20161009

Notes on Salafi-jihadism

The Salafi groups—which experts say encompass some of the deadliest organizations today, including Al Qaeda, Hamas, and the violent splinter groups from the Muslim Brotherhood (al Ikhwan al Muslimun)—aim to re-create the perfection of the early Islamic period. Salafism is associated with the beliefs of Wahhabism (fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia) and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam throughout the Islamic world. Such groups advocate the use of violence and emphasize the smaller jihad against the nonbeliever over the more important and larger jihad within each individual. Salafism differs from Islamism in that it rejects any Western ideologies or constructs such as constitutions, political parties, and elections, which Islamists support (as long as Islamic parties benefit). - Mia Bloom, Bombshell

What is Salfism?
Salafis are fundamentalists who believe in a return to the original ways of Islam. The word 'Salafi' comes from the Arabic phrase, 'as-salaf as-saliheen', which refers to the first three generations of Muslims (starting with the Companions of the Prophet), otherwise known as the Pious Predecessors. - What is Salafism and should we be worried by it?

If the vast majority of non-Muslims find it difficult to strike the right chord between attacking Salafi-jihadists without being perceived as attacking Islam, the hurdles for the United States and its allies seem almost insurmountable. Therefore, a counter-terrorism approach that highlights the corruption of Salafi-jihadist ideology not on religious, but on secular grounds, is more likely to have the desired effect of weakening that ideology’s appeal.

Rather than highlighting the doctrinal and theological inconsistencies among Salafi-jihadists, the United States and its allies should grasp every opportunity to highlight the disastrous consequences that Salafi-jihadist violence has wrought on the everyday lives not only of Westerners, but first and foremost on Muslims themselves. It is a simple, though not sufficiently emphasized fact that the primary victims of Salafi-jihadists are Muslims, who are killed and maimed in far greater numbers than non-Muslims.

Salafi-jihadists openly justify the killing of civilians, including Muslims, under a logic of the ends justifying the means. It is equally a fact that leaders of Salafi-jihadist organizations hypocritically preach about the benefits of martyrdom, but rarely, if ever, conduct suicidal operations themselves, or send their loved ones on such missions. It is a fact that al-Qa`ida and associated groups offer no vision for Muslims other than perennial jihad—hardly an appealing prospect. - The Salafi Jihad as a Religious Ideology

Islamic State is an example of a Salafi-jihadist extremist group originally associated with al Qaeda that has brought Islamic fascism with a totalitarian spin on Sharia. Because of its extreme form of Salafi jihadism, most of the Muslim world has allied with the West to defend itself from this extremist group.

References

Mia Bloom, Bombshell: the many faces of women terrorists, Viking Canada

Chris Hefelfinger, Radical Islam in America: Salifism's Journey from Arabia to the West

What is Salafism and should we be worried by it?: http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/6073/what-is-salafism-and-should-we-be-worried-by-it

Don't Fear Islamists; Fear Salafis: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/opinion/dont-fear-all-islamists-fear-salafis.html

The Salafi Jihad as a Religious Ideology: https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/the-salafi-jihad-as-a-religious-ideology

The Islamic State: Mapping Militant Organizations: http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/1

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