Islam Rising

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Atheism and Islam on the rise in the UK as Christianity suffers 'dramatic decline'

Rejecting their national identity, they have heeded international calls to "jihad" and formed extremist groups to fight their own countries. This groundbreaking book represents one of the first systematic attempts to explain why Westerners join radical Islamic groups. Quintan Wiktorowicz details the mechanisms that attract potential recruits, the instruments of persuasion that convince them that radical groups represent "real Islam," and the socialization process that prods them to engage in risky extremism.

Throughout, he traces the subtle process that can turn seemingly unreligious people into supporters of religious violence.

Waxing lyrical

The author's invaluable insights are based upon nearly unprecedented access to a radical Islamic group in the West. His extraordinary fieldwork forms the basis of a detailed case study of al-Muhajiroun, a transnational movement based in London that supports Bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists. Through its rich empirical detail, this book explains why ordinary people join extremist movements. He has conducted research on both moderate and radical Islamic movements in Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, and Europe.


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A ground-breaking work on the process of radicalization among Western Muslims. Wiktorowicz not only undertook astonishing and difficult fieldwork but brings us a theoretically innovative approach to understanding the case of the Western Muslim 'born-again. Wiktorowicz researched his book by embedding himself with al-Muhajiroun, an extremist Salafist group based in London.

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He found that the group preyed on disoriented young Muslims — not poor or oppressed themselves but confused and looking for meaning. Marriage is accomplished through a contract with the bride, acceptance of a dowry and her consent to the marriage. It is legal for a Muslim man to marry a Christian woman, but it is not legal for a Muslim woman to marry outside her faith.

Divorce is discouraged.


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However, a marriage can be terminated by repudiation by the husband, mutual consent by both parties or a judicial ruling upon the request of the wife. Islam draws no distinction between the religious and the temporal aspects of life. Thus the Muslim state is by definition religious. The canonical law of Islam, known as Sharia, is based on the Koran, the example of the Prophet Mohammed and elaboration by scholars.

The most significant split occurred after the death of the fourth caliph successor Ali ibn Abi Talib, a son-in-law of Mohammed. The split over the line of succession grew out of a political question of leadership. Complex theological differences developed over time. Here are some of the major branches:.

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The Shiites believe Ali ibn Abi Talib had a divine right to the caliphate, or spiritual leadership, which he passed on to descendants known as imams. Various other differences exist between Shiites and Sunnis. For instance, Shiites accept temporary marriage and the doctrine that God changes his decisions. They deny the efficacy of prayers led by a morally unworthy leader; Sunnis make a distinction between the function and the person.


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  • This is not a branch per se but rather an ascetic movement within all of Islam directed toward mysticism. Sufis seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. Sometimes considered to be independent from Islam, this sect arose in the 11th Century out of a cult of deification of the caliph Hakim of Egypt.

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    The Druze believe that Hakim did not die, but vanished and will one day return to inaugurate a golden age. They follow a secretive, eclectic system of doctrines. Encyclopedia Britannica.

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    World Book encyclopedia.