Who Speaks for Islam? Extreme Religious Groups, the Exception that Proves the Rule
This chapter examines the streams of thought contributing to the emergence of the Jihadi Salafism. It highlights the scholarly works of key Salafi scholars who have shaped the ideology of the al-Salafiyya al-Jihadiyya movement as we know it. While the primary sources of Sharia law provide written codes explaining a number of issues capable of being brought before a court, this chapter discusses how the final interpretation of key issues is largely determined by the presiding cleric (sheikh). The scholarly work of those radical clerics effectively enables extremist groups to ideologically justify the use of violent means to achieve their “political” ambitions. Treatment of civilians is a notable example where radical scholars have effectively re-written their own ideologically based rules of war to justify atrocities against innocent population.