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WORLD: Rise of Religious ‘Hyper-Extremism’

The Religious Freedom in the World 2016 Report, produced by the international Catholic charity’s Aid to the Church in Need, warns of the global impact of “a new phenomenon of religiously-motivated violence –‘Islamist hyper-extremism.’” The Report points to the Islamic State (IS) as the prime example.

Key characteristics of “Islamist hyper-extremism” include systematic attempts to drive out all dissenting groups – including moderates, unprecedented levels of cruelty, global reach and the effective use of social media, often used to glamorize violence.

The Report, which assesses the situation regarding religious freedom in each of the world’s 196 countries, charges: “In parts of the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria, this “hyper-extremism” is eliminating all forms of religious diversity and is threatening to do so in parts of African and the Asian sub-continent.”

Compiled every two years, the Report, which draws on research by journalists, academics and clergy, records that in the two-year period under review, attacks linked to “hyper-extremism” had taken place in one out of five countries worldwide – from Australia to Sweden, as well as 17 African countries.

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