Abdallah Azzam (1945-1987) is known to have been the mentor of Usama Ben Laden (1957-2011) and the father of the so-called “Arab Afghans”, a small number of Arab Islamists, who left their home countries to join the nascent transnational jihad incubating in Afghanistan in the early eighties. Apart from this, little is known about the man and the jihadi doctrine he launched to encourage Muslims around the world to get involved in the Anti-Soviet crusade that took place from 1979 to 1989. This doctrine however is of capital importance to understand jihadism as it has evolved today.
Pakistan’s relationship with Islam is extremely intense. From all the Muslim majority countries of the world, it is the only one whose very existence is rooted in religion. Therefore, it is not surprising that, even after seventy years of lifetime, it still faces tremendous difficulties to domesticate Islam whose representatives’ claims on the State have never ceased growing since its foundation. The manipulation of religion for political purposes generates inevitably a cost, which precisely is what Pakistan is paying in its daily confrontations with Islamists demanding what they consider their legitimate right to power.