Islamic terrorism

Islamic terrorism, Islamist terrorism or radical Islamic terrorism is defined as any terrorist act, set of acts or campaign committed by groups or individuals who profess Islamic or Islamist motivations or goals. [1] Islamic terrorists justify their violent tactics through the interpretation of Quran and Hadith according to their own goals and intentions. [2] [3]

The highest numbers of incidents and fatalities caused by Islamic terrorism occur in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. [4] In 2015 four Islamic extremist groups were responsible for 74% of all deaths from terrorism: ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, according to the Global Terrorism Index 2016. [5] In recent decades, such incidents have occurred on a global scale, affecting not only Muslim-majority states in Africa and Asia, but also several other countries, including those within the European Union, Russia, Australia, Canada, Israel, India and the United States. Such attacks have targeted Muslims and non-Muslims. [6] In a number of the worst-affected Muslim-majority regions, these terrorists have been met by armed, independent resistance groups, [7] state actors and their proxies, and elsewhere by condemnation coming from prominent Islamic figures. [8] [9] [10]

The literal use of the phrase "Islamic terrorism" is disputed. Such use in Western political speech has variously been called "counter-productive", "highly politicized, intellectually contestable" and "damaging to community relations". [11]

However, others have referred to the refusal to use the term as an act of "self-deception", "full-blown censorship" and "intellectual dishonesty". [12] [13] [14] [15]


Some Muslim commentators assert that extremism within Islam goes back to the 7th century to the Kharijites. From their essentially political position, they developed extreme doctrines that set them apart from both mainstream Sunni and Shi'a Muslims. The Kharijites were particularly noted for adopting a radical approach of Takfir, whereby they declared other Muslims to be unbelievers and therefore deemed them worthy of death. [16] [17] After failed post-colonial attempts at state formation and the creation of Israel, a series of Marxist and anti-Western transformations and movements swept throughout the Arab and Islamic world. The growth of these nationalist and revolutionary movements, along with their views that terrorism could be effective in reaching their political goals, generated the first phase of modern international terrorism. In the late 1960s, Palestinian secular movements such as Al Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) began to target civilians outside the immediate arena of conflict. Following Israel's 1967 defeat of Arab forces, Palestinian leaders began to see that the Arab world was unable to militarily confront Israel. During the same time, lessons drawn from revolutionary movements in Latin America, North Africa, Southeast Asia as well as during the Jewish struggle against Britain in Palestine, saw the Palestinians turn away from classic guerrilla, a typically rural-based, warfare toward urban terrorism. The year 1979 was a turning point in international terrorism. Throughout the Arab world and the West, the Iranian Islamic revolution ignited fears of a wave of revolutionary Shia Islam. Meanwhile, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent anti-Soviet mujahedeen war, lasting from 1979 to 1989, started the rise and expansion of terrorist groups.Since their beginning in 1994, the Pakistani-supported Taliban militia in Afghanistan has gained several characteristics traditionally associated with state-sponsors of terrorism, providing logistical support, travel documentation, and training facilities. Since 1989 the increasing willingness of religious extremists to strike targets outside immediate country or regional areas highlights the global nature of contemporary terrorism. The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, are representative of this trend. [18]

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