Islamic terrorism (also Islamist terrorism or radical Islamic terrorism) refers to terrorist acts which are committed by Islamists and which have a religious motivation.Incidents and fatalities from Islamic terrorism have been concentrated in six Muslim majority countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria), while four Islamic extremist groups were responsible for 74% of all deaths from terrorism in 2015 (ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda). These groups all have Salafi or other Sunni beliefs. The annual number of fatalities from terrorist attacks grew sharply from 2011 to 2014 when it reached a peak of over 32,000, before declining to less than 14,000 in 2019.Since approximately 2000, these terrorist incidents have occurred on a global scale, affecting not only Muslim-majority states in Africa and Asia, but also Russia, Australia, Canada, Israel, India, the United States and countries within Europe. Such attacks have targeted both Muslims and non-Muslims, with one study finding 80% of terrorist victims to be Muslims. In a number of the worst-affected Muslim-majority regions, these terrorists have been met by armed, independent resistance groups, state actors and their proxies, and elsewhere by condemnation by prominent Islamic figures.Justifications given for attacks on civilians by Islamic extremist groups come from extreme interpretations of the Quran, the Hadith and Sharia law. These include retribution by armed jihad for the perceived injustices of unbelievers against Muslims; the belief that the killing of many self-proclaimed Muslims is required because they have violated Islamic law and are disbelievers (takfir); the overriding necessity of restoring and purifying Islam by establishing sharia law, especially by restoring the Caliphate as a pan-Islamic state (especially ISIS); the glory and heavenly rewards of martyrdom; the supremacy of Islam over all other religions.The term "Islamic terrorism" has been criticized as a contributing factor for religious intolerance towards Islam. In Western political speech, it has variously been called "counter-productive", "highly politicized, intellectually contestable" and "damaging to community relations", by those who disapprove of the characterization 'Islamic'.
Others have condemned the avoidance of the term as an act of "self-deception", "full-blown censorship" and "intellectual dishonesty".