THE POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES OF THE CONTEMPORARY ISLAMIC JIHADIST

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The political ideologies of the contemporary Islamic Jihadist like ISIS and whether this Ideology is Coherent.

Introduction

People use different terms to describe the acts of violence and terror that are happening all over the world. Most of these attacks are linked to Islamic terrorists. Jihadism is controlled by the idea that Jihad controls all Muslims. Some of the jihadists groups are Salafi-jihadists which include al-Qaida and ISIS. Islamic state of al-Sham (ISIS) follows some beliefs from the Islam religion and the duties of Muhammad. Islam is believed to be a dictatorial political ideology where sovereignty does not belong to people but rather to God. During most terrorist acts there are signs by Jihadists organizations recognizing that there is only one God who is above all. It is believed that jihadists are secular people and have modern political ideologies. Jihadists believe and practice religious practices which fit the Islamic State. However, jihadists justify the violence against other Muslims excommunication included Jihad group is responsible for the violence that is happening in the world using Islamic views. Their ideology is based on religious and political beliefs. Jihadist violence mostly target Muslims, therefore understanding the nature and the appeal of jihad ideology. Analyzing Jihadist ideology will explain why the groups such as ISIS are extreme in their violence.

ISIS was formed in Iraq with aim of seeking a war against the West in Syria. It called itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Religion plays a major role in Jihadist justification for their actions. ISIS group rely on religion to press on a political vision (Benmelech & Klor, 2016). Many years have passed since disputes of religion have caused wars. It is therefore hard for people to believe that jihadists are pious. Islamic state does not judge new members or existing ones but accepts all without a concern about their past lives. Islamic jihadist mostly accepts members searching for identity. ISIS offers new members a chance to believe they are not losers but are special and meant to be part of something powerful and new but secret. That could be one of the reasons many people are joining the ISIS organization to feel a sense of belonging and specialty.

ISIS is part of Salafist-jihadi Islamic organization seeking to restore the earlier days of glory in Islam through jihad. The organization believes that this is through “holy war” set towards internal and external enemies. The members believe that these wars will result to purification of Islam flaws and all Muslims return to what is known as the Golden Age of Islam (Benmelech & Klor, 2016). According to the perspective of Salafist-jihadi, Muslims are bound to disseminate and create Islam all over the world. This is by freeing the Islamic lands from the Western culture and other cultures through the holy war (jihad). Every Muslim should engage in the holy way as it is perceived as a personal duty (Berger, 2016). Thus Muslim fights their enemies: the US, West and Arab through violent and inhuman military struggle. According to ISIS, Golden Age of Islam returns through the Islamic Caliphate reestablishment (Berger, 2016).

Islamic groups such as the ISIS wants to the states to be set based on Islamic law and the Koran interpretation. Jihadists believe that a state based on Islamic law is superior to one based on secular laws. Islamists do not agree to most practices by the Westerns and fight for equality in the society where there is no gap between the rich and the poor. Many jihadists terrorist believe that they are following the steps of Muhammad (Browers, 2013). These groups disregard the development that has taken course in Islamic law over the last years. They use shariah to justify their projects ignoring any laws that may bind them. ISIS for example rejects the rich and do not consider themselves enslaved to the classical tradition. ISIS group is known for its radical and well-organized state. They have conquered territory in Syria and Iraq ever since they rose to power, driving many Syrians away from their homes. The purpose of ISIS is to become the highest ruling authority in the Islamic world which is achievable by destroying all Islamic enemies and establishing a renewed caliphate (Cook, 2015). The world knows ISIS for the mass murders of civilians committed, destruction of treasures which are irreplaceable and, showing graphic videos of captives executions. ISIS is known to have come to power during the conflict in Syria which happened in 2012. The civil war left almost 12million people homeless and midst of this conflict, it served as a great opportunity for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to rise to power. In 2015, ISIS had many people killed including 40 Shia Muslims (Cook, 2015).

Apart from ISIS, another jihadist group which was against western education emerged against the governance of Nigeria, in Africa. This group is known as Boko Haram which sort to conquer all areas with dominated Christians and install a government that followed Islamic religion for the whole nation. Boko Haram mainly targets Christians and Muslims in assaults and violent raids. The world knew this jihadist group in 2014when it was reported they had kidnapped 276 school girls in Chibok a government secondary school in western Africa. Most of the kidnapped girls were forced to convert to Islam and the rest were rescued. Reports from Amnesty International said that the girls were later forced into marriages, sold into slavery, and some turned into Boko Haram members after brainwashing. In 2015, Boko Haram announced that they were supporting their rival ISIS group (Esposito, 2015).

