The Promotion of Secularization as a Counterterrorism Strategy to Religious Terrorism: A Case Study of Iraq
Keywords:Counterterrorism, Secularization, Radicalization, Iraq, Religious Terrorism
The increasing importance of establishing an Islamic state (a Caliphate) among religious terrorist groups has drawn the attention of academics and policymakers towards the benefits and pitfalls of the promotion of secularization as a counterterrorism strategy. Based on the historical experiences of secularization and religionization in Iraq and its societal structures, combined with a literature review of recent developments in the region, this article discusses to what extent and how secularization may promote and/or frustrate religious terrorism in present day Iraq. It concludes that, apart from some radical elements, there seems to be ideological and political space in Iraq to consider taking a direction to a more secular system. This could reduce political tensions and subsequently frustrate religious terrorism. Implementing it in a proper model in which major religious groups feel equally represented, however, may prove to be very challenging.
Abed-Kotob, S. (1995). The accommodationists speak: goals and strategies of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 27(3), 321-339.
Agator, M. (2013). Iraq: overview of corruption and anti-corruption. Anti-Corruption Resource Center, 1-9.
Al-Amin, Safwan. (2016). The Future of Secularism in Iraq. Retrieved from http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/the-future-of-secularism-in-iraq. Accessed October 27, 2019.
Al-Ghannouchi, R. (2000). Secularism in the Arab Maghreb. Islam and secularism in the Middle East, 105.
al-Marashi, Ibrahim. (2018). Does an Iraqi “Sunnistan” Really Exist? Retrieved from https://www.oasiscenter.eu/en/sunni-muslims-isis-iraq. Accessed July 10, 2019.
Al-Qarawee, Harith Hasan. (2018). From Secularization to Identity Politics: The Reconstitution of Shi’i Religious Authority in Iraq. Retrieved from https://themaydan.com/2018/05/secularization-identity-politics-reconstitution-shi%CA%BBi-religious-authority-iraq/. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Ali, Ala. (2014). Security, Religion and Gender in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq: A focus group-based conflict analysis.
Ali, Rebaz. (2015). Kurdistan and the Challenge of Islamism. Retrieved from https://www.hudson.org/research/11528-kurdistan-and-the-challenge-of-islamism. Accessed July 8, 2019.
Aqrawi-Whitcomb, Peri-Khan. (2015). Secularism: essential to Kurdish identity. Retrieved from https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/828209b9-b737-4253-88b2-af0e4e53dba1/Secularism--essential-to-Kurdish-identity. Accessed July 11, 2019.
Arbabzadah, Nushin. (2011). Afghan resistance to secular education has a long history. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/mar/16/afghan-secular-education-history. Accessed June 15, 2019.
Armstrong, Karen. (2014). The myth of religious violence. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/25/-sp-karen-armstrong-religious-violence-myth-secular
Asad, T. (2006). Responses. Powers of the secular modern: Talal Asad and his interlocutors, 206-41.
Bader, V. (2010). Religion and the Myths of Secularization and Separation. Religion, 18(1).
Baram, A. (2011). From Militant Secularism to Islamism: The Iraqi Ba'th Regime 1968-2003. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Baram, A. (2014). Saddam Husayn and Islam, 1968-2003: Ba'thi Iraq from Secularism to Faith. Woodrow Wilson Center Press.
Batatu, H. (1978). The old social classes and the revolutionary movements of Iraq (Vol. 13). Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Beauchamp, Zack. (2015). 18 Things About ISIS You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/world/2018/11/20/17995812/isis-islamic-state-18-things-you-need-to-know. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Berg-Sørensen, A. (2004). Paradiso-Diaspora: reframing the question of religion in politics. Institut for Statskundskab.
Bin Laden, O. (1998). Jihad against Jews and crusaders.
Bin, L. O., Lawrence, B. B., & Howarth, J. (2005). Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden.
Bruce, S. (2017). Secularization and Its Consequences. In (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Secularism. : Oxford University Press,. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199988457.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199988457-e-4. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Buker, H. (2017). A Motivation Based Classification of Terrorism. Forensic Res Criminol Int J 5(2): 00147. DOI: 10.15406/frcij.2017.05.00147
Byman, D. L., & Wittes, T. C. (2014). The Muslim Brotherhood Radicalizes. Brookings Big Bets & Black Swans-Memorandum to the President, Washington, DC.
