We argue that the monolithic use and application of the concept of ideology to Islamic terrorist movements is of questionable analytic utility because it tends not only to ignore ideological variation and flexibility among these movements, but also glosses over the kind of discursive work required to articulate and elaborate the array of possible links between ideas, events, and action. Drawing on the framing perspective in the study of social movements, we examine the development and articulation of mobilizing ideas associated with Islamic militancy and terrorist movements, ranging from the Iranian revolution of the late 1970s to more recent movements, such as al Qaeda, originating within the Middle East and Central Asia. By focusing on framing processes as key discursive mechanisms, we attempt to advance our understanding of the diverse ideological work required to facilitate the mobilization of jihadi militants as well as provide the motivation to commit sensational acts of violence such as suicide bombings.

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