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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores two of the key ideas underpinning modern jihadist ideology: the notion of jihad as an individual duty and the claim of self-defense. It goes on to look at the major shifts brought about by the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS): a striking eschatological component and a focus on dealing with “bad Muslims.” It concludes by suggesting that challenging terrorist ideology is a necessary step in combatting terrorism, but it is by no means sufficient. While ISIS looks like an ideologically driven phenomenon par excellence, its rise is inextricably linked to widespread insecurity in Iraq and Syria. Although ideology offers crucial insight into the moral universe of the terrorist, it is not always the “key driver” of terrorism, as some scholars have maintained.

Keywords: ideology, terrorism, Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, ISIS, Islamic State, Jihad, millenarianism

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