Can, S. (2018). The Iraqi Identity: Faisal’s Unsolved Legacy. Trames, 22(4), 389-405.
Chatriwala, Omar. (2010). Iraq moving towards secularism. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/focus/iraqelection2010/2010/03/2010349530154496.html. Accessed November 7, 2018.
Chaves, M. (1994). Secularization as declining religious authority. Social forces, 72(3), 749-774.
Christmann, K. (2012). Preventing religious radicalisation and violent extremism: A systematic review of the research evidence.
Cline, L. E. (2000). The Prospects of the Shia Insurgency Movement in Iraq. Journal of Conflict Studies, 20(2).
Cronin, A. K., & Ludes, J. M. (Eds.). (2004). Attacking terrorism: Elements of a grand strategy. Georgetown University Press.
Dalacoura, K. (2014). The secular in non-Western societies. The Immanent Frame.
Dawood, I., & Istituto affari internazionali. (2016). Moats, walls, and the future of iraqi national identity (Iai working papers, 16/28). Rome, Italy: Istituto Affari Internazionali. (2016). Retrieved October 22, 2018, from INSERT-MISSING-DATABASE-NAME.
Doosje, B., Moghaddam, F. M., Kruglanski, A. W., De Wolf, A., Mann, L., & Feddes, A. R. (2016). Terrorism, radicalization and de-radicalization. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 79-84.
Dzhekova, R., Stoynova, N., Kojouharov, A., Mancheva, M., Anagnostou, D., & Tsenkov, E. (2016). Understanding radicalisation. Review of literature. Center for the Study of Democracy, Sofia.
Fokas, E. (2012). Secularization. In M. Juergensmeyer & W. C. Roof (Eds.), Encyclopedia of global religion (Vol. 1, pp. 1143-1145). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412997898.n641
Fuller, G. E. (2003). Islamist Politics in Iraq after Saddam Hussein. US Institute of Peace.
Furnish, T. R. (2002). bin Ladin: The man who would be Mahdi. Middle East Quarterly.
Ganji, A. (2015). Secular Islam vs. Islamic Terrorism. Retrieved from https://www.radiofarda.com/a/f35_secular_islam_vs_islamic_terrorism/26817101.html. Accessed November 6, 2018.
Giesbers, A. M. K. (2018). Ba'athism: the hidden hand behind ISIS? (Master's thesis).
Glenn, Cameron. (2015). Al Qaeda v ISIS: Leaders & Structure. Retrieved from https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/al-qaeda-v-isis-leaders-structure. Accessed July 9, 2018.
Gregg, H. S. (2014). Defining and distinguishing secular and religious terrorism. Perspectives on Terrorism, 8(2), 36-51.
Guthrie, E. (2018). Saving the “Cubs of the Caliphate”. Retrieved from https://www.fairobserver.com/region/middle_east_north_africa/iraqi-youth-countering-violent-extremism-isis-middle-east-latest-news-65241/. Accessed February 24, 2019.
Habermas, J. (2006). Religion in the public sphere. European journal of philosophy, 14(1), 1-25.
Habib, M. (2018). Major Religious Group Allies With Iraq’s Communists, For Election Shake-Up. Retrieved from http://www.niqash.org/en/articles/politics/5829/
Haddad, F. (2016). Shia-Centric State Building and Sunni Rejection in Post-2003 Iraq. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Hamid, S. (2016). Islamic exceptionalism: how the struggle over Islam is reshaping the world. St. Martin's Press.
Helfont, S. (2014). Saddam and the Islamists: The Ba'thist regime's instrumentalization of religion in foreign affairs. The Middle East Journal, 68(3), 352-366.
Hoffman, B. (1995). “Holy terror”: The implications of terrorism motivated by a religious imperative. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 18(4), 271-284.
Hoffman, B. (1999). The mind of the terrorist: Perspectives from social psychology. Psychiatric Annals, 29(6), 337-340.
Hoffman, B. (2006). Inside terrorism. Columbia University Press.
Hoffman, M. (2012). Arab Barometer II: Iraq Country Report. Arab Barometer Project.
International Crisis Group. (2012). Iraq’s Secular Opposition: The Rise and Decline of Al-Iraqiya. Retrieved from https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iraq/iraq-s-secular-opposition-rise-and-decline-al-iraqiya. Accessed December 16, 2019.
