Terrorism, Risk and Religious Tensions: Resources

Times Educational Supplement, May 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Terrorism, Risk and Religious Tensions: Resources


HISTORY

The ultimate penalty

A legal document from ancient Babylonia (in present-day Iraq) contained the first known death penalty laws under a code written in the 18th century BC. Twenty-five crimes were punishable by death, including adultery and helping slaves to escape, but murder was not one of them.

In 14th-century England, a person could be executed for a crime as trivial as disturbing the peace. Three centuries later, when the first colonists arrived in what is now known as America, they brought the British penal system with them. Treason was punishable by death, as was murder, rape, heresy and witchcraft.

Britain abolished the death penalty in 1965, except for crimes such as treason and piracy, and it was abolished entirely in 1998. But the death penalty still exists in 32 US states. Methods of execution and the crimes subject to the penalty vary by jurisdiction. In 2012, 43 inmates were executed in America and 3,146 were on death row.

According to the Amnesty International charity, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. But in 2012, 58 countries imposed death penalties and 21 countries were confirmed to have carried out executions.

RELATED RESOURCES

Consider terrorism throughout history with Daryn Simon's presentation. What is terrorism, what are the consequences and how might it be prevented? bit.ly/TerrorismDebate

Challenges students' preconceptions about terrorists with a lesson from the 9/11 Education Programme. bit.ly/DealingWithTerrorism

Stimulate a debate about capital punishment and encourage students to investigate a range of personal and religious views. bit.ly/DebatingDeath

A resource from joanne harris asks whether religion is a cause of conflict or a source of peace. bit.ly/ReligiousConflict

MATHEMATICS

Dead certainties

What are the chances of being killed by a shark? How about being struck by lightning? Or, perhaps most terrifying of all, being the victim of a terrorist attack?

Challenge and entertain your students by using data to calculate risk and to see how often things go fatally wrong.

Take, for example, a tandem skydive, where you are strapped to an instructor and jump out of a plane at 10,000ft for 45 seconds of free fall at 120mph. Statistician David Spiegelhalter, writing in UK magazine Radio Times, estimated that the risk of the jump was around 7 micromorts, a micromort being the unofficial name for a one-in-a-million chance of death. …

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