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  Exploring Religious Conflicts? RAND as New Religious Media (NRM)  


By: Dr S Kalyanaraman
August 23, 2005
iews expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.

The author is Former Sr. Exec., Asian Development Bank. Director of Sarasvati Research Centre, Chennai


Gregory F. Treverton[1], Heather S. Gregg, Daniel Gibran, Charles W. Yost have authored a RAND Corporation report titled “Exploring Religious Conflict”.  The “new” finding of this report, is an acronym “NRM” denoting “New Religious  Movement”, which, according to the authors, threaten to develop like tumors into violent organizations (think “Al Qaida”), threatening the USA and the rest of the world.  Apparently this was the product of a 3-day Worskhop of  ‘intelligence analysts and religious experts’ on religious conflict, hosted by RAND corporation (estimated cost to the US taxpayer: $100,000). This report is interesting primarily because it either plumbs depths of incompetence  hitherto unreached by the American “Strategic Affairs” community, or caters to a strange combination of Marxist Communist  and extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist propaganda. It appears that RAND has “found” religion and joined another “NRM”: New Religious Media

What is cited as the intellectual foundation of the report is (University of California leftist academic ) Mark Juergensmeyer’s concept of “Cosmic War”. Is this just an attempt to go one better on Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”?  Hard to tell, but the reader is welcome to try:
“This concept refers to the metaphysical battle between the forces of Good and Evil that enlivens the religious imagination and compels violent action. Cosmic war has roots in the theology of most religions. In the three monotheistic religions, it is the Day of Judgment, the cosmic battle between Good and Evil, and the realization of God’s ultimate purpose for His creation. In Hinduism and Buddhism, it is the perennial struggle to exit the Wheel of Existences with its continuous cycle of rebirths in order to return to Brahman or achieve Nirvana. Cosmic war ensues when this inner conflict between Good and Evil becomes manifest – physical, not metaphysical.”
If that doesn’t give pause to the reader who thought RAND was a professional organization, the methodology, data, analysis and conclusions of the RAND report certainly will. According to Treverton et al, 

"NRMs (New Religious Movements) can be found in Hinduism – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, Israel (Gush Emunim), Christianity (the US-based Identity Movement) and Islam, including Al-Qaeda, a global network with a transcendant vision that draws support in the defence of Islam." And added, “…Al-Qaeda cannot be defeated by force, but only by reaching out to its roots in religion and promoting convergence of Christianity and Islam.”  

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had a succinct term: “weasel words” to describe the contortions of left-wing “analysts” and Saudi-owned American politicians to argue for appeasement of terrorism. For those who might depend on RAND for information, let us point out that Al Qaeda is considered to be a 1992 or 1996  invention. The timing coincided with the end of the Soviet  occupation of Afghanistan, when the Pakistani ISI, funded by the unwitting American taxpayer through the largesse of “experts” like RAND’s,  helped to turn weapons, training and the surviving hordes of Islamic extremists brainwashed in the madarssas of Pakistan, against the Infidels of the West – viz, America. Now let us examine RAND’s list of “New Religious Movements” that Treverton et al try to club with Al Qaeda – both for what it includes, and what it omits.  

The report’s contribution is a false generalization on metaphysical, co(s)mic war, flippant comparisons unrelated to cultural or civilizational contexts. There is little evidence of analytical rigor and virtually no empirical basis. Lacking original thought or evidence, the report trivializes the threat of terror with the arbitrary choice of 'New Religious Movements' (NRMs) cited as examples of a new innovative category. 

