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The Religious Foundations of Political Violence

The Religious Foundations of Political Violence

Building on a longstanding academic partnership, TRENDS Research & Advisory and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), based in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, have launched a major new project to examine the religious foundations of political violence.

Western thinking about the interplay between religion and violence has traditionally been influenced by the secularisation thesis of the 20th century. Most notably, the works of Marx and Weber posited that in the wake of progress and modernisation (however understood) human beings are more like to base their beliefs, identity and actions on rational scientific thought, rather than the supposedly mysticism of religion. Yet, it is clear that development and modernisation have not lead to a retreat in either the appeal – or indeed zeal – of religious conviction in the 21st century. If anything, the current rise of global disorder and insecurity could even be said to have led to an increase, in some parts of the world at least, in religious observance.

Some discussions about contemporary political violence consequently overlook or neglect the role of religious narratives – particularly in discussion about terrorist actors. This comes despite the fact groups like al-Qaeda and Islamic State clearly invoke and refer to a jurisprudential framework of obligation and necessity to explain their actions.

Recent Policy Reports

  • Mar122019

    ICSR Event – Talk & Discussion with Peter Neumann at House of Commons, Tuesday March 19th, 6pm

    Where: Committee Room 12, Palace of Westminster, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA When: Tuesday March 19th, 6pm Rehman Chishti…

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    ICSR
  • Mar012019

    ICSR Event – Conceptualising the Role of Ideology and Ideas in Extremism, Thursday March 14th, 5.30pm

    Where: King’s College London When: Thursday March 14th, 5.30pm ICSR is delighted to invite you to an…

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  • Feb212019

    ICSR Event – Expert Talk On Counter-Terrorism in Indonesia, Wednesday March 6th, 5.30pm

    Where: King’s College London When: Wednesday March 6th, 5.30pm ICSR has the pleasure of inviting you to…

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