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UNB s Gregg Centre on the nature of the ISIS problem

Author: Communications

Posted on Nov 17, 2015

Category: UNB Fredericton

The attacks in Paris on November 13 captured the attention of Canadians and Canadian media, focussing renewed attention on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Dr. David Charters, a leading authority on modern warfare and senior fellow at UNB’s Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society, offers one perspective on the nature and origins of the Islamic State in a recent blog post.

“One useful way of understanding this problem is to recognize that those whom we call jihadis have created a political ideology out of body of religious thought,” Dr. Charters wrote.

“Like Christianity, Islam has experienced several bouts of renewal. The variant that gave rise to jihadism is Wahhabism, which emerged in eastern Arabia in the late 18th century and was coopted by the al-Saud dynasty as a mobilising belief system that helped them conquer all of Arabia and create the current kingdom.”

According to Dr. Charters, the strict, intolerant and all-encompassing rules of Wahhabism were the perfect foundation for a revolutionary ideology which evolved over the last century. In the late 1920s, early adherents in the Muslim Brotherhood modeled their thinking on European revolutionary movements of the time, including both fascism and communism.

“For example,” Dr. Charters wrote, “in his role as chief ideologist of the Muslim Brotherhood Sayyid Qutb promoted the notion of jihadist as a revolutionary vanguard – straight out of Leninism.”

“The bottom line,” he continues, “is that the jihadism of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State is not a religion itself, but a faith-derived ideology and movement.” Read the full post.

About the Gregg Centre

The Gregg Centre is a national centre of excellence that specializes in placing the phenomenon of war within a broader sociological and historical context. The Gregg Centre also supports research, education and professional development within the Canadian Armed Forces.

Dr. David Charters is one of Canada’s foremost authorities on modern warfare, with particular expertise in the study of terrorism, countering terrorism, insurgency, counter-insurgency, and intelligence. He has taught, researched and published in the field for more than thirty years. He is the editor of The Deadly Sin of Terrorism (Greenwood, 1994) and co-editor and contributing author to After 9/11: Terrorism and Crime in a Globalised World (Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, 2005), among other publications.

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