The Four P-Words of Militant Islamist Radicalization and Recruitment: Persecution, Precedent, Piety, and Perseverance

Published in: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 30, Issue 11 November 2007 , pages 985 – 1011

Abstract: This article suggests that a single interpretative framework can be used to understand Islamist militant rhetoric, and to compare it to supposedly more orthodox campaigns such as Irish Republican militancy, differences of culture, scale, and lethality. Both refer to histories of persecution; cite exemplars of their just cause drawn from historical precedent; maintain utopian ideals and justifications of violence that drawn from culturally relevant versions of piety; and use examples of perseverance against overwhelming odds drawn from their respective histories. This framework of “4Ps” – persecution, precedent, piety, and perseverance – is apparent even on the Internet, where rhetoric is necessarily atomized.

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