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Religion as Brand: ISIS and Al-Qaeda as Sub-brands of Islam

Razieh Mahdieh Najafabadi

Vol. 5, No. 1

Summer 2023

Pages: 121‒159

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2023.vol5.no1.07


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Sociology of Religion

Religion, Brand, Analogy, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Terrorism, Islam

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Rational Faith.png

Theorists emphasize the significance of the conceptualizing phenomena before any quantification in the scientific work process. The role of analogy among all human-beings’ cognitive tools in the process of problem solving and concept creation is undeniable according to experts. Accordingly, this paper defines the analogy of “religion as brand” as an analogical model to shed light on political and religious marketing aspects of two terrorist organizations and religious brands in the Middle East. The concept of “ISIS and Al-Qaeda are sub-brands of Islam” was extracted from this metaphorical structure. The paper illuminates different branding attributes of these two terrorist groups through reviewing approximately fifty first-hand and second-hand materials on the issue. This review reveals how Islam functions as a master-brand and nourishes these two brands ideologically. The analogy entails a variety of attributes among which five aspects of branding including communication, brand mythology, competition, attracting social and symbolic capital, and brand promise are discussed and religious associations which endorse these two groups’ political functions are examined.


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