Secularism, a term that is growing in terms of popularity, in the East and West. This term has been given a new context and understanding, and is now seen as a tool to curb the extremism. Extremism is seen to destroy the world, and in such a case, secularism is seen as a tool to repress such sentiments. However, this has not been the case especially in the case of Europe and parts of Asia, where despite secularism, terror groups are still active and causing a growth in intolerant behaviour. Instead of controlling extremism, secularism has, in many instances taken the role of extremism. This paper aims to outline the differences between secularism and extremism and see if they are linked in any way.
What is secularism?
Secularism…show more content… To conclude whether secularism does indeed prevent extremism, we must understand what extremism really is and how it originated in society. Extremism in Oxford Dictionary is defined as; “advocacy of extreme measures” whereas fanaticism is defined as “obsessively devoted to a belief, activity etc.” (Oxford Dictionary). Thus, we can say that extremism did not result from rigid religious practices but rather as a human flaw that in the present day is linked to irrational actions in the name of religion.
At International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security 2005, Kjell Bondevik, while speaking of religious extremism said “All religions can be misused by extremists who are seeking to find arguments for persecution or a holy war. History has shown it again and again. We have seen it in Christianity, in the form of the Medieval Crusades, and the persecution of non-Christians and heretics right up to our own times” (International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security, 2005). This shows us that starting from the crusades, to the Jewish Zealots and the Islamist Jihadists, extremism in relation to religion has existed for a very long time and has taken place in a number of religions. This is when individuals take unfair advantage of religion to exploit people, using violence. Thus we can say that extremism is an age old concept, that has existed for centuries…show more content… News reports, have stated that “in 2011 the number of anti-Muslim attacks was up 34% from the previous year … but what is happening in 2012 is alarming. Between January and the end of October there were 175 reported Islamophobic acts, a 42% increase compared with the same period in 2011” (France24, 2012). However, France at the same time deals with extremism that has sent the society into a state of panic, and in return has the French society worrying about attacks by these Muslim extremists. There is a base for Muslim extremists in France, most of whom are in prisons. According to Michèle Alliot-Marie, the French Interior Minister, French prisons are used as a recruiting base for many Islamic fundamentalists (The Economist, 2008). France is extremely secular and so the governmental tolerance towards religious extremism is very low. What makes matters worse is that, because of this, the tolerance levels of individuals towards Muslims is then not only prompted by fear, but also by