What is the difference between extremism and terrorism?
Despite decades of scientific research, analyses, and the unfortunate successes of both extremist and terrorist based agendas, clear and concise definitions remain elusive. While many are quick to point out some of the more well-known groups, ideologies, and tragic events attributed to extremism and terrorism throughout history, identifying new threats and differentiating between extremism and terrorism is relatively complicated. As explained by Kirkpatrick and Onursal (2019), a person’s understanding of something shapes how they respond to it. So a child who views the sea as a playground will swim and play, whereas a fisherman will view it as a livelihood, casting his rod and nets accordingly. In simpler terms, the use of the terms extremist, extremism, terrorist, and terrorism, are all subjective. This means they are all subject to the perception or interpretation of individual people.
Much of the aforementioned difficulties can be directly linked to a wide variety of stereotypes regarding extremism and terrorism, which have been created to simplify, understand, and personify complex subject matters. As provided by Kirkpatrick and Onursal (2019). Extremism has tended to refer to both violent and non-violent forms of political expression, whereas terrorism is predominantly violent. To be an extremist could mean anything from being a nationalist, a communist, to being an animal rights activist—as long as this ideology is regarded as extreme relative to the government’s position. Contrary to popular beliefs in present day American society, BLM, far-right, far-left, pro-life, pro-choice, and many other groups are considered to be extremist, and at times, borderline terrorist. Groups like the Black Panthers, Neo-Nazis (skinheads), and Antifa are closer to the terrorist definition. Unfortunately, the internet, social media platforms, cancel-culture, censorship, and the mass media have contributed to the ever-growing and evolving narratives and agendas behind both extremism and terrorism.
What are the causes and motives of terrorism?
Terrorism is often regarded as and can be directly linked to radicalized ideologies, indoctrination, indiscriminate violence, and the utilization of perverted (manipulated) religious, cultural, and political based propaganda, which all thrive on the basis of instilling fear to achieve specific objectives. As provided by Poland (2011), terrorists attempt by the nature of indiscriminate acts of violence to use fear to achieve a variety of tactical and political objectives. Unlike extremism, which is often more isolated or specific in its targeting and agendas, terrorism has found itself to be more of an international or global contender. As Poland (2011) explains, what sets terrorism apart from the other acts of violence is that terrorism is carried out in a very dramatic way to attract attention and create an atmosphere of fear that goes far beyond the actual victims of the violence. The distinction between actual victims and a target audience is the trademark of terrorism, and separates it from criminal activity and other modes of armed conflict.
Based on the peer’s post above answer the following question.
In your reply post:
Critically examine the postings of your peers and provide a brief overview of what role religion plays in extremism and terrorism and provide at least one example of each.
Remember when typing this response to this post to write it as a response to a discussion post.
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