Addressing Extremism in Every Faith: Applying the lessons learned from the Westboro Baptists to Radical Islam.


Extremism knows no religious boundaries, and it can manifest in various forms, causing harm and perpetuating misconceptions about entire faith communities. In this exploration, we delve into how extremism takes root and its consequences for society, focusing on two groups: the Westboro Baptist Church and Hamas. While these groups may differ in scale and impact, they share a common trait – hate; and the use of terroristic thinking, strategies, and tactics.

**Westboro Baptists: A Misrepresentation of Christianity:**

The Westboro Baptist Church is indeed a very extreme “Christian” sect, consisting of minuscule numbers. However, it is essential to highlight that they have not been directly involved in acts of mass violence against Americans or other Christians. The majority of Christians, across denominations, disassociate themselves from the Westboro Baptist Church and its extreme beliefs. They are outliers, far removed from the teachings of Christianity that emphasize love, forgiveness, and redemption.

In response to the disruptive protests of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, the Patriot Guard Riders were formed. The Patriot Guard Riders, a dedicated organization of volunteer motorcyclists in the United States, stand as a shield of respect and protection for grieving families during military funerals and memorial services. Using non-violence they form a line of motorcyclists to protect the mourning families and honor the memory of military veterans and first responders. Their commitment to providing a peaceful and dignified atmosphere during these difficult times has earned them recognition for their unwavering support and respect for those who have served their country. That’s how you deal with extremism.

**Hamas: A Complex Issue within Islam:**

Hamas, as a Palestinian political, terrorist, and militant organization, has received extensive criticism for its violent actions and its hostile stance toward Israel. Some argue that elements of its ideology align with mainstream interpretations of Islam, including the historical concept of conversion by the sword. This stance becomes particularly evident when considering Iran’s vow to eliminate Israel. While Hamas may not find support in other Arab nations, groups with similar ideologies, such as ISIS and Hezbollah, have found backing in some regions, predominantly the Shia sect of Islam.  There is no version of the Patriot Guard to silence these activities.

**Addressing Extremism:**

To address extremism within religious communities, it is vital to differentiate between the actions of a small, radical minority (that will grow like a cancer if unchecked) and the beliefs of the broader faith community. Extremists often distort religious teachings to further their agenda, and this distortion must be acknowledged and countered.


Extremism is a global issue that affects various faiths. The actions and beliefs of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church and Hamas should not be perceived as representative of the majority of Christians, nor the majority of Sunni Muslims, respectively. It is essential to promote understanding and awareness of the distinction between extremists and the broader faith community. By doing so, we can strive for a more peaceful world where extremism, with its terroristic thinking, finds no fertile ground to thrive. Both Christians and Muslims should “police their own” and not allow fringe minorities to perpetuate violence in the name of their respective religions.

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