Violent extremism is defined by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as “advocating, engaging in, preparing, or otherwise supporting ideologically motivated or justified violence to further social, economic or political objectives” (USAID, 2011).
Violent extremists have been described as striving to create a homogeneous society based on rigid, dogmatic ideological tenets and to make society conformist by suppressing all opposition and subjugating minorities.
Violent extremists show a propensity for:
- force and violence over persuasion;
- uniformity over diversity;
- collective goals over individual freedoms;
- giving orders over seeking dialogue (Schmid, 2013).