The Global Spread of Islamism and the Consequences for Terrorism


The Global Spread of Islamism and the Consequences for Terrorism

Michael Freeman with Katherine Ellena and Amina Kator-Mubarez

264 pages
2 figures, index


February 2021


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

February 2021


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

February 2021


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Terrorism motivated by Islamist religious ideology has been on the rise for the last forty years. Why? The three prior waves of terrorism—anarchist, nationalist, and Marxist—arose generally from a combination of geopolitical events and local grievances. This “fourth wave” of terrorism, however, has risen out of a different set of conditions.

Existing analyses of terrorism often consider how terrorist ideologies have evolved or how grievances have changed over time. But these approaches miss what could be called the “supply” side of ideology—how state and nonstate actors have exported an ideology of Islamism and how this ideology has taken root beyond what grievances or ideological interpretations would predict.

Michael Freeman connect the dots between several key events in 1979—the hostage crisis at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Iranian Revolution, and the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan—and the incentives these events created for different actors to spread the supply of Islamism, the institutions they produced in various countries, and the terrorists who emerge from these institutions.

In The Global Spread of Islamism and the Consequences for Terrorism Freeman examines four countries that have experienced this export of Islamism—Indonesia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and briefly describes similar patterns in other countries. Understanding the importance of the supply side of Islamism helps us better understand the strength and staying power of this current wave of terrorism as well as opportunities to better counter it.

Author Bio

Michael Freeman is a professor in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is the author of Freedom or Security: The Consequences for Democracies Using Emergency Powers to Fight Terror, the editor of Terror Financing: Case Studies, and the executive editor of the journal Combating Terrorism Exchange. Katherine Ellena is the senior global legal advisor for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Amina Kator-Mubarez is a faculty associate at the Naval Postgraduate School for the Global ECCO (Education Community Collaboration Online) Project, sponsored by the Combatting Terrorism Irregular Warfare Fellowship Program under the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 



“A compelling and incisive analysis of how Saudi Arabia has spread an extreme version of Islam to Indonesia, Pakistan, Britain, the United States, and other countries that should make policymakers rethink the free pass they have consistently given to the Saudis.”—Phil Williams, professor of international security, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh

“In this interesting study Michael Freeman focuses on the ‘supply side’ of ideology, specifically on the deliberate dissemination of Islamist ideologies (and associated institutional infrastructures) by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States to various countries outside of the Arab world (Indonesia, Pakistan, the UK, and the U.S.). In his conclusion he surveys possible countermeasures that might be employed to block the supply chain of Islamist ideology and thereby inhibit further radicalization and a potential shift toward more jihadist violence, though he ruefully recognizes that the Islamist ideological genie cannot be stuffed back into its magic lamp and that ‘the aspects that most need to be addressed are nearly impossible to change.’”—Jeffrey M. Bale, professor of nonproliferation and terrorism studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies   

Table of Contents

List of Figures    
1. The Supply of an Ideology    
2. Exporting Islamism    
3. Islamism in Indonesia    
4. Islamism in Pakistan    
5. Islamism in Britain    
6. Islamism in the United States    
7. Countering an Ideology    

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