Religious extremism has become a serious threat to world peace, causing upheaval, violence and instability in many parts of the world. This form of extremism, characterized by an intolerant and intolerant belief system, has disastrous consequences for society, undermining social harmony, human rights and inter-religious relations. . In this article, we will delve deeper into why religious extremism poses a serious threat to peace and explore potential solutions to address this pressing issue.
During the Soviet era, several prominent analysts predicted that Islamic extremism would cause the collapse of the Soviet Union. They also believed that an underground Muslim movement that had continued throughout the Soviet era would rise up and challenge the communist successors. But these concerns are not real. In fact, until 1999, the idea that religious extremism led by radical Islamists would become a serious destabilizing factor in post-Soviet Central Asia seemed excessive. Islam’s most important role was in the cultural sphere, not as active resistance to the post-Soviet government. Besides the rise of Islamism in Tajikistan during the Tajikistan Civil War (1992-1997), Islam played a minor role in the broader politics of Central Asia. In recent years, however, Islam has gained new importance as a religious tradition and as a form of cultural and political identity in the Central Asian republics.
Observance of Islamic rituals, introduction of ‘assalamualaikum’ as a form of greeting, religious marriage, daily practice of prayer and attendance of mosques are on the rise. The construction of religious buildings also increased significantly. The number of uncertified mullahs has increased and the number of mosques has also increased, especially in rural areas. In recent years, it is estimated that the number of mosques has increased from 160 to 5000. Several seminaries have been established in Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. Large donations are voluntarily collected and used for the construction of mosques and madrasa. A survey in Central Asia shows that the level of religiosity among Muslims, especially among the younger generation and intellectuals, is higher than it was 10 to 20 years ago. To understand the threat of religious extremism, it is essential to examine its underlying causes. Many factors contribute to the rise and perpetuation of extremist ideologies in religious communities. Socio-economic disparities, political grievances, lack of education, and cultural alienation often cause feelings of social exclusion and create fertile ground for extremist ideologies to sow. sprinkle.
In addition, erroneous interpretations of religious texts, along with charismatic leaders who manipulate these interpretations for personal gain, play an important role in promoting extremism. Religious extremism undermines social harmony by dividing religious communities. Instead of promoting peaceful coexistence and mutual respect, extremists incite hatred, intolerance and violence. This hostility creates an environment of fear and distrust that disrupts the fabric of society. The impact of these divisions is particularly acute in areas characterized by diverse ethnic and religious groups, as community tensions are often exploited by extremists for their own ends. The
erosion of social harmony not only leads to violent conflict but also hinders economic development and social progress. Religious extremism often manifests itself in acts of violence and violations of human rights. Extremist groups use terrorism, bombings, and targeted attacks against individuals and communities perceived as distinct or “heretic”. These acts of violence result in the loss of innocent lives, destruction of infrastructure and the displacement of entire populations. Furthermore, extremists often justify their actions by invoking religious doctrines, further tarnishing the image of their respective faiths. Furthermore, religious extremism poses a serious threat to human rights.
Extremist ideologies often deny basic freedoms and rights, especially to women, religious minorities and dissidents. This suppression of individual liberty hinders the development of inclusive and democratic societies and perpetuates cycles of violence and oppression. Some prominent examples around the world show it very clearly. Terrorism by Islamic extremists:
Various Islamic extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), Boko Haram, and the Taliban have carried out numerous terrorist attacks around the world. These groups religiously justify their actions and often claim to defend or establish a particular interpretation of Islam through violence. Hindu-Muslim Tensions in India:
Tensions rose between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities, leading to violent clashes and social unrest. Religious extremism on both sides contributes to these conflicts, often fueled by political agendas and deep-rooted religious divisions. Buddhist-Muslim Conflict in Myanmar:
In Myanmar, tensions continue between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minorities, especially the Rohingya. The rise of Buddhist nationalist groups such as the 969 Movement and Ma Ba Ta has fueled hatred and violence against the Rohingya, leading to widespread human rights abuses and forced displacement. Sectarian Violence in the Middle East:
The Middle East faces significant sectarian conflict fueled by religious extremism. Conflicts between Sunni and Shia Muslims have fueled violence in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain, often leading to civil wars, terrorist activities and geopolitical tensions. Hindu Nationalist Violence in India:
India is a diverse country with many different religious communities, but the rise of Hindu nationalism has increased tension and violence. Certain Hindu extremist groups, such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Diocese (VHP), have been linked to attacks against religious minorities, including Christians and Muslims. Christian Extremism in Central Africa:
Violent incidents by Christian extremists have occurred in central African countries such as the Central African Republic and Nigeria. These groups have launched attacks on Muslim communities, exacerbating sectarian tensions and leading to reprisals. Countering religious extremism requires a multifaceted approach. Governments, religious leaders, civil society and international organizations must work together to address the root causes and mitigate the effects of extremism. Education reforms aimed at encouraging critical thinking, promoting tolerance and debunking extremist narratives are essential. Investing in quality education and skills training can make opportunities more accessible to marginalized communities, thus making extremist
ideologies are less attractive. Interreligious dialogue and the involvement of religious leaders play an important role in promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between different religious communities.
By emphasizing shared values, religious leaders can counter extremist interpretations and emphasize the importance of peaceful coexistence. Efforts should also focus on socioeconomic development, reducing inequality, and resolving political grievances exploited by extremists. Social inclusion efforts that empower marginalized communities and increase their participation in decision-making can help counteract feelings of alienation and marginalization. Moreover, effective law enforcement and intelligence cooperation is essential to disrupt extremist networks and prevent violence. Governments must take steps to identify and arrest individuals involved in extremist activities while protecting civil liberties and human rights. Religious extremism poses a serious threat to world peace and endangers social peace, human rights and international security.
Addressing the root causes and mitigating their impact requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach involving governments, religious leaders, civil society and international organizations. By promoting education and non-sectarianism. It is important to note that religious extremism can occur in any religious context and is not limited to any particular belief. These examples demonstrate the devastating impact of extremist ideologies and actions of various religions around the world.
Zargam is a Student at School of politics and international relations Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad