West and allies neglecting threat of Salafi jihadism


The war against Islamist extremism is a war against a triumphalist religious ideology that cloaks itself in the sanctity of the sacred and the history of “authentic” Islam, argues Robert G. Rabil, a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University.

Central to its beliefs are the forthcoming fateful battle between Muslim believers and nonbelievers, in which only the “saved” sect of Islam (Salafists) will emerge victorious, and the denunciation of the weakness of the Muslim Ummah (community of believers) as a result of Muslims’ deviation from their faith, he writes for The National Interest:

Rarely have authoritarian or totalitarian Muslim rulers challenged this triumphalist ideology, for fear of being further delegitimized as impious Muslims. Surely, the predicament of and problem for the West in its relationship with a large part of the Muslim world is that this triumphalist religious ideology is more or less left unchallenged by Muslim rulers. Is it possible that this triumphalist mindset, which abhors the power and belief system of the West, can peacefully coexist with Western nations? The tragedy is that many Western political leaders have blighted themselves by misconceiving of the very nature of the threat and turning a blind eye to some Muslim allies whose fight against Islamist extremism is a mere façade.


Robert G. Rabil is the author of Embattled Neighbors: Syria, Israel and Lebanon (2003); Syria, the United States and the War on Terror in the Middle East (2006); Religion, National Identity and Confessional Politics in Lebanon: The Challenge of Islamism (2011); Salafism in Lebanon: From Apoliticism to Transnational Jihadism (2014)

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