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FOREWORD Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, many religious leaders, civil society organizations, and government agencies have increased their focus on countering extremist violence committed in the name of religion. Yet this type of violence was prevalent long before the attacks of September 11, and almost all faiths have, or have had, their share of extremists prepared to commit violence in the name of religion. In 2006, the EastWest Institute launched a project to counter violent extremism and radicalization. Given EWI’s reputation as a “think-and-do” tank, this project has involved both an active research agenda to deepen our collective understanding of violent extremism and its root causes, as well as concrete recommendations to counter the tide of extremism. Through research, the convening of experts, and engaging spiritual leaders along with other members of civil society dedicated to countering violent extremism, EWI has laid the foundation for a unique space for dialogue, discussion, and learning. This volume is intended to increase our collective understanding of extremist recruitment and pathways to violence. It formulates recommendations for policymakers, civil society, faith leaders, and the media, all of whom have important roles to play in a truly global struggle against radical and extremist forces. The volume is an analysis of extremism across the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) in selected communities in Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This is in no way a statement that any of the three religious traditions breeds extremism more than others. EWI sought simply to commission research into extremist violence perpetrated by members of the Jewish faith in Israel, the Christian faith in the United States, and the Muslim faith in the United Kingdom. This was not intended as an exhaustive investigation. The aim was to compare similarities across the movements, gather recommendations from those with experience in the field, and transmit these findings and recommendations to policymakers, leading persons of faith, members of civil society, and others engaged in countering violent extremism. One of the greatest challenges involved in countering extremist movements that promote violence is defining what is meant by extremism. Ultimately, it is a relational concept and one that exists on a spectrum. Some of the world’s most respected politicians have proudly claimed the title ‘extremist’ for their (peaceful) cause. Whether or not we categorize a person, group, or movement as extremist is entirely contingent on the entity against which they are being compared. We must further distinguish between those who represent a genuine security threat—that is, the people who are willing and able to carry out violence—and those whose orthodoxy may be at the far end of the religious spectrum. So long as the latter do not coerce others, they must be free to practice their religion. Evaluating the threat from extremist groups espousing a politicized theology is more complicated. Often these groups may not espouse or support violence but do seek to impose their religion on a state’s legislative and social regimes. It is certainly wrong to conflate such groups with terrorists. Yet it would be folly to exclude these groups from consideration as having no influence on violent extremists. EWI’s research determined that, in some cases, these nonviolent but politicized extremist organizations prepare people ideologically to the point that they can be recruited to violence through the urge to translate belief into action. The recommendations contained in this report are a result of our research, interviews with leading experts, various seminars, and a major conference held in New York City in June 2007. They are intended to be applicable for specific constituencies in a variety of countries. They strike a balance between advocating continuance of current policies for which the political will may be wanting and suggesting new policy approaches. The recommendations are designed to address internal, or homegrown, threats from actors living within a state’s borders. Some of these actors may be inspired by external organizations, while others may be affiliated with internal militia-style organizations, but none should be considered soldiers, although many clearly view themselves as such. The question of “sleeper agents” who immigrate to a particular state specifically to commit violence there is beyond

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