Understanding Religious Extremism


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Step One — Read the following short article and watch these two TED talks:

Article — Patrick Tucker with DefenseOne, “Why Join ISIS? How Fighters Respond When You Ask Them,” The Atlantic,

Watch Video One — Benedetta Berti, “The Surprising Way Groups like ISIS Stay in Power,” TED

Watch Video Two — Sarah Silverman & Megan Phelps, “An Interview with an Ex-Member of the Westboro Baptist Church,” from “I Love you, America” (Hulu)

Step Two — Respond to the guiding questions:

Share a paragraph on your unfiltered reaction to this article and the three videos.
Imagine circumstances under which the conditions of your life or the world might draw you towards a movement like ISIS? What kind of life circumstances might make you resort to extremes?
Discuss: What does the interview with Megan Phelps teach us about combatting religious extremism? Do you think what she is saying is relevant to people in groups like ISIS?
Conclude: What are three conclusions can you draw about human behavior, patterns, and religious violence as a result of the information you learned in this assignment? Write your conclusion in a sentence and then offer explanation of the evidence you believe supports that conclusion.

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