This month, the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics' (CRG) Global Extremism Monitor finds at least 16 groups launching attacks in 21 countries, with a total of 1,673 fatalities.
The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics (CRG) has been tracking violent and non-violent incidents of religious extremism, and responses to it, around the world. We recorded 498 incidents across 56 countries in January 2016 alone. At least 16 groups launched attacks in 21 countries, with a total of 1,673 fatalities, according to our data.
Defeating the scourge of religious extremism will only be possible once we grasp the scale of the challenge. This brutal phenomenon is not limited to, or even dominated by, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Some 165 people were killed in just five attacks in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and South East Asia last month, more than half in a single incident.
Islamist extremists caused at least 1,673 fatalities across 125 attacks.
CRG tracked media reports on religious extremism throughout the month to demonstrate the breadth and variety of the threat it poses. Using open source data in English, we recorded violent extremist incidents including attacks, attempted attacks, property damage, clashes with security forces, and kidnappings, among others. We also monitored the promotion of hate speech and legal restrictions placed on religious groups, among non-violent occurrences.
The nearly 500 incidents we recorded also included state efforts to combat extremism. Countries spend billions each year to curb and counter religious extremist violence. Along with attacks, we track government activity to show how much effort is being expended on this battle.
Our data showed:
Most religious extremism occurs outside the Middle East and North Africa
Attention tends to focus on the Middle East and North Africa when addressing religious extremism, but our data shows a full 53 per cent of activity in January took place elsewhere. This included violent and non-violent, state and non-state activities. Of the 498 incidents in January, 114 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa; 87 in Central and South Asia; 34 in Europe and North America; and 24 in East and South East Asia. South America was the only inhabited continent where we did not record any religious extremist activity.
Nine countries suffered over 100 fatalities last month
Of the 21 countries that experienced violent religious extremism last month, nine suffered more than 100 fatalities, according to our data. We recorded 717 deaths in Syria; 509 in Iraq; 371 in Nigeria; 177 in Somalia; 175 in Yemen; 168 in Libya; 130 in Pakistan; 119 in Egypt; and 102 in Cameroon.
Global jihadi networks are responsible for the most extremist violence
Global jihadi networks were responsible for the most bloodshed in January. There were six al-Qaeda linked groups active in two continents, and four ISIS affiliates active in the same regions. Between them, they were responsible for more than half of the 257 violent incidents we recorded.
We can only defeat extremism once we grasp the scale of the challenge.
ISIS' central group in Iraq and Syria was the most active, according to our January data. Overall, Islamist extremists caused at least 1,673 fatalities across 125 attacks, according to our data.
The data presented in this Monitor is a low estimate that indicates the scale of the global crisis. CRG's analysts were careful only to include incidents that could be verified as relating to religious extremism.
Download the MonitorRead the full report of our Global Extremism Monitor findings for January 2016.