MEMRI, (2006). Iraqi MP Iyad Jamal Al-Din Advocates Secularism in Iraq and Declares: The State Should Be an Institution That Provides Services to Its Citizens. Retrieved from https://www.memri.org/reports/iraqi-mp-iyad-jamal-al-din-advocates-secularism-iraq-and-declares-state-should-be. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Jameson, F. (2002). The dialectics of disaster. The South Atlantic Quarterly, 101(2), 297-304.
Johnson, C. (2004). Iraq: legal history and traditions. In The Law Library of Congress.
Juergensmeyer, M. (2016). Terror in the mind of God: The global rise of religious violence.
Kadhim, A. (2013). The Hawza Under Siege: A Study in the Ba ‘th Party Archive. Occasional Paper, (1).
Katzman, K. (2008, August). Al Qaeda in Iraq: Assessment and Outside Links. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE.
Katzman, K. (2012, December). Iraq: Politics, governance, and human rights. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE.
Kirmanc, Ş. (2013). Identity and nation in Iraq. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Incorporated.
Laqueur, W. (2000). The new terrorism: Fanaticism and the arms of mass destruction. Oxford University Press on Demand.
Leary, M. R., & Baumeister, R. F. (2017). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. In Interpersonal Development (pp. 57-89). Routledge.
Longstaff, Simon. (2015). Only Secularism Can Save Us From Extremism. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/religion/only-secularism-can-save-us-from-extremism/10098134
Magister, Sandro. (2003). Secularism and Fundamentalism in Iraqi Islam. The Double Misinterpretation. Retrieved from http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/6938%26eng%3Dy.html
Makiya, K. (2010). The Iraqi Elections of 2010—and 2005. Middle East Brief, (42).
Mannik, E. (2009). Terrorism: Its Past, Present and Future Prospects. ENDC Proceedings, 12, 151-171.
Marr, P. (2018). The modern history of Iraq. Routledge.
Middle East Report. (2012). IRAQ’S SECULAR OPPOSITION: THE RISE AND DECLINE OF AL-IRAQIYA. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjY2Z3awODhAhUObFAKHbIDBGUQFjAGegQICBAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.files.ethz.ch%2Fisn%2F151180%2F127-iraqs-secular-opposition-the-rise-and-decline-of-al-iraqiya.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0-y1-Brke4TRj0FQZjRxJ1. Accessed November 1, 2018.
Millwala, Sarrah. (2013). Does Secularism Eliminate Extremism?. Retrieved from https://www.e-ir.info/2013/12/13/does-secularism-eliminate-extremism. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Moaddel, Mansoor. (2014). Is Iraq Actually Falling Apart? What Social Science Surveys Show. Retrieved from https://www.juancole.com/2014/06/actually-falling-surveys.html. Accessed November 2, 2018.
Mohamed, Besheer. (2014). Who are the Iraqi Kurds?. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/08/20/who-are-the-iraqi-kurds/. Accessed July 10, 2019. Para. 2
Moubayed, S. (2015). Under the black flag: At the frontier of the new jihad. IB Tauris.
Naim, A. A. A., An-Náim, A. A., & An-Na'im Na, A. A. (2008). Islam and the secular state. Harvard University Press.
Najm, Haider. (2010). The huge, hidden salaries of Iraq’s parliamentarians. Retrieved from http://www.niqash.org/en/articles/economy/2660/
Nakash, Y. (2003). The Shi'is of Iraq. Princeton University Press.
Newton, Kevin. (2016). The Shifting Definition of ISIS' Caliphate. Retrieved from https://www.mei.edu/publications/shifting-definition-isis-caliphate. Accessed November 24, 2019.
Norris, P. (2013). Muslim support for secular democracy. In Muslim Secular Democracy (pp. 113-140). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
O’Hanlon, M. E., & Campbell, J. H. (2004). Iraq index. Brookings Institution. Online: www. brookings. edu/iraqindex
O’Hanlon, M. E., & Campbell, J. H. (2009). Iraq index. Brookings Institution. Online: www. brookings. edu/iraqindex.
Obi, C., & Ukaulor, C. S. (2016). The Moral Questions on the Religious Basis for Terrorism “. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention, 5(4), 21-25.
