World Cup Fatwa

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is by Mathilde Aarseth, a summer intern at FFI. In case you hadn’t noticed, the soccer World Cup is on. To mark the occasion Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad prominently displays a fatwa tackling the issue of the legality of watching the World Cup. Like every religious edict, it is introduced by a question, in this case from a presumed jihadi football fan. The tormented soul is not worried about the game in itself, but rather its sinful surroundings. Is it really OK for a good Muslim to watch lightly dressed women cheering from the grandstands while music is being played over the loudspeakers? No is the answer of Sharia council member Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi. Since the football players are paid according to the number of goals they score, this amounts to a form of gambling, which is forbidden in Islam: “The Prophet (may God bless him

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New AQIM Reports

Two of the world’s foremost experts on al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb have published new reports on the group. Al-Hayat journalist Camille Tawil has written a report for Jamestown, and Sciences-Po professor (and Jihadica alumnus) Jean-Pierre Filiu has written another report for Carnegie. Needless to say they are both excellent and worth anyone’s time.

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What’s the Minbar doing in Moscow? (part 2)

In part 1 of this short series of posts, we saw that the Minbar al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad website published a communique by the leader of the Islamic Emirate in the Caucasus, Dokku ‘Umarov, claiming responsibility for the attacks in Moscow on 29 March 2010. This was slightly odd since the Minbar mostly publishes books, articles and fatwas, not claims of responsibility for attacks committed anywhere. Although a quick glance at the website may give the impression that this is indeed an exception, a more detailed look reveals that it is part of a broader trend. It appears that the Minbar has been involved in the conflict between Russia and the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus for some time. For instance, the Jordanian owner of the website, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, has written an epistle in support of the mujahidin in the Caucasus. In it, al-Maqdisi praises the supposed ideological purity, leadership and

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