Extremism Definition

by Thierry_Judge on March 14, 2016 - 11:23pm

The definition of “extremism” that I found was from the Oxford Dictionaries. It stated that extremism was: “The holding of extreme political or religious views; fanaticism”. Before reading the definition I knew that defining the word extremism would be hard because it is an intangible and relative term. No precise definition can be given because everybody can have a different, but still valid definition for the word. I think that the Oxford Dictionaries definition has some flaws. However, I think that extremism is a term that applies to more than politics and religion. Any behaviour or moral values, without being religious can be considered extreme. Furthermore, defining the word “extremism” with the “extreme” is redundant and does not provide an adequate meaning for the word. “Extreme” is also a relative word and therefore, this definition could mean different things for different people. An adequate definition would include the fact that extremism is what is considered to be unreasonable by a majority of people with similar views.


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, extremism is defined as "the belief and support for ideas that are very far from what people consider correct or reasonable." This broad definition is very versatile and demonstrates how extremism can easily be applied to a variety of situations. The media often refers to extremism to describe the radical ideology and behaviour of religious groups. Due to this portrayal a correlation is often drawn between extremism and violent terrorist groups. I believe it is necessary for us to realize that extremism is not solely linked to religion but is often used in politics and in many social issues of all kinds.

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