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Backgrounder

What is Abu Sayyaf?

As a peace agreement for Muslim Mindanao inches its way through the parliament of the Philippines, the Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf has stepped up its campaign of attacks in the south of the country.

Anthony Measures

26 Oct 2016

Backgrounder

What is Boko Haram?

Jihadi organisation Boko Haram continues to ravage Nigeria's northeast and the Lake Chad Basin. The origins and ideology of the group are examined by Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

16 Sep 2016

Backgrounder

What is the Antibalaka?

The Antibalaka militias in the Central African Republic remain a little-understood but critical player in the ongoing national crisis.

Emily Mellgard

07 Sep 2016

Backgrounder

Who are the Uighurs?

China's Muslim Uighur community has gained international attention both for concerns over its religious freedom, and over links to terrorism at home and abroad.

Anthony Measures

07 Sep 2016

Backgrounder

What is the Houthi Movement?

The conflict between Yemen's Houthi movement and Saudi-backed pro-government forces has been ongoing since March 2015, but the Shia group's roots go far deeper than that.

07 Sep 2016

Backgrounder

What is 'Sinai Province'?

As speculation mounted last year over what caused a Russian plane to crash over the Sinai, international eyes were on ISIS' 'Sinai Province' (Wilayat Sinai), the militant group formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.

Peter Welby

06 Sep 2016

Backgrounder

What is al-Shabaab?

As al-Shabaab continues to carry out deadly attacks in Somalia and Kenya, Emily Mellgard examines the origins and ideology of the group.

Emily Mellgard

06 Sep 2016

Backgrounder

Where Does ISIS Stand in Somalia?

The Salafi-jihadi group has long had its eye on the East African nation.

Rachel Bryson

08 Jul 2016

Backgrounder

What is the Islamic Movement in Israel?

Israel's main Islamist group often makes headlines in the Jewish state, but little is known about it outside the country.

Adam Hoffman

30 Mar 2016

Backgrounder

ISIS' Low Risk Enterprise in Afghanistan

The United States views the emergent ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan as distinct from the 'Caliphate' in Iraq and Syria. The group has little to lose, and lots to gain, in the war-torn country.

Milo Comerford

19 Feb 2016

Backgrounder

What is ISIS?

Conflict in Iraq and Syria has seen ISIS seize vast territory. Charting the group’s rise, Peter Welby says that future dangers lie in the appeal to Islamists worldwide of their claims to a caliphate.

Peter Welby

16 Nov 2015

Backgrounder

What is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula?

The connection between the Charlie Hebdo gunmen and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has brought the group back into the international spotlight. Peter Welby examines its origins and ideology.

Peter Welby

05 Oct 2015

Backgrounder

What is Jabhat al-Nusra?

Jabhat al-Nusra is the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria and one of the country's most powerful jihadi groups, but little is known about them. Milo Comerford examines its shifting web of affiliations and fluid structure.

Milo Comerford

05 Oct 2015

Backgrounder

What is Hamas?

Hamas continues to be a destabilising force in the Israel-Palestine peace process. Mubaraz Ahmed looks at its origins, its ideology, and how it continues to operate in Gaza and further afield.

Mubaraz Ahmed

05 Oct 2015

Backgrounder

What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

The rise and fall of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has seen it go from the presidential palace to having most of its leadership in prison. Mubaraz Ahmed looks at the group’s origins, aims, and whether it will re-emerge.

Mubaraz Ahmed

08 Sep 2015

Backgrounder

Who are the Rohingya?

The plight of Rohingya Muslim migrants from Myanmar has gained worldwide attention as they seek refuge in neighbouring countries, but this is not a recent problem, writes Anthony Measures.

Anthony Measures

03 Jun 2015

Backgrounder

What is the Seleka?

The 2013 coup that sparked the current crisis in the CAR was carried out by a coalition of militias called the Séléka. Their origins and development are explored by Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

29 Jan 2015

Backgrounder

What is PEGIDA?

After an outpouring of solidarity for all religions following a spate of attacks in Europe, 'anti-Islamisation' rallies by PEGIDA have grown. Anthony Measures looks at the background, appeal and spread of this new group.

Anthony Measures

14 Jan 2015

Backgrounder

Five Questions on...Data and Religious Conflict

To mark the launch of the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics' data section we talk to Brian J. Grim, an expert on religious freedom and international religious demography, about how data can allow us to improve policy and our understanding of religion's role in conflict situations.

Brian J. Grim

07 Nov 2014

Backgrounder

Five Questions on...Responses to ISIS

In an interview with the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics, leading Islamic scholar Sheikh Dr. Usama Hasan, Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies at Quilliam, explains why the oppression and tyranny of ISIS, far from being supported by scripture, is in stark opposition to the central Quranic ideas of mercy, justice and compassion.

Usama Hasan

06 Nov 2014

Backgrounder

What is the Pakistani Taliban?

A look at the origins and ideology of the militant group, whose stated objectives include the establishment of spheres of Sharia rule and resistance to the Pakistani state.

Milo Comerford

04 Nov 2014

Backgrounder

Five Questions on...Religion and Conflict in Yemen

As the Shia Houthi movement consolidates recent gains in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, Thanos Petouris of the School of Oriental and African Studies explains the broader context by answering five questions on religion and conflict in Yemen.

Thanos Petouris

01 Oct 2014

Backgrounder

What is Hizbullah? International Influence

Hizbullah holds a dominant position in Lebanese politics, but is also an international terrorist organisation responsible for spectacular violence. In Part II of a backgrounder on the group, Matt Levitt examines their operations in Syria and further afield.

Matthew Levitt

19 Aug 2014

Backgrounder

What is Hizbullah? Domestic Aspects

Hizbullah holds a dominant position in Lebanese politics, but is also an international terrorist organisation responsible for spectacular violence. In Part I of a backgrounder on the group, Matt Levitt explains their ideology, and how they grew to hold the position they do today.

Matthew Levitt

18 Aug 2014

Backgrounder

Must Reads on Religious Conflict in Nigeria

Emily Mellgard provides an overview of the background reading essential to an understanding of religious conflict in Nigeria.

Emily Mellgard

14 Aug 2014

Backgrounder

Five Questions on...Religion in Nigeria

Boko Haram continues to dominate the headlines on Nigeria, but no extremist group exists in a vacuum. John Campbell explains the religious context of the country.

John Campbell

08 Jul 2014

Backgrounder

Five Questions on...Boko Haram

As Boko Haram continues to operate with near impunity in Northern Nigeria and neighbouring states, Jacob Zenn answers five questions on who they are.

Jacob Zenn

24 Jun 2014

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