There is no doubt that the global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of life. From how we interact with one another to how we commute and work, people now are facing new realities that were not present just six months ago. Though the main concerns for many policymakers, government officials, and business leaders include managing the ongoing global health crisis and its economic ripple effects, other unanticipated risks may already be shaping up. These include a growing threat of extremism and terrorism.
The terms of extremism and terrorism have been used interchangeably. However, there is a crucial distinction between the terms: all terrorists are extremists, but not all extremists are terrorists. Despite the latter, a fine line separates extremists from the turning point of embracing violence—thus becoming terrorists. This is because extremism is generally regarded as “the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and respect and tolerance for different faiths and beliefs” as per the 2015 UK’s Counter-Extremism Strategy. Furthermore, extremists may resort to terrorism to coerce governments and the general public to give in to their cause.