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Jihad Ideology in Light of Contemporary Fatwas

The rise of the modern Islamist jihad movement in the last two decades of the 20th century has coincided with the rise of a growing body of fatwas that declare jihad as a legal religious obligation and define clear guidelines for the waging of jihad. These fatwas therefore provide moral and legal sanction for acts of terrorism. They relate to a […]

  • Shmuel Bar
  • Hudson Institute
  • 2006
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Jihad Ideology in Light of Contemporary Fatwas
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    The rise of the modern Islamist jihad movement in the last two decades of the 20th century has coincided with the rise of a growing body of fatwas that declare jihad as a legal religious obligation and define clear guidelines for the waging of jihad. These fatwas therefore provide moral and legal sanction for acts of terrorism. They relate to a broad-range of issues including the definition and identification of the battlespace in which jihad is to be undertaken; the necessary conditions for jihad; the identity of the “infidels” whom jihad must be waged against; who must participate in jihad and how; what are the legitimate means and who are the legitimate targets of jihad; the legitimacy of suicide attacks and other issues. The discussion in the fatwas may seem caustic but it holds far-reaching implications, for questions that are commonly deemed “moral” and “ethical” are subordinated to legal casuistry. This paper will present some of the issues arising from such fatwas.

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    • Shmuel Bar
    • Hudson Institute
    • 2006
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