The transformative charisma phenomenon in Islamic radicalism and militancy: Tracing the evolutionary roots of Islamic terrorism

Ingram, Haroro J. (2006) The transformative charisma phenomenon in Islamic radicalism and militancy: Tracing the evolutionary roots of Islamic terrorism. In Social Change in the 21st Century Conference 2006, 27 October, 2006, QUT Carseldine, Brisbane.


The rise of Khomeini and the events of 9/11 motivated two waves of intellectual thought devoted to explaining the emergence of the more radical and militant strains of political Islam. This paper takes an innovative approach to this intellectual tradition by utilizing charismatic leadership theory to understand the emergence and role of charismatic leaders in the evolutionary development of the modern Islamist movement. The study of charismatic leadership, rather than focusing exclusively upon the individual leader, is primarily concerned with understanding the merger of social, cultural, historical, psychological and ideological dynamics which create a context conducive for the emergence of the charismatic leader-follower relationship. Consequently, this paper will offer critical insights into the phenomenon of Islamic radicalism and militancy itself. This paper identifies a chain of charismatic leaders stretching across the entire chronology of the modern Islamist movement, from Jamal al-Afghani of the 1800s to Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of today, reflecting an increasing radicalisation and propensity towards violence with the rise of each leader. How has this phenomenon come to exist? This paper argues that it is due to the transformative charisma phenomenon in Islamic radicalism and militancy. This is the notion that this chain of charismatic leaders emerges due not only to an ever present and intensifying perception of crisis within communities of potential support, but also to the ability of such leaders to build on the charismatic capital of preceding leaders.

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ID Code: 6343
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: transformative charisma, Islamic radicalism and militancy, terrorism, charismatic leadership, tracing responses to social change
ISBN: 1741071291
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS (220400) > Religion and Society (220405)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Haroro J. Ingram
Deposited On: 28 Feb 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:37

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