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Spirituality or Savagery? How the term jihad has been manipulated by political actors throughout Islamic history

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Author: Mayer, Alexander Charles
Advisor: Sonn, Tamara
Committee Members: Rafeq, Abdul-Karim; Shushan, Debra
Issued Date: 2009-04-29
Subjects: Islam
Sayyid Qutb
Osama Bin Laden
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Jihad
War on terror
War of ideas
Islamism
Political islam
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/1159
Description: This thesis considers how -- and why -- the understanding and interpretation of the Arabic term jihad has been the subject of so much contentious debate since the very beginnings of Islam until the present day. My thesis is that although jihad has generally been studied and understood in a religious context, it has since its inception been manipulated and co-opted for political purposes. The term, then, has not primarily functioned as a religious ideal, but rather a political tool that has been used by leaders of empires and states, as well as intellectuals, activists, and militants for their own purposes. In addition, the U.S. government's lack of understanding of the the origins, history, and evolution of the concept of jihad has had a negative impact for U.S. efforts in the War on Terror.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Global Studies


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