ISIS and these other jihadist groups pose as a threat to other nations making many wonder why some foreigners are joining the Islamic jihadist state. These foreigners recruited then engage in war against ISIS enemies in Syria and Iraq. They also provide ISIS with required human capital to run their operations in foreign countries (Hussain & Saltman, 2014). Jihadist organizations aim at achieving their priorities although their objectives are bound together by destructive and constructive measures.

ISIS does not faithful entirely adhere to norms of jurisprudence followed by Islamic religion. Over the past years, ISIS has managed to unite many Muslims but still divided most of them about 1.6 billion of the world’s Muslim population. ISIS is political and the roots of this group are developed from the rage against occupation of Iraq in 2003. Most of the men in this group suffered while in detention in US and therefore interpret their violent actions with their religion for justification (Ross & Mohammadpur, 2016).

Jihadists use the Islamic state symbols, concepts and rhetoric in the building their ideology. Their arguments are based at Muslim audiences and most of the recruits sorts are Muslims. Jihadists find the bases of their beliefs from the quotes of Muhammad hadiths which are in the legal system belong to the Islamic law. They appeal to the Koran and claim to be the only true Muslims (Saltman & Winter, 2014). The Koran allows punishment that is crucifixion of enemies of Islam. Koran instructs Muslims to fight the enemies; Christians and Jews until they submit to the Islamic religion. Islamic Jihadists claim that their religion inspires, commands, and motivates them to commit their acts of violence. Jihadists therefore have a strong and very important relationship to Islam.

It is important to note that not all Muslims are jihadists. Most Muslims around the world are against violence in the name of Islam which brings the understanding that not all Muslims are terrorists. Islamism does not have to be violent as compared to elections. It is a transmutation of Islam religion into a political ideology. Jihadism is an alternative of Islamism and they have come up with theological justifications to attack their fellow Muslims considered as enemies. They assume this group of Muslims is impiety to the jihadist and according to the Koran; execution is the permitted punishment to the enemies. Jihadist ideology is to dominate the whole world into Islamic (Saltman & Winter, 2014).

Modern jihadists incite the members of all groups to fight their enemies regardless of where they might be and by any mean necessary. Today Muslim leaders are illegal and therefore do not hold any power to control the authority to lay down justified violence (Browers, 2013). Leaders of the Islamic jihadist State strictly emulate Muhammad and revive those traditions that were buried for many years. Online recruitments are also happening and have widened the jihadist community. Online recruitments allow Muslim women rather conservative and isolated in their homes to seek help from recruiters and find their way back to Syria. Islamic jihadist state for a good deed aims to build a complete society (Stern & Berger, 2015).

Islamic jihadist view Islam as a living religion. These organizations use specific quotes in the Koran and Muhammad’s hadiths to support the idea that violence, hostility and aggressiveness is supported in the Islamic religion (Terrill, 2014).An act of political affirmation is required for one to become an Islamists. There exists mainstream Islamism and are mainly known for their gradualism , willingness to perform within existing states secular states included, and embrace politics. They consist of Brotherhood-Inspired movements and Muslim Brotherhood. The main aim of this group is to bring together the pre-modern Islamic law with the current state of the nation. The mainstream Islamists limits Islamists to follow their religious inspired ambitions but to certain level that does not bring tension among Muslim societies. The Muslim brotherhood group preached generosity, self-help, and family values. However, one of the members assassinated the prime minister of Egypt and since then the group split and advocate violence then start peaceful organization (Tibi, 2014). It is like a cycle.

(holy war) is a personal duty to all Muslims and that they are following the footsteps of Muhammad and the scriptures from the Koran (Terrill, 2014).
Jihadism ideological values are embodied in the objectives of the organizations movement. Most jihadi organizations share the same ideological mission but differences occur in the communication strategy. Islamic jihadist ideologies are not coherent as not everyone can convert into Islamic and if we all did not everyone would share the same objectives. As seen from the researches, Muslims defer in their beliefs, some believe that suicide and killing of other people is morally wrong and unacceptable. Others, the Islamic jihadist believe that jihad

Jihadists try to impose Islamist goals on everyone by force. Islamic state leaders emulate Muhammad duties. It is believed that jihadists are secular people and have modern political ideologies. Islamic Jihadists organizations believe and practice religious practices which fit the Islamic State and Muhammad’s steps and duties. However, jihadists justify the violence against other Muslims excommunication included Jihad group is responsible for the violence that is happening in the world using Islamic views (Stern & Berger, 2015). Islamic jihadists such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS ideology are based on religious and political beliefs. They have theological justifications to explain the attacks on their enemies some who are their fellow Muslims. Jihadists claim that it is the disloyalty of the enemies to the jihadist that led to the terrorists’ attacks. Most of Muslims in the world do not support terrorism and view jihadists’ beliefs as a pervasion of Islamic teachings (Terrill, 2014).

