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Gender-based Explosions

The Nexus between Muslim Masculinities, Jihadist Islamism and Terrorism

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This publication argues that “gender” is a fundamental battleground on which Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their types have to be defeated. Issues of regressive radicalism, literalism, militancy and terrorism can only be solved through people-centred interventions. Therefore, relevant governments and civil society should promote an alternative culture of growth, self-expression and actualization for Muslim men. To achieve sustainable counterterrorism results, Aslam recommends underlining masculinities in Muslim contexts and expanding the scope of required interventions beyond those confined to Islam(ism), the opposing sects and ideological movements of which rarely agree. This book also includes empirical data from a pilot study conducted on Pakistani Muslim masculinities.

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Conclusion

For counterterrorism, among other measures, Sageman (2009) proposes to take the glory out of terrorism, diminish the sense of moral outrage (among Muslims), counter the enemy appeal and eliminate discrimination against Muslims (by ceasing to “single them out”). To deal with the Al Qaeda threat, Sageman counts the removal of American forces from Iraq and a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as absolutely necessary. The oppressed and disadvantaged plight of Muslims around the world, particularly those under foreign occupation, makes Al Qaeda’s anti-West vision so appealing to Muslim youth. In addition, I recommend underlining the role of cultural notions/ideals (particularly gender constructs and practices) in predisposing individuals towards trajectories of militant-jihadist Islamism and terrorism. Such a critical nexus between gender, militant-jihadist Islamism and terrorism is so far unrecognized in theoretical literature and policy documents on terrorism/counterterrorism.

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