Understanding Islamic Extremism Away from the Dominant Normative Paradigm

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  • Mostafa Soueid Haigazian University
  • Rita Merhej Haigazian University




extremism, radicalism, social identity, Islam, modernity, religiosity


Much academic interest has been given to the relationship of Islam with extremism, with such relationship being too often articulated in terms of religiosity as the main predictive factor, and a language of normativity positing that extremism is the negative manifestation and excess of Muslim discourses. This systematic review attempts to account for such normative assumptions by looking at the predictive ability of psychosocial and environmental factors related to social identity processes, in addition to the predictive ability of religiosity in accounting for Islamic extremism. Two search rounds were performed using several databases for peer reviewed English language articles, of all types of research designs, between 2012 and 2023 defining Islamic or Muslim extremism as a deviation from the dominant Eurocentric normative definition and delineating its predictors. The review revealed a differing account regarding the roots of Muslim extremism in which exclusion from the modern world-system—framed in terms of perceived threat, deprivation, discrimination, and oppression—is highlighted, while religiosity had predominantly insignificant effects. The paper calls for a reconsideration of extremism among Muslims away from the normative paradigm set forth by the modern world-system.


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Author Biography

Mostafa Soueid, Haigazian University

Mostafa Soueid  is Graduate student in Psychology. Researcher in international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work.


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How to Cite

Soueid, M., & Merhej, R. (2024). Understanding Islamic Extremism Away from the Dominant Normative Paradigm. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 11(1), 183–209. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/1664



Original Manuscript
Received 2023-04-21
Accepted 2023-12-14
Published 2024-02-19