Governments today face threats from many different types of terrorism ranging from domestic to international, the biggest threat being terrorism with religious motivations. Religious terrorism can be generally defined as a violent action sanctioned or commanded by a divine entity for the good of the religion (Casserleigh, A., & Merrick, D. (2013)).Violence in the name of religion has been happening for centuries. One could look back to the invasion of the Middle East during the Crusades and find that it fits the modern definition of religious terrorism quite well. Many European soldiers sanctioned by prominent religious leaders of the time began a campaign to retake the holy land. They had clear religious motivations and used brutal tactics in the name of their faith. Modern times have seen the exponential growth of religious terrorism with the expansion of Islamic based terrorist groups. Religious terrorism, particularly Islamic based, has become a key policy issue in the United States and other western countries. There is broad media coverage of religious terrorism as it is an important issue in today’s society. It would be difficult to watch the nightly news and not hear a mention of a religious terrorist organization or an issue directly relating to their actions.
Religious terrorism is most dangerous to governments because they have impossible objectives or demands that they will attempt to achieve at any cost. A relevant example would be the Islamic state whose stated objective is to create a global caliphate (CFR). It is apparent that the Islamic State has no limit to the amount of violence it will perpetrate to accomplish its goals. The Islamic State is the single greatest threat to the Iraqi gove...
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...ructure by integrating all national defense agencies (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. (n.d.)).
In conclusion religious terrorism should be considered the greatest type of terrorist threat to governments. The extremist mindset of religious terrorist groups translates into deadly attacks on the general public and government. Religious terrorist groups have the ability to destabilize and degrade governments as has happened in Afghanistan and multiple other countries. The inherent danger of religious terrorism lies in the commonality of apocalyptic thinking among them. When viewing the world through such a lens mass murder becomes justified. Any group who establishes their own paradigm in which inflicting mass casualties for the sake of their religion’s objectives is not only dangerous to governments, but for society as a whole.
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