The Causes of the Emergence of Islamic Extremism in the Wahhabi Sect and the Tendencies towards it

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. Student of Economic Sociology, University of Tehran, Iran


Extremism is a notion, which becomes meaningful in democratic and lawful societies. This is sometimes interchangeable with the terms, Fundamentalism and terrorism. It is often said that one who aims to fight against terrorism, must first challenge and overcome extremism. Thus, Analysis of the potentials of extremism in a society is highly articulated. Whereas Fundamentalism intends to bring about changes in socio-political system and always works within the regulations of the system, extremists pursue domination over the whole system and consider violence justifiable. At the end of this continuum is terrorism, which aims to sabotage the system through military and terroristic deeds. Extremism is mostly a political rather than sociological notion and refers to individuals who exploit equipment and strategies beyond the laws and regulations of a system to protest socio-political system. They are the minorities within the society who intend to introduce changes within the accepted principles of the majority of the society. This can be stated through different means namely: a plan, a Discourse and or an ideology. In fact, they diverge from the norms within the society. Nowadays, there are different types of religious extremism, which have their roots in social, political and psychological factors. The following paper intends to analyses extremism in its ideological walks. Furthermore, it will expand upon social factors that highly effect on forming this in the Middle East in particular. This article is about extremism, especially about Islamic extremism. This paper challenges conventional views of extremism, particularly those that emphasize difference causes. We offer an alternative analysis that helps explain the Islamic extremism as one of all extremism types biased of a new perspective argue that we should distinguish between the cause of the people's tendency towards extremist groups to be the cause of the radicalization of a religion. We try to illustrate in this paper, by analyzing the content of the Wahhabi texts and theories of Wahhabism and Salafist groups, why and how Islamic extremism and terrorist groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban had come from within this religion.