The report appears to whitewash Al Qaeda, with its proclaimed mission of jihad against the world, by clubbing it with a mishmash of socio-political entities and obscure movements. For instance, “Gush Emunim” is an organization of Israeli Settlers in the Middle East, with no evidence of any axe to grind against anyone except those who try to oust them from their homes. The “Christian Identity Movement” is a superset of weekend warriors in America who don camouflage and prance around the pine forests of Alabama or Idaho, imagining a world of “Aryan Domination”. And with these is RAND’s amazing classification of the Indian “RSS” (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh”) as a “NEW” Religious Movement!  The RSS, just to give Treverton and his gang of Einsteins a hint, was formed in 1925. That, per the calendar normally followed even in California, was 80 years ago. It predates RAND and Treverton by a long way. It may even predate the American entities such as the Neo Conservative Movement, the Moral Majority, and the Jubilee Mission Baptist Church. The RSS is the world’s largest volunteer organization, with over 12 million volunteers. How RAND came to the conclusion that the RSS is “new” and poses a threat to the rest of the world, is a question that the US taxpayers who funded this “Workshop” and “Report” may well ask.  

Is RAND trying to deflect the focus of American lawmakers from the focus on war on terror? It was not too long ago that RAND’s Parachini noted:

"Given the thousands of Jihadists trained in Afghanistan, the struggle with al Qaeda is liable to last for a decade or more."  

The principal author of the present RAND report, Treverton, seemed to have different ideas:  

"Al Qaeda may eventually be contained, but new threats are likely to emerge. So the task is to contain terrorism; it cannot be rooted out. That task sometimes requires military instruments, as in Afghanistan, but most of the time it is a matter of patient, multilateral police and intelligence work."  

Both quotes from a symposium held in 2003 by RAND jointly with Frontpage Magazine.  

Garbage in, garbage out is the adage of the information age. Treverton clarifies what he meant in the above quote, with his new statement in the present report. Here is an example of terse observations and profound policy recommendations in the present report: 

 "…Al-Qaeda cannot be defeated by force, but only by reaching out to its roots in religion and promoting convergence of Christianity and Islam."  

Such a policy prescription of Christian-Islam religious convergence has, unfortunately, NOT been backed up by evidence and critical analysis of the underlying causes and patterns of Islamist terror. After all, almost all major terror events, recorded so far, have emanated only from Taliban (that is, madarasa students) or traceable only to terrorists trained in or with links to non-democratic, Islamist countries of Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. What does ‘convergence of Christianity and Islam’ mean? Should Christianity adopt Islamist jihad as a central doctrine?  

When they take a break from hallucinating on ‘cosmic wars’, RAND thinkers might consider introspecting on the Hindu response to jihad in India for nearly 8 centuries. They may find it useful to refer to Andrew Bostom, 2005, 'The Legacy of Jihad - Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-muslims,' Prometheus Books. Al Qaeda is not another NRM, it provides the justification for all the terror activities the world has witnessed so far, be it in New York, Thailand, London or Ayodhya. See also Andrew Bostom's 'Legacy of Jihad in India', July 2005 in the American Thinker

"Rarely understood, let alone acknowledged, however, is the history of brutal jihad conquest, Muslim colonization, and the imposition of dhimmitude shared by the Jews of historical Palestine, and the Hindus of the Indian subcontinent. Moreover, both peoples and nations also have in common, a subsequent, albeit much briefer British colonial legacy, which despite its own abuses, abrogated the system of dhimmitude (permanently for Israel and India, if not, sadly, for their contemporary Muslim neighboring states), and created the nascent institutions upon which thriving democratic societies have been constructed."  

Dhimmitude: the Islamic system of governing populations conquered by jihad wars, encompassing all of the demographic, ethnic, and religious aspects of the political system. The word "dhimmitude" as a historical concept, was coined by Bat Ye'or in 1983 to describe the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule. The word "dhimmitude" comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning "protected". Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination. 

We note that the project was funded by the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence – the same people who did not see any threat in Mohammed Atta and Co. as they watched them enter the US and “learn to fly” in 2001. One wonders why the CIA Directorate of Intelligence would fund a public-release report, especially with such a contortion of logic. Is this to impress the taxpayer with the forward-looking attitude at the top levels of the new US Intelligence Administration? Does the new CIA operate through public conferences and reports to do its intelligence-gathering? Perhaps the more relevant link to this report is from the creation in January 2001 of a White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

Religious Motivation of RAND’s Expertise

Many, including the present author, believed RAND to be a secular, objective think-tank. We were clearly mistaken. The experts who participated in the workshop that led to Treverton’s Report have very clear ideas on how Christianity should spread over the globe. Some quotes from their works may be apposite. RAND should clearly be considered to be a New Religious Medium of modern-day crusaders, producing a denominational newsletter. The Jubliee Mission Baptist Church would be proud. Let us look at some of the Workshop participants.

