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Islamic Extremism

Islamic extremism is a regressive movement that seeks to revert society to a fundamental Islamic value system free of secular or foreign influence and control. Islamic extremism promotes, justifies, and uses violence to advance this goal.

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Islamic Extremism Groups

Islamic extremism is a regressive movement that seeks to revert society to a fundamental Islamic value system free of secular or foreign influence and control. Islamic extremism promotes, justifies, and uses violence to advance this goal.
The roots of Islamic extremism date back to the founding days of Islam and the Crusades that followed. Modern-day extremists reference and quote historical Islamic warriors and scholars as a means of identifying themselves with a particular Islamic ideology, defining their religious dogma, and legitimizing their use of violence and violent tactics to achieve their socio-political goals.

Acts of Islamic extremism have taken place throughout modern times, but the terrorist attacks against the U.S. on September 11, 2001 caused a rapid transformation in how many countries and organizations worldwide prioritized security and public safety efforts.

In the mid-2000s, new and dangerous trends of Islamic extremism gained prominence, including the mass enforcement of Sharia law, the normalization of brutal attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and the use of “Takfir,” the practice of charging others with heresy or disbelief, particularly of Muslims who opposed the implementation of specific Islamic doctrine or stood in the way of the Islamic extremist organizations. These trends opened the door for attacks on a broader range of “soft targets” like mosques or large gatherings of Muslims, women and children.

In June 2014, an off-shoot of the al-Qaeda organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), changed its name to the “Islamic State” (IS) and declared itself the one true Islamic state to which all other Muslim communities across the globe should pay homage. This declaration exacerbated infighting between Islamic extremist organizations and catapulted the prominence and dominance of the Islamic State on the world stage, surpassing even the al-Qaeda organization in its capability and influence.
Islamic extremist organizations generally align with one of the two main sects of Islam: Sunni and Shia. Though the sects share core religious beliefs and cultural practices, a stark and bitter rift dating back centuries exists between the two. This rift further deepened in the late 20th century, causing violence to erupt in many parts of the Middle East as extreme Sunni and Shia organizations battled for religious and political supremacy. Extremist organizations affiliated with these two sects often treat each other as arch-enemies.

The main Sunni Islamic extremist organizations are:
  • al-Qaeda (AQ)
  • Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)
  • al-Nusrah
  • al-Shabaab

The main Shia Islamic extremist organizations are:
  • Hizballah
  • HAMAS

There are many “off-shoot” or localized Islamic extremist groups that are loosely affiliated with the larger, international organizations. These groups refer to themselves as “battalions” or “regiments” of the larger parent organizations. The main “cost” of membership to the parent group, particularly with groups like the Islamic State, is a pledge of fealty or “Bi’ah.”
Here is a list of the prominent terror organizations with their general areas of influence or control, as provided by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:
https://www.dni.gov/nctc/groups.html
In general, Islamic extremists, regardless of the sect with which they affiliate, seek immediate and significant political change through violence. Islamic extremists seek to move society toward a particular political-religious condition and value system. Changing the existing political order, establishing governance based on fundamentalist, Islamic doctrine and expelling foreign or secular influence are cornerstones of Islamic extremism.
Islamic extremists target individuals and locations that represent the systems and belief structures contrary to a fundamentalist Islamic value system. The range of targets for Islamic extremists is extremely broad.

Strategic targets of Islamic extremists are the militaries, leaders, structures and critical resources that support and stabilize non-Islamic governments. Islamic extremists cite the influence of foreign, secular or “Crusading” and “Zionist” governments as a fundamental impediment to Islamic rule over Muslim territory. They consider the current Arab regimes as lackeys or apostates in service to those foreign influences.

Islamic extremists have increasingly turned to cyber attacks on communications, media and social networks, and have instructed their ranks to “do what they can” electronically to further Jihad and support their extremist goals.

The main targets of Islamic extremists include individuals, locations, organizations and symbols of “anti-Islamic” institutions: popular tourist destinations; places of worship (including churches, synagogues and even “heretical” mosques); centers or symbols of capitalism (banks, markets and commercial areas); gathering places that promote an anti-Islamic value system (night clubs, sporting events, concert venues, parades).

Islamic extremist organizations encourage “lone wolf” extremists in Western or foreign countries to attack “soft targets,” including individuals (random or specified by occupation, stature or religious affiliation), schools, places of business and anywhere a large number of possible victims may be located (like public transportation environments). Islamic extremist organizations have increasingly called for and encouraged these types of violent attacks due to their relatively simple preparation, the low level of security, and the use of everyday materials and tools in their implementation.

