On Tuesday, Brussels, Belgium, one of Europe's most beautiful capitals, was rocked by terrorism attacks.
In the early morning hours, 30 people were murdered simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
While many around the world stopped to pray and send their thoughts to both those lost and their families, many sadly took another route and took aim at Islam.
ISIS quickly took responsibility for the attacks and almost immediately, #StopIslam began to trend on social media.
It is within human nature to want to find a cause, point a finger and somehow find an answer for why terrible things happen, but if you're going to believe that Islam is at fault then you must also blame engineers.
Engineers, it seems, are more predisposed to becoming radicalized terrorists than others. A 2009 observational study by sociologists Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog found that engineers were up to four times more likely to become violent terrorists than people in finance, medicine or the sciences.
And the team's findings didn't stop there. In the paper, the team concludes,
... We found that university students and graduates, especially from elite degrees, are vastly over-represented 35 among Islamic radicals everywhere. This provides the first wide-ranging systematic confirmation that the core of the Islamic movement emerged from discontented would-be elites. Furthermore, it reveals that in the West Islamic radicalism is attracting a set of individuals with a much lower educational profile. Yet, despite the lower proportion of graduates and the larger proportion of drifters, converts and professionally unaccomplished individuals, the overrepresentation of engineers occurs not only throughout the Islamic world but even among Western-based extremists.
The study, published by Oxford University, ultimately found that out of 326 Islamic terrorists, 48.5 percent had graduated from a university. Nearly half, 44 percent, of these people had earned an engineering degree while in university.
What can we take away from this knowledge? In the end, really nothing. Just like becoming an engineer will not turn someone into an extremist, being a Muslim will not make someone a terrorist.
What we can, however, take away from these findings is the importance of teaching kindness.
Martin Rose, a senior consultant on the Middle East and North Africa, told Fox News in 2015 that technical degrees, like those in engineering, are “traditionally viewed as superior, with the arts and social sciences relatively neglected.”
He added that because of their lack of interpersonal education, “graduates are not equipped with soft skills to increase their employability and that they often "experience high graduate unemployment and frustrated upward mobility.”
And as the 2003 UN report on Arab Human Development noted,
It is not unusual to find schoolbooks in many Arab countries with a picture of the ruler on the front page, even in the case of textbooks in neutral subjects such as science and mathematics. Some researchers argue that the curricula taught in Arab countries seem to encourage submission, obedience, subordination and compliance, rather than free critical thinking. In many cases, the contents of these curricula do not stimulate students to criticize political or social axioms. Instead, they smother their independent tendencies and creativity.
Just as these students should do, you too should think freely and independently, teach and practice kindness, respect and understand that we are all unique and that no one religion, location or degree can cause someone to take another's life.
Citations: Fox News