Salafi fuel for ISIS tanks? The ideological relationship between Salafism and the Islamic State
21 février 2019
Par Alessandra Bonci (doctorante)
Several books have been published on the Islamic State, the violent group that has taken over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria and conducted terrorist attacks in Europe. Among them, the recent works of William McCants and Patrick Cockburn stand out with McCants addressing the appeal of the Islamic State, while Cockburn examining its success through the Sunni-Shia conflict. However, our aim here is to consider the Islamic State by the prism of Salafism. In fact, if Salafi principles contributed to the Islamic State's ascent, it seems crucial to analyse how and to what extent this is the case. Three recent books deal specifically with Salafi ideology and redefine the nature and praxis of Islamist political violence. We begin our journey into the Salafi world with Lauzière broad historical discussion of Salafism. Then, Maher narrows the perspective on jihadism and finally, Warrick focuses on the Islamic State and its Salafi credentials.
This review aims at linking Salafism to the rise of the Islamic State by making the authors answering three questions. First, is the Salafi phenomenon a consensual and shared message throughout the ages? Second, how does Salafism adapt to different contexts? Third, what is the relation between Salafism and the Islamic State? Our analysis problematizes the notion of Salafism as a non-consensual matter, by showing the evolution of the concept overtime. Accordingly, Maher investigates jihadism as a highly appealing trend for many young people around the world. Finally, we examine the rise of ISIS and the role of Salafi ideology.