The development of Jihad in Latin America

What is the meaning of Jihad? An answer to this question might be what  the Muslim people  call “The holy war”.  It is one possible response to what we see from this religion every day. Such response might be the most logical, simply because it is what most heard in connection therewith. However, ¿what if someone asks to define this word which normally related   to the most violent acts in the course of history by their followers? Trying to explain in details what the Jihad means might create a problem, because there is a big difference between the ideal and how it is used by the radical Islam.

Defining Jihad will set us into a maze without a concrete output, therefore I will simply explain the origin of a part, especially the one that affects us through terrorist acts. After that, I will try to elaborate on how the Jihad ideology is succeeding joining other communities in the world although they are so different from the Islamic tradition.

Physical force in the jihad should be used only when Islam is threatened, and if so, the decision is taken to a Law Commission, in which the ultimate responsibility is taken by the security forces. Why is it so important to remark this? Simple, because Islam, by his genuine tradition, opposes autonomous groups that take the freedom to activate the self-Jihad, so in these case ¿what is than the legitimacy of Hamas, Hezbollah or ISIS? (The Islamic state)

Jihad today

The danger we see today is that Iran exports its jihadist ideology in the modern world, searching for new areas with significant potential that they might cover. We need to take a closer look to what happens in Latin America and thoroughly analyze the pros that Iran has to expand his fateful goal.

As a start, we should first observe the cultural structure of the area. We know that the Latin American formation is not so simple, the origins are the result of four groups: Spanish, African, Eastern European and native (indigenous), when the Spanish and the African where the most influential. The Arabic- Hispanic culture which moved to Latin America are now a second degree   participant of the identity formation in that region.

The arrival of the West African natives, Muslim slaves from the Mandika ethnicity who settled in Brazil, Peru and Panama, also gave a contribution to the cultural structure. These two groups over the years and the passing of generations have managed to disconnect most of its origins, and it is under these conditions which Radical Islam fail to expand in the region.

The identity vacuum that was created in certain sectors is the weak point which Iran also used to penetrate into the society, encouraging those who seek for their origin that the answer can easily be in Spanish or African Islamic roots.

This social issue It is a factor that should not be ignored, Social conditions are also the basis of religious belief. One example would be the famous saying of the socio-economist Max Weber about the Protestant Ethic. He explains that Protestantism has been the predominant religion in modern societies, rational and capitalists because their belief system is supported. In the same way, we can now see that Islam adheres to the characteristics of the third world countries such as poverty or collective inequalities among others. This facilitates the invasion of Iran in Latin America while examining similarities of this kind of issues with Arab countries.

Iranian penetration with the anti- imperialist ideology:

Iran not only uses the famous anti-imperialist ideology which they share with some Latin American countries, and by looking at the social point of view Iran can not only play with the ideology. The social insecurity that exists today in Latin America may also justify the use of jihad in its most violent act blaming the modern world, and exposing certain rules of Islamic beliefs that offer these victims principles regions inequality insecurity.

We already know about  terrorist cells operating in Latin America in areas such as the triple border or the border between Mexico and the US, but ¿where would come if somehow they begin to recruit local activists, which could entrap fighting this holy war against anti-imperialism, and that could easily feel identified believing fighting for equality and social security?

About the Author
Gaston Saidman was born in Argentina and arrived in Israel at the age of 12. After his Military Service, he served as the Chairman of the young Latin American Committee of Latin American olim Organization. Today he is acting as the General Manager of FOILAT Organization, which is developing a Parliament Lobby in the Israeli Knesset to strengthen the Diplomatic relations between Israel and Latin America. He is also involved in other activities such as the Smart Middle East Forum, and a new movement that will develop Public Diplomatic projects with other young and Zionist activist.
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