Radical Islamic terror succeeded in impacting the daily life of everyone in this world. Anyone traveling on a plane, taking a train ride, or going to the theater in a capital city in Europe or the US, may be a victim of radical Islamic terror act. To drill down and better understand radical Islamic terror, I met with Dr. Boaz Ganor, head of the International Institute for Counter Terrorism in IDC Herzelia, one of the first such institutes in the world. Dr. Ganor is also the founder and Chairman of the International Academic Counter Terrorism Community (ICTAC), an International association of institutions, experts and researchers in fields related to the study of terrorism and counter terrorism.
Giyus.org: This interview is about radical Islamic terror – while Osama Bin Laden is a common household name these days – not everyone understands the motives. Let’s take a look at the roots or Islamic terror organizations.
Dr. Ganor: When we talk about Islamic terror there are mainly 2 types of organizations: Global Jihad and local Jihad. Al Qaeda is the most prominent Global Jihad movement. Around Al Qaeda we see a number of circles. The first circle includes local organizations which are tightly connected to Al Qaeda. Examples of such organizations include Al Qaeda Iraq, North Africa Al Qaeda known as Maghreb Al Qaeda and the Yemen branch of the Arab Peninsula Al Qaeda. These are local establishments with local agendas but they all adhere to the main theme of Global Jihad as led by Al Qaeda’s leaders.
The 2nd circle is made of affiliated organizations. These organizations are typically local Jihad groups which were founded as branches of the Muslim Brotherhood and developed military capabilities. In this category you can find organizations like Hamas and the JI in Indonesia. These groups often hide their affiliation to Al Qaeda to avoid the penalties that come with such affiliation. But the connection and the moral guidance are strong.
The 3rd circle is home grown terrorists. These are small groups or individuals that operate locally in the west. There is no real connection between these organization and Al Qaeda itself, but these are initiatives that were launched as a result of exposure to Al Qaeda’s doctrine and incitement online. You could say Al Qaeda inspired them to launch their own terror group. Some home grown terror organizations may want to increase their involvement with Al Qaeda, so you might see individuals traveling to Al Qaeda’s terror training camps in Yemen or Pakistan. In those cases, there is often a closer connection once they return to their home countries.