The past few decades have seen a rise in religious extremism around the world. The religious extremists built their ideologies against the tenets of their own religion and actively engage in hate campaigns radicalising their youth to engage in terrorist activity.

Extremist Muslims took lead in this phenomenon as the invasion of their territories by Western powers provided a golden opportunity to spread their hate campaigns and brainwash young minds.

However, at large, these extremist groups failed to gain political strength within their countries as Muslim masses rejected their methodology of violence and intimidation, especially against innocent people.

They not only carried out acts of terrorism against non-Muslims but they repeatedly targeted ordinary Muslims and religious as well as political institutions within the Muslim countries and abroad.

The situation in Muslim countries became so confused and volatile that even genuine Islamic political movements were crushed by autocratic Muslim regimes with the tacit approval of Western governments leading to further oppression.

Hindu extremists in India, after decades of campaigns and field work, eventually gained political strength. However, it took them more than 30 years since independence to form a political party and win the first seat in the Parliament.

The far-right extremist elements within the Bhartiya Janta Party continued to gain strength and with the electoral victory of the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, their hold on government was overwhelming.

They created an atmosphere of hate and intimidation against minorities. The secular character of India was questioned by the international community as well as by many Indians within the country.

Muslims were targeted in particular citing the distorted view of the history of 800 years of Muslim rule in India. The division of country and creation of Pakistan on the religious ground in 1947 was exploited to incite sentiments against the Muslim minority.

Burma saw the rise of Buddhist extremists groups such as Bodu Bala Sena that created havoc and widespread massacre of Muslims in Myanmar especially during the last couple of year drawing international attention. Buddhist extremist groups in Sri Lanka have been targeting both Christians and Muslims for a number of years killing them and destroying their businesses and homes.

The White Supremacists groups in Western countries together with the rise of far-right political parties have become a credible threat to otherwise peaceful Western secular countries. The mosque attack in Christchurch has been a wake-up call of the dangers posed by these violent groups.

Israel with its Zionist ideology, as a virtual apartheid nation, continues to discriminate against indigenous people of Palestine and is engaged in extreme oppression and violence against Palestinians in Gaza and other occupied territories.

Latest senseless attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka against Christians and tourists, by indigenous Muslims apparently inspired by ISIS has been shocking.

While scientific progress has brought huge comfort to human beings in many life matters, the extremist elements within various religious and ideological movements are threatening the existence of peaceful communities around the globe.

It is high time that instead of blaming each other, socio-political leadership of all religions, with help from religious authorities, work on strategies to tackle extremism from within and stop the hijacking of their religion by a small but devastatingly effective minority undermining global peace.