Sunday, June 22, 2014

Salafi-Jihadists: "A Persistent Threat" to Europe and America, by Soeren Kern

The threat to Europe and the United States from Islamic terrorism is serious and growing, and new attacks with unexpected targets and timings are increasingly likely, according to two new reports that provide insights and predictions about the threats posed by al-Qaeda and other Salafi-jihadist groups.

The reports — one by the US-based RAND Corporation and another by the EU-based Europol — show that al-Qaeda and related jihadist groups are evolving, splintering and morphing, and that the number of Islamic militants, especially from Western countries, is growing apace.

Taken together, the two reports thoroughly dispute claims by members of the Obama Administration and other policymakers that al-Qaeda has been severely weakened and no longer poses a major threat to the West.

The first report, entitled, "A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al-Qaeda and Other Salafi Jihadists," was prepared for the U.S. Defense Department and published on June 4 by the RAND Corporation, a public policy think tank based in California.

As the title implies, the report focuses on the Salafi-jihadist movement, a particular strand of militant Sunni Islamism which emphasizes the importance of returning to a "pure" Islam: that of the Salaf (an Arabic term which means "ancestors" or "predecessors" and refers to the first three generations of Muslims, including Mohammed and his companions and followers).

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