by Mohammed M. Hafez, Department of Political Science, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
The jihadists in Iraq strategically deploy emotional narratives to construct the myth
of heroic martyrdom, demonize their intended targets, and appeal to potential
recruits from around the Muslim world. These culturally astute jihadists know well
the themes that resonate with the wider Muslim public, and have done an extraordinary
job in harnessing three narratives to mobilize for martyrdom: humiliation of
Muslims at the hands of foreigners, impotence of official Muslim governments in
the face of hegemonic powers, and redemption through faithful sacrifice. This study
explores how jihadists weave together these three narratives to suggest a deleterious
condition that requires an immediate action, offer an explanation of the causes of this
persistent condition, and present the necessary solution to overcome the problem.
Keywords: Al Qaeda, insurgency, Iraq, jihadists, suicide bombers, terrorism
From the journal Terrorism and Political Violence is edited by UCLA Professor Emeritus of Political Science David C. Rapoport.