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MEMRI: An Economically Oriented Concept of Jihad Emerges in Islamist Discourse

Author: E. Alshech
September 11, 2007

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The concept of jihad, dating back to the earliest stages of Islam, has always been open to various interpretations. Since Islamic sources define jihad in very broad terms, Muslims have, throughout Islamic history, been able to transform and extend its meaning according to their specific perceptions and needs. This document focuses on a concept of jihad that has been emerging for some time in Islamist discourse, as is evident in Islamist forums and websites. In this permutation, jihad is perceived as being aimed primarily at undermining the Western economy, particularly the U.S. economy, with the ultimate goal of bringing about the total collapse of the West. In practical terms, this concept of jihad does not pose an immediate and substantial danger to Western economy. However, it nonetheless merits attention, since it represents a broadening of the boundaries of jihad, and widens the circle of people who can potentially be involved in jihadist activity.

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