The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism

(Policy Review) Shmuel Bar - It cannot be ignored that the lion's share of terrorist acts and the most devastating of them in recent years have been perpetrated in the name of Islam. To treat Islamic terrorism as the consequence of political and socioeconomic factors alone would not do justice to the significance of the religious culture in which this phenomenon is rooted and nurtured. In traditional Islam - and certainly in the worldview of the Islamic fundamentalist - there is no separation between the political and the religious. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan revived the concept of participation in jihad to evict an "infidel" occupier from a Muslim country as a "personal duty" for every capable Muslim. This duty - if taken seriously - is no less a religious imperative than the other five pillars of Islam. It becomes a de facto (and in the eyes of some a de jure) sixth pillar; a Muslim who does not perform it will inherit hell. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and a veteran of the Israeli intelligence community.

2004-06-03 00:00:00

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