Deadly Clerics: Blocked Ambition and the Paths to Jihad

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 9, 2017 - History - 254 pages
Deadly Clerics explains why some Muslim clerics adopt the ideology of militant jihadism while most do not. The book explores multiple pathways of cleric radicalization and shows that the interplay of academic, religious, and political institutions has influenced the rise of modern jihadism through a mechanism of blocked ambition. As long as clerics' academic ambitions remain attainable, they are unlikely to espouse violent jihad. Clerics who are forced out of academia are more likely to turn to jihad for two reasons: jihadist ideas are attractive to those who see the system as turning against them, and preaching a jihad ideology can help these outsider clerics attract supporters and funds. The book draws on evidence from various sources, including large-scale statistical analysis of texts and network data obtained from the Internet, case studies of clerics' lives, and ethnographic participant observations at sites in Cairo, Egypt.
 

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Contents

Why Clerics Turn Deadly
1
B
11
Figures
28
Paths to Preaching Jihad
64
1
106
Appendix A Syllabus of Hamid alAli
187
Appendix B Technical Appendix
202
Bibliography
213
B 1
224
Index
229
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About the author (2017)

Richard A. Nielsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studies and teaches on Islam, political violence, human rights, economic development, and research design. His research has been published in The American Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, Political Analysis, and Sociological Methods and Research. He holds a Ph.D. in Government (2013) and an A.M. in Statistics (2010) from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Political Science (2007) from Brigham Young University.

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