The Rise of Pan-Islamic Terrorism in Africa: A Global Security Challenge

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Although the vast majority of Africans are peaceful moderates, radical Islamic ideology that fuels pan-Islamic terrorism is on the rise in the continent because of factors that can be categorized under push and pull forces. The push forces are conditions that drive people to embrace the ideology of violent jihad. These involve: local backlash against Americanization/globalization; authoritarian/oppressive political systems; lack of basic human rights; youth bulge/high unemployment; corruption/lack of meritocracy, state collapse; and porous borders. The pull factors are the advantages terrorist/jihadi movements have that attract people to their cause. These include: radical Islamic ideology; humanitarian networks; media propaganda; provision of a “purpose and mission”; the lure of martyrdom and influences of Madrassas. I argue these factors create global security challenges: an existential threat to the Westphalian state system; the creation of terror-safe havens; displacement and mass global migration; massive global civilian casualties; and a conflict resolution conundrum. Related Articles: Antwi-Boateng, Osman. 2015. “No Spring in Africa: How Sub-Saharan Africa Has Avoided the Arab Spring Phenomenon.” Politics & Policy 43 (5): 754-784. Collins, Stephen D. 2014. “State-Sponsored Terrorism: In Decline, Yet Still a Potent Threat.” Politics & Policy 42 (1): 131-159. Kim, Hae S. 2009. “The Complexities of Internal Conflict in the Third World: Beyond Ethnic and Religious Conflict.” Politics & Policy 37 (2): 395-414. Related Media: Africa 360. “Terrorism on African Soil.” = eXzyLh3vfU8. CCTV News. 2013. “Does the Rise of Terrorist Activity in North Africa Pose a Threat to the West?” = 0WAJ-IQOkCU. CNBC Africa. 2015. “Terrorism in Africa.” = 4629001472001.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-284
Number of pages32
JournalPolitics and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Africa
  • Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
  • Al Shabaab
  • Boko Haram
  • Caliph
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Global Migration
  • Global Security
  • Globalization
  • International Security Policy
  • Jihad
  • Jihadi Movements
  • Madrassas
  • Martyrs
  • Moderate Islam
  • Pan-Islamic Terrorists
  • Push and Pull Forces
  • Radical Islam
  • Religious Ideology
  • Sharia Governance
  • Sharia Law
  • Terror Safe-Havens
  • Terrorism
  • Wahhabi-Salafism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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