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religious fanaticism

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Within the spectrum of adherence to a particular belief system, religious fanaticism is the most extreme form of religious fundamentalism, which typical takes on violent, and potentially deadly dimensions. All religions may include fanatic fringes. In recent history, Islamic fanaticism has been the most publicly noted for its adherence to strict Islamic religious laws of Shari'a and support for terrorist activities. However, in the previous millennium, Christian fanaticism has found similarly violent expression in the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition, and was the root of the Salem witch trials. More recent examples of Christian fanaticism include violence associated with anti-abortion extremists. Within Israel, the extremist element of ultra-Orthodox Jews have been known to curse and throw stones at those who breach the Jewish Sabbath, by driving or working. Prior to the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, twenty Jewish settlers including a rabbi held a "Pulsa D’Nura" Kabbalist ceremony, calling for the death of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [1].

Religious fanaticism is often likened to involvement in a cult, as members of a fanatic sect reinforce the beliefs of each other.

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