Religious Extremism, Causes and Solutions

We hear a lot about discontent with religious extremism phenomenon. This phenomenon is popping itself up in front of public opinion all over the world, but if we intend to control such a negative phenomenon, we have to illustrate reasons that have helped it emerge, denoting to the entity that has caused it. Thus, we can etymologize the reasons in order to prescribe a useful remedy for it.

There are two basic factors that contributed to the emergence of this phenomena: subjective factor and objective one:

Objective Factor:

The intimidated West with its shouting media, terrifying others from of this phenomenon has contributed to the creation and development of this phenomenon. When the West keeps watching scenes of tyrannical regimes suppressing freedoms, muzzling mouths and filling solitary confinements with thousands of detainees longing for freedom, and in many occasions the West supports those regimes, the West should expect some kind of reaction, as the suppressed will flood up, and this flooding will overspread against those who are supposedly required to curb those regimes, but have not done.

When others’ values, doctrines and symbols are desecrated in the name of irrational freedom of expression without taking into consideration feeling of people towards their sacred symbols, this will lead to irrational and irresponsible sets of behavior that will deviate into extremism. It is seen as a natural reaction to the inability to confront those abuses and violations.

We don’t rationalize extremism or terrorism, and we utterly condemn it, but we are referring to its reasons in order to figure out a remedy. The West contributed to the creation of this phenomenon, as the West has been supporting suppressive regimes for some geo-political considerations. The West has been muted over horrible absolutism, totalitarianism and displacement of people, and the West’s unparallel view towards races and sacred symbols of other peoples, where millions of people are being killed in Syria, Iraq and Palestine are human beings.

Syria has been silently slaughtered on the altar of freedom for eight years that has not stimulated the Western conscience. The West, on the contrary, has not supported freedom seekers. Unfortunately, the west turned blind eye on the systematic killing, destruction of the country and displacement of people. On the contrary, the international community has been observing cool-blooded killing and displacing of people as if their demand of freedom and social justice were a crime those people committed, and they should be punished for.

The United States of America desecrated and plundered Iraq and destroyed its civilization. It offered this country to its fierce enemy, Iran. The United States of America plundered Iraq’s cultural treasures and wealth, and it killed and displaced millions of Iraqis. Human rights are being violated in most Arab countries, and the West is blessing and supporting the hangmen and the colonists, and even sustaining them. Are not these Western attitudes and sets of behavior considered as motives for extremism growth?

Extremism mostly grows in communities dominated by tyranny and severe suppression, and in fascist communities. Extremism is also a pandemic that spoils pure ideologies, and the essence remedy is to achieve justice, and to support the downtrodden until they have obtained their rights.

Subjective Factor:

Religious extremism mostly results from misunderstanding of religious message and its objectives. This misunderstanding is generally accompanied by revolutionary enthusiasm and fury, and little awareness. This will result in indifference over blood-shedding of others and considering them as infidels.

Islamists are not fierce fighters, and they are very poor in politics. All battles of political Islam for about a century have all been a failure because their main concern was gaining power rather than social justice and liberating the suppressed human beings. However, extremism is not limited only to Islamists, all those who don’t admit others the right to express their ideas are also extremists whether they are Muslims, Christians or Hebrew, secularist, atheist, right wing or leftist.


Extremism phenomenon can be terminated only by achieving freedom, social justice and equality. It requires meticulous efforts to reinforce coexistence culture in the society suffering from extremism. Culture of dialogue should be deeply-rooted and higher common interests of community should be prioritized as well. Acceptance of others’ views should be a prevailing culture, as a right that should be practiced foe self-expression.

Culture of democracy should be taken into account where we should believe in as a strategic approach rather than a tactic for other political or authoritarian purposes. Proper ground should also be prepared to grow such a culture as a remedy for extremism phenomenon.

Citizenship culture and homeland concept for all its people should be restored, and it is not exclusive to a sect, party, group or race. This culture should be adopted by the entire society. Some phenomena emerged during the bloody conflict in Syria where mottos were raised, announcing that homeland should be exclusive to an ethnic group, sect or party.

It should not be forgotten that communities where principles of rational freedom, social justice, sovereignty of law and equality amongst are dominant among individuals will be conscious of its rights and duties. In such societies, individuals will not neglect others’ rights and duties, and will never be affected by an unaccepted newly-emerging phenomenon like extremism.

It is unreasonable to resist this phenomenon by military force or by security measures just like totalitarian regimes and International powers because this sort of confrontation will contribute to the survival and expansion of this phenomenon within a society. This sort of confrontation will attract more advocate, and will encourage this phenomenon. Such a confrontation will not help halt extremism as those ways of confrontation have proved.

Consequently, we have to realize that community, which avails opportunities to individuals according to their qualifications, not due to their allegiances, will resist extremism phenomenon in an authentic way, and it will stop its growth.

Copyright © 2019 The Middle East and North Africa Media Monitor.