Islamic Fundamentalism: An Introduction

By Lawrence Davidson | Go to book overview

Glossary

ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALIST ORGANIZATIONS

Below are listed some of the more well-known Islamic fundamentalist groups that actively pursue the goal of an Islamic state. It is to be noted that the vast majority of those who see themselves as Islamic fundamentalists do not belong to the more militant and sometimes violent organizations. There are thousands of Islamic welfare and civic organizations that are not politically active but still consider themselves fundamentalist in their interpretation of the Muslim faith.

Al-Qaeda: (the Base, or the Firm Base). An organization of mujahedin fighters (resistance fighters who in this case see themselves as warriors for God) established by Osama bin Laden in the 1980s. It is made up mainly of Arab veterans of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Toward the end of the Afghan war (1989), al-Qaeda cells were established in many Middle Eastern countries. Their aim was to fight for a “purer form of Islam.” After the Gulf War (1991), al-Qaeda concentrated particularly on Saudi Arabia and the United States. The main issue was the retention of U.S. military forces in the “holy land” of Arabia. Subsequently, al-Qaeda attacked a series of U.S. targets including military barracks, embassies, the U.S. naval ship Cole, and finally the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This last attack triggered the U.S. war against the Taliban government of Afghanistan in late 2001 because it harbored Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership.

Freedom and Justice Party: The major Islamist party of Egypt. In the 2011– 2012 period it gained control of both the presidency and the national

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