Islamic extremism

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Islamic extremism refers to two related and partially overlapping but also distinct aspects of extremist interpretations and pursuits of Islamic ideology:

  • An extremely conservative view of Islam,[1] which does not entail violence.[2] (see also Islamic fundamentalism)
  • The use of violent tactics such as bombing and assassinations for achieving perceived Islamic goals;[3] see Jihadism.


Main article: Khawarij

Extremism within Islam goes back to the 7th century to the Kharijites. From their essentially political position, they developed extreme doctrines that further set them apart from both mainstream Sunni and Shiʿa Muslims. The Kharijites were particularly noted for adopting a radical approach to Takfir, whereby they declared other Muslims to be unbelievers and therefore deemed them worthy of death.[4][5][6]


Zeyno Baran, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy at the Hudson Institute, argues Islamist extremism and Islamism are better terms, to distinguish the political ideology from the religion.[7]

See also[edit]