Philip Jenkins, who claims to provide an alternative analytical framework opposing Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations, notes:  

Moreover, conversions will swell the Christian share of world population. Meanwhile, historically low birthrates in the traditionally Christian states of Europe mean that their populations are declining or stagnant…Christianity should enjoy a worldwide boom in the new century, but the vast majority of believers will be neither white nor European, nor Euro-American…But far from Islam being the world's largest religion by 2020 or so, as Huntington suggests, Christianity will still have a massive lead, and will maintain its position into the foreseeable future. By 2050, there should still be about three Christians for every two Muslims worldwide…I dispute Huntington's assertion that "Christianity spreads primarily by conversion, Islam by conversion and reproduction…No less than Christians, Muslims will be transformed by the epochal demographic events of the coming decades, the shift of gravity of population to the Two-Thirds World. Muslim and Christian nations will expand adjacent to each other, and, often, Muslim and Christian communities will both grow within the same country." 

Jack Miles is best known for his Website: Author of: God: A biography, Christ: A crisis in the Life of God.  He is the author of: 'Ringing the firebell for freedom of religion - keynote address: 'March of theocrats' Rally and Teach-in' (LA, June 2005). Quote:  

"We are not alone, friends, but many who are our natural allies are asleep, and it falls to us to awaken them."  

Ian Lustick’s views are recorded at this website . Guru that he is, Lustick comes up with some novel little ideas about big world problems, like:  

"I supported the war [in Afghanistan] but I warned that we needed a Goldilocks outcome and we didn't get it." 

"I think about terrorism in terms of popcorn. You can't tell which kernels are popcorn and which are not, but you assume you'll always have some kernels that are going to pop." 

According to a book review by Joshua Sinai, Ph.D., which appears on  

"Lustick dismisses the concept of terrorism as a valid conceptual term. Instead, he embraces what he terms an 'extensive', as opposed to an 'intensive', definition of terrorism that is not bound by any limiting 'conditions'. This, he claims, enables one to classify activities as 'terrorist' if they encompass any violent 'actions and threats' by governmental militaries and even 'tax collectors', as well as insurgents."

(source: (1) URL1, URL3  

Thus RAND’s new authorities on terrorism appear to such theologians or Jesuit seminarians with their fire-and-brimstone orations of bigotry. RAND is therefore appropriately branded as an extension of a seminary and an entity not unlike the Seventh Day Adventists or Jubilee Mission. A New Religious Medium. 

A splendid exception is Juan Cole who wrote his piece 'Can ethnic cleansing bring back Jesus?' on May 20, 2004. Juan cites Rick Perlstein's piece in the Village Voice with admiration.  

"The gem in the article is the account of how Iran-Contra criminal mastermind and current National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams tried to reassure the Christian Zionists that an Israeli "withdrawal" from Gaza will not interfere with Jesus coming back because it wasn't part of ancient Israel. Actually, this is right. Gaza was in Philistia, not Judah, which was to its east. But for that matter, when the kingdoms split, the West Bank wasn't in "Israel" either, it was in Judah... It has for some time been obvious to me that the Bush foreign policy in the Middle East is driven by irrational and often puzzling considerations. But I hadn't stopped to consider, until Perlstein's excellent piece, that the White House is trying to bring about an apocalypse that would hasten Christ's return. And a damn fine job they're doing of it, if that's what they are up to. Why, the place is more apocalyptic every day." (Source: Anti war website)  

The RAND report said: "NRMs (New Religious Movements) can be found in Hinduism - the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, Israel (Gush Emunim), Christianity (the US-based Identity Movement) and Islam, including Al-Qaeda, a global network with a transcendant vision that draws support in the defence of Islam." And added, "…Al-Qaeda cannot be defeated by force, but only by reaching out to its roots in religion and promoting convergence of Christianity and Islam."  

