Homeland Insecurity: Comparing How American Christian Identity Militants and American Al-Qaeda Activists Perceive the United States and Their Respective Theological Justifications for Violence
- Degree Grantor:
- University of California, Santa Barbara. Religious Studies
- Degree Supervisor:
- Mark Juergensmeyer
- Place of Publication:
- [Santa Barbara, Calif.]
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- Creation Date:
- Issued Date:
- Political Science, General, Sociology, Social Structure and Development, American Studies, Religion, Comparative, and Islamic Studies
- Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
- Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012
This study examines in-depth the perceptions in which American Christian Identity Militants and American Al-Qaeda Activists view the United States as well as their respective theological justifications for violence. The primary methodology is a comparison of religious activist beliefs related to the Christian Identity movement and to Al-Qaeda within the United States. The research was conducted through an analysis of a purposive sample of case studies. The subjects of this study were chosen based on the following criteria: Theological persuasion, historical activist nature, prior recognition of the group or individual as a terrorist or charged with a terrorist-related offense, availability of information, and U.S. citizenship-status.
Throughout this dissertation, the perspectives and ideas derived from the theoretical frameworks of social identity theory and sociotheology will explore the ways in which these individuals and groups relate to the larger social structure within which they act. Moreover, sociotheology, by examining each group's "epistemic worldview," aims to explain how the Christian Identity-related activists and Al-Qaeda extremists religiously justify their violence towards the United States, given that their perceptions of America are colored by their respective religious understandings of social reality.
This research illustrates the symmetry between Christian Identity militants and Al-Qaeda activists. Specifically, their shared set of perceived enemies, which involves both concepts, and persons, including Jewish people, the United States, race-mixing, ethnic diversity, as well as the shared belief that they must shield their own peoples from the corrupting influence of foreign cultures and the homogenizing juggernaut of globalization, are surprisingly similar in viewpoint and scope. Additionally, members of both groups profess to promote beliefs similar to those in mainstream Christianity and Islam, respectively. Furthermore, the belief that God's law is superior to that of man is held in common by the Christian Identity movement and Al-Qaeda as is the glorification of violence as a regenerative force. Finally, both are willing to slaughter innocents in the name of creating a new social order.
I also offer policy options to help governments better prepare for and respond to the security threats faced by religious activists groups within their own borders, with especial attention to the United States.
- Physical Description:
- 1 online resource (181 pages)
- UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
- Catalog System Number:
- Sara Kamali, 2012
- In Copyright
- Copyright Holder:
- Sara Kamali
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