This working paper explores the reasons commonly identified for the rise of political and radical Islam throughout the Muslim world. Besides Anti-American sentiment which is often attributed to U.S. support for Israel as well as American backing for hated repressive regimes, especially in the Middle East, the paper also looks at the radicalization of Asian Muslim communities. Regional conflicts have created large cadres of committed Jihadis and unresolved conflicts have likewise contributed to the growth of radicalism. Which ever the case, the absence of ideological alternatives and the declining performance of the state in caring for its citizens is a major factor, which have been exploited by well-funded and organized radical groups. Western aid, as experience has shown in South Asia, has largely been used in terms of short-term security interests.