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Defining the term "Jihadist"

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
This is a Stratfor (George Freidman) analysis of this contentious issue.

Strategic Forecasting said:
We have received many reader comments, queries and complaints about our use of the term "jihadist." Some have suggested that by referring to Muslim militants as jihadists -- a term a few readers define as "holy warriors" -- we are being too kind. "Why not just call them terrorists and be done with it?" some have asked.

In Arabic, the word "jihad" can mean to "struggle" or "strive for" something. The word also can be applied to an armed struggle. One engaged in such struggles is called a mujahid (mujahideen in the plural). The term we use to identify militant Islamists seeking to establish an Islamic polity via "jihad," therefore, is "jihadist." Another hallmark of the jihadists is that they disproportionately adhere to extremist and radical Wahhabism. Therefore, in English, jihadists are those who seek to topple current regimes through warfare and establish in their place what they deem as Islamic rule.

By extension, jihadism is the ideology of such militant nonstate Muslim actors who seek this goal through armed insurrection. Many militant Islamists have appropriated classical definitions of jihad for themselves. In many cases, this is an attempt by militants to exploit the classical Islamic concept of jihad as a means to bring legitimacy to their causes.

However, mainstream Muslims (the vast majority of whom are not radicals) do not consider the term "jihadist" as an authentic way -- within the context of classical Islam -- to describe those who claim to be fighting on their behalf. In fact, those called jihadists in the Western context are considered deviants by mainstream Muslims. Therefore, calling someone a jihadist reflects this perception of deviancy. Just as Westerners cannot agree on a term for such fighters -- terrorists, militants, insurgents, etc. -- Muslims also have not agreed on a single term to describe them.

On the other hand, the Arabic word mujahideen has at its root the word mujahid, or someone who is engaged in jihad. Mujahideen is used to refer to combatants engaged in a legitimate armed struggle against a non-Islamic enemy, such as the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Therefore, we do not refer to most contemporary militant Islamist actors as mujahideen.

To complicate matters, U.S. military personnel often refer to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan as the "Muj," a derivation of the term mujahideen that entered the American lexicon during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. More derogatorily, U.S. personnel sometimes refer to their enemy as "Haji," which actually is a reference to a Muslim who has made the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca -- a requirement of all able-bodied Muslims and thus a term of honor. Therefore, the improper use of terminology can actually strengthen the jihadist cause because it plays into jihadist claims that the war on terrorism is a war against Islam.

Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d): defines terrorism as "... premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." The term implies criminal activity, which is certainly the perspective of most governments and victims of terrorist attacks. One person's terrorist can be another's freedom fighter, however.

A militant is defined as a nonstate actor participating in an armed struggle, usually against a state. In order to avoid taking sides on the ideological issue, we use the term militant to describe groups or individuals that commit terrorist attacks. The term jihadist acknowledges the fact that Muslim militants have adopted the classical Islamic concept of jihad into their ideology, but also provides for the distinction between them and legitimate mujahideen.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
oh i just knew you were gonna come with thisat some point.

stratfor has some interesting analysis though i believe on the whole some of their analysis had a decisively pro-iraq war slant (though this was last year when i had a subscription, not sure if theyve changed directions) and i recently read a piece about statism and immigraiton making some far drawn questions about mexicans taking back land from frontier/border regions or at least signaling the possibility which seemed a tad alarmist to me. but friedman isnt really a regular contributor is he?

anyway w/ repsct to jihaddists:

this is tricky, i dont pretend to know the perfect term but i personally hate the term jihaddists and i think its use has been given a false sense of legitimacy by academics who simply drink eachothers bath water when citing other writers use of the term to justify its validity.

jihad is a multi-faceted term from an academic context, there is considerable debate among muslim scholars on the limits and scope of jihad. most muslims do not approve of the methods of those you've labeled "Jihaddists", there is considerable anti american/western sentiment, but there is a wide chasm between saying "death to america" and actually blowing up americans. thus using the term to label their actions as having anything to do with "jihad" is saying that you in some way accept their definitiion of what jihad is, and agree with the wings of islam considered by most muslims to be radical.

much the same way abortion doctor killers are not called crusaders or angels of death, even if some crack pot pastor somewhere actually condone's their acts, it would be in some sense accepting their interpretation of their religion which by and large most epople would find both objectionable and unreasonable.

i agree its tough to know what to call people, to compound the difficulty differnt actors have different origins. not all those who take up arms are mujahadeen or acting in the name of armed resistance to establish an islamic caliphate.