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University Hosting Event Supporting Hamas-Linked Org

The University of Minnesota (UMN) chapter of the Students for…
<strong>Jihadi Terrorist Threatens St. Patrick’s Day Parade</strong>

Jihadi Terrorist Threatens St. Patrick’s Day Parade

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell holds an Irish flag during the…
<strong>Gitmo Prisoner Repatriated to Saudi Arabia</strong>

Gitmo Prisoner Repatriated to Saudi Arabia

Activists representing 35 men who were still being held at…
<strong>Report: Iran is Behind BDS Mapping Project</strong>

Report: Iran is Behind BDS Mapping Project

Boston BDS Mapping Project Map of Jewish Institutions
<strong>Staten Island Man Sentenced for Attacks on Jews</strong>

Staten Island Man Sentenced for Attacks on Jews

Photo: screenshot from Canary Mission Twitter account
<strong>Former Army Soldier Sentenced for Jihadist Plot</strong>

Former Army Soldier Sentenced for Jihadist Plot

Ethan Phelan Melzer, via @hendley_quinn/Twitter and Sportskeeda screenshot
<strong>Facebook Creating ISIS Pages</strong>

Facebook Creating ISIS Pages

Photo: tuthelens. via shutterstock
<strong>Iranian Caught Trying to Sneak Through Southern US Border</strong>

Iranian Caught Trying to Sneak Through Southern US Border

Migrants crossing Rio Grande. Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>New York Man Convicted for Supporting ISIS</strong>

New York Man Convicted for Supporting ISIS

photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>California Imam Posts Youtube Video Quoting Hadith on Killing Jews</strong>

California Imam Posts Youtube Video Quoting Hadith on Killing Jews

Moustafa Kamel spousing violent antisemitic rhetoric, Memri TV screenshot
<strong>Gitmo Inmate Released After 16-Year Custody</strong>

Gitmo Inmate Released After 16-Year Custody

Front gate of "Camp Six" detention facility in Guantanamo Bay,…
<strong>New York Woman Charged for Financing Jihad</strong>

New York Woman Charged for Financing Jihad

Cryptocurrency plays key role in funding terrorism. Photo via Shutterstock
<strong>Ohio Man Sentenced for Attempting to Join ISIS-K</strong>

Ohio Man Sentenced for Attempting to Join ISIS-K

A member of Taliban security forces inspects an alleged hideout…
<strong>Couple Sentenced for Attempting to Support ISIS</strong>

Couple Sentenced for Attempting to Support ISIS

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
<strong>Michigan Man Convicted for ISIS Support</strong>

Michigan Man Convicted for ISIS Support

Yemeni mourners carry the coffin of a Huthi rebel killed…
<strong>Jihadi Saudi National Steals School Bus</strong>

Jihadi Saudi National Steals School Bus

Mugshot of Bader Alzahrani - mconnors (morguefile.com/p/7298) via Daily Voice…
<strong>Three Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot Directed From Iran</strong>

Three Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot Directed From Iran

Vehicles drive past a giant portrait of former commander of…
<strong>New Jersey Woman Sentenced for Supporting Syrian Terrorist Organization</strong>

New Jersey Woman Sentenced for Supporting Syrian Terrorist Organization

Islamic State fighter (ISIS; ISIL) waving a flag while standing…
<strong>American Taliban Met With Convicted ISIS Supporter</strong>

American Taliban Met With Convicted ISIS Supporter

Members and supporters of the Taliban gather to commemorate the…
<strong>New York Shaikh Convicted of Supporting ISIS</strong>

New York Shaikh Convicted of Supporting ISIS

Shaikh Faisal Friday Sermon Screenshot from MEMRI TV
Bike Path Terror Suspect Convicted and Could Face Death Penalty

Bike Path Terror Suspect Convicted and Could Face Death Penalty

A biker who narrowly escaped the attack looks at the…
<strong>PFLP Connected Groups Stage Day of Rage in New York City</strong>

PFLP Connected Groups Stage Day of Rage in New York City

Network of PLFP front organizations operating the US. From Clarion…
<strong>New Charges Added Against Michigan Jihadist</strong>

New Charges Added Against Michigan Jihadist

Hassan Chokr trying out weapons at a Deerborn gun shop…
<strong>Brutal Antisemitic Attacker Receives 6-Month Plea Deal</strong>

Brutal Antisemitic Attacker Receives 6-Month Plea Deal

Crown Heights, Brooklyn , as well as other religious Jewish…
<strong>Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Go Fight for ISIS</strong>

Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Go Fight for ISIS

A discarded Islamic State flag in the Syrian village of…
<strong>ISIS Radical Faces Death Penalty for 2017 NYC Bike-Path Attack</strong>

