Hijrah is an Islamic term meaning “migration.” The term historically refers to the journey undertaken by the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. The term has also been used to refer to Muslims who fled Christian lands in early Islamic history, as well as members of the extremist Kharijite sect, who broke off from Sunni Muslims in the 7th century to engage in terror campaign targeting Islamic governments in the Middle East and North Africa.
In a modern, extremist context, the term “hijrah” has been used to describe a foreign fighter’s journey from his/her country of origin to terrorist-held territories abroad. An individual who makes so-called hijrah to terrorist-held territories abroad may refer to him/herself as a muhajir or muhjirah, respectively. CEP has documented cases in which terrorist recruiters and aspiring foreign fighters exchange advice and directions through social media on how to “make hijrah” and join ISIS and al-Qaeda operations abroad.