Jihadist Insurgency Movements

Published on: 07/09/2017

by Paul B. Rich, Richard Burchill,

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Jihadist Insurgency Movements


Published on: September 7, 2017
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Jihadist insurgency is a phenomenon in today’s world where armed groups are using violent tactics to challenge existing power structures locally, nationally, and globally. The primary justification for these challenges and the use of violence being used are derived from interpretations based upon beliefs, doctrines, and practices derived from Islam. At the outset, it is important to note that the violence is based on interpretations the insurgent group sees as authoritative; they are far from con­ sistent or widely accepted.

The term jihad is particular to Islam and it has a wide range of meanings and applications within the faith. At its core, jihad is about striving to apply our efforts to the maintenance of the faith- al-jihad fi sabil Allah (‘striving in the way of God’). This is most commonly understood as an individual’s striving to ensure adherence to the faith. Jihad is also used to describe outward-facing action against those, whom it is believed, are threatening the Islamic faith. In this respect,jihad has been used to describe holy wars, such as confronting the Crusaders, or to describe violent action against fellow Muslims when one self-selecting group determines that they are the only true believers and all others are transgressors. Inthe first meaning, jihad is about struggle and striving in a personal way for the believer to better connect with their faith. In the latter version, jihad is explicitly about the use of violence in a manner that is justified as upholding and protecting the faith against any challengers. It is this violent version of jihad that we hear about most often today. A wide number of violent organisations and individuals claim that their actions are justified by beliefs in Islam. Despite efforts to explain how jihad is not inherently about violence, we remain in a situation where jihad, as a foundational element of the Islamic faith, and violence have become synonymous.

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