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29 November 2006

Countering the Threat of Islamic Militant Terrorism: A New Look

medium_topic-terrorism.gifRecently, West Point released a new report, Militant Ideology Atlas. It is a comprehensive analysis of the most influential thinkers in the militant ideology which

motivates members of al Qaida and all those who aspire to be considered as such. FSM Contributing Editor James Forrest, Ph.D., reveals the many contradictions inherent in the terrorist arguments and suggests that we should accelerate what can cause the movement to fall apart someday under the weight of its own ideological contradictions. Read how….

On November 6, 2006, Eliza Manningham-Buller—the head of MI5, the British domestic intelligence agency—announced that her agency was monitoring potential threats “from some 200 groupings or networks, totaling over 1,600 identified individuals (and there will be many we don’t know) who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas. The extremists are motivated by a sense of grievance and injustice driven by their interpretation of the history between the West and the Muslim world.” Her description of the threat to her country reflects how terrorism is an ideologically-driven phenomenon, a type of violence that transcends criminal or other motivations. When individuals and groups resort to the use of terrorism, it is often because they have a vision of the future that they long for, and which they do not believe will materialize without the use of violence. This vision of the future is articulated through an ideology, a set of ideas and values meant to inspire individual action and rationalize the use of violence in pursuit of this envisioned future. An ideology can be intellectually and emotionally appealing to many individuals, particularly those who seek meaning in their lives. Religious ideologies add a spiritual dimension to this appeal, and can thus be a more powerful motivator for action by justifying an individual’s need to conduct violent acts in order to save oneself, one’s family or the world, while achieving God’s will.

It is from this perspective that one finds the true importance of a new report released last week by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. With the fairly innocuous title of Militant Ideology Atlas, the report is in fact a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the most influential thinkers in the ideology which motivates members of al Qaida (and those who aspire to be considered as such). According to Will McCants, the lead author of the report, this ideology stems from an extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam called Salafism. Within the 1.2 billion-strong Muslim community—people who follow the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad—there are Sunnis (people who follow the example of the Prophet) and Shi`is (people who follow the example of the Prophet and his descendents through his son-in-law Ali). There are a range of secularists and fundamentalists among both Sunnis and Shi`is, including Islamists—people who want Islamic law to be the primary source of law and cultural identity in a state. Among these Islamists are the Salafis, Sunni Muslims who want to establish and govern Islamic states based solely on the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet as understood by the first generations of Muslims close to Muhammad. Finally, a distinct minority of Salafis are called Jihadis—the “holy warriors” and today’s most prominent terrorists—among whom al Qaida and other groups seek to recruit and mobilize toward their particular vision of the future.

The contemporary members of the Salafi-Jihadist movement are motivated by an ideology that can be summed up as “the world is truly messed up, and only Islam is the answer, therefore we must do all that is necessary to tear down the existing order and replace it with one built on Islam.” Their vision of the future requires them to overthrow what they consider “apostate” regimes in the Middle East and replace them with governments that rule by Sharia law, but only until the Islamic caliphate can be reestablished to rule over the entire Muslim world. Attacks against Western targets (to include New York City and the Pentagon, London, and Madrid) are considered necessary because it is through alliances with powerful, industrialized Western nations that these apostate regimes are sustained. Finally, the magnitude of their long-term objectives requires the Salafi-Jihadis to mobilize the entire Muslim community and convince them that catastrophic violence is necessary to remove all the obstacles to a better (Islamic) future.

The CTC’s Militant Ideology Atlas suggests that the Jihadi cause is best served when the conflict with local and foreign governments is portrayed as a conflict between Islam and the West; Islam is under siege and only the Jihadis can lift it. Further, Jihadis argue that violence against other Muslims, their governments, and resources is 1) necessary, 2) religiously sanctioned, and 3) really the fault of the West, Israel, and apostate regimes. Jihadis are certain of the absolute righteousness of their cause, and want unity of thought. They reject pluralism—the idea that no one has a monopoly on truth—and the political system that fosters it, democracy. And, as Sayyid Qutb and other early thinkers in the movement have argued, Jihad is the only source of internal empowerment and reform in a state ruled by an apostate regime. These and other tenets of the Salafi-Jihadi ideology have found resonance in the broader Muslim world for a variety of reasons which deserve our attention.

Enablers of Salafi-Jihadi Ideology

Within any given political environment, members of a society have expectations, demands, aspirations and grievances. The degree to which there are opportunities and power to address these without the use of violence is a major determinant of terrorist group formation. Local chaos (for example, in a weak or failing state) can also create an opportunity for an ideology of catastrophic terrorism to resonate. Unemployment, significant ethnic fissures and animosities, socio-demographic pressures (for example, the rising youth bulge in many Arab countries), and political regimes that are viewed as overly repressive, authoritarian, corrupt and incompetent all contribute to an environment in which a violent ideology can appeal to a broad audience. Among Arab Muslims in particular, there is a growing sense of crisis and resentment toward their state leaders and Western allies, along with a sense of powerlessness and humiliation that stems from the relative socio-political standing of the Muslim world versus the Western, Judeo-Christian world; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (and current U.S. policy towards it), along with Israel’s repeated defeat of Arab armies; and a fear that a creeping globalization or westernization of cultural values is having a detrimental impact on long-held traditions and belief structures in the Muslim world.

Many of these environmental enablers are certainly found throughout the Middle East, but are also seen in other parts of the world as well. In Southeast Asia, for example, a host of social and economic inequalities have contributed to the rise of Muslim-led secessionist movements since the 1970s, particularly among the Muslim minorities of the southern Philippines and southern Thailand. In Europe, Muslim communities are filled with comparatively poor, disenfranchised permanent residents, with no hope of naturalization for themselves or their children (as opposed to, say, the more integrated Muslim experience in the United States). In major cities like Copenhagen, London and Paris, large numbers of Muslims live in so-called “ethnic enclaves,” neighborhoods with impoverished schools, limited transportation and few employment opportunities. These and other environmental factors could be perceived as enablers of ideological resonance, and are cause for concern when analyzing the global spread of the Salafi-Jihadi ideology.

