Identity-based Security Threats in a Globalized World: Focus on Islam

16 Ocak 2008

GLOBALISATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLANGES: RECONCEPTUALISING SECURITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY, ed. by H.G. Brauch, J. Grin, C. Mesjasz, et al., Berlin and New York: Springer, 2008, 413-420 

Mustafa Aydın and Sinem Açıkmeşe

Ethnic and religious issues have gained attention with the spread of globalization. Their divisive character and potential to create conflicts between different groups have been extensively studied since the end of the Cold War. Among discussions, Islam has attracted a particular attention from Huntington’s work on the ‘clash of civilizations’ to George W. Bush’s flashbacks to a ‘crusade’ against terrorists. However, could there be a link between what is in it essence an ‘abstract’ formulation, i.e. identity, and the very ‘real’ existence of threat to humanity from identity-based conflicts and its close relative, international terrorism? When we think about the violent events, leading to the deaths of civilians, and their perpetrators, a connection is established all-to-easily between the use of terror and Islam. Although this shallow analysis focusing solely on the deeds of extremists and generalizing them to the whole Islamic world is misguided at the best, it nevertheless has its attraction in many parts of the world. Islam is sometimes used as a self-identification tool and psychological booster for extremist religious groups associated with threats directed at political, societal, economic and human security at the national, regional or global levels, it is clearly wrong to suggest that there exist a unified-monolithic Islamic civilization threatening the world. This chapter will look critically at the connection between Islam as a-religion and Islam as a threat in the globalized world where peoples’ resort to deeper religious and ethnic identities came to the fore.

Key words: Terrorism, International Terrorism, Political Violance and Terrorism, Transnationalism and multiple identities and Politics of Identities.