This description of Kharijite is considered to be a politically-motivated, negative labeling of the group aimed at achieving several objectives: first, distancing Salafism from IS, and second, pushing back against the broad acclaim received by the group for promoting global jihad. Salafist jihadist movements were surprised by IS' great growth in such a short time. Hundreds of militants came to Syria and Iraq from across the globe, leaving other Salafist organizations behind to join IS. IS took over vast lands and came to control significant financial resources. It posed a direct threat to Saudi Arabia, as the country is considered the top sponsor for the international Salafist movement.
It has become an urgent need for the Saudi regime to dissociate itself from the acts and language of extremist Salafist movements. Salafist movements opposing IS use the term “modern-age Kharijites” in two ways: Official Saudi discourse labels all the Salafist jihadist movements that oppose it Kharijites, including al-Qaeda and IS; and al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups use this term to tarnish the name of IS among Salafist jihadists.
The truth is, IS is nothing but the complete realization of Salafist jihad, which was born and raised under the auspices of Saudi Arabia decades ago, notably during Afghanistan’s wars against the Soviet Union from 1979 to 1989. IS also embodies the Islamic world's two major extremist movements: the Salafist Saudi movement and the International Brotherhood movement. Salafist Wahhabi extremism merged with the Brotherhood’s political Islam and created the phenomenon of al-Qaeda, IS and other similar groups.
(Terrorism image via Shutterstock)