BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 435, March 29, 2017
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Violence is not the only means by which Islamist groups and individuals hope to expand Islamic influence, establish Islamic governments, and eventually restore the caliphate. In addition to the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda, many non-violent, legal groups either overtly or covertly share those aims. “Are they violent or not?” should not be the main question while analyzing Islamist groups or governments. “What is their aim?” is the better question if we are to understand them and take effective precautions. Methods might vary, but the establishment of Islamic rule is the ultimate goal of Islamist ideology.
Recent discussions of jihad or political Islam (or Islamism as it is commonly known) have most often focused on ISIS. But jihad and other efforts towards establishing an Islamic political order are not the exclusive province of ISIS. The expansion and institutionalization of…
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