Political de-radicalization: why it is no longer possible in the wilāyāt system of the Islamic State
Keywords:Egyptian Islamic Group, al-Gamā’a al-Islāmiya, Islamic State, wilāyāt, de-radicalization, disengagement.
The emergence of the Islamic State as a regional and ideological player deeply affected the mechanisms of radicalization witnessed worldwide. The article will compare a former instance of jihadism, the Egyptian al-Gamā’a al-Islāmiya (Islamic Group, IG), with the phenomenon of the Islamic State and its wilāyāt system. The Islamic Group, which has been active during the last three decades of the Twentieth century, constitutes an ideal case study because it performed a process of political de-radicalization and disengagement that led its members to abandon violence. The hypothesis underlying the paper is that a similar process could no longer take place in the case of the Islamic State. Indeed, the transnational project of the Caliphate is likely to exclude every chance of undertaking a de-radicalization and/or disengagement process in which a group effectively negotiates with a nation-state, and this difference is likely to represent one of the major counter-terrorism challenges arising from the Syrian-Iraqi scenario. In order to complete its de-radicalization process, the IG issued four books of murāğa’āt, “recantations”, in January 2002, under the general title of The Correcting Conceptions Series. The major one was titled The Initiative for Ceasing Violence: a Realistic View and a Legitimate Perspective. It was authored by two Shura Council members and it generally addressed the practical and the ideological reasons behind the initiative. Unquestionably, this gradual process has been possible not only thanks to the new attitudes towards violence endorsed by al-Gamā’a al-Islāmiya, but also to the perceptive reaction of the State. By contrast, the a-national nature of the Islamic State obstructs this process. Indeed, after the local-oriented attitude of the first gam’iyāt and the emergence of al-Qa’ida as the premium brand of global terror, aims, push factors and geographical horizons of jihadism deeply changed. It is therefore not a question whether jihad is a binding religious prescription: it unquestionably is. The fundamental issue is whether and how one is to conduct it by lawful and prudent means and it is precisely this question that profoundly and irremediably divides the national jihadi movements from the Islamic State. As an internal Islamist critique - one that relies on a common Salafi substratum - the gam’iyāt refutation of global jihad may shed a light over the role of Da’ish in the contemporary jihadi panorama.
Ansari, H. (1986). The Islamic Militants in Egyptian Politics. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 16(1).
Ashour, O. (2007). Lions tamed? An inquiry into the causes of de-radicalization of armed Islamist movements: the case of Egyptian Islamic Group. Middle East Journal, 61(4), 596-625.
Ashour, O. (2009). The deradicalization of Jihadists: Transforming armed Islamist movements. London: Routledge.
Ashour, O. (2011). Post-Jihadism: Libya and the Global Transformations of Armed Islamist Movements, Terrorism and Political Violence, 23: 3, 377-397, 2011.
Awad, M. – Tadros, S. (2015). Bay’a Remorse? Wilayat Sinai and the Nile Valley. CTC Sentinel, 8, 1-7.
Azzam, M. (1986). The Use of Discourse in Understanding Islamic-Oriented Protest Groups in Egypt 1971-1981. British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, 13(2), 150-158.
Baken, D. N. - Mantzikos, I. (2015). Iraq and Syria: The Evolution of al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers. In: Al Qaeda: The Transformation of Terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 131-142.
Benslama F. (2009). Psychoanalysis and the challenge of Islam. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.
Byman, D. (2015). The Homecomings: What Happens when Arab Foreign Fighters in Iraq and Syria Return? Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 38(8), 581-602.
Celso, A. (2015). The Islamic State’s Colonial Policy in Egypt and Libya. Political Sciences & Public Affairs, 3(2), 1-7.
Clubb, G. (2016). Social Movement De-Radicalisation and the Decline of Terrorism. The morphogenesis of the Irish Republican movement. London: Routledge.
Cottam, M.L. (2008). Images and Intervention: U.S. Policies in Latin America. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Craig, A. (2014). The Smiling, Scented Men: The Political Worldview of the Islamic State of Iraq, 2003-2013. Pullman, Washington State: Washington State University.
El-Said, H – Harrigan, J. (2011) Globalisation. Democratisation and Radicalisation in the Arab Word. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
El-Said, H. (2012). Clemency, civil accord and reconciliation: the evolution of Algeria's deradicaliaztion process. In H. El-Said & J. Harrigan (Eds.), Deradicalising violent extremists: counter-radicalisation and deradicalisation programmes and their impact in muslim majority states London: Routledge. 14-49.
El-Said, H., & Harrigan, J. (2012). Deradicalising violent extremists: counter-radicalisation and deradicalisation programmes and their impact in muslim majority states. London ; New York: Routledge.
