The Origins of Global Jihadi Terrorism:
A Framework for Countering Islamic Radicalisation
“He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
Genesis 16: 12
The Bible, New International Version.
Such is the prophecy foretold in the Bible, where Ishmael, to whom the Prophet Muhammad traces his lineage , is to lead a life in perpetual conflict with his brethren. This prophecy has been cited as an analogy to highlight the greatest challenge that Islam is facing today – jihadi terrorism, which threatens to sow enmity between the Muslim civilisation and the rest of the global community. While “Islam” literally means “submission” and its etymology is derived from a root word meaning “peace” , the new millennium, starting with the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, has ironically seen an unprecedented scale of violent acts that had been committed purportedly in the name of Islam. For many, it is difficult to reconcile the oxymoronic concept of a peace-loving religion that advocates war at the same time. The surge of post-2001 global jihadi terrorism has brought about negative associations to the Islamic faith, despite the fact that the vast majority of Muslims reject violent jihadi ideologies. In particular, the pervasiveness of Islamic xenophobia has become a significant problem for Muslims, especially those living in heterogeneous societies. The military solutions of targeted drone strikes and assassinations such as the 2011 US Navy Seals’ killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan may have arrested the operational capabilities of the terrorists to some extent, but the fundamental problem of Islamic radicalisation remains unresolved. This essay will highlight the ideological, geo-political, and socio-economic factors that drive the global jihadi terrorist movement, and use these factors to establish a framework for countering...