When Religion Kills: How Extremists Justify Violence Through Faith 

2020 | Phil Gurski | 181 pages

Christian fundamentalists. Hindu nationalists. Islamic jihadists. Buddhist militants. Jewish extremists. Members of these and other religious groups have committed horrific acts of terrorist violence in recent decades. Phil Gurski explores violent extremism across a broad range of the world’s major religions.

Religion as a springboard for violence

Christian fundamentalists. Hindu nationalists. Islamic jihadists. Buddhist militants. Jewish extremists. Members of these and other religious groups have committed horrific acts of terrorist violence in recent decades.

How is this possible? How do individuals use their religious beliefs to justify such actions? How do they manipulate the language and symbols of their faith to motivate others to commit violence in the name of the divine?

Phil Gurski addresses these essential questions as he explores violent extremism across a broad range of the world’s major religions.

“An excellent addition to the field of religious extremism and terrorism”

Jason M. Blazakis

International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence

“Gurski…has taken the complex phenomenon of religion and violence and boiled it down to its essence”

James L. Feldkamp

Henley-Putnam School of Strategic Studies

About the author Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the Program Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI) and the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd.  He worked as a senior strategic analyst at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) from 2001-2015, specializing in violent Islamist-inspired homegrown terrorism and radicalisation. He is the author of five previous books on terrorism.


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