A Sharia- and Jihad-based Theory of Muslim Radicalism
29 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2011 Last revised: 5 Aug 2011
Date Written: April 21, 2011
Predictors of religion-based terrorism are becoming clearer. By comparing the evolution of Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India - nations created from the same landmass just sixty-four years ago that share similarities in language, ethnicity, culture, and cuisine - this paper develops a theory to describe the radicalization process in Muslim communities. The proposed theory is that the popularization of certain prominent practices or features of Islam, namely, sharia and jihad, leads to backwardness and violent extremism. Accordingly, this paper suggests a paradigm shift in policy undertaking from “development first” or “democracy first” to that of “undercutting the influence of sharia and jihad first” as a way to break the cycle of radicalization and recruitment that sustains terrorism and, thereby, to address the socio-economic stagnation of Muslim communities.
Keywords: Sharia, Jihad, Radicalism, Paradigm Shift, Theory, Islam, Muslim, Terrorism
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