Islamic is governed by misrepresentation often from ignorance by the followers or lack of understanding by many. Islamic “followers” succumbs a false understanding of Islam often shaped by western bias and contemporary media representation. Muslims take their Islamic identity based on race, culture and way of up-bringing. ISIS and other Islamic jihadists eliminate the wealthy and those with diverse tradition of Islamic teachings and believe they are conservative and sinful. Modern jihadists incite their members to fight their enemies regardless of where they might be and by any means necessary (Benmelech & Klor, 2016).

Jihadist terrorists identify themselves as followers of the Koran but they operate against the basic Islamic teachings. There are set rules against murder of women and suicide in the Koran. The Koran does not also advocate for the killing of old people and children during a battle. Many Islamic terrorists violate the Koran and fundamentalist Muslims believes that one way they act against the Koran is through terrorism. However, many jihadists groups and Islamic State obtain supporters from the Islamic fundamentalists. Goals of all Islamic groups are to set up states that are governed by Islamic fundamentalism. The difference is seen where some justifies the terror attacks they are involved in and violence is an interpretation of Islam (Terrill, 2014). This results to people linking violence to Islamic terrorists which then links to Islamic fundamentalism. However, those in fear of promoting discrimination avoiding linking terrorism to Islam because only a minority of Islamists use violence to gain power and instill fear among the citizens.

Muslims know that the Islamic State is a religious group but most want to distant themselves from it. The ideology of the Islamic jihadists is not logic as they do the opposite of the set rules written in the Koran. Islamic jihadists’ state has attracted many adventure seekers who make wrong interpretation of Islam and become psychopaths who kill in vengeance (Wood, 2015). The Islamic state belief that by killing numbers of innocent civilians especially Muslims referred to as apostates will purify the world is insane. In the past years, Westerners accused Muslims of following their ancient scriptures blindly that could have a denigrated them and perhaps that is the reason they are acting now. It is however, difficult to explain the rise of the Islamic jihadist State.

Conclusion

The absurd belief the Islamic groups such as the ISIS wants that is the states to be set based on Islamic law and the Koran interpretation is not practical. People share different ideologies and thus forcing all people into Islamic is a tricky situation and difficult. There are many versions of Islam; some involve terrorism while others are against it. Muslim may have different problems such as lack of religious freedom, poverty, illiteracy, oppression and more but jihadist violence takes a whole deeper pathology. Jihadist violence is a threat to most Muslims and also to the national security in U.S and therefore we should use all the necessary measures to prevent this group from seizing power. The contemporary Islamic jihadist political ideology is not logic and the citizens should try to stop the organization from spreading further and causing more attacks and violence.

References

Benmelech, E., & Klor, E. F. (2016). What Explains the Flow of Foreign Fighters to ISIS? (No. w22190). National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/digest/jun16/w22190.html

Berger, L. (2016). Local, National and Global Islam: Religious Guidance and European Muslim Public Opinion on Political Radicalism and Social Conservatism. West European Politics, 39(2), 205-228.

Browers, M. L. (2013). Islamic Political Ideologies. The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies

Cook, D. (2015). Understanding jihad. University of California Press: Berkeley, United States.

Esposito, J. L. (2015). Islam and Political Violence. Religions, 6(3), 1067-1081.

Hussain, G., & Saltman, E. M. (2014). Jihad trending: A comprehensive analysis of online extremism and how to counter it. Retrieved from https://www.quilliamfoundation.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/publications/free/jihad-trending-quilliam-report.pdf

Ross, N. O., & Mohammadpur, A. (2016). Islamic state as a modern phenomenon. Journal of Global Faultlines, 3(1), 36-40.

Saltman, E. M., & Winter, C. (2014). Islamic State: the changing face of modern jihadism. London: Quilliam Foundation, 1-71. Retrieved from https://www.quilliamfoundation.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/publications/free/islamic-state-the-changing-face-of-modern-jihadism.pdf

Stern, J., & Berger, J. M. (2015). ISIS: The state of terror. HarperCollins publishers: New York, United States.

Terrill, W. A. (2014). Understanding the Strengths and Vulnerabilities of ISIS. Parameters, 44(3), 13.

Tibi, B. (2014). Political Islam, World Politics and Europe: From Jihadist to Institutional Islamism. Routledge: Abingdon, United Kingdom.

Wood, G. (2015). What ISIS really wants. The Atlantic, 315(2), 78-94.