Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea
'A groundbreaking study ... a masterclass in how to do intellectual history, and one that nobody with an interest in radical Islam should miss' Tom Holland, New Statesman
'Readers looking for a rigorous but lucid account of Islamic State's ideas will be well-served by Maher's book ... the first of its kind' Kyle W. Orton, Wall Street Journal
No topic has gripped the public imagination so dramatically as the spectre of global jihadism. While much has been said about the way jihadists behave, their ideology remains poorly understood. Shiraz Maher charts the intellectual underpinnings of salafi-jihadism from its origins in the mountains of the Hindu Kush to the jihadist insurgencies of the 1990s and the 9/11 wars. His ground-breaking introduction to salafi-jihadism recalibrates our understanding of the ideas underpinning one of the most destructive political philosophies of our time.
'Magisterial ... Essential reading' Robin Yassin-Kassab, The National
'Shiraz Maher, a leading authority on contemporary Islamic extremism, traces the evolution of the key ideas behind one of the most significant religious and political movements of our time. Comprehensive, important and timely' Jason Burke, author of Al-Qaeda
'A work of genuine interest and originality ... indispensable' David Patrikarakos, Literary Review
An excellent and original account of what jihadists actually think. Mr Maher goes well beyond previous works... in setting out a taxonomy of jihadist's system of beliefs. It will be a must-read work in the study of radicalism. * Economist * [A] groundbreaking study... one that nobody with an interest in radical Islam should miss. -- Tom Holland * New Statesman * Shiraz Maher makes it clear in his fascinating new book that we are witnessing a very recent phenomenon: "the greatest period of anti-western intellectual development in Salafi-jihadi thought took place in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. -- Patrick French * Guardian * A book that is the first of its kind, synthesizing work that has been done on the individual components of Salafi-jihadism. Readers looking for a rigourous but lucid account of Islamic State's ideas will be well-served * Wall St Journal * In this perceptive and lucid survey, Shiraz Maher, who has built up a justified reputation as an authority on contemporary Islamic extremism, traces the evolution of the key ideas behind one of the most significant religious and political movements of our time. He explains their origins, meanings and, above all, their real impact on violent militants over the last three or four decades. Comprehensive and thought-provoking, this is an important and timely contribution -- Jason Burke, author of The New Threat from Islamic Militancy Salafi-Jihadism provides an excellent and important insight into an intricately constructed religious and intellectual situation... it provides much-needed context to some of the most complex and consequential events in the world today. With its elegant, engaging style and crisp brevity, this book is an excellent investigation into a subject many of us would do well to learn that bit more about. * Middle East Eye * Although salafi Jihadism has profoundly shaped global politics for more than three decades, Shiraz Maher is the first to survey the doctrines that have animated and divided the movement. His book will be a standard reference for years to come. -- Will McCants Shiraz Maher does a first rate job of explaining a complex and important issue. Salafi-Jihadism is arguably the fastest growing current within the Muslim thought today and is essential to our understanding of how groups like the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda recruit and justify their acts -- Hassan Hassan A work of genuine interest and originality...indispensable -- David Patrikarakos * Literary Review *
Shiraz Maher is Deputy Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) and a member of the War Studies Department at King's College London. He is also a contributing writer for the New Statesman, frequently writing on the Islamic State and the broader Middle East. He has conducted fieldwork across the world, interviewing members of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusrah, Ahrar al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army. Most recently, he has conducted interviews with more than one hundred Western fighters in Syria and Iraq. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in Journalism for his pieces on radicalization, foreign fighter mobilization, and the terrorist threat to Europe.