Jihadi Terrorists in Europe: Their Characteristics and the Circumstances in which They Joined the Jihad ; an Exploratory Study
Of all different kinds of political-religious terrorism, (transnational) jihadi terrorism is the most threatening one to western values, interests and societies. This form of terrorism is the product of a combination of Islamist ideology and the idea of the jihad. The latter term can be translated as a fight or a quest. It connotes a wide range of meanings and has two distinct forms. The first is the so-called "greater jihad" as explained by The Prophet Mohammed. This jihad is inward-seeking: it involves the effort of each Muslim to become a better human being, to struggle to improve him -- or her -- self and, as a result, to be a good Muslim. In addition, the greater jihad is a test of each Muslim's obedience to God and willingness to implement His commands on earth. The second form is the so-called "lesser jihad." It sanctions the use of violence against an unjust ruler, whether Muslim or not, and can become the means to mobilize that political and social struggle. Today's most radical and violent Islamic groups ignore the greater jihad and adopt the lesser jihad as a complete political and social philosophy. These groups also advocate the lesser jihad as a duty for all individual Muslims We need to know who these jihadis are, where they are from and what they look like. Other fundamental questions relate to their Islamist and jihadi ideologies, the processes of radicalisation and recruitment, and their modus operandi. And of course we have to keep track of trends and developments if we want to be able to manage the threat. This exploratory study addresses a few of these needs. It aims to contribute to a better understanding of the individuals and networks that have been behind jihadi terrorist activities in Europe.
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