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Difference Between Extremism and Terrorism

Extremism vs Terrorism

If there is one problem that is global and is man made, and has been a source of great concern for entire world, it is the use of violence by groups of people to further their objectives. All over the world, whether democracies or dictatorships, there are sections of population that feel they are not getting their rights due to them, and to make sure they get them, they make secretive organizations and take up arms to lead a struggle against regimes. These struggles become violent and cause a lot of destruction in terms of property and lives. There are two terms namely extremism and terrorism that are widely used to describe acts of violence. These are closely related concepts that confuse many as they cannot differentiate between them. This article attempts to highlight these differences.

It is really hard to define terrorism. Even after years of deliberation, there is no consensus among powers that matter to find a definition that is universally accepted. It is really surprising that though everyone recognizes the magnitude as well as menace of the phenomenon, terrorists for some are champions of the oppressed and deprived. This is what has prevented formation of a universally accepted definition of terrorism. However, situation has changed dramatically since 9/11, and most of the countries today recognize the use of force or violence to indulge in acts that cause destruction of property and loss of innocent lives as acts of terrorism. The old adage that end justifies means no longer applies to terrorism these days and outfits that found moral, political, and even monetary support from other groups and nations today are simply terrorists.

Historically, terrorism in one form or the other has always been practiced by political organizations, whether in power or in opposition to further their ends and objectives. History is replete with organizations of all hues from right wing to left wing groups, religious groups and nationalistic groups that have used acts of violence to draw attention of powers that matter to their plight. Terrorism has two main purposes, one is to create terror in the minds of those that terrorists consider to be perpetrators of suppression of a section of a population, and the other is to draw attention of the media and world powers to their plight and organization.

Extremism is a concept that is almost similar in nature to terrorism. There are countries where administration has started to use the word extremists for those who indulge in acts of violence that are meant to create terror. However, historically, extremist is a word that has been associated with political ideology that has been in total opposition to moderation or one that is in violation of accepted norms of the society. There is no doubt that the term extremism has assumed different hues in modern day’s context and is a pejorative term no less dubious than terrorism.

Difference Between Extremism and Terrorism

• The world is in the grip of a global phenomenon known as terrorism that is resulting loss of property and innocent lives on a much greater scale than even natural calamities

• Terrorism refers to use of arms and violence in a secretive and furtive manner to kill soft targets and indulge in acts that cause destruction of property.

• Organizations that indulge in terrorism are banned by all governments but they survive because of moral and monetary support from some groups of people and countries

• Extremism refers to political ideology that is in opposition to moderation or is at least against the norms of the society

• However, there are some countries where local terrorists are today being referred to as extremists.


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