Convergence of Christianity and Islam? A breath-taking prognosis, indeed. RAND should consider a larger workshop on this issue in the context of jihad as anti-terror. Sure, dancing with the devil is an option when all other options are not on the table. Seriously, does RAND endorse this recommendation to counter jihad?  

This innovation of a new definition for a 'New Religious Movement' which identifies RSS, Gush Emunim, Identity Movement and Al-Qaeda is, to put it mildly, ridiculous, reducing the cosmic war of Mark to a comic war.  

The US taxpayer might have saved a lot of money by getting Treverton instead to read to the CIA the report long-since published by Indian tank ORF (Observer Research Foundation. They might have learned more about the true nature of Al Qaeda and a vivid scan of religious conflicts. Indeed, any academic worth his/her salt would have known the conclusion:  

"Al Qaeda is a revanchist organisation, which holds the West in general and the US in particular responsible for all the evils afflicting the Islamic world and for the decline of the political power of Islam since the end of the Ottoman Empire. It wants to avenge the wrongs allegedly committed against the Muslims since the end of the Ottoman Empire, re-write history and restore an Islamic Caliphate from which Western influence would be totally excluded. It is comparable to the Nazis of Germany in its revanchist ideas and actions. The Nazis blamed the rest of the Western world for the decline of Germany since the First World War and for all the evils afflicting Germany. They wanted to restore the pre-eminent position of Germany in the world. If the world leaders of that time had said "Let us address the root causes of Nazism first, before we fight the Nazis and Adolf Hitler", where would the world be today?  

The call to address the root causes of the Al Qaeda today is as short-sighted as a call to first address the root causes of Nazism would have been in the early 1940s… The conventional wisdom relating to terrorism attributes the rise of terrorism to political, economic and social factors such as perceptions of social injustice, violations of human rights, suppression of the democratic rights of the people, lack of economic development resulting in poverty and unemployment etc. It, therefore, holds that if these so-called root causes are addressed, terrorism will wither away. Does this theory apply to the Al Qaeda? No, it does not. If this theory is correct, there should be no activities of the Jemaah Islamiya (JI) in Malaysia and Singapore, the two most prosperous and progressive states of South-East Asia. There should be no Al Qaeda activities in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Turkey where there is greater prosperity than in many other countries of Asia and Africa. There should be no Al Qaeda activities in West Europe where there is economic prosperity, greater social justice and better observance of human rights than in many countries of Asia and Africa. There should have been less terrorism in Pakistan because of its impressive economic growth since 9/11, but its economic gains have had no impact on its jihadi terrorists. The Al Qaeda is not fighting for democratic rights for the Muslims. On the contrary, it is fighting against the principles of liberal democracy on the ground that they are anti-Islam…The world has much to learn from India. How to continue to keep India such an oasis? That is one of the questions we have to address, while drawing lessons for the future. We cannot afford to be complacent that India does not provide a fertile soil for the Al Qaeda. The Al Qaeda may not be active in India, but many of the Pakistani members of the International Islamic Front are. They could turn out to be the Trojan Horse of the Al Qaeda. The success of the Indian example is due to the success of its democracy, its non-military approach to counter-terrorism, the role of the leaders of different communities in countering tendencies towards religious or ideological extremism and the cultural unity in the midst of religious and linguistic diversity in India."  

Source: see link See also: Symposium of RAND and Frontpage: Diagnosing Al Qaeda "Given the thousands of Jihadists trained in Afghanistan, the struggle with al Qaeda is liable to last for a decade or more." (John Parachini)  

Naming the US-based Identity Movement in this category is also amusing and seems to be only for effect, just to show that the RAND report is unbiased and dares to include a christist movement also in the New Religious Movement category. A fair appraisal of christist activities through various denominations in various parts of the globe as baptizing missions, proselytizers, evangelists would clearly have demonstrated the core causes of religious conflicts created by such activities. That such large numbers of christist organizations are left out is indeed strange considering that the inspiration is drawn from the concept of 'cosmic wars' between 'good and evil'. If christism is not a battle between Good and Evil, what other religious movement, with the exception of Islamism, is? This mysterious, unidentified 'Identity Movement' has been left undefined in the RAND report, leaving it to the readers, congressmen, and policy makers to draw their own conclusions.  

