Islam traces much of its history to the West, which provided the basic of Islamic philosophy.
The Sunni Islam is considered to be the largest branch of Islam religion. Sunni makes up to 90% of all Muslims. Within the Sunni, there is a conservative group called Wahhabi. Wahhabi Islam is the original movement behind the extremist Islam (Armstrong, 2000). The Wahhabi part of Islam includes doctrines and beliefs that are not found in any other movement of Islam.
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (died 1972), the founder of the Wahhabi extremist movement, was the first modern extremist. He insisted that, for Muslims to remain true Muslims, they must adhere solely to the original beliefs. According to Al-Wahhab, any principle or idea that may be added to Islam any time after the third century of the Muslim era is false and should be ignored. Among the practices opposed to Wahhabi were pilgrimages to historic mosques and tombs, praying to the saint, and using sacrificial offerings among many others. Those who followed and adhered to the Wahhab doctrines received addition of any doctrines to Islam with a lot of rebellion.
The leaders of the Wahhabi movement oppose any attempt to reinterpret the Qur’an, especially on issues that were settled by the earliest movement. For example, they oppose the 19th and 20th reform movements, which reinterpreted sections of the Islamic law in order to realign them with standards set by the West. Thus, it can be seen as a clear origin of the extremist section of the Muslims. Wahhabism dominates the Islamic tradition on the Arabian Peninsula. Believers of Wahabi Islam regard it as the only route to true Islam. By the early twentieth century, Wahhabism has become the official state religion of Saudi Arabia.
Wahhabism provides some thoughts and principles that may contribute to radical Islamism. It is, according to Wahhabism, forbidden for Muslims to participate in Christian and Jews festivities. Unislamic societies should also be treated with contempt.
In February, 1979, there was a considerable anxiety as an autocratic regime of the Shah’s in Iran was replaced by a theocratic regime under the stewardship of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (Berlatsky, 2012). Later, Iran became one of the greatest foes of the West, particularly of the US and Israel. The Islamic Republic has become a supporter of terrorism in an attempt to spread the cause of Islam worldwide. This is manifested in the consistent sponsorship of political violence outside its borders and continuous generation of anti-western sentiments among the Muslims.
There has been a little freedom for Arabs in the Middle East as well as in most of the Muslim world for a long time. This acted as limitations towards free flow of information. Technological improvements have led to replacements of traditional means of communication with more advanced information delivery media. Technology has, therefore, led to fast transmission of information, which is aligned with extremist perspectives resulting in increased radicalized audiences (Ojeda, 2003). The Internet and increasing accessibility to cellular phones has accelerated the transmission of information. The governments in the Middle East were able to control the mode and content of communications. These technologies have led to significant radicalization of Muslim and Arab opinions.
The West and whole world view politicized and radical Islam. The radicals have declared war against most western nations. There is a building up of nuclear weapons, which poses the greatest security threat. Poverty in the Middle East is considered to be one the causes of Islamism terrorism. However, Middle East expert, Daniel Pipes, points out the opposite thought. He asserts that Muslims do not turn to terrorism due to economic distress. He states that Muslim terrorists are usually educated individuals from the middle class part of the society. Daniel Pipes demonstrates this by mentioning the September 11attackers. Education, wealth and privilege are prerequisites to becoming a terrorist.
Nowadays, radical Islam is spreading much faster than ever before, however, it is a big question, whether their ideologies pose a threat to the world.