without knowing the true motivations of those who take up arms in violent ways no matter what nation or cause they come from, we need to apply a more generalized/neutral term. jihaddist is certianly not neutral, and is again a radical slice of the interpretive pie of what the term truly means in today's world. doesnt mean it is wrong because its small, it just means its a rocky foundation to build objective analysis of terrorism and the like upon.

non-muslims will increasingly begin to associate the term 'jihad" with the violent actions of radical muslims groups. even wahabbi or salafists are unfair.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
judge wopner said:
stratfor has some interesting analysis though i believe on the whole some of their analysis had a decisively pro-iraq war slant (though this was last year when i had a subscription, not sure if theyve changed directions) and i recently read a piece about statism and immigraiton making some far drawn questions about mexicans taking back land from frontier/border regions or at least signaling the possibility which seemed a tad alarmist to me. but friedman isnt really a regular contributor is he?

I've gotten into at least one, several-email debate with Freidman about the content in Stratfor. And I've written to them half a dozen times, getting thoughtful and long replies back about a lot of CRAP they publish

One of their most annoying habits was that everytime there would be a succesful mass-casualty AQ strike, they would come out and say "so-and-so element of this operation indicates their diminishing capabilities!" Fuck off. By the third email, he got pretty testy and curt with me on this particular subject. I said "When they detonate an atomic bomb in Suburban Los Angeles, you're going to declare the final Victory over Al Quaeda!"

As for Jihadism, his definition is pretty clear about who is a jihadist, I think. Maybe I'm just a militant Zionist though.

I dunno, ask ~atp~ ;)
 

junglisthead

TRIBE Member
typical american whitewashing and coming up with slang names to belittle the truth

problem is the american media has a hard time saying their actual name, that being the mujahideen

and of course the american propganda machine would also hate to use the phrase "freedom fighters" as that is what they truly are
 

junglisthead

TRIBE Member
When they detonate an atomic bomb in Suburban Los Angeles

actually speculation is texas, close to the border so the bomb will be easier to sneak in through the mexican border, and can be used immediately without much notice
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
junglisthead said:
their actual name, that being the mujahideen

A network of non-state Islamic fundamentalists who aim to acheive mass-casualty strikes against civillians in Western countries for the purpose of establishing a Muslim Arab Caliphate are ABSOLUTELY NOT Mujahideen.

I'm horrified that you would say that.

Mujahideen is the Arabic word for "Strugglers"...Those who engage in Jihad. (The actual military combat type of Jihad). They don't have to be religious or holy or whatever, and the tem refers to guerillas who fight mlitary personnel that participate in subjugating them.

People who mass-murder civillians ARE FUCKING NOT freedom-fighters. They are terrorists--whether it's America or Osama Bin Laden. Period.

You think flying a plane full of non-combattant civillians into a building full of non-combattant civillians, or blowing up a bus crammed with civillians is "fighting for freedom?" That's sick.

We're not talking here about Hezbollahis who confronted the IDF in lebanon, or insurgents confronting the US Army in Iraq. We're talking about people who deliberately target civillians. The people who detonated bombs on the subway in London, on a train in Madrid, outside a disco in Bali, in a Synagogue in Turkey, at hotels and restaurants in Sinai, weddings in Algeria, Mosques in Iraq, worker compounds in Saudi Arabia, etc etc etc etc.

Blowing up the tanks and shooting at the soldiers of an invading army = Mujahideen.

Mass murdering civillians = terrosim.

Don't be an asshole.
 

junglisthead

TRIBE Member
im an asshole ?

you tell them that at here mucadele.com

tell them that they are not the mujahideen or that they are assholes for believing in that they are

so typical of our western society, lets create some random bullshit political expression when dealing with substance that we truly do not understand whatsoever

we ramble on using mundane logic, creating outlandish theories, when simply put we over analyzed it do death

yes please read about jihad, and you will realize that they claim its justified to kill innocents who aid with those who are the enemies of muslim
 

junglisthead

TRIBE Member
network of non-state Islamic fundamentalists who aim to acheive mass-casualty strikes against civillians in Western countries for the purpose of establishing a Muslim Arab Caliphate are ABSOLUTELY NOT Mujahideen.

that lies your problem, they are not wanting to establish anything other then for us to leave them the fuck alone, and stop meddling in their world, and for israel to stop the injustices towards palestine

that isnt going to happen, so their attacks on us will not either
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
A network of non-state Islamic fundamentalists who aim to acheive mass-casualty strikes against civillians in Western countries for the purpose of establishing a Muslim Arab Caliphate are ABSOLUTELY NOT Mujahideen.

