New York City, Nov. 16 (UPI) — As the Islamic world continues to grapple with the fallout from the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, the world is struggling to come to terms with a new wave of religiously motivated violence, especially in the Middle East.
The new wave is increasingly motivated by the rise of radical Islam and has attracted adherents from all walks of life.
Yezidis, followers of the Yezidi faith, are increasingly seen as a religious minority, even by non-Muslim groups, and their religious identity is threatened.
In this context, the resurgence of religious extremism is an increasingly pressing issue in the United States and Europe, and the question of what to do about it is one that is becoming increasingly urgent.
Yeezis have become targets of hate crimes in the past, including the November 2015 bombing at the Jewish community center in Kansas City, Missouri.
In 2016, there were reports of another bombing, targeting Yezis, in Washington, D.C., killing five.
In 2017, a gunman shot and killed six people, including two children, in the Jewish Museum of Fort Worth, Texas.
While there is no consensus among analysts on what causes the new wave, experts say there are many causes.
They include the rise in internet messaging that has made it easier to radicalize young Muslims and the growing influence of Salafists, who are a subset of the Islamic faith.
The growth of Salafi extremism is also the focus of an international investigation launched by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSRV).
This is based at the International Center for the Studies of Terrorism and Political Warfare (ICSSP), a London-based think tank and advocacy group.
Its authors include Professor David G. Schmitt, former director of the Centre for Security Studies at the U.K.’s University of East Anglia, and former director at the Center for Counterterrorism at the University of Bath.
In a new report, the authors outline what they call a new, “pre-ISIS era” of religiously driven violence.
The report notes that in the West, attacks like the Paris and Belgium bombings have become much more common, particularly in Western Europe and the United Kingdom.
But the report points out that this new religious extremism has not yet occurred in North America, where there is also little to no evidence that religiously motivated attacks are increasing.
That has left many people in the Muslim world in a “darkness,” according to the authors.
And in many parts of the world, especially the Muslim countries of the Middle Eastern and African regions, the majority of the Muslim population are not participating in such attacks.
What’s more, it is unclear how these new attacks will affect the lives of Muslims living in the countries in which they occur, said Professor Schmitt.
He said that despite the new trend of religious violence, there are no signs that it will be brought under control.
For example, while the attacks have increased in number, they have not significantly changed attitudes toward Muslims, the report said.
They also lack a clear relationship between religious violence and terrorism.
For instance, attacks targeting Muslims have not increased as a proportion of the total number of terrorist attacks, the researchers wrote.
“While there is some anecdotal evidence that religious attacks have become more common in recent years, there is little evidence that these attacks have substantially increased in intensity, duration, or impact,” the report read.
“Moreover, while there is a general belief that there has been a rise in violence against Muslims, there has not been a clear correlation between the increased violence and the increased number of attacks against Muslims.”
But the research also said that it is possible to counter religious extremism by “building a more inclusive society,” by working with people of different faiths and beliefs.
This could include “working with Muslims and other non-Muslims, not excluding them from the social fabric of our societies, and making sure that Muslims and non- Muslims are treated equally.”