Terrorism and Islam: Distortion of Islamic Concepts to Justify Violent Attacks
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AbstractABSTRACT TERRORISM AND ISLAM: DISTORTION OF ISLAMIC CONCEPTS TO JUSTIFY VIOLENT ATTACKS by ?? Mais Turki Masadeh 2011 Master of Arts in Political Science California State University, Chico Spring 2011 The terrorism of religious groups is not a unique phenomenon to the contemporary world. Indeed, the roots of modern day Islamist militias and terrorist groups can be traced all the way back to the 18th century. My purpose in writing this thesis is to find a relationship between Islam and terrorism and how Islamist groups succeed to justify their violence in the name of Islam. In order to achieve that, I examine case studies of two contemporary yet controversial Islamist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda. My decision to choose the two organizations as case studies is because they have claimed responsibility for the most terrorist attacks in the Middle East and North Africa in the last two decades. Throughout this thesis, I explore the development of the Islamic society from the early days of Islam in 610 C.E. to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The developments occurred in the Islamic society led to the creation of reactionary movements and ideologies. The findings of this research show that the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda are modern expansions of the latter creations. Additionally this paper explores how these terrorists groups succeeded to create new mechanisms for legitimizing their terror, mainly through Islam. The data and literature presented in this research show that the two organizations are not the vanguards of Muslims as they claim. Instead they use Islam as tool to give their terrorism a meaning. This paper investigates the Islamic concepts and values the two groups apply to justify their terror in the name of God. Ultimately, the findings in this research do not show a relationship between the religion of Islam and terrorism. Instead, it shows how the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda distorted Islam to justify their violence.