Alexey Malashenko’s Expert Comment on terrorism as a global threat is the first in a series of five DOC publications on Islamic terrorism. Prof. Malashenko identifies three different approaches to achieving the goals of Islamism, clarifies the differences between extremists and terrorists, and argues that understanding this distinction is crucial in the fight against terrorism.  The paper concludes with a discussion of the conditions enabling the spread of terrorism, and how we might be able to prevent it. Further publications in this series will address terrorism in the Persian Gulf, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, respectively.

 

Terrorism can be compared to AIDS. In both instances, the major goal in the study of each consists in delivering humankind from the wickedest global hazards of our time.

While AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) and its properties have been attributed a concrete and understandable medical definition, terrorism to this day has not been given a comprehensive and distinct characterisation. Terrorism has been given dozens of different labels. Even though the approaches vary, in each case terrorism is associated with attacks on civilian targets and civilians, targets that have no direct relation to an actual conflict, a military conflict, or to the direct causes of a conflict.

Let us specify at once, that this series of DOC publications on the theme of terrorism refers to Islamic terrorism, which is currently the most relevant – it is a delusion to expect its disappearance in the near future. Other terrorisms, especially left-wing separatist movements, can be characterised as local, limited in time and space, and do not represent the same global menace as does Islamic terrorism.

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The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the original author(s) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views and opinions of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, its co-founders, or its staff members.

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Prof. Malashenko graduated from Institute of Asian and African Countries, Moscow State University. He is Ph.D. in History, one of the leading experts of Islam, orientalist, political scientist. Prof. Malashenko is the author and editor of about twenty books (in Russian, English, French, and Arabic) and more than 200 articles. The latest are: • The Fight for Influence. Russia in Central Asia. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Washington DC, 2013 • Policy in Russia and Russia in Policy. Moscow, 2013 • My Islam. (Monograph) Publishing house ROSSPEN, Moscow 2010 • L'islam en Russie (Monograph). Les editions Keruss. Canada 2009. Pp. 1-280 • Ramzan Kadirov, a Russian Politician of the «Caucasian Nationality” (Monograph), Publishing House ROSSPEN. Moscow 2009 Before joining the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute he was the Chair of the “Religion, Society, and Security” Program at Carnegie Moscow Center, Professor at Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), Professor at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Head of the Islamic Department at Institute of Oriental Studies RAN (Russian Academy of Sciences).