Joas’ Oeuvre

Posted: 12th April 2012 by Will McCants in Uncategorized

Those of us who parse Islamist and Jihadi-Salafi texts “like Talmudic scholars poring over a manuscript” are familiar with Joas’ meticulous work on Maqdisi and others of his ilk. But since I’ve never seen Joas invited to give a single talk in this part of the world, I have the feeling that his work has not gotten the full airing it deserves outside the academy. So over Joas’ protests (sorry brah!), here’s a quick rundown of what he’s been up to since 2009:

So the next time someone in DC is organizing a conference on Jihadi ideology, spend a little coin and get the real deal. At the very least, we Rabbi-like parsers will finally be able to relieve our philological anxiety upon learning how to pronounce his first and last name.

  1. Hesperado says:

    An example of the subtle paradigm under which these Jihadicisits seem to be working:

    In his essay on Zarqawu, “A Portrait of the Terrorist as a Young Man,” Joas Wagemakers mentions two of Zarqawi’s ideological idols, al-Qayyim and Ibn Taymiyya and writes this:

    “Although Ibn al-Qayyim is generally a favourite among radical Muslims for his uncompromising and strict views on various issues – like his teacher Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) – the fact that he was persecuted and imprisoned because of his ideas may also have inspired al-Zarqawi.”

    The way Joas phrases this he makes it sound as though Taymiyya’s and Qayyim’s ideological rivals — scholars of the Mamluk state in Egypt and Syria at the time (early 14th century AD) — were not “radical extremists” and were persecuting Taymiyya and Qayyim for “radical extremism”. Joas gives no proof of this insinuation; it is subtly and subliminally indicated by the closely related assumptions that

    1) mainstream Islam cannot possibly be intrinsically extremist itself, and that

    2) any Muslims or Muslim group who persecute ostenible “extremists” (such as Taymiyya and Qayyim) must themselves, ipso facto by logical contrast, be NOT “extremists” — a logical conclusion that does not necessarily follow and for which proof would have to be adduced to be persuasive.

    Who is to say that Taymiyya and Qayyim’s Mamluk punishers were not themselves extremists? It’s not as if we do not see every day violent clashes among different Muslim extremists the world over. And who is to say that either the Mamluk scholars, or Taymiyya and Qayyim themselves, were not simply extrapolating normative mainstream baseline Islam?

    Has anyone at Jihadica actually laid out in thorough detail — with corroborating evidence from all the relevant texts in the Koran (sorry, refuse to spell it correctly), Sunna and Tafsirs — all the ways in which Islam differs from “extremist Islam”?

    If they haven’t yet done this, they are making rather sweeping assumptions as they continue assiduously their taxonomic project that ignores the Tree for the Forest.

    But I suspect that Joas and his colleagues and agreeing readers are so deeply inculcated with their paradigm — to wit, that mainstream baseline Islam is not extremist and that “extremisms” is rather, and only, a “twisting” or “hijacking” of it — they neither notice such insinuations when they read them nor when they themselves casually regurgitate them by dashing them off as parts of their analyses of the problem of “radical extremist Islamism” as opposed to the problem of Islam proper.

  2. Hesperado says:


    It is, in fact, a logical conclusion that is spasmodically generated when one assumes as a given the PC MC paradigm about Islam — that Islam itself is not extremist, and that anything we deem extremist is seen to be practiced by Muslims and defended by them as Islamic, it cannot be Islamic, but must be non-Islamic extremism. Thus we (i.e., the folks at Jihadica and by extension all PC MC Westerners) are telling the Muslims whom we label extremists what Islam is, and what the, by definition, un-Islamic extremism is which they are practicing. Indeed we are telling Muslims what Islam is, and isn’t. And, of course, under certain propagandistically opportune circumstances, many Muslims (including many Muslim “extremists”) are only too happy to let us continue this enterprise — as long as it leaves Islam qua Islam smelling like a rose.

  3. Jacobs says:

    Troll is as troll does