The Caravan

The Caravan

Abdallah Azzam and the Rise of Global Jihad

Author(s): Thomas Hegghammer
Publication Date: 05-03-2020

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Abdallah Azzam, the Palestinian cleric who led the mobilization of Arab fighters to Afghanistan in the 1980s, played a crucial role in the internationalization of the jihadi movement. Killed in mysterious circumstances in 1989 in Peshawar, Pakistan, he remains one of the most influential jihadi ideologues of all time. Here, in the first in-depth biography of Azzam, Thomas Hegghammer explains how Azzam came to play this role and why jihadism went global at this particular time. It traces Azzam's extraordinary life journey from a West Bank village to the battlefields of Afghanistan, telling 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, however, also a story of displacement, exclusion, and repression that suggests that jihadism went global for fundamentally local reasons.

 

'Thomas Hegghammer's exceptional book is a detailed account of the life of Abdallah Azzam, Islamist ideologue, activist and organiser. It is a fascinating story in itself, told with forensic skill and a powerful sense of place and time. But it is also much more than this. Through this narrative of Azzam's ideas and activities we get an unparalleled insight into the many dimensions of the world of transnational Islamism.'

Charles Tripp, author of The Power and the People: Paths of Resistance in the Middle East


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