We would agree with Nicole Nichols: make the outlaws accountable and would add: don't give them a cosmic wacko status. Source: See link: link Has RAND noted the involvement of a Pakistani Hamas leader in the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma city?  

The absurdity of Juergensmeyer's analysis would have been apparent to any student of theology, but since Mark wears at least three hats, of sociology, of global conflict and of religious studies, his work presents the potential for becoming the basis for any drastic conclusions and plans of action by the intelligence community. His postulation should have naturally led to the identification of Dalai Lama's Tibetan Lama groups as a 'New Religious Movement' entering into physical conflicts. That the report does not categorize these groups is indeed surprising. It is also surprising that Mark does not even refer to sanatana dharma or dhammo sanantano in the context of 'Brahman or Nirvana.' as 'exits'. We will not digress by exposing the ridiculous nature of analysis by Mark referring to 'exits'. Unfortunately, Mark has not provided any evidence for this 'exit' postulation.  

The logical application of Juergensmeyer's profound analysis of cosmic wars and exits should have led to the identification of all the adherents of Bauddha (aka Buddhism) and Dharma (Sanatana dharma or Hindu dharma or dhammo sanantano) as prone to violence, manifesting evil in physical terms, dramatically descending (by some unknown processes) from the metaphysical levels.  

Such a framework should have normally led to the identification of the entire spectrum of those seeking return to 'Brahman or achieve Nirvana' as a cult. Unfortunately, this would be absurd because the 'cults' cannot be declared as 'new' since both groups pre-date the arrival of Christ and certainly Mohammed.  

Why Does RAND Squirm When Exposed?  

When the principal author, Greg Treverton was asked for clarifications, he waffled with statements such as:  

“The press story is basically accurate, but its headline is not. The headline implies we somehow link RSS and Al Qaeda. In fact, what we say, and the story has accurately, is that many religious traditions have spawned "new" religious movements, and we cite RSS as an example from Hinduism, along with AlQaeda as one from Islam, along with Jewish and Christian examples. We also say, and the story quotes, that almost all of these new movements are non-violent. There is nothing to imply any connection at all between RSS and Al Qaeda. Do have a look at the study.”  

Apparently it had still not occurred to this uber-genius that the RSS was created before he was born.  When asked for detailed information on the workshop and papers if any, presented, the response of Greg Treverton was equally elusive:  

"Thank you for your note. You have the report, which has all the details about the workshops."

Unfortunately, the Report authored by Treveton DOES NOT provide the details, and he certainly implied that the RSS was not only new, but was likely to become a threat to US security (what the taxpayer paid RAND to explore).  So much for the way RAND deals with comments provided in response to the Report, even though the Report proclaims: "Comments are welcome." So much for transparency in dealing with issues dealt with in Terrorism and Homeland Security Research Area. See:  

We agree with Greg Treverton who said in another context:  

"In a world in which everyone is dependent on information processors,(the CIA) should think of themselves as the shapers and verifiers of all that information," says Treverton, now an analyst at Rand Corp. See: link  

It is therefore not surprising that the RAND has little information, logic or evidence of intelligent information processing. The intent appears to be that the RAND name and the CIA sponsorship label are enough to propagate the authors’ personal religious agendas.  

So DID RAND “Explore Religious Conflicts”?  

We would have expected RAND to address the most serious issue of Religious Conflicts with a careful evaluation of facts and figures. We find neither facts nor figures in the Report.  Here are samples of statements made and opinions expressed, sans evidence:  

"Are there potential NRMs, even violent ones, apart from those spawned by Islamic radicalism? The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in India, an ultra-Hindu nationalist movement, is one such organization."  