Odhiambo, E. O. S. (2014). Religious fundamentalism and terrorism. Journal of Global Peace and Conflict, 2(1), 187-205.
Oosterveld, W. T., Bloem, W., Farnham, N., Kayaoğlu, B., & Sweijs, T. (2017). The Rise and Fall of ISIS: From Evitability to Inevitability. The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.
Orton, K. W. (2015). How Saddam Hussein Gave Us ISIS. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/opinion/how-saddam-hussein-gave-us-isis.html Accessed December 16, 2019.
Otterman, Sharon. (2005). IRAQ: The Sunnis. Retrieved from https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/iraq-sunnis. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Palmer, Barbara. (2004). Warfare against religious extremists strengthens their cause, scholar asserts. Retrieved from https://news.stanford.edu/news/2004/october20/armstrong-1020.html. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Pavel, R. (2012). The De-Baathification of Iraq: the development and implementation of an ostensibly necessary vetting policy that turned into a tool of sectarianism (Doctoral dissertation).
Pavlova, E. (2007). From a Counter-Society to a Counter-State Movement: Jemaah Islamiyah According to PUPJI. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 30(9), 777-800.
Pérez-Agote, A. (2014). The notion of secularization: Drawing the boundaries of its contemporary scientific validity. Current Sociology, 62(6), 886-904.
Phillips, A. (2009). The Anbar Awakening: Can It Be Exported to Afghanistan? Security Challenges, 5(3), 27-46.
Plebani, A. (2017). After Mosul: Re-inventing Iraq. Ledizioni.
Policy, U. S. A. I. D. (2011). The Development response to violent extremism and insurgency.
Program on International Policy Attitudes. (2006). What the Iraqi Public Wants -A WorldPublicOpinion.org Poll- Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiVwejX3-DhAhVHZ1AKHdMzBGsQFjABegQIBRAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fworldpublicopinion.net%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F12%2FIraq_Jan06_rpt.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2CWa47msn3CuRVvFS5_WiZ. Accessed November 6, 2018.
Rabkin, Nathaniel. (2018). The Sunni Religious Leadership in Iraq. Retrieved from https://www.hudson.org/research/14304-the-sunni-religious-leadership-in-iraq. Accessed July 12, 2019.
Rahima al-Abbud, Abdol Amir, (2012). [Arabic: a'ndma knt wzira - sirah wmshahdat a'rakiah]: When I was the minister, the behavior and observations of an Iraqi. Retrieved from https://books.google.nl/books?id=QJ15oAEACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=nl&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed November 23, 2019.
Rapoport, D. C. (1990). Sacred terror: A contemporary example from Islam. Origins of terrorism: psychologies, ideologies, theologies, states of mind, 103-130.
Rapoport, D. C. (2002). The Four Waves of Rebel Terror and September. Anthropoetics, 8(1).
Rashid, A. (2004). Jihad: The rise of militant Islam in Central Asia. Toronto: CNIB.
Revolvy. (n.d). Civil Democratic Alliance. Retrieved from https://www.revolvy.com/page/Civil-Democratic-Alliance. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Riesebrodt, M. (2014). Religion in the modern world: between secularization and resurgence.
Robathan, Andrew. (2005). Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/1501319/Secret-MoD-poll-Iraqis-support-attacks-on-British-troops.html. Accessed November 6, 2018.
Robin, Benedict. (2018). The Sadrist–Communist Alliance: Implications for Iraq’s Secular Politics. Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2018/06/06/the-sadrist-communist-alliance-implications-for-iraqs-secular-politics/
Robinson, H. M., Connable, B., Thaler, D. E., & Scotten, A. G. (2018). Sectarianism in the Middle East.
Rudaw. (2019). Marginalizing Iraq's IDPs will lead to radicalization, yet more violence: USIP director. Retrieved from https://www.rudaw.net/english/interview/18072019. Accessed November 24, 2019.
Sageman, M. (2004). Understanding terror networks. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Sageman, M. (2007). Radicalization of global Islamist terrorists. Testimony to the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Schmidt, S. (2009). The role of religion in politics the case of Shia Islamism in Iraq. Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, 22(2), 123-43.
Sedgwick, M. (2004). Al-Qaeda and the nature of religious terrorism. Terrorism and Policical Violence, 16(4), 795-814.
