We are all familiar with the concept of “Golden Rule,” which can be heard or found in sacred texts of different religions or beliefs in the world. Each religion has distinct phrases which can be associated with the famous “Do not do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.” This only means that golden rule is shared and practiced worldwide, which is a great indicator of common grounds for peace and love of others.

Religious leaders see golden rule as a form of “good reciprocity,” showing maximum tolerance and love for one another and often given to those who are not privileged. Given this good reciprocity, there is an opposite term that became popular in the academe and the security sector –  the “reciprocal radicalization.”

According to the website of Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), reciprocal radicalization or cumulative extremism is the concept that the extremist group might cause or trigger someone’s actions, including violence. Also, according to them, “The extremist groups became more extreme in response to one another’s activities.”  In other terms, when a terrorist spreads fear, the citizen may react in return, similar to fear in a worst form. When the terrorists kill, the civilians may raise arms or wage war against them, reciprocating what they’ve done. This is like Hammurabi’s Code of “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” a similar principle of reciprocity for justice.

This concept became known during the series of riots in Northern England in 2001 which was ethnically-motivated between far-right movement (white supremacists) and Asians. The Asians involved trying to protect themselves by peacefully protesting in the street to call the action of the authority from harm against far-right movement violence. In relation to this, the concept materialized after the formation of the English Defense League to counter Islamic extremism, which later on targeted Islam and Muslim.

Up to now, the concept of reciprocal radicalization became evident; the double standard faced by the Muslims in public; the rise of Islamophobia in response to 9/11 Attack and series of Daesh and other terrorist atrocities; and the rise of far-right group movements such as Neo-Nazi and fascist-related groups, and racism which are considered as future threats by security sector. This also might be the reason why others quickly judge and labeled the people who wear hijab as a suicide bomber. The other people also misinterpret the real meaning of jihad because of its wrong interpretation and application in real life. The propaganda used by terrorist groups is also an example. They tweaked religious text to justify their evil deeds in response to the people they say who “allegedly” opposed Islam or an “enemy of Allah.” The concept of “rido” or clan feuds known for its retaliatory violence against each other is a never-ending issue which might be attributed to reciprocal radicalization. Even the struggle between Christians and Muslims can be traced to reciprocal radicalization when both groups defended themselves against each other’s activities way back in our history.

The reciprocal radicalization is an issue not new to our era, although the concept happened a few years ago, it is gradually evolving and noticeable in our environment. Given that there is evidence and research supporting the concept, this might be included in the national action plan of the government to address this and cut the root cause of the problems related to extremism. The concept also became an eye opener to us that violence will lead only to another violence. If we live by the sword, we will also die by the sword. The only thing to cure this and the best solution is kindness and respect to one another. If we will learn how to forgive, if we will learn how to love and show goodwill to one another, and if we will truly walk the path of our faith, for the sake of the religion in which we believed in, we will see the true meaning reciprocity, and that is showing love to one another in return.