Radical Islamism and the War on Terror

Alex J. Bellamy

in Massacres and Morality

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199288427
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745430 | DOI:
Radical Islamism and the War on Terror

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This chapter examines the radical Islamist ideology of selective extermination espoused by Al Qaeda and the impact of the West's response on civilian immunity. The radical Islamist doctrine holds that civilian immunity does not apply to non-believers or apostates and that members of these groups may be legitimately killed either as collective punishment for perceived wrongs inflicted on the Muslim world or as a necessary part of a war to establish a world Islamic state (caliphate). Rejected by most of the world's non-Muslims, the ideology is also hotly disputed within the Muslim world itself. The second part examines aspects of the US-led response to radical Islamism. Although the US and its allies have, in the main, attempted to comply with the norm of civilian immunity, some aspects of the War on Terror were conducted in ways that appeared to privilege necessity over civilian immunity. The 2004 assaults on Fallujah stand out in this regard.

Keywords: Islamism; al Qaeda; Caliphate; US; war on terror; Fallujah; civilian immunity

Chapter.  15894 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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