Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Diana M. Judd
Religious extremism is a radicalized and intolerant viewpoint that typically sanctions the use of violence to promote a defined, religiously motivated political agenda. Religious extremist groups share several interlocking characteristics. Among the most important are a sense of persecution, a sense of injustice suffered at the hand of a larger force or ideological entity (such as secularism, the state, a colonial power, or an invading military force), a perceived lack of cultural or political control over one's preferred way of life, a perceived loss of traditional values and mores, and finally, the idea that sacrifice is necessary to achieve the ends of the group. Religious extremists usually do not identify themselves as extremist. Rather, they identify themselves alternatively as victims, defenders, and saviors. Religious extremist groups and organizations tend to place adherence to a single religious interpretation as the basis for all other relations. In other words, these groups will ...