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The term fundamentalism originated in the United States during the early 20th century when it was applied to a group of Protestant Christians who defended traditional Christian beliefs in the face of modern ideas. Now, religious fundamentalism is associated with a range of political and social events in the early 21st century, most notably the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001. Yet, due to frequent misrepresentation in the media, fundamentalist groups are often misunderstood.
Fundamentalism offers a definition of what constitutes fundamentalism and analyzes the roots, ideas, and goals of fundamentalist groups around the world. It also discusses the various attempts to categorize fundamentalist groups and the disagreements regarding their potential for personal or political violence. Next comes a closer study of specific fundamentalist movements in the United States, as well as four other regions: Europe (ultratraditional RomanCatholicism), Israel (fundamentalist Judaism), the Middle East (the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas), and India (fundamentalist Hinduism).