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Religious Extremism and Islam Research Paper


Religious extremism cropped up from diverse Islam’s Jihad teachings. The research focuses on the reasons for the religious extremism. The research centers on the different interpretations of the Koran’s Jihad verses. Religious extremism precipitated from some Muslim religion devotees’ diverse interpretation of Koran’s Jihad verses.

Initially, Paul Heck1 stated Islamic extremism centers on two aspects of the issue. The first aspect is extremism. One group of non-Muslim people may classify the Islamic attacks on innocent civilians as extremism. On the other hand, the Islamic perpetrators of the suicide bombings do not classify themselves as extremists.

Paul Heck2 mentioned the second aspect is on the Islam religion. Some Islamic fundamentalism groups do not accept violence as a last resort. However, all Islam devotees affirm that Jihad is part of their duties. Some groups of Islam devotees prefer to use extreme means to perpetuate their goals for spread Islam. Islam accepts assassinations and bombings, specifically suicide bombings, as the duty of every serious Islam devotee.

Likewise, Shireen Burki3 emphasized Islamic terrorism or Jihad is part of the duties of Muslims to achieve their political and religious goals. Islamic terrorism cropped up in many strategic locations around the world. The Islamic extremist attacks occurred in Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States starting in the early 1970s. The most recently devastating Islamic extremist attack occurred in New York on September 11, 2001.

Al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama Bin Laden authorized the Islamic extremist attacks. The plane attacks focused on stopping the United States’ political and military presence in the Middle East as well as in the Arabian states. The extremist attacks also focused on the removing the corrupt and inefficient leaders of the Arab states. Another very loud reason for the extremist religious attacks is to put a stop to the United States’ military, financial, and other aids to Israel.

In addition, the extremist attacks focus on returning East Timor and Kashmir under Muslim authority. The extremist members are very active convincing people to join their religious extremist acts. The terrorist attacks include kidnappings for ransom, hijackings, and suicide attacks.

Shireen Burki4 opined religious extremism is an offshoot of Islamic teachings. Alia Brahimi reiterated the Islam religion teaches violence as part of the necessary acts of their religion. Religious extremism is the ideology or political act that violates the norms of society. Society norms consider killing a crime. Consequently, an extremist is any person who uses religion as a basis for killing another person.

Demetrios Caraley5 shows a vivid example is the unforgettable horrors of the September 11, 2001tragedy that hit New York and the Whitehouse. The incident is a direct act on the United States’ democratic ideology. The incident shows that Muslim religion devotees’ religious beliefs may translate to the loss of innocent lives.

Osama Bin Laden was instrumental in the attack of United States soil. The secularization of the September 11, 2011 issue equates to the harmful effects of the Islamic religion’s attack on New York City that fateful day. The horrors of the September 11 event awaken the people around the world on the power of religion to kill and maim innocent civilians.

The people around the world will not forget the mass suicide of the four groups of Muslim religion devotees who hijacked the four planes. The four Islamic martyr groups did not think twice before using the planes to commit suicide. The Islamic martyrs consider themselves rightful heirs to the king of their God, Allah.

Andrew Langley6 stated 19 religious extremists hijacked four planes. Two hijacked planes jets crashed on two skyscrapers in New York. Another group rammed the Pentagon complex in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth plane, destined for Washington D.C. crashed before reaching its destination.

The airplane passengers were able to fight against the fourth plane’s hijackers. Everyone in all four hijacked planes died. In addition, a majority of the people trapped in the twin towers of New York were murdered. The September 11, 2001 casualty reached 2,974 dead and thousands more injured.

In other parts of the world, David Cook7 stated women and men sometimes join suicide bombings are normal activities of religious activities.

Cook mentioned many radical Muslims are using the Jihad process to widen their appeal to idealistic Muslim men and women to join in the battlefield’s martyrdom operations. The religious extremist straps bombs inside one’s clothes. When they reach their targets, the religious extremists blow themselves up. As a result, the bombing activities kill both the suicide bomber and a majority of the intended targets.

In addition, the suicide bombings often cause massive property damages. Normally, the suicide bombers use huge explosive charges to ensure the infliction of a huge toll on major property damage and huge human lives.

Malik Mufti8 theorized the Islam religion explains that suicide bombers will receive rewards for killing non-Muslims. For the religious extremists, it is a duty to kill nonbelievers. It is the duty of the religious extremists to persuade the nonbelievers to convert to the Islam religion.

The non-Muslim’s refusal to convert to the Islam religion would precipitate to the Muslim’s consideration of the Muslims as enemies. The religious extremists’ killing of non-Muslims for the sake of religious obedience is part of religious activities. Thus, the religious extremists do not have second thoughts on killing innocent civilians.

Killing itself may be legal or illegal. Normally, the law allows the killing another person in a self-defense capacity. It is one’s fundamental right to protect oneself against dangers to one’s person, one’s family, and one’s property, especially the home. In addition, the state courts hand down death penalties to some convicted felons.

The convicted felons are meted the death penalty for heinous crimes. The killing is classified legal. However, societal norms dictate that the killing innocent civilian, in the pursuit of one’s political or religious ideologies, is illegal. This is true for every suicide bombing activity.

