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Author: Dr. Huma Baqai
Published at: International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol. 1 No. 6; June 2011

Extremist is a label used for those individuals or groups, who generally resort to violence in order to impose their beliefs, ideology or moral values on others. The term implies to those factions and individuals who have become radicalized or fundamentalist in some way, both the terms have negative connotations in present day situation. The term radical or fundamental mean to going to the essentials and basics. Radical is not normally regarded as derogatory—except perhaps in the United States of America—and, unlike extremist, is sometimes used by groups in self description.Fundamentalism however is commonly used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase “Muslim fundamentalists”1 and “right-wing/left-wing fundamentalists”).2 Richard Dawkins has used the term to characterize religious advocates as clinging to a stubborn, entrenched position that defies reasoned argument or contradictory evidence.3 Others in turn, such as Christian theologian Alistair McGrath, have used the term fundamentalism to characterize atheism as dogmatic.