The horrific terrorist attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo has once again raised the question about violence and Islam. Why is it, some ask, that so much terrorism has been committed in the name of Islam, and why do violent jihadists seek justification of their actions in their religion?
Millions of words have been written about the rise, conquests, and savagery of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Both have declared an “Islamic State” in their areas although Boko Haram has not claimed the mantle of a successor to the Prophet Muhammad as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has done in Greater Syria. The two groups are the latest in a string of terrorist organisations in the past two decades.
Which story line sounds the more credible – that linking the rebel movement ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) to policies pursued by Iran or that linking the Sunni extremist force to Iran’s adversary Saudi Arabia?
The recent visit by Abd al-Halim Murad, head of the Bahraini Salafi al-Asalah movement, to Syria to meet with Syrian rebels is an attempt by him and other Gulf Salafis to hijack the Syrian revolution.