The birth of an extremist

 The major faiths of the world today are grappling for existence; their existence threatened by a new wave of religious intolerance aptly called ‘religious extremism’. Over the last decade or two, no faith has seen this more closely than the faith of Islam. To that effect, I have in my circle of friends seen many a times a transformation that has been hard to explain. The most docile of people with innocent ambitions and views turn into monsters with ideologies that would make even the most fearful tyrants shudder. For years, I have wondered how a tranquil religion like Islam could ever be diseased in essence and ideology by a group of cowards whose motivation comes from personal good rather than the collective good of their people. The more I thought about this, the more ideas started to form patterns in my mind. Most interesting of these ideas was this constant element of depression in every case of extremist transformation. It got me thinking- have you ever heard of a ‘happy terrorist’? 

There is a definite correlation between extremist transformation and depression. The symptoms are quite evident in most cases and in fact almost quite natural – A personal calamity turns into depression. Unable to bear the thought of being more depressed, the person looks for answers in faith and suddenly miraculously sees the realities of his/her existence; sees everything that is wrong with this world. There is a need now to blame one person or entity or sectarian group or faith for the mess that has ensued. Thus is born the extremist. In many cases, a personal calamity might not be the sole trigger. It could be a combination of one or more factors or sometimes just an epiphany of sorts. At the end of the day, the only common thread seems to be that these individuals live a lonely and depressed existence. The loneliness soon vanishes as they find more of themselves and what is left is a group of depressed beings fuelled by the fear of an apocalyptic world.

To add more fuel to this extremist fire, there follows a mechanism of profiling by external entities such as the media and individuals. Extremist groups are given names, advertised as a vast network operating in the underbelly of the world’s most prolific cities with finances coming in from the most unexpected of sources. My view is that 80 percent of the so called extremist groups that exist today have no organization, no motive and are merely the snow ball effect of creating with much hype a few such groups (Al Qaeda and others). What really annoys me is the media’s distinction between an extremist Muslim and a ‘moderate’ Muslim. I find it ridiculous to call a Muslim ‘moderate’. In my eyes, there is only the extremist and the Muslim, the extremist and the Christian, the extremist and the Jew..in sum, the anti-faithful and the faithful

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