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The Ideological Framework Of Lashkar E Taiba Essay

2084 words - 8 pages

On November 26th, 2008 a largely unknown terrorist group forced their way into the international consciousness after an armed group of 10 terrorist’s implemented a well-planned, coordinated, and complex assault on the civilian populace of Mumbai. Utilizing Ak-47’s, hand grenades, and communication equipment, the terrorist attackers killed 104 people and injured another 308. For three days the Mumbai government struggled to effectively eliminate the perpetrators of the terrorist attack, which finally ended in a gun battle between the last living attacker and an Indian Commando unit. Only one attacker was captured by police, but the size of the attack and all of the terrorist participant’s commitment to terrorizing the Mumbai population even when surrounded and outnumbered highlights the development of Lashkar-E-Taiba (LeT), an organization which has arguably become one of the most powerful global terrorist networks. Over the past 20 years, a combination of religious ideological dogma within the Lashkar-E-Taiba, and a perceived utility within the Pakistani’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), set the conditions which allowed the transnational growth and expansion of Lashkar-E-Taiba. Since its inception, the LeT has become the largest and organized group within Kashmir (Desouza and Tobin 2007, 599). The group’s broad ideological jihadi goals and their global influence make Lashkar-E-Taiba a current threat to the United States, but also the most likely group to conduct a successful large scale significant attack against the United States or Western interests.
In order to understand the basic origins of the ideological framework of Lashkar-E-Taiba, it is important to understand the history and religious development of the two most influential founding members. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is considered to be the primary founder and former leader of the LeT, and was born in Punjab Province. Many of Saeed’s family members were killed in fighting within the Punjab region that followed the breakup of the British Empire in 1947. In the 1980’s Saeed traveled to Saudi Arabia to further his Islamic education, and while abroad he became increasingly influenced by extremist Wahhabi Islamic ideology and Salafist teachings (Reidel 2009, 115). Abdullah Azzam played a major role in the creation of the LeT and is considered the second most influential member in LeT’s development. He was born in the West Bank of Palestine, where he developed a globally focused ideological view of jihad. Azzam’s theological propositions arguing for the targeting the far enemy before the near enemy through jihad, have led many experts to consider him as the “father of modern global Islamic ideology’ (Riedel 2009, 116). After the USSR invaded, Azzam traveled to Afghanistan to assist in the regional efforts against the Soviet Union and developed close ties with Osama Bin Laden. While the two fought together, Azzam’s theological philosophy played an influential role in the Al...

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