Fandy, M. (1994). Egypt's Islamic Group: Regional Revenge?. Middle East Journal, 48(4), 607-625.
Felter J. – Fishman, B. (2007). Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records. Combatting Terrorism Center, West Point.
Gerges, F. A. (2016). ISIS: A History. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Ghirghis, F. (2000). The End of the Islamist Insurgency in Egypt? Costs and Prospects. Middle East Journal, 54(4), 592-612.
Gunaratna, R. & Ali, M. B. (2009). De-Radicalization Initiatives in Egypt: A Preliminary Insight. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 32(4), 277-291.
Harrigan, J., & El-Said, H. (2012). Group deradicalization in Egypt: the unfinished agenda. In H. El-Said & J. Harrigan (Eds.), Deradicalising violent extremists: counter-radicalisation and deradicalisation programmes and their impact in muslim majority states. London: Routledge. 74-106.
Hegghammer, T. (2006). Global jihadism after the Iraq war. The Middle East Journal, 60(1), 11-32.
Hénin, N. (2015). Jihad Academy: The Rise of Islamic State. New Delhi: Bloomsbury.
Kamolnick, P. (2013). The Egyptian Islamic Group’s Critique of Al-Qaeda’s Interpretation of Jihad. Perspectives on Terrorism, 7(5).
Kandil, H. (2011). Islamizing Egypt? Testing the limits of Gramscian counterhegemonic strategies. Theory and Society, 40(1), 28-50.
Kepel, G. (2004). The war for Muslim minds. Islam and the West. Cambridge: Belknap Press.
Kirdar, M.J. (2014). AQAM Futures Project Case Studies Series: Al Qaede in Iraq. Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington D.C.
Ligon, G. – Harms, M. – Crowe, J. – Lundmark, L. – Simi, P. (2014). The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant: Branding, Leadership Culture and Lethal Attraction. Final Report prepared for the Department of Homeland Science and Technology Directorate’s Office of University Programs, award number #2012-ST-061-CS0001. College Park, MD: START.
Majid, A. (2009). Ḥiwwār Ma’ al-Sheikh Abu Qatada min Dākhil al-Suğun al-Britanniya (“An Interview with Sheikh Abu Qatada from within British Prisons”). Minbar al-Tawhid, June 5.
Mubarak, H. – Shadoud, S. – Tamari, T. (1993). What Does the Gama'a Islamiyya Want? An Interview with Tal'at Fu'ad Qasim. Middle East Report, 198.
Perry, B. (2000). Button-down Terror: the Metamorphosis of the Hate Movement. Sociological Focus, 33(2), 113-131.
Plebani, A. (ed) (2014). New (and old) patterns of jihadism: al-Qa’ida, the Islamic State and beyond. Milan: Institute for International Political Studies.
Post, J. – Sprinzak, E. – Denny, L. (2003). The Terrorists in Their Own Words: Interviews with 35 Incarcerated Middle Eastern Terrorists. Terrorism and Political Violence, 15(1), 171-184.
Qutb, S. (1978). Maʿālim fi aṭ-ṭarīq. Beirut: Dār al-Shurūq.
Rabasa, A. – Pettyjohn, S. L. – Ghez, J.G. – Boucek, C. (2010). Deradicalizing Islamist Extremists, RAND Corporation. Arlington, Virginia.
Reed, S. (1993). The Battle for Egypt. Foreign Affairs, 72(4).
Schmid, A.P. (2013). Radicalisation, De-Radicalisation, Counter-Radicalisation: A Conceptual Discussion and Literature Review. The Hague: International Centre for Counter-terrorism (ICCT).
Sedgwick, M. (2010). The Concept of Radicalization as a Source of Confusion. Terrorism and Political Violence, 22(4), 479-494.
Speckhard, A. – Yayla, A.S. (2015), Eyewitness Accounts from Recent Defectors from Islamic State: Why They Joined, What They Saw, Why They Quit. Perspectives on Terrorism, 9(6), 95-118.
Wagemakers, J. (2015). The Concept of Bay‘a in the Islamic State’s Ideology. Perspectives on Terrorism, 9(4), 98-106.
Wheatley J. – McCauley C. (2008). Losing your audience: Desistance from terrorism in Egypt after Luxor. Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict. Pathways toward terrorism and genocide, 1(3), 250-268.
Zelin, A. Y. (2014). Bibliography on the History and Evolution of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. [http://jihadology.net/2014/06/14/bibliography-on-the-history-and-evolution-of-the-islamicstate-of-iraq-and-al-sham].
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.