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Understanding Radical Islamic Fundamentalists

Understanding Radical Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism


The primary terrorist concern worldwide since the 1990s has been linked with various Islamic terrorist groups. For example, 17 of the 25 proscribed international terrorist organizations listed by the British Home Office are Islamic groups. These groups threaten not only stability in the Middle East but have commenced terrorist attacks against the West and Western interests worldwide. Many of these groups are based on radical Islamic fundamentalism. A basic understanding of Islam and of its early history is essential for understanding the motivation and tactics of these terrorist groups operating today.

This module presents a brief overview of Islam, its early history, and its influence on Arab society. Brief comparison with radical Christian fundamentalist groups is also made using an example of domestic antiabortion terrorism. Click Understanding Radical Islamic Fundamentalists to load the PowerPoint presentation (4.25 MB).

Focus Questions

  1. What is Islamic fundamentalism? Why does it seem to be in conflict with the West?
  2. Why is radical fundamentalism gaining popularity in the Moslem world?
  3. What are the similarities and differences between radical Islamic fundamentalists and radical Christian fundamentalists?
  4. What other radical religious fundamentalist movements are sometimes associated with terrorist activity?