A Sharia- and Jihad-Based Theory of Muslim Radicalism
25 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2012
Date Written: March 22, 2012
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, led to backwardness and violent extremism. Accordingly, this paper suggests a paradigm shift in policy from “development first” or “democracy first” toward “undercutting the influence of sharia and jihad first” as a way to break the cycle of radicalization and recruitment that sustains terrorism and thereby address the socio-economic stagnation of Muslim communities.
Keywords: terrorism, radicalism, paradigm shift, theory, Islam, sharia, jihad, international relations theory
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