Remembering Our Heroes: Global Jihad’s Militancy in a Comparative Perspective

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Meir Hatina Lecturer, Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel,

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Many studies have been devoted to the features of global jihad (also known as Salafi jihadism), its historical development, its difference from other Salafi groups, or its struggles with ideological rivals. Little emphasis, however, has been given to global jihadists’ ideological genealogy, and hence to locating them in a comparative perspective. How did they commemorate their formative heroes, such as the medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya and mid-twentieth century ideologues, such as Sayyid Qutb, Abu al-Aʿla al-Mawdudi, ʿAbd al-Salam Faraj, Shukri Mustafaʾ, Marwan Hadid or Saʿid Hawwa? Were these figures still perceived as cultural heroes, or were they shunned? Did their writings continue to provide sources of inspiration, or were they replaced by new manifestos? An in-depth discussion of these questions, based on a textual analysis of jihadi sources, may shed further light on global jihadists’ ideological evolution and self-perceptions. It will provide an additional prism for analyzing modern Sunni militancy, and scrutinize the extent its protagonists’ treatises match past traditions or, alternatively, deviate from them in favor of cultivated traditions, thus advancing a dissident agenda.

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