This essay introduces this special issue of Nova Religio by examining the main varieties of jihad and the main varieties of Islamism, and also by exploring the overlap between scholarship on terrorism and scholarship on NRMs. Three unusual varieties of jihad are identified, all of which are relatively modern: anti-colonial jihad, pacifist jihad, and Islamist jihad. All three are explored further by other articles in this issue. This essay also argues that the internal dynamics of the Islamist terrorist cell have much in common with the internal dynamics of the sectarian NRM, and that understanding this helps to explain both the moral and the strategic/operational decisions made by Islamist terrorists.
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