This article focuses on the neutralizations of the jihadi Salafi ideology. It is divided into three parts. The first describes the various rhetorical accounts that ordinary people use to neutralize conventional moral controls against inhumane conduct. The second traces how these accounts inform and drive the jihadi Salafi worldview. The third, and concluding, part of the article sketches out the policy implications of the analysis set out here, arguing that any attempt to derail the global Salafi jihad must critically undermine the core neutralizations of the jihadi Salafi ideology, since it is these which enable jihadi combatants to escape conventional moral constraints and perpetrate acts of inhumanity.
Dr Simon Cottee is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Kent and a Contributing Writer to The Atlantic.