Religious terrorism in global politics

Authored by: Mark Juergensmeyer

Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138826991
eBook ISBN: 9781315643922
Adobe ISBN:


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The rise of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) in the Middle East, the appearance of The Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, attacks by Buddhist extremists on minorities in Myanmar and Sri Lanka—these and many other acts of violence related to religion give the impression that the twenty-first century is the age of religious terrorism. Such acts have appeared through the centuries and in every religious tradition, though have been seen with increasing frequency in the last decades of the twentieth century and the first decades of the twenty-first. The reasons for this increase are matters of scholarly and public discussion. Samuel Huntington has posited that a “clash of civilizations” might be replacing the ideological confrontation of the Cold War as the new form of geopolitical struggle. 1 Benjamin Barber regards globalization as a primary factor leading to the centrifugal forces of tribalism and the centripetal spread of superficial consumer culture, two trends characterized as “jihad versus McWorld.” 2 My own analyses also identify the forces of globalization as critical, forces that undermine the world-wide supremacy of the idea of the secular nation-state and the notion of secular nationalism as its ideological basis, and offer religious nationalism and transnational politics as an alternative. 3

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