Education is a Security Issue

The soil in which religious extremists plant the seeds of hate is fertilized by ignorance. That is why we need to start thinking of education as a security issue: the fight against terrorism will be won or lost in our schools.

LONDON – In November, I spoke at the United Nations Security Council for the first time in 13 years. It struck me how different the mood is now. In September 2000, the world seemed very different. We were trying to articulate the new security order in the decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Of course there were challenges. But the atmosphere was light, positive even, as we discussed eradicating poverty in the developing world.

This time, the mood was dark. And the first days of 2014 have made it darker still. Scroll down any day’s news summary and you find stories of terrorism and violence perpetrated in the cause of a false view of religion. Some of it is committed by non-state actors, and some of it by state actors; but all of it is committed in the context of division and conflict defined by differences of religious faith.

This is the new struggle of the twenty-first century. We will not win it unless we fight its root causes as well as its ghastly consequences.

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