The new report argues that defeating the scourge of religious extremism will only be possible once we grasp the scale of the challenge. The two deadly attacks in Belgium's capital Brussels reminded us that this is a global problem.
The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics (CRG) tracks violent and non-violent incidents of religious extremism, and responses to it, around the world. Read the details of the CRG's second issue of their new monthly Global Extremism Monitor. Their data show that in February 2016, at least 3,405 lives were lost as some 22 religious extremist groups instigated violence across the world and states battled to defeat them. Among the dead were 1,620 militants, 660 members of the security forces, and 936 civilians.
Download the full report.
The CRG Monitor recorded 647 incidents in 54 countries, including both extremist and counter-extremist activities, in February. This included major non-state counter-extremism efforts, such as the Centre for Strategic and International Studies' launch of a commission on countering violent extremism.
The CRG's findings are a low estimate, based on open source data in English. CRG's analysts were careful to include only incidents they were sure counted as religious extremism. As in their January report, much of the violence we recorded was outside the Middle East and North Africa. Only 52 per cent was in the region. Thirty-four per cent was in sub-Saharan Africa, and 13 per cent in Central and South Asia.
ISIS was by far the deadliest extremist group, killing at least 1,123 in at least 69 attacks. By contrast, al-Qaeda killed 176 people in 43 assaults.
Fewer than half of the global fatalities in the battle against religious extremism occurred in the Middle East and North Africa; 39 per cent were in sub-Saharan Africa. In Somalia alone, we recorded 38 attacks by al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab.
The world's attention on the Syrian civil war rightly noted the fall in violence as a partial truce came into effect at the end of the month. In fact, few attacks in February made headlines like January's high-profile assaults in Jakarta and Istanbul. Yet globally, the deadly threat of religious extremism remained.
Read the full report of the CRG's Global Extremism Monitor findings for February 2016.