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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Analysis: The roots of jihad
Islamic rally
Jihad has become a rallying cry for some Muslims
By Middle East analyst Fiona Symon

The Arabic word jihad means literally "struggle" and Islamic scholars have long been divided on how it should be interpreted.

For some it means the struggle to defend one's faith and ideals against harmful outside influences.

Afghan fighter
The Afghan war against the Soviets attracted many Islamic radicals
For others it has come to represent the duty of Muslims to fight to rid the Islamic world of western influence in the form of corrupt and despotic leaders and occupying armies.

This is a view that has come to be widely accepted among the more militant Muslim groups, although most would not agree with the methods adopted by Osama Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda movement.

Modern jihad

The origins of Bin Laden's concept of jihad can be traced back to two early 20th century figures, who started powerful Islamic revivalist movements in response to colonialism and its aftermath.

Pakistan and Egypt - both Muslim countries with a strong intellectual tradition - produced the movements and ideology that would transform the concept of jihad in the modern world.

Page of the Koran
Maududi translated and interpreted the Koran
In Egypt, Hassan al-Banna's Muslim Brotherhood and in Pakistan, Syed Abul Ala Maududi's Jamaat Islami sought to restore the Islamic ideal of the union of religion and state.

They blamed the western idea of the separation of religion and politics for the decline of Muslim societies.

This, they believed, could only be corrected through a return to Islam in its traditional form, in which society was governed by a strict code of Islamic law.

Al-Banna and Maudoudi breathed new life into the concept of jihad as a holy war to end the foreign occupation of Muslim lands.

Wide acceptance

In the 1950s Sayed Qutb, a prominent member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, took the arguments of al-Banna and Maududi a stage further.

Ayatollah Khomeini
Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini developed his own version of radical Islam
For Qutb, all non-Muslims were infidels - even the so-called "people of the book", the Christians and Jews - and he predicted an eventual clash of civilisations between Islam and the west.

Qutb was executed by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966.

According to Dr Azzam Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, Qutb's writings in response to Nasser's persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood, "acquired wide acceptance throughout the Arab world, especially after his execution and more so following the defeat of the Arabs in the 1967 war with Israel".

Qutb and Maududi inspired a whole generation of Islamists, including Ayatollah Khomeini, who developed a Persian version of their works in t