Historically, many empires have suffered under so-called extremist religious organizations. The implementation of widespread Islamic terrorism complies with the Islamic religion’s duties. The extremist attacks are religiously approved attacks on the apostates. The Koran states Apostates are non-Muslims. Non-Muslims are infidels or enemies under the Koran.

However many Muslim scholars and leaders opined the Koran verse on Jihad or attacks on the apostates has been taken out of context. Some Muslim leaders emphasize that the Muslims warriors should implement the Jihad or holy wars only to protect the Muslim people from outside attacks.

The Muslim warriors should start a Jihad or holy war to defend their religious beliefs, in case of attacks. Osama Bin Laden emphasized that the United States is an aggressive enemy of the Islam religion. Osama Bin Laden theorized the September 11, 2001 attack on New York City was a defensive Jihad attack. The Muslim leaders are more acceptable to the defensive Jihad attack when compared to the aggressive Jihad attacks.

One of major causes persuading Muslims to join the Jihad or holy war is a strong bond. The family bond encourages one member of the family to successful implement a suicide bombing attack. The strong community bond encourages members to be a martyr for the group. A martyr is one who sacrifices one’s life in a suicide bombing attack.

Other factors are not as influential in convincing a Muslim devotee to murder innocent Christian civilians. Poverty is not a strong factor. Trauma is a major factor in convincing the Muslim convert to engage in the Jihad or holy war. Being in a mad state is not as influential in convincing the Muslim individual to kidnap a Christian Pastor. Ignorance will not be an equally effective factor in terms of persuading the Muslim adolescent to engage in the Holy war to kill one’s innocent neighbors.

The environment is a strong factor in terms of convincing the Muslim devotees to engage in Jihad activities. Muhammad Akbar9 stated the Koran’s Surah 9 verse 111 states “Allah hath purchased of the Believers their person and their goods; for theirs is the Garden of Paradise. They fight in his cause and slay and are slain.” The quote clearly shows that all Muslim religion devotees must comply with all the religious instructions of the Koran, without exception.

Research conducted showed that more Algerians living in France join extremist groups. Likewise, the more Moroccans taking up residence in Spain favor the Jihad activities. Lastly, more The Yemeni persons taking up residence in Saudi Arabia are eager to join the suicide bombing activities.

Many Muslims offer terroristic attachments to the Jihad concept. The Jihad is a struggle to succeed. The Jihad is a Muslim struggle. The Koran imposes the Jihad on the persons, communities, or groups for having harmed a Muslim person, group, or community.

John Esposito10 explained the confusion regarding in interpretation of Jihad is understandable. Muslim devotees have to comply with the five pillars of the Islam faith. The Muslim religion devotees consider the Jihad or holy war as the sixth compulsory pillar. The Koran commands Jihad actions in the Muslim devotees’ struggles.

Jihad is the Arabian word for struggle. The Prophet Muhammad used the Jihad or holy war to capture reach territories previously controlled by other religions. The Koranic verses serve as the law of the Muslim religion devotees. The Koran verses teach the Muslim religion devotees self-understanding, piety, mobilization, expansion, and defense (Jihad).

Depending on the Muslim religion devotees’ situation, one’s daily life focuses on fighting injustice, oppression, and spreading the Islam faith. Other Muslim religion devotees’ daily activities include establishing a society that implements just policies on all its residents. The Muslim religion devotees’ daily duties include joining the Jihad or holy war to defend one’s faith against infidels (non-Muslims).

In terms of overall impact, the communities have to protect themselves from the extremists. The United States has stepped its homeland defense to counter the Islamic extremist11. The camaraderie of Muslim religion devotees creates a strong bond among the Muslim religion devotees around the world. The Islamic brotherhood includes Muslims from North Africa, Southeast Asia, Sudan, Algeria, the Gulf regions, and the United States.

Leaders of the brotherhood include Hasan al-Banna (1906 -1949) and Sayyid Qutb (1906- 1949). Some of the leaders distributed Islamic books and other Islamic reading materials. The materials focus on the fundamentalist principles of the Muslim faith. The Islamic religious leaders do their best to use the Koran’s verses to legitimize their extremist killing activities. The increasing distance between the Muslim religion devotees and the Christians continues to widen.

Similarly, Abdul Gafoor12 theorizes the literal meaning of Jihad is “to exert”. I t is the exertion of the intellect as recognized by the Islamic Law, Sharia. Jihad can be accomplished by using one’s heart, tongue, hands, or sword. Jihad is the battle against sin and Satan in the Muslim devotees’ life. Koran’s Verse 110 states “Ye are the best of peoples evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.” The Koran verse does not literally state devotees are required to kill innocent civilians.

The above verse clearly shows that the devout Muslim religion devotees must comply with all the Koran’s instructions. The Koran states that each Muslim religion devotees must forbid what is wrong. What is wrong includes not helping in the spread of the Islamic faith. All Muslim religion devotees should go out of their way to punish all infidels for maligning or attacking the beliefs of the Muslim faith. In turn, their god, Allah, will reward them for defending their faith against the infidels.

