CMES Research Seminar: The Development of the Theological and Political Aspects of Jihadi-Salafism
Orwa Ajjoub presents his newly published report From Afghanistan to Syria: The Development of the Theological and Political Aspects of Jihadi-Salafism (financed by CMES and SASNET).
Discussant: Journalist Nihad Jariri, Al Aan TV
Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, scholars have increasingly turned their attention to the rise and influence of jihadi Salafism. For the most part, though, the focus of this body of work has been on the sociology and activities of organizations such as al-Qaʿeda (AQ) and the Islamic State (IS), with less attention paid to the details of the movements’ ideologies.
This, however, should not suggest that these ideologies, which largely stem from theology and religious beliefs, do not play an important role in jihadi Salafi political violence. At the same time, it is not safe to claim that theology is the main or the only driver behind the military activities of jihadi Salafi militants.
This report explores the historical development of the theological concepts of jihadi Salafism such as jihad (struggle for sake of Allah which means abstaining from committing sins but also means fight), tawhid (or monotheism), takfir (or excommunication), al-hakimiyya (or applying Allah’s rule), and al-walaa’ wa al-bara’ (or loyalty to Muslims and disavowal to non-Muslims), and their implications on the ground.
By doing so, it interrogates the complicated relationship between these concepts and the ever-changing socio-political context in which they have developed.
Orwa Ajjoub is research associate at CMES and publishes regularly at different media websites, such as Middle East Institute, Syria Deeply, Aljumhuriya and others.
Nihad Jariri is a documentary producer based in the United Arab Emirates. Nihad is a prominent journalist in the Arab world with a particular interest in jihadism. She is also the host of the acclaimed and only Arabic language podcast focusing on jihadism Marsad al-Jihadia.
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