Religious extremism, threat to global peace

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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.

Muhammad Zargham
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Zargam is a Student at School of politics and international relations Quaid-i-Azam University  Islamabad

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