“From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.”
― Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses
An extremist ideology of any kind distorts perception of reality. The inability to allow others the basic human dignity of freely expressing, practicing or questioning their own belief or political system is a form of psychological enslavement. Oppression, terrorism, violence, are all manipulative tactics used to gain power and control. Fundamentalism is characterized by extreme religious behavior which tends to elevate text or literal translation as the infallible words of God rather than translated and interpreted by man. Extremists dislike uncertainty and demand allegiance. A higher purpose allows them to commit atrocities without remorse. Their calling extinguishes their own light of humanity, believing they will be praised and rewarded for deeds in the afterlife. The straight and narrow, obedience, discourages contemplation or questioning. The extremist's world is right or wrong, black or white, left or right, liberal or conservative. There is no gray, no compromise, no need for diplomacy, no mutual respect. Why should there be? You are the devil, evil, less than human and they see themselves as most certainly right.
“What can you say to a man who tells you he prefers obeying God rather than men, and that as a result he's certain he'll go to heaven if he cuts your throat?”
― Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary.
Although we immediately identify oppression in other countries we neglect to examine the extremism in our own country or investigate the "American Taliban". All fundamentalists distort scripture or tenets of a religion in order to establish dominance or gain political sovereignty. Morality is no longer an issue when everything they do is justified as God's will including beating, starving, torturing men, women and children, honor killings, genocide and rape. Fundamentalism is not only intolerant but sadistically inhuman and sectarian. Extremist ideology systematically condones restricting the rights of women, often seen as less valuable, even less human as a man. Extremists have an almost obsessive restriction on female sexuality and independence. What do they fear? What do they want? Fundamentalist ideas tend to be barbaric and cruel in the face of modern society and modern morality. If we truly wish to understand our enemies we must first look inside ourselves.