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Religious Extremism - From Reason to Radicalism

            In present day America, the informed citizen can hardly go a day without hearing tell of the latest act of terrorism. With a Christian majority, it is no surprise that American news stations invariably credit Muslims with the proliferation of terrorist activity, while analogously extreme Christian factions are overlooked. The term "terrorism" is often used in conjunction with "religious extremism," the former typically a consequence of the latter. Religious extremism, however, is not confined only to acts of violence; it is the violent side of the extremist spectrum, though, which endangers and causes anxiety among the global community. Although terrorism and religious extremism have existed for centuries, it seems as though certain events at the turn of the 21st century catalyzed a new understanding of their insidious and imminent implications, and have given cause to further elucidate the two in hopes of preventing future needless carnage. Thus, with religious extremism at the forefront of political discourse, this paper will attempt to illuminate this prevalent issue by providing a comprehensive analysis of the psyche and ideologies of religious extremists so as to achieve a greater understanding of their actions, and thereby facilitate the means for any manner of intelligible response (which will not be offered here) by virtue of an examination of both a Christian and Islamic case study. It is by no means the author's intent to be conclusive or sanctimonious in this brief article; rather, its purpose is to be wholly informative and to retain objectivity, allowing its readers to come to their own conclusions.
             In recent years, the primary conversation about terrorism and extremism among Americans has revolved around a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. ISIS, an Islamic extremist rebel group, rules an area larger than the United Kingdom, with increasing territory in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria.

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