Islam and Religious Radicalization

It is not new for the Islamic religion to be associated with religious radicalization and terrorism (Wright, 2016). The question that many scholars seeking to understand is why is Islam associated with terrorism? Scholars have researched why most religious terrorism is associated with the Islamic religion. According to Rogers et al. (2007), one of the reasons is that Muslims show high self-reported fundamentalism compared to adherents of other religions such as Christians. Indeed, most Muslims have strong resilience for their religion, and they will do anything to protect the values of their religion. Religious fundamentalism is where religious followers have fundamental beliefs. Wright (2012) noted that Muslims show a high religious commitment to protecting their religious beliefs compared to other religions. Consequently, they are ready to defend their religion, including violence. The current political landscape, driven by Western ideologies, contradicts Islamic believers’ self-concept and acts as a “push” factor to religious radicalization and terrorism. Whereas it is fundamental to commit to one’s religious beliefs, studies have shown that some Islamic social institutions are extreme, and their teachings radicalize their followers. The Islamic religion is more homogenous than other religions, such as Christians, characterized by many denominations with different beliefs (Wright, 2016). Thus, religious terrorism can be understood by assessing religious-specific factors.

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