"…the movement was banned for a few years by the Indian government because of its acts of violence and terrorism and its exhortation to followers to resort to terrorist methods in the promulgation of its religious ideas."  

"…the RSS continued to gain momentum and was engaged in violence, particularly against what it viewed to be threats against the Hindu state, namely Muslims and Christians. Their religious view, with its cosmic dimension, remains a threat to the idea of India as a secular state."  

"The RSS is largely middle class, as is the BJP."  

That RSS has nothing to do with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and that it was a movement born during the fight for independence of India from the British colonial regime, has been recognized by courts of law in India ; to cite Wikipedia, which is apparently beyond the means of RAND to have looked up:  

"In 1925, Dr. Balasaheb Hedgewar, a Nagpur doctor formed the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh. The word "Rashtriya" means "National," and the word "Sangh" means "Union". The word "Swayemsevak" may be translated to mean a self-reliant servant of the people and country, a volunteer in spirit and patriot in action…The RSS fought alongside the Congress for national independence…the RSS opposed the partition of the country, and is widely associated with anti-Muslim riots and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, it had in fact performed important work by serving the millions of Hindu and Sikh refugees coming out of Pakistan, escaping bloody violence and leaving behind ancestral homes in terror. Although there was no link whatsoever between the RSS and Gandhi's assassins…" Source: Wikipedia

See what Jack Miles, an expert who participated in the workshop had to say in another context:  

"'Thus, in India, those who want to respond to Islamist terrorism originating in Pakistan by reasserting the secularity of the Indian state have steadily been losing power to Hindu religious nationalists of India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 'Muslims are cancer to this country', BJP leader Bal Thackeray said in a speech quoted in a recent issue of The New Yorker; 'Cancer is an incurable disease. Its only cure is operation. O Hindus, take weapons in your hands and remove this cancer from the roots'. ' (Larissa MacFarq1uhar, "Letter from India. The Strongman", The New Yorker, 26 May 2003, pp. 50-57)."  

Jack Miles of course did not check, or did not honestly cite, the facts; Bal Thackeray is not a leader of the BJP. Nor is he associated with RSS.  

Has Jack Miles checked out the figures of fatalities of terror attacks in the Northeast and in Jammu and Kashmir, caused principally by christist and Islamist terrorists?  

If RSS, an independence movement is categorized as a 'New Religious Movement', shouldn’t the almost-as new George Washington and his band who desired to create 'One nation under God' also get categorized as 'New Religious Movement' under the Mark Jurgensmeyer's mythical theme of metaphysical transforming into physical?  What about the Daughters of the American Revolution?  By Mark Jurgensmeyer's definition, shouldn’t  Protestant movement also get categorized as a 'New Religious Movement'? 

RAND appears to be incapable of distinguishing between the Al Qaeda, out to create a global Caliphate of one religion, from Israeli movements created in self-defence against terrorists who would not hesitate to kill even innocent children.  

In the face of sustained terror attacks by intolerant Islamists governed by only hatred as their credo, two democracies, Israel and India have repulsed the terror attacks despite repeated casualties suffered by them. Israeli movements to defend their land and the Indian attempts to counter the terror attacks have been remarkably restrained, facts which should also have been noted by the RAND 'intelligence analysts and religious experts'.  

RAND should ask the 'intelligence analysts and religious experts' to substantiate these bland statements by evidence.  

Some questions which need to be asked and answered by these analysts and experts are:  

-- Were these experts named the only participants in the 'day-long workshops'? What are the days when the workshops were conducted?
-- Were there any other participants?
-- Does the report represent the consensus conclusions and recommendations of the workshop?
-- Were there any dissenting opinions?
-- Did the participants submit any written papers? (We have read through the report again and have noted the bibliographical references to books and monographs of earlier years appended to the report after end notes). Were any other evidences and databases used for the serious conclusions drawn in the report? It is important that all the papers be made available so that the evidence used to reach the conclusions of the report can be evaluated. Hopefully, CIA which has funded the RAND project will seek answers to these questions.

Does RAND Allow Data to Affect It’s Conclusions?  

