Instructor Date Al Qaeda and Early Jihadist Movements: A Comparison Introduction The world has witnessed multiple generations of jihadism and with each newer generation and jihadist group emerging with more violence to drive their ideologies, better experience, and an increase in tendency to escalate…
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Al Qaeda, though an offshoot of the early jihadist movements, has grown to be more radical, violent and passionate toward the struggle. Given the shifts, the question that comes to the fore is the extent to which al Qaeda is different from the previous jihadist movements. This paper therefore analyses the similarities between the modern day al Qaeda movement and the early jihadist movements. However, in order to get a better analysis of the similarities and differences between the sets of generational jihadism, it is imperative to first appreciate the origin of the movements. Comparison between Early Jihadist Groups and Al Qaeda The early jihadists’ movements and al Qaeda have all had elements of how Islam is exploited as a vehicle for political mobilization (Moaddel 375). The resurgence of jihadism or political Islam was mainly as a result of the defeats the Arab states suffered at the hands of Israeli forces in 1967, to challenge the nation states in the Middle East (Milton-Edwards 123). The Muslim Brotherhood emerged because of the fall of the secular Muslim States. Since the 20th century, the brotherhood has toiled to form Islamic states that strictly adhere to the teachings of the Quran, most of the time, as they understand those teachings. This was an invention of an Islamic figure christened Hasan Al Bannna who lived between the years 1906 and 1949. Another figure who was also particularly instrumental in this quest particularly in the Middle East was Sayyid Qutb who died in the year 1956. This was further sharpened and used by Abdul Ala Maududi in Asia, who lived in the period 1903 to 1979 (Gunaratna). Countries especially those in the Middle East have released their instruments of coercion to suppress society. The result of this is all too evident, as some of the Islamic groups have resulted to the use of violence to demand for their perceived rights. This ceding of political ground by the brotherhood has brought to the fore other groups that were previously unheard of. The hardline Islamic groups for instance view the brotherhood with skepticism as they believe the brotherhood is compromised. The takeover by the US government in the initiative to flush out terrorist elements in Iraq, coupled by the occupation by the Soviets in Afghanistan in the month of December of the year 1979 has not only been spawning ground for the emergence of disparate Islamic groups but has led to the thriving of such groups. The notion that Islam is a monolithic threat to the West has significantly increased and fuels their energy toward use of violence (Knudsen 10-11). Such groups have grown in influence, which is because of the growth in numbers and increased financing. In addition, they have learnt vital skill in the field of war which is mostly attributed to the Afghan campaign. The assistance offered by western governments to Mujahidin groups native to Afghanistan and the subsequent disagreements during the revolution of 1979, which occurred in Iraq and the later emergence of the Iraq-Iran War, has raised the level of assistance. This was offered by Washington to Iraq and other group especially Sunni, in addition the campaign by the Saudi in protest to the existence of Shias, has in turn given strength to Sunni groups from the 1980’
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