeats Terrorists

Immigrants and refugees throughout history have often endured “the humiliation of purposelessness” and have always sought respect. They have also often had ambivalent feelings towards the culture of the host country and felt anger at having to be there, all the time while enjoying the benefits of the host country.

For most, though, the goal was that “ladder” and once they found it, they did not step off and when they did it was to build a better life for their children who had their own different ladders to ascend.

True, not all immigrants and refugees found the ladder, and for some frustration and humiliation was too much and there was violence, sometimes directed against the host country or directed inwards against their own.

Never, however, did their quest for “pride and honor” result in wide-scale terror and warfare, whether against the host country or against the culture or civilization of the host country.

Growing into an adult and finding a place in the world is not easy for most people. It is not humiliation but the infection of religious ideology which turns the normal exigencies of adult development into a religious/narcissistic insult that must be avenged.

To counter that ideology, school curricula, from elementary school onward, need to include education about cults, the dangers of absolutist ideology and the logical reasoning skills to question authoritarian solutions to social problems.

Schools also need to prepare students for the fact that life can be tough; they need to be taught good assertiveness skills, good communication, the ability to handle difficult people, and tolerance.

Finally, we need to wake up to the fact that intelligence per se, does not decrease susceptibility to violent religious or political indoctrination. Rational thought and violent fanaticism occupy different parts of the human brain.

Unless we teach each student the skills to avoid falling prey to these philosophical cancers, they may hear only the violent and primitive call of the fanatic; a call that evokes their animal heredity, not the higher level brain functions which elevate our species to achieve introspection and cooperation.

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Youssra Bukar

Youssra is a product manager for BeautyGuide.com.my and is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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