15 January 2015
There are problems with terms used to discuss religiously justified violence, like Islamism, Radical Islam, Jihadism, etc. They may provide legitimacy to terrorists, increase Islamophobia, and distort or misrepresent the actions and ideologies they seek to describe.
Violence in the name of religion, especially Islam, is a global concern: the Charlie Hebdo and Paris attacks, and the ongoing ISIS conflict being two prominent examples. The language used to discuss this is, however, deeply problematic, with terms used by the media, politicians, and academics often distorting or oversimplifying the issues.
The focus, here, on Islam is because it is the most discussed example, although I do not believe Islam is inherently violent or more violent than any other religion. Indeed, no clear evidence suggests religion is more likely to incite violence than other ideologies or worldviews; nevertheless, in the current geopolitical environment it often provides a claimed motivation or seeming explanation – both for actors and commentators.
…Paul Hedges is Associate Professor in Inter-religious Studies for the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He maintains a blog on Inter-religious Studies and related issues at: www.logosdao.wordpress.com.
GPO / SRP / Online
Last updated on 03/12/2015