Jihadis Debate Egypt (3)

Posted: 7th February 2011 by Brynjar Lia in Egypt, Palestinian Territories, Uncategorized

Two other pieces may deserve some attention. Both of them have been flagged as very important on Shumukh.

Yesterday, “the Mas’adat al-Mujahidin in Palestine”, a jihadi media outlet claiming to speak on behalf of Palestinian jihadis, issued a statement on Shumukh in support of “the Brothers of Monotheism in Egypt”. It calls upon them to remain steadfast, maintain “the frontlines in all streets of Egypt”, and stresses that participation in this Uprising is a fard ‘ayn, an obligatory individual Islamic duty upon every able man. The communiqué also contains the obligatory listing of Mubarak’s evildoing.

What I find most interesting in the communiqué is the emphasis on the post-revolutionary phase and the character of the new regime. This is different from Abu Mundhir al-Shanqiti’s fatwa (see my earlier post) and Abu Sa’d al-Amili’s epistle (see below). The Mas’adat al-Mujahidin communiqué stresses the need for “preserving the fruits of your jihad”, not allowing the opportunists “to steal it”: “Any other rule but Islam will not protect you”. Furthermore, it states that “there is no excuse to delay the efforts to achieve this hope.” Failing to do so, it warns, the Egyptian brothers will face a new regime that “will be worse” and many times more corrupt than Mubarak’s. The international dimension of the post-revolutionary phase is not ignored: “you have not only broken your own shackles, but you will liberate the peoples of the other Arab countries from the tyrants of corruption and oppression. The hopes of the Islamic nations depend upon you.” The communiqué ends with a call to Egyptian clerics to forcefully declare their support for the Uprising and remove any doubt about its religious legitimacy.

As “abu hakam” was kind to point out Shaykh Abu Sa’d al-Amili has also commented on the Uprising in a recent epistle, which is among the most recommended propaganda pieces on Shumukh.  Shaykh al-Amili recommends a wait-and-see strategy for the mujahidin: “the people’s revolution is like a typhoon, which you cannot stop […] We have to wait until the typhoon ends its course and reaches its destination”.

A prolific “Internet Shaykh” who has gained very high standing on jihadi webforums over the past few years, Shaykh al-Amili has other interesting things to say as well. He talks about the importance of getting the priorities right and selecting the appropriate battlefields. The necessity of proselytizing  (da’wa) is highlighted: the latter is “the most important battle field and the basic vantage point for the operations of jihad.” A big part of this effort is to remove the mentality of fear. Clearly attempting to claim some credit for the uprising, Shaykh al-Amili argues that the jihadis have contributed to restoring self-confidence among Muslims. In fact, various jihadi struggles in different parts of the world “were the very spark” which ignited the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. What we are witnessing now, he claims, are “the fruits and blessings of the jihad, which al-Qaida and the other Mujahidin groups have conducted in every place, even though these peoples do not recognize this (my emphasis).” Shaykh al-Amili evidently suggests that the unconscious Arab masses have finally been awakened from their slumber by al-Qaida’s armed operations.

Well, I don’t think so. The current popular uprisings are just about the complete opposite of everything al-Qaida stands for: they are non-violent, mass-based, popular, all-inclusive, mostly secular, democratic, and perhaps most important: they work! I sense a difficult time ahead for al-Qaida.