Salafi jihadism

Salafi jihadism or jihadist-Salafism is a transnational, hybrid religious-political ideology based on the Sunni sect of Islamism, seeking to establish a global caliphate, characterized by the advocacy for "physical" (military) jihadist and Salafist concepts of returning to what adherents believe to be the "true Islam".[1][2][3][4][5] The ideological foundation of the movement was laid out by a series of prison-writings of the Egyptian Sunni Islamist theoretician Sayyid Qutb during the 1960s.[1][6][7]

The interchangeable terms "Salafi jihadism" and "jihadist-Salafism" were coined by the French political scientist Gilles Kepel in 2002[8][9][10][11] to describe "a hybrid Islamist ideology" developed by international Islamist volunteers in the Soviet-Afghan War who had become isolated from their national and social class origins.[8] The concept was described by the American-Israeli scholar Martin Kramer as an academic term that "will inevitably be [simplified to] jihadism or the jihadist movement in popular usage."[11] Qutbism has been identified as a close relative Islamist ideology,[1][12][13][14] or a variety of Salafi jihadism.[1][13]

Practitioners are referred to as "Salafi-jihadi", "Salafist jihadis", or "Salafi jihadists".[1][2][3][15] They are sometimes described as a variety of Salafis,[1][15][16] and sometimes as separate from "good Salafis",[10] whose movement eschews any political involvement and organizational allegiances as potentially divisive for the whole Muslim community and a distraction from the study of the Islamic religion.[17] Quietist Salafi scholarship denounce Salafi jihadism as a heterodox ideology far-removed from Salafi orthodoxy.[18] Quietist Salafi scholars such as Albani, Ibn Uthaymeen, Ibn Baz, Saleh Al-Fawzan, and Muqbil ibn Hadi condemned rebellion against the rulers as "the most corrupt of innovations", and forbade Muslims "to take it upon himself to execute a ruling" which is under the jurisdiction of the rulers.[19][20][21][22][23][Note 1] Salafi jihadists contend that they are not dividing the Muslim community because, in their view, the rulers of Muslim-majority countries and other self-proclaimed Muslims they attack have deviated from Islam and are actually apostates or false Muslims.[1][3][26]

In the 1990s, extremist jihadists of the al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya were active in the terrorist attacks on police, government officials, and tourists in Egypt, and the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria was a principal extremist group in the Algerian Civil War.[8] The most infamous jihadist-Salafist terrorist action is considered to be the September 11 attacks against the United States perpetrated by al-Qaeda in 2001.[27] While Salafism had next-to-no presence in Europe in the 1980s, Salafi jihadists had by the mid-2000s acquired "a burgeoning presence in Europe, having attempted more than 30 terrorist attacks among E.U. countries since 2001."[10] While many see the influence and activities of Salafi jihadists as in decline after 2000 (at least in the United States),[28][29] others see the movement as growing in the wake of the Arab Spring, the breakdown of state control in Libya and Syria in 2014,[30] and the U.S. retreat from Afghanistan in 2021.[31]


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