At the risk of seeming omphaloskeptic, I will add a few more observations about jihadists citing western scholars, because this phenomenon taking larger proportions than I expected.
Since my last post on the subject, both the Militant Ideology Atlas and the RAND study mentioned by al-Maqdisi have been posted on al-Maqdisi’s own website, Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad (MTJ). Maqdisi’s readers can now enjoy the original version, the original executive summary as well as an Arabic summary of both reports. As many of you know, MTJ is the largest online library of jihadi literature, so this means that the CTC and RAND are now part of the official jihadi literary canon.
It also means we now know which RAND study al-Maqdisi was referring to in last week’s statement: Building Moderate Muslim Networks by Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Lowell Schwartz and Peter Sickle.
Since the last post I have also learned that Joas Wagemakers has been cited before; In fact, both Muhammad al-Mas’ari and Abu Humam al-Athari have mentioned him in the past. The latter notes on p. 94 of his book The Exalted Declaration that “A Christian from one of the European countries has written a PhD thesis on al-Maqdisi in which he speaks about our sheikh al-Maqdisi and the sayings of his opponents and supporters. Curiously, this Christian has read all the books of our sheikh al-Maqdisi and he has an article in which he responds to the claim that al-Maqdisi has revoked his positions.”
At FFI we have been watching all these references to colleagues in the field with a mixture of jealousy and relief. We seemed to have escaped the scrutiny of the jihadists. Or so we thought.
A few days ago a scanned PDF version of Brynjar Lia’s book Architect of Global Jihad turned up on the al-Faloja forum as well as on Archive.org . It soon also appeared on Thabaat where it was applauded as “objective” (hat tip: Adam R.)
But the icing on the cake was the appearance, on Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad, of an Arabic translation of my colleague Hanna Rogan’s FFI report on Jihadism Online. The translation is the work of the MTJ itself and is accompanied by an introduction to the report, to FFI and to Hanna’s bio. The fact that al-Maqdisi’s assistants took the time to translate Hanna’s 38-page report into Arabic is quite extraordinary. I have not seen this honour bestowed on any other recent academic publication.
What’s next, the Infidel Scholar Atlas?
Document (Arabic): 04-29-09-minbar-new-articles-inventory
Document (Arabic): 04-29-09-minbar-atlas-summary
Document (Arabic): 04-29-09-minbar-rand-summary
Document (Arabic): minbar-translation-of-hanna-rogan-ffi-report
Update (30 April): Jihadica’s reporting inspired a frontpage story in the New York Times today.