Abdallah Azzam and the origins of global jihadism

Tue, Nov 2, 2021, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Open to the public
The Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia

In his new book titled The Caravan, Thomas Hegghammer returns to the 1970s and 1980s in search of the roots of the transnational jihadi movement. The book traces the life story of Abdallah Azzam, the Palestinian cleric who led the mobilization of Arab fighters to Afghanistan in the 1980s. Azzam played a crucial role in the internationalization of jihadism before being assassinated by unknown perpetrators in 1989. Part biography, part social history, the book tells the story of a man who knew all the leading Islamists of his time and frequented presidents, CIA agents, and Cat Stevens the pop star. It is also a story of displacement, exclusion, and repression that suggests that jihadism went global for fundamentally local reasons.


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