I'm horrified that you would say that.

Mujahideen is the Arabic word for "Strugglers"...Those who engage in Jihad. (The actual military combat type of Jihad). They don't have to be religious or holy or whatever, and the tem refers to guerillas who fight mlitary personnel that participate in subjugating them.

People who mass-murder civillians ARE FUCKING NOT freedom-fighters. They are terrorists--whether it's America or Osama Bin Laden. Period.

You think flying a plane full of non-combattant civillians into a building full of non-combattant civillians, or blowing up a bus crammed with civillians is "fighting for freedom?" That's sick.

We're not talking here about Hezbollahis who confronted the IDF in lebanon, or insurgents confronting the US Army in Iraq. We're talking about people who deliberately target civillians. The people who detonated bombs on the subway in London, on a train in Madrid, outside a disco in Bali, in a Synagogue in Turkey, at hotels and restaurants in Sinai, weddings in Algeria, Mosques in Iraq, worker compounds in Saudi Arabia, etc etc etc etc.

Blowing up the tanks and shooting at the soldiers of an invading army = Mujahideen.

Mass murdering civillians = terrosim.

Don't be an asshole.


wait this post is odd,

it seems like someone else typed it,

or you are just fucking with us.

i dont buy your take on this at all,not becuase i disagree so much as i think its inconsistant with what youve been saying in this and other threads.

even a passive analysis of the topic would say: those who believe they must destroy the "west" ro any co-conspirators for the sake of establishing a state or global caliphate would consider any violent act that aids in this aim the work of mujahideen as they are soldiers in the war for islam and in protection of islam. this again is splitting hairs on names but lending a contexual opinion on which conflicts would be considered mujahideen and terrorism is foolish at best in contex of the argument.

mr. binladen would say they are all mujahideen and martyrs at that. the jihad in this sense could be one of expelling foreign occupiers from your lands like they did in afghanistan, or a global jihad of sorts whis is occuring as we speak, but again in terms of individual acts, its a grey area in labelling the UK train bombers as jihaddists or simply mentally distured young men who fixed on radical islam as a channell for their insanity.

dammit just admit it you are deep groove!!!!!:eek: :p
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
junglisthead,

You declare Western ignorance as part of the problem in resolving conflict with these ... uh ... "freedom fighters" ... and yet you yourself demonstrate very little insight or capacity for rational discussion on this topic. SellyCat brought up a rational and reasonable objection to calling people who target civilians -- and who are "terrorists" according to the US Army's definition -- "Mujahideen". Your counter was to point out (possibly incorrectly) that "they are not wanting to establish anything other then for us to leave them the fuck alone". This is totally irrelevant, of course, because SellyCat's objection relates to the type of combat in which these individuals are engaged. Your over-generalized characterization is not only dangerous, but fits the same sort of propaganda model that has been established so effectively by the American Administration. If you care to extract yourself from the same sort of criticism that is targeted at that administration, I would suggest you introduce a rationale and accuracy in your dialogue that is more palatable to those of us who appreciate logic and clarity.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
junglisthead said:
I really am an asshole!!!

yes please read about jihad, and you will realize that they claim its justified to kill innocents who aid with those who are the enemies of muslim

I see, so that random bullshit logic is OKAY to you, but not the Western one? So, because they say it's okay to kill innocents, that makes it legitimate in your eyes...very disturbing indeed.

I rest my case.

Furthermore, don't confuse YOUR ignorance with Western ignorance; this is very important. If you read the analysis that I posted, you'd know that the definition was carefully considered, even if you don't agree with it. The "masses" in the West are just as ignorant--and I'm being "balanced"--as the masses in...EVERYWHERE ELSE. Like 80% of Saudis beleive the Mossad was behind 9/11. You might agree with that, but it's very fucking ignorant that all those people beleive that. At least as ignorant as people thinking Saddam was involved in 9/11...OR THE FUCKING TOOTH FAIRY!

