Fizazi Joining Recantation Club?

Posted: 26th October 2009 by Thomas Hegghammer in Germany, Morocco, Retractions

Der Spiegel reports that the imprisoned Moroccan scholar Muhammad Fizazi has issued a letter to Muslims in Germany declaring Germany “not a battle zone”. The letter, which was allegedly issued on 21 July, has not yet been made public.

Without knowing the precise content, it is difficult to assess its importance. We don’t know whether he is discouraging operations in Germany only, in Europe more broadly, or renouncing violence altogether.

But Fizazi is one of the most influential ideologues in the European/North African jihadi sphere, so this could be quite significant.

Of course, all the caveats of recantations from prison apply. Moreover, as I have said before, no individual recantation is going to end jihadism, but a critical mass of such declarations will have an influence.

In any case, Berlin must be relieved. After the latest barrage of anti-German al-Qaida statements, here is finally a jihadi with nice things to say about Germany.

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