Dec. 8, 2008: Somalia's al-Shabab jihadis outside Mogadishu. Training camps there are attracting hundreds of foreigners, including Americans which pose a threat far from Somalia, including to the U.S. homeland.
"The Ideological Hybridization of Jihadi Groups"
Journal Article, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, volume 9
November 18, 2009
Author: Thomas Hegghammer, Former Associate, Initiative on Religion in International Affairs/International Security Program, 2009–2010; Former Research Fellow, Initiative on Religion in International Affairs/International Security Program, 2008–2009
There is broad consensus in the analytical literature on Islamism on the need to disaggregate the various sub-currents of Islamist ideology. And while there is considerable disagreement among observers about what constitutes the right typology for differentiating between these sub-currents, there is general agreement on a handful of key analytical distinctions. Of these, perhaps the most common is the so-called "near enemy-far enemy" divide, which is often used to distinguish between groups that target primarily local Muslim regimes, and groups that focus on Western targets.
And yet, as anyone who has followed militant Islamism closely in recent years will testify, the distinction between near enemy and far enemy groups seems less and less relevant. Many jihadist groups are displaying ambiguous rhetoric and behavior with regard to who they consider as their main enemy. In the past five years, "far enemy groups" such as al-Qaeda Central have adopted a more hostile and explicitly takfiri rhetoric toward Muslim regimes. Conversely, "near enemy" activists such as the militants in Algeria have become more anti-Western in both words and deeds. A process of ideological hybridization has occurred, with the result that the enemy hierarchies of many jihadist groups are becoming more unclear or heterogeneous than they used to be.
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