An Islamic theologian at the University of Vienna has conducted a study of radical Islamists proving that many have an extensive knowledge of Islam despite mainstream claims that radical Islamists have little understanding of their own religion.
In his new 310-page study of 29 radical Islamists, Islamic theologian Ednan Aslan claims religion plays a far larger role in the actions of jihadists than economic factors and frustration with society, Die Welt reports.
“Regardless of their religious knowledge, a radicalised person sees in theology an offer that gives meaning and structure to their lives,” Aslan claims.
The study, which was financed by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also warns of the effect of radical Islamist Salafist groups which it says provide support and logistics for jihadists. “Persons with a higher theological knowledge function as authorities and play a central role in the spread of ideology,” according to the study.
The number of Salafists in Germany has been steadily rising in recent years and some have been accused of trying to recruit followers in asylum homes. Salafist mosques have also been directly linked to terror attacks like the Berlin Christmas Market attack which was committed by known Salafist and failed asylum seeker Anis Amri.
“The radical groups and individuals see themselves as the only true Muslims,” the report states. The Salafists see Western civilisation as the enemy of the Muslim world and regard it as a decaying society.
A similar German study recently came to a different conclusion saying that many Islamists did not know much about Islam and that their radicalisation had more to do with traumatic events in their life like deaths in the family or drug use. The study, done by the University of Bielefeld, examined the WhatsApp chats of known Salafists to come to their conclusions.
The number of Islamic extremists across Europe has been steadily increasing in recent years and the number of radical Islamic terror attacks has also greatly increased.
In Sweden, which also saw a large influx of migrants during the course of the migrant crisis, the number of violent jihadists has gone from around 200 in 2010 to estimates of thousands today. While authorities in the country worry about the growth they claim only a handful have the ability to carry out a terror attack.
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