I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again. The greatest threat facing the world isn’t Islam, but religious extremism. Any extremism. Reuters:
Violent Muslim, Christian and Jewish extremists invoke the same rhetoric of "good" and "evil" and the best way to fight them is to tackle the problems that drive people to extremism, according to a report obtained by Reuters.
It said extremists from each of the three faiths often have tangible grievances — social, economic or political — but they invoke religion to recruit followers and to justify breaking the law, including killing civilians and members of their own faith.
The report was commissioned by security think tank EastWest Institute ahead of a conference on Thursday in New York titled "Towards a Common Response: New Thinking Against Violent Extremism and Radicalization." The report will be updated and published after the conference.
The authors compared ideologies, recruitment tactics and responses to violent religious extremists in three places — Muslims in Britain, Jews in Israel and Christians in the United States.
"What is striking … is the similarity of the worldview and the rationale for violence," the report said.
It said that while Muslims were often perceived by the West as "the principal perpetrators of terrorist activity," there are violent extremists of other faiths. Always focusing on Muslim extremists alienates mainstream Muslims, it said.
The report said it was important to examine the root causes of violence by those of different faiths, without prejudice.
"It is, in each situation, a case of ‘us’ versus ‘them,’" it said. "That God did not intend for civilization to take its current shape; and that the state had failed the righteous and genuine members of that nation, and therefore God’s law supersedes man’s law."