The De-Radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-06-04
  • Publisher: Routledge
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This book is the first detailed study of the causes of de-radicalization in armed Islamist movements. It is based on frontline research that includes interviews with Jihadist leaders, mid-ranking commanders, and young sympathizers, as well as former security and intelligence officers and state officials. Additionally, it is also the first book to analyze the particular conditions under which successful de-radicalization can take place. The current literature on Islamist movements attempts to explain two principal issues: their support of violence (radicalization) and their changing attitudes towards democracy and democratization (moderation). However, the reasons behind renouncing (behavioural de-radicalization) and de-legitimizing (ideological de-radicalization) violence have not been evaluated to date. The author provides an in-depth analysis of the de-radicalization processes of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers (1951-73), former allies of al-Qa'ida, such as al-Gama'a al-Islammiyya (Islamic Group of Egypt, 1997-2002) and al-Jihad Organization (2007- present), as well as of Algerian Islamist groups (1997-2000). The book also analyzes cases of de-radicalization failure. The two questions that the book highlights and attempts to answer are Why? and How? For example, why do radical Islamist militants revise their ideologies, strategies and objectives and initiate a de-radicalization process; and what are the necessary conditions behind successful de-radicalization? De-radicalization of Jihadists shows how a combination of charismatic leadership, state repression, social interactions and selective inducements can ultimately lead jihadists to abandon 'jihad' and de-legitimize violence. This book will be of great interest to students of radical Islamist movements and Islamic Studies, terrorism and political violence, security studies, and Middle Eastern politics. Omar Ashouris a Lecturer in Politics in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. He has a PhD in International Relations from McGill University in Canada.

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. vii
Forewordp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
List of abbreviationsp. xiv
A theory of de-radicalizationp. 1
Introductionp. 1
Definitions and typologyp. 4
A typology of Islamistsp. 7
How does de-radicalization develop?p. 11
Method of investigationp. 17
The general structure of the bookp. 18
The good, the bad and the ugly: moderation, radicalization and de-radicalization in Islamist movementsp. 19
On radicalizationp. 19
On moderationp. 25
On de-radicalization: a gap in the literaturep. 30
Conclusion: what is new?p. 31
Historical overviews of de-radicalization casesp. 33
Historical background of the Muslim Brothersp. 33
Historical background of the Islamic Groupp. 45
Historical overviews of other armed Islamist movementsp. 51
Conclusionp. 61
The untold story: the de-radicalization of the armed wings of the Muslim Brothersp. 63
The de-radicalization attempts: successes and failuresp. 64
The first attempt (1951-1953)p. 64
The second attempt (1964-1965)p. 74
The third attempt (1969-1973)p. 80
Conclusionp. 86
The de-radicalization of al-Qa'ida's allies: the Islamic Group and al-Jihad Organizationp. 90
The causes of de-radicalization of the Islamic Groupp. 91
The causes of de-radicalization of al-Jihad Organizationp. 102
Al-Jihad's de-radicalization: the effects on al-Qa'idap. 106
Conclusionp. 108
De-radicalization in Algeria: successes and failuresp. 110
Setting up the argument: ideology, controversial terms and missing variablesp. 111
The de-radicalization process of the AISp. 118
The de-radicalization failure of the GIAp. 127
The further radicalization of the GSPCp. 131
Conclusionp. 134
A world without violent Jihad?p. 136
The findings in comparative perspectivesp. 137
Research and policy implicationsp. 143
Notesp. 146
Bibliographyp. 181
Indexp. 198
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