Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State: A comparative study of the Jihadi narratives
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This paper explores the major points of contrast between Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State as one of movement versus state. Presenting the former as a revolutionary movement and the later as a state-building entity, I contend that despite their jihadi nature, both groups adopt different narratives and strategies. Following a comparative approach, I illustrate that the identity of Al-Qaeda as a revolutionary social movement and the Islamic State as a modern state entity in addition to the social backgrounds of their members presented them as two separate entities with institutional differences, structure, ideology and strategy. The movement versus state tension I present is not a new one that is exclusive to Islamist groups only, but rather one that was witnessed by groups like the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks of Russia as well as the Zionists of Europe and Palestine. I argue that this divergence between Al-Qaeda and the Islamic state, demonstrates jihadi ideology to be heterogeneous and decentralize.