عنوان مقاله [English]
With the 9/11 attacks, the rise of the Islamic State group, the Taliban, and the events in Myanmar, the issue of religious extremism has come to the fore as a threat to international peace and security as well as human rights. At the international level, measures have been taken to counter and control extremism, but the desired result does not seem to have been achieved. After 20 years of fighting in Afghanistan, the Taliban have regained power, the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq has stepped up its activities, and we are facing new manifestations of religious extremism. In the present study, the main question is whether the structures and norms of contemporary international law can counter religious extremism? In the present article, which has been written by descriptive-analytical method and using library sources, by examining the concept of extremism and religion, three different readings of the foundations of international law and their conflict with extremist religion arising from the foundations of laws and differences arising from It aims, analyzes and concludes that due to fundamental flaws in the structures and norms of international law, this legal system is incapable of confronting religious extremism and is unable to reach a decisive decision against religious extremism.
National, racial, ideological, and religious extremism. Extremism has a long history in religion. There were extremists who deemed the Prophet (Muhammad) unjust. In Christianity, extremism in its strong sense is clearly visible in crusades and the inquisition during the Middle Ages. As an example of the UN’s failure, the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict is rooted in the Zionist (Jewish) extremism in continuing the occupation of Palestine as the Promised Land. Since and before 1980s, extremism has been addressed by the UN within the framework of countering intolerance and terrorism. As major disruptors of international peace and security and obstacles to socioeconomic developments, as well as human exploitation of human rights, extremist groups such as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and the violence born of fundamentalism and extremism, compelled policymakers to seek out a working solution. International law has set a wide range of countermeasures to be taken against religious extremism, as a form of extremism, yet they did not deliver the desired outcome. There is some research on countering extremism: The Saudi Terror Machine, International Law and Religion: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, and ‘Fundamentalism, Extremism, and Politics’. It should be noted that when the author touches upon extremism in religion and its origins and consequences, he/she refers to the views followed by religious extremists, which is devoid of any form of tolerance and lenience and at odds with compassionate and tolerant forms of Islam. There are different causes for the development of religious extremism; some states uphold it to gain legitimacy, continue existence, or expand their political sway. Extremists use religion to legitimize their violent acts. In order to fight against extremism, the UN General Assembly passed resolutions such as 2625, 36/55, and 61/161, and the Security Council passed 1624, 1424, and 2178 resolutions within the framework of counterterrorism, tolerance, religious freedom, combating impunity, dialogs among civilizations, and several other special plans. In addition, European Union, African Union, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization took special steps such as treaties, counter-extremism special plans of action, research grants, and the empowerment of vulnerable groups.
This descriptive-analytical study addressed religious extremism and international law’s intellectual foundations and constructs; it then elaborated on the reasons of failure in the fight against religious extremism on an international scale according to the gaps existing in the fundamentals of international law and the conflicts between religious law and international law in different countries.
Results and Discussion
The inability to grasp the true nature of religious extremism and the existence of numerous definitions for it lead to the growth of extremism because of the harsh conflicts and religious freedom limitations; on the other hand, excessive religious freedom would make it impossible to counter radical missionaries. The effective fundamentals shaping the modern international law have also failed to provide satisfactory answers to religious persons prone/exposed to extremism. According to Thomas Hobbes, international law focuses on the current state of affairs in relations among countries, endless race for power, lack of a clear distinction between fair and unfair laws, and the top priority of saving human lives; this cannot provide a strong basis for combating religious extremism because a life-saving-based international law is not effective enough in countering radical religious thoughts that treat the world on the basis of supreme dehumanizing laws, aiming to enforce religious laws and prepare the ground for the attainment of the unending promised ideal. Religious extremists believe that peace is not achievable through a supreme earthly power; it is achieved when a single global state enforces God’s laws on the earth. Otherwise, holy struggle/jihad would be the proper choice. Liberalism, which is based on earthly welfare and humanistic globalization, does not pay religious the attention it deserves. A comfortable life is desired by all humans, including the religious ones; however, the radical religious person seeks their ultimate goal in the hereafter. A liberalistic globalization and deculturalization would worry the devout about their beliefs and religions. International law, which is built upon sovereignty, does address counter-extremism; however, its constructs fail to prepare the proper ground. Human-enacted international laws cannot meet all the needs of the devout. The devout claim that laws are fixed in divine religions, and possess a higher position than man-made international ones, which have been enacted to save human lives and improve welfare. There will be no place for man-made international laws when the devout consider legislation by humans tantamount to associating others with God. Westphalian international law is based on sovereign states, which require legitimacy and cannot choose others’ satisfaction over their legitimacy (bases). The solution does not lie in the dissolution of sovereign states and formation of a human-rights-centered state because a radical devout settles for nothing but a global religious state.
In conclusion, due to the above-mentioned fundamental and structural considerations, international law proves ineffective against religious extremism. What is currently happening is just a temporary palliative; the actual solution requires that normative and structural foundations of international law be transformed. Although it was once far-fetching that religious extremists would seize power in countries, Myanmar events, ISIS, and the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan showed that despite advances in technology and the creation of international institutions, it is still quite likely that religious extremists can seize power.