Javascript Menu by Ariel Center for Policy Research

Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR)

ACPR Research


Sacred Visions and Religious Terror:
The Case of Islam

Charles Selengut
Policy Paper No. 121

(In the book Muhammad's Monsters, David Bukay, (ed.),
AR: Balfour Books and Israel: ACPR Publishers, 2004, 300 pages.)


This essay compares and contrasts modernist, traditionalist and transformative responses to the experience of “cognitive dissonance” in the Muslim community as Islam faces disappointment at its failure to fulfill its religious duty to expand and create a universal Islamic civilization. The paper discusses the theology and ideology of a growing and increasingly mainstream militant Islam that refuses to accommodate to modernity and religious pluralism and has developed innovative theological justifications for the expansion of violent jihad as the means to achieve Islamic hegemony.

The paper considers the work of Sayyid Qutb and Abt al-Salem Farji, the authors of AL-Faridah al-Gha’ibah. The Neglected Duty, two scholarly but widely popular militants who have provided new potency to the classical Islamic view of jihad and violent confrontation as the way to realize the Islamic vision of an expanded Dar al-Islam with all living according to shari`ah law. The new militancy permits no compromise with modern norms of democracy and political pluralism and has championed violent jihad, including murder and assassination, as “sacred terror” and as the singular means to realize Islamic religious goals.

For the complete text of this article, click here.