The Issue Of Islamic Extremism Essay

The Issue Of Islamic Extremism Essay

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The issue of Islamic extremism is not about Islam; extremism is extremism regardless of what religion we are talking about. Pre-Iraq War world, the Islamic countries did not lead in terrorism and often were third or fourth regionally. The incident of terrorism was actually declining in the Middle East before the US intervention in Iraq. Pre-9/11 the clustering of terrorism incidents were mainly in Israeli-Palestinian conflict during that decade, before the rise of Al-Qaeda. It is important to keep in mind that there is a strong variation across the region over terrorism. If we look at the issue of religious toleration, there is also variation across the Muslim world. We have to look at this issue from various dimensions, the first dimension being an analysis of government and the laws of religious tolerance, and we would be surprised to find out that some countries are rather tolerant of religious minorities even if the culture maybe less so. One reason for this is that often authoritarian rulers actually rely on religious minorities for support and power because they are non-threating to them, we see examples of that with Saddam Husain, who appealed to Christians in Iraq for support as did Assad with regards to Christians and Jews. There is a clear distinguish between extremism from robust states as compared to failed states. Sectarianism in these effecte countries is not necessarily the cause, and it can be the cause particularly if you have cultural in- toleration. Looking at Iraq the cause was not necessary sectarianism because Sunnis and Shias have a long history of getting along and quarreling. The vacuum of the political institutions in Iraq was the primary reason we had sectarian war. The demise of the state institutions i...


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..., and that is precisely what is going on with ISIS. ISIS used the same mechanisms that the protestors in Arab spring used, but we did not see it coming.

Two types of oppressions are happening right now on two opposite ends of the spectrum. The repression of religious identity and, on the other hand, you have oppression of both antireligious identities. One of the surprising trends of the last couple of years is the mobilization of those who subscribe to atheist beliefs and ex-Muslims. In Bangladesh, we see this playing out, where both Al Qaeda and the Islamic state has been carrying out attacks that are specifically targeting atheist bloggers. These bloggers are debating about religion and questioning Islamic identity itself. This trend is growing, and we will be blindsided by this. Just like religion is being repressed, antireligious speech is also being repressed.

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