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Extremist groups transform concept of jihad

Extremist Islamic groups have transformed the spiritual concept of jihad, including turning it into a military instrument for implementing political agendas.
Militant Islamist fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Militant Islamist fighters held a parade in Syria's northern Raqqa province to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and
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The prominence of jihad as a concept in Islamic culture is evident from the texts and cultures of different Muslim societies. Recently, jihad has undergone major developments with the emergence of radical groups imbuing it with political elements to further their agendas.

The basic conception of jihad was historically linked to spiritual practices among Sufis. The first tenet of jihad consisted of disciplining the human spirit, cleansing it and steering clear of vices. Jihad consisted of two types: the greater jihad, which related to spiritual and moral matters, and the lesser jihad, which involved fighting an enemy. The latter, considered inferior to the former, was to be employed only when the need arose.

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