Islamic extremism

Islamic extremism is any form of Islam that opposes "democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs."[1] Related terms include "Islamist extremism" and Islamism.[2] Some people oppose the use of the term, fearing it could "de-legitimize" the Islamic faith in general.[3] Some have criticized political rhetoric that associates non-violent Islamism (political Islam) with terrorism under the rubric of "extremism."[2]


The UK High Courts have ruled in two cases on Islamic extremism, and provided definition.

Aside from those, two major definitions have been offered for Islamic extremism, sometimes using overlapping but also distinct aspects of extreme interpretations and pursuits of Islamic ideology:

  • The use of violent tactics such as bombing and assassinations for achieving perceived Islamic goals (see Jihadism [ Zeyno Baran, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy at the Hudson Institute, prefers the term Islamist extremism])[4]
  • An extremely conservative view of Islam,[5] which does not necessarily entail violence[6] (see also Islamic fundamentalism [Baran again prefers the term Islamism]).[4]