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Why even well-educated and well-off Muslims are getting attracted to violent extremism?
Investigations reveal that a majority of the nine suicide bombers involved in the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019 that left more than 250 people dead, were well educated and from well-off families. The Muslim community needs to reflect on why even well-educated and well-heeled young Muslims are getting attracted to violent extremism.

Generally speaking, Muslims, especially in countries where they are a minority, find it difficult to integrate into the mainstream and kind of ghettoize themselves. This breeds in them a sense of perceived marginalization and the attendant grievances, putting them on a spiral of social isolation. 

Muslims' inability or refusal to mingle with other communities could be because of the indoctrinatory approach that the custodians of Islam have adopted. This approach focuses on uncritical transmission of religious edicts and the associated beliefs with no provision for free interpretation and critical analysis, on which depends the evolution of individual identity. 

The question that faces a young Muslim is: What it means to be a Muslim in a modern, globalized, and interconnected world? This profound identity crisis creates a conundrum of non-belonging and emptiness, and young Muslims are pushed into finding purpose ironically in their religion/religious sects.

Muslim minorities in many countries are struggling to find purpose and belonging, and Islamic extremist groups/networks, with their radical recruitment narratives, propaganda, and ready reach via the internet, feed their insecurities and pull them in for their nefarious purposes. Joining such extremist groups is often an aspirational act that gives a directionless Muslim youngster an opportunity to address the alleged and real abuses faced by his/her coreligionists and in the process gain a misguided sense of acceptance and purpose. 

It is time Islamic religious scholars and intellectuals found answers to questions raised by such terrorist acts perpetrated in the name of their faith. For, some changes take place on their own, while others require rethinking and rebooting. Besides, for any change to take roots and last, it needs to come from within.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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