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Islamic Extremism: People Who Have Created Extremist Islam

Islamic extremism has been driven by some very powerful personalities through the 20th century. Here you will find personal and intellectual biographies of some of the most important individuals who have lead to the current radical Islamist ideologies.
  1. Islamic Extremism
  2. Islamic Extremism: Groups
  3. Islam and Politics

Osama bin Laden's Goals
What does Osama bin Laden want, and why does he want it? These questions can best be answered by studying the development of this tradition of Islamic extremism in the Middle East, especially since World War II. Although these fundamentalist groups preach a theology which values the earliest traditions of Islam, it remains nevertheless a very...

Sayyid Qutb: Profile and Biography
Sayyid Qutb, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who promoted the idea of violent revolution against non-Muslim rulers, created a new way for modern Muslims, dissatisfied with their condition, to look at society. He provided an ideological framework to the use principles of Islam, rather than Western categories like capitlaism, socialism,...

The Mahdi
"The Mahdi" is an Islamic concept of a "guided one" who will restore Islam and bring about an era of peace. According to the Mahdi, non-Islamic practices had corrupted Islam and resulted in hardships for common Muslims. In response, he led a revolt against the Ottoman rulers which also ended up including Western powers as the enemy behind those rulers.

Sayyid Qutb: Profile and Biography
Sayyid Qutb created an ideological basis for political and even armed resistance to a Muslim government by declaring that any government which does not completely follow Islamic law is not really Muslim at all. He painted the world in stark terms of black and white, arguing that any government which relied upon secular legislation was usurping...

Hassan al-Turabi: Profile and Biography
Origins of Islamic Extremism: Hassan al-Turabi, once the speaker of Sudan's parliament and the ideological power behind its Islamist revolution, was kicked out of office in May 2000 and is now in prison, held by the military powers which once supported him. But where does he fit into the puzzle of Al-Qaeda's origins and the development of Osama...

Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri: Profile and Biography
At one time the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Zawahiri merged that terrorist group which with Osama bin-Laden's al-Queda to create the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders. He then served Osama bin Laden's second-in-command, as al Queda's ideological leader, and is the most likely to take over when bin Laden dies.

Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman: History and Biography
Just how explosive the mix of Islamism and violence can be is demonstrated in the example of Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind sheik who is currently in prison in the United States because of his role in the bomb plots in New York City. What most people do not know about him, however, is that he is considered a spiritual leader and role model by Osama...

Osama bin Laden's Goals
"Many Americans seem to think that bin Laden is just a violent cult leader. But the truth is that he is tapping into a minority Islamic tradition with a wide following and a deep history." - Michael Doran, professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University

Books on Religion, Violence, and Terrorism
Religious leaders normally argue that religion is a force for good and love in the world. Yet, at the same time, we see religion regularly used for war, mass murder, terrorism, and even genocide. Why does this difference exist - how can religion be claimed as a basis for peace while so many use it as a basis for terrorism?

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