The author presents the phenomenon of al-Qaeda as the best-known of the Islamic terrorist groups. He depicts the specifics of that organisation and tracks both the evolution of its development against the backdrop of recent years and the nature of its ideology. He draws upon the circumstances which have made Islamism what it is, as well as upon the political events of the last decade, attempting to map out the specifics of this contemporary phenomenon. The ideological attitudes towards jihad are also presented; these attitudes clearly contribute to a better understanding of the way in which the message of the combat is linked with the sphere of the sacrum and the justification for a mission carried out by 'the apostles of the Holy War'. A considerable amount of the commentary is devoted to a diagnosis of the nature and symbols of contemporary Islam. The article contains reflections on the evolution of the meaning and influence of al-Qaeda, as well as its image in the Islamic world and the countries of the West. The issue of radicalism amongst a part of the Muslim society living in Europe is raised, posing the question as to the real degree of their assimilation. The context of current events in Iraq is also referred to and their nature diagnosed from the perspective of the notions and practice of jihad, as are the challenges to security on both a global and a regional scale.
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