For example, Geneive Abdo13 mentioned Essam al Eryan actively complies with all policies and instructions of the Muslim Brothers organization. The Brotherhood is the Middle East’s most powerful Muslim religion devotees ‘ group. Eryan is a doctor and a radio commentator.

He often attacks the government’s policies. In return, the government has been irritated by Eryan’s anti-government radio commentaries. As a deputy secretary general of Egypt’s medical doctors’ syndicate, he is a very influential person among the citizens. Essam al Eryan was monitored by the state police for his possible contribution to a future Jihad or holy war attack on the top government officials and bombings in public places.

Further, the Brotherhood of Muslims covers many countries around the world during the 1990s. The Muslim religion devotees’ extreme efforts to spread the Islamic teachings of their Prophet Mohammad. In Egypt, the Muslim religion devotees live in an environment having a dynamic as well as different relationship among the Muslim religion devotees.

The Egyptian experience includes the radical, as well as violent revolutionary Islamic activities and institutionalization of the Muslim religion devotees’ lives as politically and socially comfortable. The police were trying to find the link between Essam al Eryan’s radio commentaries and killings of policemen and tourists in Upper Egypt. The police are finding evidences to prove that Essam al Eryan is instrumental in the firing of shots on visiting Egyptian cabinet members walking along Cairo’s busy streets.

The suspecting of Essam al Eryan is grounded on his caustic criticism of the Egyptian government’s running of the state’s affairs. Essam al Eryan was a radio commentator on British Broadcasting Corporation. The government did its part to try to control the media, including Essam al Eryan’s radio commentaries.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood’s primary policies include renouncing the use of violence to pursue their religious goals and objectives. A majority of the Egyptian population were critical and against the government’s secular policies.

Based on the above discussion, religious extremism is a different interpretation of Islam’s Jihad teachings. ‘Some groups interpret Jihad to include attacks on innocent civilians. Other Muslim religion leaders and scholars Jihad is allowed only to defend one’s religion, family or community against the infidel attackers. Indeed, religious extremism precipitated from some Muslim religion devotees’ detoured interpretation of Koran’s Jihad verses.

Works Cited

Abdo, Geneive. No God but God: Egypt and the Triumph of Islam. New York: Oxford Press, 2000:71.

Akbar, Muhammad. The Shade of Swords Jihad and the Conflict Between Islam and Christianity. NewYork: Routledge Press, 2002:12.

Burki, Shireen. “Haram or Halal? Islamists’ Use of Suicide Attacs as “Jihad”.” Terrorism and Political Violence 23.4 (2011): 582-601.

Caraley, Demetrios. September 11, Terrorist Attacks, and U. S. Foreign Policy. New York: Political Science Academy Press, 2003;39.

Cook, David. “Women Fighting in Jihad?” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 28.5 (2005): 375-384.

Esposito, John. What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002;117.

Gafoor, Abdul. Islam & Jihad: Prejudice versus Reality. New York: Palgrave Press, 2002;45.

Heck, Paul. “Jihad Revisited.” Journal of Religious Ethics 32.1 (2004): 95-128.

Langley, Andrew. September 11: Attack on America. New York: Compass Books, 2006;8.

Mufti, Malik. “The Art of Jihad.” History of Political Thought 28.2 (2007): 189-207.

Palmer, Monte, Islamic Extremism: Causes, Diversity, and Challenges. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008: 271

Footnotes

1 Heck, Paul. “Jihad Revisited.” Journal of Religious Ethics 32.1 (2004): 95-128.

2 Heck, Paul. “Jihad Revisited.” Journal of Religious Ethics 32.1 (2004): 95-128.

3 Burki, Shireen. “Haram or Halal? Islamists’ Use of Suicide Attacs as “Jihad”.” Terrorism and Political Violence 23.4 (2011): 582-601.

4 Burki, Shireen. “Haram or Halal? Islamists’ Use of Suicide Attacs as “Jihad”.” Terrorism and Political Violence 23.4 (2011): 582-

601.

5 Caraley, Demetrios. September 11, Terrorist Attacks, and United States Foreign Policy, New York, Political Science Academy Press, 2002; 39.

6 Langley, Andrew. September 11: Attack on America. New York: Compass Books, 2006;8.

7 Cook, David. “Women Fighting in Jihad?” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 28.5 (2005): 375-384.

8 Mufti, Malik. “The Art of Jihad.” History of Political Thought 28.2 (2007): 189-207.

9 Akbar, Muhammad. The Shade of SwordsL Jihad and the Conflict Between Islam and Christianity. NewYork: Routledge Press, 2002, 12.

10 Esposito, John. What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 117.

11 Palmer, Monte, Islamic Extremism: Causes, Diversity, and Challenges, New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008;271

12 Gafoor, Abdul, Islam & Jihad: Prejudice versus Reality. 2002; 45.

13 Abdo, Geneive. No God but God: Egypt and the Triumph of Islam. New York: Oxford Press, 2000, 71.

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