Where Does the Hatred Come From?

A Somali-born teen plans to detonate a van full of explosives at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon. A young man from Nigeria puts explosives in his underwear to bring down an airplane full of innocent travelers.

It seems difficult to pick up a newspaper or log onto a news site these days without reading of such incidents. One is left to wonder where such hatred comes from.

If you only read the main stream news, you would be left to believe that all this hatred is aimed at Americans or Europeans, but this is not the case. Bombs are detonated at weddings or mosque ceremonies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and even in some sub-Saharan African countries, where no Westerners are present.

What causes young people who have their whole lives before them to hate so much that they will risk their own deaths to kill others? It’s too simplistic to say it’s because they are poor and we are rich; many of those who commit such acts come from middle class or well-to-do families. It cannot be entirely because of our support for Israel, or failure to bring peace to the Middle East; like a lot of geographically-challenged Americans, I think a lot of these young people would be hard pressed to find Israel or Palestine on a map, and have certainly never been there. There are some misguided folks who believe it is because they are Muslim, and their religion calls for such violence. I am not Muslim, and am no expert on religion, but I have read the Holy Koran, and nowhere do I find such commands. Yes, it is a rather strict and uncompromising religion, but then, so is the Southern Baptist faith. And besides, Timothy McVeigh was neither Muslim nor Middle Eastern, and look at what his hatred led him to do. No, I think the cause of this behavior is far more complex – and yet, simple at the same time. These poor unfortunate (yes, I feel sympathy for them) young people have been manipulated by others; people who are more than happy to send them out to die. What motivates someone to send a young person out to do untold damage, and often, die in the process? Alas, that is a question that I still wrestle with. If we ever find an answer – only if.