Hold on, I have to go fight for freedom by rounding up ~atp~'s family and busing them to a refugee camp...which I may or may not attack with artillery "by accident" someday soon. And also, because I said so, I'm also going to fight for freedom by moving my coreligionists into his house--or I might even decide that freedom requires that I bulldoze it! I'll see how Freedom's striking me at the time.
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
judge wopner said:
wait this post is odd,

it seems like someone else typed it,

or you are just fucking with us.

i dont buy your take on this at all,not becuase i disagree so much as i think its inconsistant with what youve been saying in this and other threads.

even a passive analysis of the topic would say: those who believe they must destroy the "west" ro any co-conspirators for the sake of establishing a state or global caliphate would consider any violent act that aids in this aim the work of mujahideen as they are soldiers in the war for islam and in protection of islam. this again is splitting hairs on names but lending a contexual opinion on which conflicts would be considered mujahideen and terrorism is foolish at best in contex of the argument.

mr. binladen would say they are all mujahideen and martyrs at that. the jihad in this sense could be one of expelling foreign occupiers from your lands like they did in afghanistan, or a global jihad of sorts whis is occuring as we speak, but again in terms of individual acts, its a grey area in labelling the UK train bombers as jihaddists or simply mentally distured young men who fixed on radical islam as a channell for their insanity.

dammit just admit it you are deep groove!!!!!:eek: :p

Promptly consume my genitals. Thank you.

I don't adhere to any particular, neatly packaged world veiw. Some things may appear to be contradictory, but they are not. It may take some getting used to. I occasionally surprise friends with what seems to be unusual veiws about unusual things. (Everything is unusual, isn't it, though.)

In my own lexicon, Jihadists are terrorists...the kind that mass-murder civillians. (And Jihadists are the non-state org type that are fully globalised and all that) This is a moral position--like it or not--that deligitimises anybody's use of violence against civllians. It doesn't matter who the attacker is or what they represent. I don't consider attacks against military targets to be terrorism, by definition--it's military, it packs heat like the oven door.
 

Hamza

TRIBE Member
so is the US army jihadist?

Why not?

What about those who voted in the Bush? And those ppl. making campaign donations? Are they not supporting the American Jihad?

Didn't Bush issue a Fatwah when he said "you are either with us, or with the terrorists?"

and of course the countless speechs on "we have the right to liquidate them?"

All that sounds like joihad talk to me.

If it is, then we do have a clash of fundamentalisms, in which case there is no moral high ground. In which case Abdallah has as much right to blow you up as you and your coalition do of causing "collateral damage" in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Hamza said:
so is the US army jihadist?

Why not?

What about those who voted in the Bush? And those ppl. making campaign donations? Are they not supporting the American Jihad?

Didn't Bush issue a Fatwah when he said "you are either with us, or with the terrorists?"

and of course the countless speechs on "we have the right to liquidate them?"

All that sounds like joihad talk to me.

If it is, then we do have a clash of fundamentalisms, in which case there is no moral high ground. In which case Abdallah has as much right to blow you up as you and your coalition do of causing "collateral damage" in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

Bush isn't Islamic, beleive it or not....don't think he's into the Koran much either.

BUT he and his administration definitely initiate terroristic policies.

And no, none of them have the right to blow me up just because they think so. THAT'S MY POINT! They're both wrong.
 
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Hamza

TRIBE Member
Bush is christian.

he is a christian fundamentalist, I call him jihadist which is a term associated with religious extremism. He is a Christian Jihadist.

Different from Jihad, which mean to struggle.

They are equal in my eyes, obviously I do not support either of them, but I have issues with people picking sides based on "morals" or some other normative nonsense.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
That's the thing...My moral application is not picking sides at all!

Quite the contrary--it is being fairly applied because I condemn anybody who targets civillians, including US foreign and military policy (which...is...also foreign).

I know a lot about, for example, specific details of US state sponsored terrorism.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
That's the thing...My moral application is not picking sides at all!

Quite the contrary--it is being fairly applied because I condemn anybody who targets civillians, including US foreign and military policy (which...is...also foreign).

I know a lot about, for example, specific details of US state sponsored terrorism.

fair enough, i like where this debate is going,

ill add this:

without geting into these technical definitions of everything your remark about the distinction b/w those who attack military vs. civilian targets misses the very nature of what so many islamic radical group have claimed:

they do not make much distinction b/w american forces and american civilians because they are slices of the same pie of western/non-muslim/imperialism. they consider them an affront to both the religion of islam, the culture, and a barrier to the establishment of a global islamic caliphate which is to be built brick by brick in various states.

much the same way a recent television show in canada aired a muslim intellectual who perhaps was drawn into a verbal trap but explained how palastinian suicide bombers are targeting military targets when blowing themselves up in public becuase the vast majority of isreali men serve in the IDF reserves, hence they are soldiers/ though off duty, but still soldiers.

he eventually partially retracted the statment but it gives you an idea of the metric to which radical and violent islamic groups use when drafting a battle plan, and how they can be motivated to attack targets "we" consider civilian.

almost no conflict excludes civilan casualties and/or civiliaan property damage. i agree there is a critical distinction b/w collateral damage and intentional damage to civilians in any given conflict.

