IMU video with a picture of "Miqdaad" of Essen, who was allegedly killed.

Photo: 2011 A screenshot of the IMU video with a picture of "Miqdaad" of Essen, who was allegedly killed.  A propaganda video posted online by the terror group Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) this week indicates that another German extremist may have been killed while fighting against NATO troops in Afghanistan.,1518,766406,00.html 

Anti-Colonial and Self Driven

Jihadist terrorist groups are those that subscribe or belong to the global jihadist movement.  The global jihadist movement, which has redefined the nature of conflicts in the twenty-first century, can be defined as the campaign unleashed by al-Qaeda and the groups and individuals that are associated with or inspired by al-Qaeda. The movement differs from traditional or local conflicts in many significant ways. Traditional conflicts are mostly ethno-nationalist in nature and usually have limited aims as well as geographic scope. In many cases these conflicts are the offshoots of anti-colonial movements, derived from the desire of a particular section of the population, mainly ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities in a country, for self-determination. Often, these conflicts take the tenor of separatist or irredentist movements with or without the use of violence. In some of these conflicts religion could be a central issue. But this does not necessarily make it a religious conflict. Here, religion, like ethnicity or language, is an expression of a common identity – a rallying point - around which the demands for self-determination revolves. 

Inherently Religious 

Hamas and Fatah members pray side by side during a protest in Palestine.On the other hand, the global jihadist movement is inherently religious, centered on Islam, which it seeks to defend against what is perceived to be the corrupting influence of the non-believers. The movement also uses Islam as a tool of mass mobilization. The discourse of the global jihad is grounded in Qur’anic “divine command ethics.” The leaders of this movement claim authority to interpret the religious text and do the same with an almost literalist reading of the sacred scripture. This literalist reading of the scripture leads them to see things in very stark (black and white) terms. The movement uses some of the key instruments of the religion, i.e. “Jihad,” “Fatwa,” and “Shariah,” to make them serve their politically utilitarian and instrumental purposes. It also believes that Islam is the answer to every conceivable problem being faced by the Muslims, and that with jihad an idealistic pan-Islamic Muslim society can be constructed. This has made the movement immensely popular across the Muslim world.  Photo: Hamas and Fatah members pray side by side during a protest in Palestin.

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About the Contributor

Arabinda Acharya

Arabinda Acharya is Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and Manager Strategic Projects at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research. He...