Shirazi, R., (2017). The Glimmer of Secular Hope in Iraq. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-glimmer-of-secular-ho_b_10161330. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Silavi, Mona. (2018). Protests In Iraq: Secularization! No Shia, No Sunni. Retrieved from https://www.piqd.com/globalization-politics/protests-in-iraq-secularization-no-shia-no-sunni. Accessed November 8, 2018.
Silke, A. (2008). Holy warriors: Exploring the psychological processes of jihadi radicalization. European journal of criminology, 5(1), 99-123.
Skinner, Q. (1969). Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas. History and theory, 8(1), 3-53.
Smith, A. G. (2018). How Radicalization to Terrorism Occurs in the United States: What Research Sponsored by the National Institute of Justice Tells Us.
Smock, D. R. (2003). The Role of Religion in Iraqi Politics. Retrieved from https://www.usip.org/publications/2003/05/religious-politics-iraq
Sarai, Esha. (2016). Some Young Arabs See Secular State as Solution to Terrorism. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/a/some-arabs-see-separation-of-mosque-and-state-as-solution-to-terror. Accessed October 22, 2018.
Steindal, M. (2016). ISIS totalitarian ideology and discourse: an analysis of the Dabiq Magazine discourse (Master's thesis, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås).
Stevens, D. (2009). In Extremis: a Self‐defeating Element in the ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’ Strategy. The Political Quarterly, 80(4), 517-525.
The Independent Advisory Group on Country Information. (2016). Country Information and Guidance, Iraq: Religious minorities, Version 1.0. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/749781/Iraq_-_IFA__docs__rtn_-_CPIN_-_v8.0__Oct_2018_.pdf. Accessed October 23, 2018.
The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. (2015). ISIS' Rejection of the Nation State. Retrieved from https://institute.global/insight/co-existence/isis-rejection-nation-state. Accessed November 24, 2019.
Today, (17 July 2014). Iraq Sunni insurgency seeks end to Shi'te political domination. Retrieved from https://www.todayonline.com/world/iraq-sunni-insurgency-seeks-end-shite-political-domination. Accessed July 5, 2019.
Tucker, D. (2001). What is new about the new terrorism and how dangerous is it?. Terrorism and Political Violence, 13(3), 1-14.
United States Institute of Peace (USIP). (2016). Iraq Research: Sense of Injustice Is Key to Violent Extremism Poor Governance Feeds Armed Groups, Mercy Corps Says. Retrieved from https://www.usip.org/publications/2016/01/iraq-research-sense-injustice-key-violent-extremism. Accessed October 24, 2018.
Vaezi, A. (2004). Shia political thought (p. 33). London: Islamic Centre of England.
Van de Voorde, C. (2011). Jihad. Religion and Violence. An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict from Antiquity to the Present, 402-394.
Varvelli, A. (2016). Jihadist Hotbeds: Understanding Local Radicalization Processes. Edizioni Epoké.
Walls, E. (2017). Waves of Modern Terrorism: Examining the Past and Predicting the Future (Doctoral dissertation, Georgetown University).
Webber, D., Klein, K., Kruglanski, A., Brizi, A., & Merari, A. (2017). Divergent paths to martyrdom and significance among suicide attackers. Terrorism and political violence, 29(5), 852-874.
Weiss, M., & Hassan, H. (2016). ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (updated edition). Simon and Schuster.
Wiktorowicz, Q. (2004). Joining the cause: Al-Muhajiroun and radical Islam. The Roots of Radical Islam
Wilson, C. (2014). The perceived threat of secularism and militancy among religious fundamentalists.
Wing, A. K., & Varol, O. O. (2006). Is Secularism Possible in a Majority-Muslim Country: The Turkish Example. Tex. Int'l LJ, 42, 1.
Wœver, O. (2008). World conflict over religion: Secularism as a flawed solution. In Constituting Communities (pp. 208-235). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Wu, B. (2007). Secularism and secularization in the Arab world. Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (in Asia) Vol, 1(1), 56.
Zia, Hujjatullah. (2014). Secularism vs. Extremism. Retrieved from http://outlookafghanistan.net/topics.php?post_id=9064. Accessed October 21, 2018.
The JD Journal for Deradicalization uses a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND) Licence. You are free to share - copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format under the following conditions:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, andindicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.