Analyzing the Islamic State from a Lockean Perspective
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As the threat of religious extremism continues to capture global attention, it is necessary to dissect the aims and motives behind an organization’s acts of terror. At the time of this project, the Islamic State established a strong foothold in Iraq and Syria while promising those under its occupation a society free of western corruption. This thesis analyzes the structure of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed society and how it compares to the ideal societal structure as prescribed by John Locke. First, this thesis analyzes the integral pieces of Locke’s political philosophy focusing on toleration and the separation of the public and private spheres as outlined in A Letter Concerning Toleration and his Second Treatise of Government. Second, this thesis investigates the merging of the public and private spheres under the Islamic State’s governance. Third, it compares the two opposing perspectives of a flourishing society and identifies pitfalls in the Islamic State’s social construct. Finally, this analysis prompts further discussion regarding the prevention of violent extremism.