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Istishad as an Ideological and Practical Tool in the Hands of Al-Qaeda

NCJ Number
222471
Journal
Journal of National Defense Studies Issue: 6 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 113-137
Author(s)
Yoram Schweitzer
Date Published
May 2008
Length
25 pages
Annotation
It is argued that one of the most urgent and neglected elements in countering the spread of modern terrorism is the consolidation of a united Islamic authoritative voice led by Islamic scholars and esteemed leaders to distance new followers from radical interpretations of al-Qaeda and Islam.
Abstract
This paper examines the contributions al-Qaeda has made to the escalation and globalization of suicide terrorism by transforming the concept of self-sacrifice in the path of God (Istishad), into its main unifying principle and value. In doing this, al-Qaeda leaders have interpreted Muslim life as one of deprivation and humiliation at the hands of oppressors. This has laid the groundwork to justify suicide attacks as a way to rebel against their weak position and prevail. Changes in this interpretation of their situation, laying blame on outsiders and justifying the killing of innocent non-combatants, requires a redefinition that must come from within Islam. It is argued that one of the most urgent and neglected elements in order to effectively counter the spread of this phenomenon should be the consolidation of a united Islamic authoritative voice led by Islamic scholars and highly esteemed leaders, intended to distance new cadres from the extreme interpretation of al-Qaeda and its like-minded disciples to the necessities of Islam. Figures, notes, and references

Date Published: May 1, 2008