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New Religious Movements Essay

916 words - 4 pages

Dawson (2010)
Lorne Dawson presents a unique perspective on the similarities between New Religious Movements (NRM), which are also known as cults, and radical Islamic groups. Dawson (2010) questions why no dialogue has occurred because of the similarities between the two types of movements. Dawson (2010) stated that individuals that join Islamic extremist groups have the same issues of NRM members who experience a source of deprivation or alienation from the secular world. As with both groups, Dawson (2010) alludes that the deprivation is based on personalization of an issue that could be social, psychological, and moral.
Dawson (2010) cautions that deprivation is not all about economics and there is no singular profile to fit an individual and pointed reason of why an individual will feel deprivation. Dawson points out the general public may view people as down on their luck and in economic strife. However, in actuality, both groups according to Dawson (2010) come from middle class families and have obtained some education and seem unremarkable, just as asserted in the Silber and Bhatt (2007) study.
With this sense of deprivation, Dawson points out seeking individuals in both NRM and radical Islamic groups may want to pursue an identity which is influenced by socialization with other people going through the same situation or who understand what an individual is going through. Dawson makes an interesting point that the social bonds that are strong and give an individual a sense of belonging which help transform a person to a NRM or radical Islamic group.
Dawson refers to two key socialization tenets that are in both NRM and radical Islam and was mentioned in Silber and Bhatt (2007) study that are applied in NRM. The first tenet is group think, getting likeminded people gathering together and the other tenet is charismatic leadership. Dawson (2010) stated that charismatic leadership is a core element in converting NRM seekers, but does not know if it is as influential in terrorism radicalizations and suggests more research needs to be done in this area. Dawson (2010) assumes that ideology is the foundation for terrorism radicalization which has elements of politics ingrained in religion to spur violence. Though Dawson does not provide a terrorist model, he does however provide an intriguing reasoning to instigate research into how much charismatic leadership plays in the radicalization of Islamic terrorists. Compared with the other models the trend has shown the importance of ideology rather than the charismatic leadership. It gives thought to how much does leadership play in terrorism activities on foreign soil compared to the homegrown terrorist
The variables identified for self awaking is deprivation which could be in the sense of inequality...

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