Sunday, July 24, 2005

Terrorism: a perplexing ideology

Yesterday, terrorists launched a series of attacks in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resort town, killing at least 88 people. According to news reports, at least one of the attackers was a suicide bomber, who drove a car bomb into the front of a hotel.

The ideology that causes terrorists to create mass carnage of the type we saw in Egypt yesterday is perplexing. In particular, at least one of those terrorists was fanatical enough about it to take his own life in the process, but why?

There were a few foreign tourists killed in today's attack, but the vast majority of the people killed were local Egyptians: people whose only crime was to be working at a hotel, or shopping in the market when the terrorists struck.

In addition to the innocent lives lost, a major impact of these terrorist attacks will likely be felt in the Egyptian economy. The single biggest industry in Egypt is tourism. From a macroeconomic perspective, tourism is one of the best industries: foreigners coming into the country and spending money in hotels, meals, in shops, and the like. This injection of cash directly benefits everyone connected to it, creating jobs in hotels, resorts, restaurants, and the like. In addition, the workers hired by these hotels, restaurants, etc. will have money to spend, which creates a ripple effect throughout the economy. However, if you make tourists afraid to go to Egypt on vacation, they will go elsewhere, and take their money with them. Hotels will downsize, and restaurants, tour-outfits and other small companies making their living from tourists will go out of business. People are thrown out of work, and the ripples from this will be felt throughout the Egyptian economy. The people who will be really hurt by this are average Egyptians.

And, what is particularly perplexing is at least one of those terrorists bought into this bunk so deeply that he was willing to give up his own life in the process.

These terrorist groups like al-Qaeda claim to be defending Islam, and yet in these attacks, they killed 88 innocent people, most of whom were fellow Muslims, and damaged the economy of a predominantly Islamic country, which may toss hundreds of their fellow Muslims out of work. Muslims in Egypt should be asking themselves, "with idiots like this 'defending' our religion, who needs enemies fighting it?"