ISIS Radical Faces Death Penalty for 2017 NYC Bike-Path Attack

St. Charles County, Mo., Dept of Correction (via CNN)
Indiana University Apologizes for Hosting Terror Supporter

Indiana University Apologizes for Hosting Terror Supporter

Photo: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty…
Jihadi Teen Attacks Police Officer with Machete in Times Square

Jihadi Teen Attacks Police Officer with Machete in Times Square

Trevor Bickford, 19 - Facebook via DailyMail screenshot
Four Charged for Conspiring to Support ISIS

Four Charged for Conspiring to Support ISIS

Four have been charged for collecting and transferring $35,000 through…
<strong>Libyan Intelligence Official Charged for 1988 Lockerbie Bombing</strong>

Libyan Intelligence Official Charged for 1988 Lockerbie Bombing

a former Libyan intelligence official accused of making the explosive…
Iranian Pleads Guilty for Plan to Blow Up High School With Suicide Vest

Iranian Pleads Guilty for Plan to Blow Up High School With Suicide Vest

a 33-year-old naturalized citizen of the U.S. born in Iran,…
Michigan Jihadist Charged for Synagogue Threats

Michigan Jihadist Charged for Synagogue Threats

Hassan Yehia Chokr, 35, of Dearborn, Mich., was charged with…
Connecticut Man Charged With Supporting ISIS

Connecticut Man Charged With Supporting ISIS

Ahmad Khalil Elshazly, 25, of West Haven, Conn., pleaded guilty…
The New Iran Deal Is Even Worse Than You Thought

The New Iran Deal Is Even Worse Than You Thought

Twenty years after 9/11 and 7 years after the first…
New Jersey Man Charged With Threatening to Attack Synagogue

New Jersey Man Charged With Threatening to Attack Synagogue

Statement by Omar Alkattoul captured in the criminal complaint –…
American Woman Sentenced to 20 Years for Leading All-Female ISIS Battalion

American Woman Sentenced to 20 Years for Leading All-Female ISIS Battalion

Allison Fluke-Ekren – Alexandria’s Sheriff’s Office via Washington Post screenshot
<strong>Boston BDS Organization Calls for Solidarity With Palestinian Terrorists</strong>

Boston BDS Organization Calls for Solidarity With Palestinian Terrorists

Map targeting the location of Jewish institutions- The Mapping Project…
<strong>75-Year-Old Gitmo Prisoner Released</strong>

75-Year-Old Gitmo Prisoner Released

Camp 5 at the US Military’s Prison in Guantanamo Bay,…
<strong>Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the “Moderate” Who Helped Radicalize Islam</strong>

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the “Moderate” Who Helped Radicalize Islam

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh –…
<strong>DOD Contractor Arrested for Lying About Ties With ISIS</strong>

DOD Contractor Arrested for Lying About Ties With ISIS

Pictures from History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
<strong>California Resident Sentenced for Aiding ISIS Fighters</strong>

California Resident Sentenced for Aiding ISIS Fighters

Islamic State fighter waving a flag while standing on captured…
<strong>French Company Pleads Guilty to Aiding ISIS</strong>

French Company Pleads Guilty to Aiding ISIS

Eastern District of New York US Attorney Breon Peace speaks…
<strong>CUNY Drops CAIR-Affiiliated Administrator</strong>

CUNY Drops CAIR-Affiiliated Administrator

Antisemitism has been an issue on CUNY campuses which include…
<strong>Iranian Oil Workers Strike is Most Serious Threat Yet to the Regime</strong>

Iranian Oil Workers Strike is Most Serious Threat Yet to the Regime

Two billion dollar Iranian oil refinery at Gulf port of…
Congress Probes Professor’s Ties to Iran

Congress Probes Professor’s Ties to Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister sitting with former Iranian UN ambassador Mohammad…
<strong>Lawyer Who Firebombed NYPD Vehicle Blames Islamophobia</strong>

Lawyer Who Firebombed NYPD Vehicle Blames Islamophobia

Screenshot of a police van burning from firebombing attack –…
<strong>Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Leader Dies</strong>

Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Leader Dies

Qatar’s influential Egyptian-born cleric Sheikh Yussef Al-Qaradawi attends the opening…
<strong>9/11 21st Anniversary – The War Isn’t Over</strong>

9/11 21st Anniversary – The War Isn’t Over

First responders salute in a driving rain as a U.S.…
<strong>Governor DeSantis Ousts CAIR</strong>

Governor DeSantis Ousts CAIR

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
<strong>Man Pleads Guilty to Planning ISIS-Inspired Attack in Queens</strong>

