Radical Islam: Chapter Analysis

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Radical Islam has become the number one focus of U.S. intelligence, military, and foreign policy in the years since 9/11. Its growth from political Islam to terrorism has been marked by numerous scholars and their contemporaries ranging from Qutb to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. There are many driving forces behind radical Islam, but one of the most important yet confusing is the concept of Jihad, which is used by all groups. Qutb describes the main goal of Islamic jihadism by writing, in his book “Cornerstones”, “This movement uses the methods of preaching and persuasion for reforming ideas and beliefs; and it uses physical power and jihaad for abolishing the organizations and authorities of the Jahili system which prevents people from reforming …show more content…
Rather, the goal of Al-Qaeda is to advertise to Muslims as a whole through intensive propaganda programs, and to inspire could be terrorists abroad to take action. Bin Laden also took the teachings of Qutb and distorted them in order to go after the far enemy in the West, rather than the near enemy in the Arab world. Bin Laden had operational fighters in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, and Eastern Europe. However, once Bin Laden dies his second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri, “…adjusted the strategy of targeting the far enemy to have a greater focus on the near enemy. He has, however, frequently reaffirmed his and his organizations desire to kill a large number of westerners…” (Burke, 16). Though Al-Qaeda was centralized pre 9/11 its post 9/11 form has become much less centralized, and they often are looking to inspire lone actor terrorists in Western countries. Zawahiri has given allies and affiliates a much greater level of independence and permission to carry out attacks without the permission of Al-Qaeda central. Another aspect of Al- Qaeda that sets it apart from Hamas or Hizballah, is that it often uses mass amounts of suicide bombers to achieve its goals. Though Hizballah does this as well there use of suicide bombing is …show more content…
Hamas and Hizballah not only use terrorism, but also use their funds for social welfare of their respective communities. Hamas uses, “Up to ninety percent of its resources and staff were devoted to public service enterprise.”(Wright, 10). Both groups also represent a specific people and a state. Not just Muslims as a whole, but Hizballah proclaimed to stand for the Lebanese Shiite community and Hamas became the self-proclaimed representatives of Palestinians who wanted the eradication of the Jewish state of Israel, and the return of a Palestinian state. Hamas as it is today even runs candidates for political office, and drew the distinction between themselves and Al-Qaeda when one of the leaders said, “’Hamas has very different policies…Bin Laden thinks it’s wrong to participate in elections, while we participate. We also limit our struggle against the Israeli occupation to Palestine. We don’t take our attacks outside Israel.” (Wright, 21). Hizballah has done the same in Lebanon by becoming a member of the Lebanese government while still holding onto their weapons. Both these groups made sacrifices to how they could now wage political activity to achieve goals for example, “…Hezbollah’s leaders to moderate their objectives to achieve domestic political goals.´ (Wiegand, 2). However, even during their days of violence the acts were often given from the leadership down and a strong sense of

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