Countering the Threat of Salafi-Jihadi Terrorism

Our nation’s counterterrorism strategies are focused predominately on countering a group’s operational capabilities and will to conduct terror attacks. This analysis suggests that we need a more concerted, multinational effort to counter the Salafi-Jihadi ideology as well as the enablers of ideological resonance in the Muslim world. As McCants and his team suggest, Jihadis have lost credibility among mainstream Muslims by attacking women, children, the elderly. Muslims have been prominent among the casualties of Jihadi catastrophic violence, and thus we should emphasize that when innocent Muslims are killed, they are robbed of their chance to conduct their own personal and spiritual jihad as called for in the Qu’ran. Jihadis also lose support by creating political and social chaos in the Muslim world (particularly given the Qu’ran’s mandate to avoid fitna) and by damaging the sources of a nation’s wealth (such as tourism and oil). Our counterterrorism strategy must highlight these and other ideologically divisive issues as part of a broader effort to delegitimize violence against non-combatants.

Combating ideologically-driven terrorism requires sophisticated skills in public diplomacy and strategic communication. Furthermore, the communication of compelling ideas and visions to various audiences around the world in the hopes of impacting their behavior—often called strategic influence, “winning hearts and minds,” or “winning the war of ideas”—must involve credible voices from within the target audience. As the recently published CTC report indicates, denouncements of prominent Jihadis by other prominent Jihadis are particularly damaging and demoralizing. We must encourage a broad, comprehensive effort involving Salafi scholars—particularly Saudi clerics, who are best positioned to discredit the movement—to reduce the potential appeal of this ideology in the Muslim world by emphasizing the fact that theirs is an extremely radical interpretation of an otherwise peaceful religion, and followers of this interpretation are more cultish than part of a religious movement. At the core of al Qaida’s ideology is the belief in the transformative power of action, jihad-style, at both an individual and global level. In the eyes of the global jihadist, violent action is necessary (and required of all Muslims) in order to prevent the West from destroying Islam. Yet, while Jihadis claim to be saving Islam, they are hurting their own people and national resources and tarnishing the image of Islam among non-Muslims. Thus, there are contradictions inherent in the Salafi-Jihadi arguments. The movement may very well fall apart someday under the weight of its own ideological contradictions. We should seek to accelerate that process.

Finally, we must convince Jihadis and their potential supporters that their methods are an ineffective and counterproductive means for social change. An important component of this argument involves convincing our enemies of the strength of our own national resilience. We must convince them beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are guaranteed not to achieve their objectives, regardless of the frequency or magnitude of their catastrophic terror attacks. Even the types of weapons they use will never result in a world (or even a Middle East) that is ruled only by Islamic law. As long as our political and economic systems and our citizens are shown to be adequately resilient to withstand any type of terrorist attack, this alone can be a powerful form of deterrence. Denial of the enemy’s potential for achieving their objective is a type of strategic constraint that is common in much of the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism research, and should play a more prominent role in combating the threat posed by followers of the Salafi-Jihadi ideology.

Note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the position of the United States Military Academy, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor James Forest, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the United States Military Academy, West Point, and Director of Terrorist Studies at theCombating Terrorism Center.

© 2003-2006 FamilySecurityMatters.org All Rights Reserved

Note -- The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of Family Security Matters.

01:02 Posted in Real Islam | Permalink | Comments (5) |  Facebook |



Posted by: ADMIAN | 29 November 2006


Posted by: ADMIN | 29 November 2006

Qur’an:4:95 “Not equal are those believers who sit at home and receive no injurious hurt, and those who strive hard, fighting Jihad in Allah’s Cause with their wealth and lives. Allah has granted a rank higher to those who strive hard, fighting Jihad with their wealth and bodies to those who sit (at home). Unto each has Allah promised good, but He prefers Jihadists who strive hard and fight above those who sit home. He has distinguished his fighters with a huge reward.”

I invite all muslims to come to
where true Islam is respected and followed.
exchristian you are not a real muslim but a christian pretending to be one I invite you to Islam and we will be brothers. Come to the site

Many of you seem to be very frightened and surprised by the fact that I openly preach Jihad for the sake of Allah, as it is ordained in our Religion. Keep in mind, I only preach that which is in the Qur’an and Sunnah; and those who tell you that preaching from these two sources is not necessary, do not listen to them; even if they call themselves Muslim since Allah says,

يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُوۤاْ أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلاَ تَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ وَأَنْتُمْ تَسْمَعُونَ
وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَهُمْ لاَ يَسْمَعُونَ
إِنَّ شَرَّ ٱلدَّوَابِّ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلصُّمُّ ٱلْبُكْمُ ٱلَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ
O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak). And be not like those who said, ‘We hear’, and they did not obey. For the worst of creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb; they are those who understand not. (al-Anfaal: 20-22)

If this disturbs you please come to the site and discuss


and please ask for samir (that is not me but the blessed scholar who runs the site) I am Shamir a humble servant only.


Posted by: Shamir | 29 November 2006

Please see our Sister sites:


Posted by: ADMIN | 29 November 2006


"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (The Noble Quran, 2:190)" [The Quran only allows us to fight in self defense ]...

what does bible say???:

"He [Jesus] replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me.' After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. (From the NIV Bible, Luke 19:26-28)"

Posted by: Jesus is a false God | 29 November 2006

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