Man Pleads Guilty to Planning ISIS-Inspired Attack in Queens

A masked Islamic State soldier poses holding the ISIS flag…
<strong>ISIS ‘Beatle’ Sentenced to Life in Prison</strong>

ISIS ‘Beatle’ Sentenced to Life in Prison

Jounalist James Foley, executed by ISIS-Aris Messinis/Getty Images
<strong>Minnesota Doctor Pleads Guilty to Supporting ISIS</strong>

Minnesota Doctor Pleads Guilty to Supporting ISIS

Muhammad Masood - Sherburne County Sheriff via AP via Fox…
<strong>IRGC Threatens to Nuke New York</strong>

IRGC Threatens to Nuke New York

Photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images
<strong>Salman Rushdie Stabber Inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini</strong>

Salman Rushdie Stabber Inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini

Salman Rushdie speaking in 2020 in New York City –…
<strong>EU Lays Out Final Draft of New Iran Deal for US Approval</strong>

EU Lays Out Final Draft of New Iran Deal for US Approval

Iran's chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani - Alex HALADA/AFP via…
<strong>Man With AK-47 Arrested Outside Iranian Dissident’s Home</strong>

Man With AK-47 Arrested Outside Iranian Dissident’s Home

Iranian Journalist and women's rights activist Masih Alinejad - Presley…
<strong>US Appeals Court Rules Benghazi Attacker’s 22-Year Sentence Unreasonably Low</strong>

US Appeals Court Rules Benghazi Attacker’s 22-Year Sentence Unreasonably Low

Marshalls patrol outside the federal courthouse where Ahmed Abu Khatalla,…
<strong>Rashida Tlaib Campaign Organizers Tied to Terror Financing</strong>

Rashida Tlaib Campaign Organizers Tied to Terror Financing

US Representative Rashida Tlaib – ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>Iran Claims It is Already Capable of Building a Nuclear Bomb</strong>

Iran Claims It is Already Capable of Building a Nuclear Bomb

Photo by Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Father of Al Qaeda Terrorist Deported

Father of Al Qaeda Terrorist Deported

Mohammed Wali Zazi leaves a federal courthouse in New York,…
<strong>Florida Man Gets 20 Years for Helping ISIS</strong>

Florida Man Gets 20 Years for Helping ISIS

Romeo Xavier Langhorne - Roanoke Times via Facebook
US/Iranian Citizen Convicted of Providing Technology to Iran

US/Iranian Citizen Convicted of Providing Technology to Iran

Photo by Presidency of Iran / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
<strong>Two More ISIS Supporters Convicted and Sentenced</strong>

Two More ISIS Supporters Convicted and Sentenced

Ali Jibreel – Kirshaw County Detenion Center via San Antonio…
Iraqi Refugees Charged for Supporting ISIS

Iraqi Refugees Charged for Supporting ISIS

Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>US Military Captures Top ISIS Leader</strong>

US Military Captures Top ISIS Leader

Photo by BAKR ALKASEM/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>Boogaloo Boi Sentenced for Conspiring to Support Hamas</strong>

Boogaloo Boi Sentenced for Conspiring to Support Hamas

Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
<strong>Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Funding ISIS</strong>

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Funding ISIS

Photos from History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
<strong>US Sanctions Hamas Investment Network</strong>

US Sanctions Hamas Investment Network

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images
<strong>New York Man Found Guilty of Supporting ISIS</strong>

New York Man Found Guilty of Supporting ISIS

Photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>CUNY Law Faculty Backs BDS</strong>

CUNY Law Faculty Backs BDS

Gigi Altarejos, Wikipedia Commons
<strong>Dutch National Convicted of Financing Al-Shabaab</strong>

Dutch National Convicted of Financing Al-Shabaab

Photo from Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP news website
<strong>ISIS ‘Beatle’ Receives Life Sentence for Terror Beheadings</strong>

ISIS ‘Beatle’ Receives Life Sentence for Terror Beheadings

Alexanda Kotey is seen in this undated handout picture in…
<strong>Gitmo Detainee Released</strong>

Gitmo Detainee Released

Pessin Guantanamo Camp Five Gate 210 via Wikipedia
<strong>ISIS Militant Goes on Trial</strong>

ISIS Militant Goes on Trial

photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
<strong>U.S. Targets Al Shabab</strong>

U.S. Targets Al Shabab

Sadak Mohamed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
<strong>CAIR Renews Campaign to Free “Lady Al-Quaeda”</strong>

CAIR Renews Campaign to Free “Lady Al-Quaeda”

Mark Apollo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Special Report: Child Militarization -- From Infant to Infantry

Special Report: Child Militarization -- From Infant to Infantry

From Hamas to the Palestinian Authority, ISIS and beyond