During the Munich Security Conference 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron made a belated, yet very pertinent comment, by clearly distinguishing Islam from violent extremism. He acknowledged that many of Britain's homegrown terrorists are not the product of failed integration, but rather "have been graduates and often middle class." Historically, extremism has never been confined to any particular religion or ideology; it may belong to every religion and culture. The Duke University and University of North Carolina published a study on terrorism in February 2011. It revealed that in 2009, non-Muslim Americans were involved in terrorist plots more than Muslim Americans; last year there were more than 20 plots by non-Muslims. Also, the Triangle Centre on Terrorism and Homeland Security has confirmed that tips from the Muslim American community resulted in the prevention of potential terrorist plots in 48 of the 120 cases involving Muslim Americans. The data from the Muslim Public Affairs Council, too, indicates that the Muslim community has helped law enforcement agencies in 75 percent of Al-Qaeda related plots since December 2009. Moreover, the number of American Muslims involved in the terrorist acts has dropped by more than half as compared to 2009. David Schanzer, Director of the Triangle Centre, said: Americans should take note that these crimes are being perpetrated by a handful of people whose actions are denounced and rejected by virtually all the Muslims living in the United States. Mark Fallon, a 30-year veteran of the federal law enforcement and counterintelligence, says that the Muslim community has provided a "significant level of cooperation" in combating terrorism. However, he is worried that the rhetoric from some critics, like Representative Peter King, risks alienating a segment of the American population that "needs to be part of the solution." He is of the opinion that the process of radicalisation, or violent extremism, is usually a function of conditions highly personal to the subject, rather than ideological. Robert Pape, a political scientist of Chicago University, has carried out an in-depth study on the genesis of extremism. His study is based on the data collected from over 300 suicide terrorist campaigns executed around the world as well as on the information about more than 450 terrorists. His findings show that there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any one of the worlds religions. Rather, all suicide terrorist attacks had in common been a specific political objective: 'To compel foreign countries to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland. Pape says: In general, suicide attackers are rarely socially isolated, clinically insane, or economically destitute individuals, but are most often educated, socially integrated, and highly capable people, who could be expected to have a good future. Out of the sample of his study of suicide terrorists, only 21 percent were Islamists. Self-sacrifice or suicide missions have a very long history. In 1831, during the Belgian Revolution, Dutch Lieutenant Jan Carolus Josephus van Speijk detonated his own ship in the harbour of Antwerp to prevent its capture by the Belgians. In 1943, Clarence Cull was charged for attempting to assassinate President Roosevelt through suicide bombing. Then 7,000 Japanese Kamikaze pilots participated in suicide missions during World War I; their acts were glorified by carrying out ceremonies before their departure on these one-way missions. During the Battle for Berlin, German air force flew self-sacrifice missions against Soviet held bridges. Viet Minh death volunteers were used against the French colonial army. In May 1967, the US marine commander was also of the view that north Vietnamese were using suicidal tactics in their attack. A former Associate Director of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies in Colombo, Sugeeswara Senadhira, also rejects the idea of linking suicide attack with any religion. He writes: During the Lebanese civil war, around 70 percent of the suicide attackers were Christians.Then the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) perfected the art of suicide bombing. They were considered as the most dreaded and successful terrorist organisation due to their suicide squads; around 30 percent of the bombers were women. Lindsey ORourke, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, has also declined to accept the link between religion and suicide bombing. She wrote that more than 85 percent of female suicide terrorists since 1981 committed their attacks on behalf of secular organisations; many grew up in Christian and Hindu families. She also revealed that the motivating factors for female bombers are same as for male bombers. Around 95 percent of female suicide attacks are against foreign occupying forces, suggesting that the chief motive is to maintain territorial sovereignty. Also, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had used the concept of human bomb; people were forced to drive car bombs into the British military targets. The Kurdistan Workers Party based on revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, too, used suicide bombing in its campaign against Turkey for establishing an independent Kurdistan. In 2010, Andrew Joseph crashed his plane into a building, which housed US Internal Revenue Service in Austin, Texas. In his suicide note Joseph mentioned his long running feud with the organisation. More so, about 350 school shootings have taken place in America since 1992, and in a majority of these incidents the attackers kill themselves. In 1995, Chief Minister Beant Singh of East Punjab, India, was killed by a suicide bomber, Babbar Khalsa, who belonged to a Sikh outfit. Likewise, Bal Thackeray, head of Hindu extremist outfit Shiv Sena, called upon the Hindus to form suicide bomber squads. He said that suicide bombers, along with bombs planted in Muslim neighbourhoods, were needed to protect the nation and all Hindus. One of the largest opinion poll conducted by Gallup in the Islamic world found out that over 93 percent of the Muslims condemned the 9/11 attacks. Among the seven percent, who viewed these attacks as completely justified, none supported their stance with religious reasons. In fact, they expressed their fears about Americas plan to occupy and dominate the Muslim world. According to Gallup, politics, not piety, differentiates moderates from radicals in the Islamic world. M. Zajam, a Patna-based freelance columnist, in his article, Suicide Missions: Nothing Islamic About It, has chronicled a long list of historic incidents of terrorism to carry forth the point that terrorism is not confined to any single society or religion. He says: Thanks to the media and some groups, suicide missions are projected to associate only with Islam. It is forgotten that neither Muslims are the first one to use it, nor will be the last one. Suicide missions are the ultimate manifestation of extremism; these missions have been carried out irrespective of religious inclinations or geographical limitation. Unfortunately, Islam bashers are projecting as if the Muslims have invented, patronised and monopolised terrorism. There is a need for a concerted campaign to correct the perspective. The writer is a retired Air Commodore of the Pakistan Air Force. Email: khalid3408@gmail.com