either way, you make the distinction (a reasonable one) that the 9/11 actors were "terrorists" because of their tactics and their target.
most people would agree, as would most muslims who are radical fanatics.

and theres a distinction b/w saudi's who sympathize w/ the acts of terrorists or violent radicals and the actors themselves in such events. but this distinction is more of a conventional one which modern conflicts increasingly refuse to recognize. ie: terrorism, african conflicts, genocides, military junta's targeting intellectuals who question their power grab etc etc.

total war. one which most state's including the US subscribe to anyway, making it diffiuclt in each scenario to come up with the right name.
when US soldiers are smoking out "insurgents" from a civliain area using gas and shit loads of bullets, knowing there will likely be civilian damage/casualties, are they to be refered to as terrorists or crusaders, cowboy and what have you?

we could go in circles on this subject. i think a neutral term leaves the reader to render their own conclusions. conversley, if the writer wishes to call so and so a "jihaddist" or "radical" they should acknowledge the editorial slant inherent to such terms, regardless fo the white washing the term jihad has been given in western media.

ps: did you say you got into email debates w/ T. Freidman? is he cool like that where he will engage people via email? i may have to give him a piece of my mind!!!!!!
 

blahblah

TRIBE Member
Hamza said:
I'm gonna issue a fatwah on all your asses!

LOL and send them all to Arabic grammar school. I suggest their teacher ought to be Yemeni Judge Hamoud Al-Hita who is fighting terrorism through dialogue .

Here are some links of interest, which might show you how the West is actually condoning the misinterpretation of the Muslim religion - which I agree with above statement that their language is probably too difficult for the US media. Jihad in pure Q'oranic (sp?) terms means inner struggle.

http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=799&p=community&a=2

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/4316516.stm

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0204/p01s04-wome.html
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
blahblah said:
LOL and send them all to Arabic grammar school. I suggest their teacher ought to be Yemeni Judge Hamoud Al-Hita who is fighting terrorism through dialogue .

Here are some links of interest, which might show you how the West is actually condoning the misinterpretation of the Muslim religion - which I agree with above statement that their language is probably too difficult for the US media. Jihad in pure Q'oranic (sp?) terms means inner struggle.

http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=799&p=community&a=2

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/4316516.stm

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0204/p01s04-wome.html


Jihad *certainly* does not only mean inner struggle! That's the personal type of Jihad against impurity and temptation and whatnot. But the other kind of Jihad is explicitly military. It has to be, unless you'd like to claim that Islam does not explicitly call on its adhereants to lay down their lives in defense of the religion, and to fight against oppressors. Jihad is both things!
 

Colm

TRIBE Member
Hamza said:
Bush is christian.

Nominally... or better yet, every 4 years?

Hamza said:
he is a christian fundamentalist, I call him jihadist which is a term associated with religious extremism. He is a Christian Jihadist.

Different from Jihad, which mean to struggle.

They are equal in my eyes, obviously I do not support either of them, but I have issues with people picking sides based on "morals" or some other normative nonsense.

I don't think a Christian or Muslim 'fundamentalist/jihadist' (you seem to be conflating those terms) considers Christian or Islamic morality normative. With those loonies associated with the likes of Pat Robertson, whose numbers by the way are actually quite small, and those loonies associated with the likes of archetypal 21st Century terrorist, faith-based morality is thrown out the window by default on account of the methods they use to acheive their goals. Generally speaking, it appears to me that these people are more interested in exploiting the power and opportunity their positions afford them, and thus their 'picking sides based on morals' is actually a very thin facade.

All of this notwithstanding the very obvious differences between a head of state and a head of an opium smuggling gang.
 

junglisthead

TRIBE Member
at least some people actually understand whats going on, and dont go on with western babble to try and demonize the other side

judge wopner
they do not make much distinction b/w american forces and american civilians because they are slices of the same pie of western/non-muslim/imperialism. they consider them an affront to both the religion of islam, the culture, and a barrier to the establishment of a global islamic caliphate which is to be built brick by brick in various states.

hamza
If it is, then we do have a clash of fundamentalisms, in which case there is no moral high ground. In which case Abdallah has as much right to blow you up as you and your coalition do of causing "collateral damage" in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
junglisthead said:
at least some people actually understand whats going on, and dont go on with western babble to try and demonize the other side

You should actually try *READING* what I wrote instead of closing your eyes and hysterically parroting the same completely irrelavent dogma that you picked up on some crack-pot website.

You sound like the same kind of brainwashed sheep that you accuse westerners of being. Look in the mirror.
 
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