In the face of terror emanating from Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is indeed surprising that RAND tries to invent phantoms of 'New Religious Movements' based on a wacko thesis of 'cosmic wars' and exits to Brahman and Nirvana. There is no iota of evidence produced by Greg Treverton's reporting of conversations, to show that the proponents of Brahman and Nirvana have contributed to the acts of terror.  

Have the fatalities of terror caused by religious conflicts in all parts of the globe, been taken into account, for example, in just one country:  

1994-2005: Jammu and Kashmir (Islamist violence): 31782 Northeast (christist violence): 13933 Naxal violence: 5041 Punjab: 175 Others: 6 Total: 50937  

Note: Are Naxals (Communist gangs) considered a cult or an NRM? RAND should answer this question.  

US policy makers should take a fresh look at the problem in the context of the "objective compilation from reports by credible human rights groups of the genocide, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and Islamist laws that Hindus have faced in parts of South Asia where they are minorities." Source: HAF "The human rights violations that are occurring against Hindus must no longer be ignored without reprobation," said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen after reviewing the HAF report. "Hindus have a history of being peaceful, pluralistic and understanding of other faiths and peoples, yet minority Hindus have endured decades of pain and suffering without the attention of the world." See HAF Release. RAND experts should review and evaluate the 190 attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh from January 1, 2004 to November 30, 2004 detailed in the Appendix of the Hindu Human Rights report 2004: (page 38). RAND experts should also explain the cosmic war category which will explain these atrocities in Bangladesh against a minority community called the Hindu in that state.  

Are the experts of the workshop conducted by RAND aware that there are a billion people in India? And, have they computed the numbers of fatalities caused by 'religious conflicts' worldwide and seen the fatalities of 50,937 in the last 11 years in India? Have the group studied the Terrorism Whitepaper brought out by Govt. of India in 2002? Or, reviewed the conflicts detailed in South Asia Terrorism Portal?  

In Buddha nirvana country, Thailand,  

"a current wave of jihadi terrorist violence in the three Muslim majority southern provinces, which started in January last year, has already cost over 800 lives of Government servants, innocent civilians and suspected Muslim militants. This is directly linked with the presence of nearly a thousand Pattanis (that is, muslims of Thailand so called in Pakistan and Bangladesh) in Pakistan madarasas.” Source: (15 August 2005).  

There is no evidence in the Report on the conflicts resulting from 'conversion' activities by Christian groups. 'Conversions' categorized as 'propagation of the Gospel', 'baptizing all nations', 'proselytization', 'evangelisation' followed by threat of 'condemnation' of those who do not so spread the Gospel or the salvific nature of Jesus. Such an exclusion of a whole range of conflicts which resulted in the phenomenon of East Timor, certainly draws critical questions on objectivity of the RAND report.  

Without an analysis of the impact of 'religious conflicts', the RAND report reads like a kindergarten account. Some remedial steps are called for by naming the culprit experts and releasing their 'papers' presented at the workshop and subjecting those 'papers' to critical, peer reviews. After all, we are dealing with a serious issue of homeland security and there can be no compromise with half-baked, opinionated reports based on absurd, unfalsifiable, ridiculous cosmic fantasies.  


RAND should seriously review the 'scholarly' or 'expert' nature of the Report in question and examine if it is consistent with RAND’s vision, aspirations, and advertised credentials and standards.  

It is, indeed, shocking that RAND has recommend appeasement of the Islamist terrorists.  

This report clearly shows RAND to be peddling a narrow, bigoted religious agenda. That this is purported to be a preview of United States Government policy in the future is indeed scary for those who believe in the Constitution of the United States.   

The ludicrous nature of the report poses serious questions about RAND’s quality controls, especially since the principal author is cited as being a “Professor” at RAND’s “university”.  

So it is, RAND has become the New Religious Media.

Dr S Kalyanaraman

       Send your views to author

[1] Gregory F. Treverton, Heather S. Gregg, Daniel Gibran, Charles W. Yost, Principal author, Gregory F Treverton, 2005, Exploring Religious Conflicts, RAND Corporation, USA  

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