A Crash Course in Jihadi Theory (Part 2)

In the first part of this series on a book describing what every jihadi ought to know, we saw that the authors of the book, the Shari’a Council of the Jama’at al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad in Gaza, initially seemed to give a purely religious description of things but quickly moved on to the political relevance of what they were saying. In a response to this post, one reader stated that their words were “just a rehash of Qutb”. He has a good point. In Qutb’s famous Milestones (Ma’alim fi l-Tariq), the author does indeed point out that those who fail to rule according to the shari’a and use man-made laws instead are claiming God’s sovereignty (hakimiyya), thereby turning themselves into gods or idols (tawaghit), just like we saw in the previous post. The scholars of the Jama’at al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad go further, however, and show that they have much more detailed ideas than

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An Ex-Jihadi in the Arctic

I grew up in the far north of Norway, hundreds of kilometers above the Arctic Circle. As you might expect, my research interests and arctic origin do not intersect very often. Last time was back in 2004 when a plane on the way from my home town Narvik to Bodø was nearly brought down by an axe-swinging Algerian Islamist. Last Saturday, however, the local newspaper in the nearby city of Tromsø – where I have spent many a drunken night in my youth – broke a remarkable story (hat tip: Tore Bjørgo). It was about Andrew Ibrahim Wenham, a British-Australian convert to Islam who has been living in Tromsø since 2002. The 46-year old Wenham is a respected leader in the local Muslim community and the founding director of the local Alnor mosque.  He is married to a Norwegian convert from Tromsø and leads a quiet existence. However, as the newspaper Nordlys uncovered, Wenham has a somewhat murky past.

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Inspire 2

The second issue of the English-language jihadi magazine Inspire is out. Dina Temple-Raston, Jarret Brachman and Memri have already made some initial observations, but I’ll throw in my own for what they’re worth.  For a start, the second issue confirms that the magazine is produced out of Yemen by Samir Khan, the online propagandist who was based in the United States until October 2009. As with the first issue, the magazine contains a mix of original material and reprints of older texts by Bin Ladin, Abu Dujana al-Khurasani, Abu Mus’ab al-Suri and others. Most of the new stuff is ostensibly written by Samir Khan himself, but there are a couple of new pieces by al-Awlaki as well. There are also numerous quotes from Western media, including several about the first issue of Inspire.  Three things in the magazine struck me as noteworthy. First is the account by Samir Khan himself about the reasons and details of his move to

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Reflections on al-Maqdisi’s Arrest

Several days ago, it was reported that Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, the Jordanian radical Islamist ideologue and former mentor of Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, had been arrested again on 17 September. The news was quickly confirmed on his website and also picked up by Jordanian newspapers (see here, for example). It seems that the Jordanian Security Services had asked him to come to their offices, from which he apparently did not return. While this description of how it happened may well be correct (al-Maqdisi is said to have been summoned to their offices before without returning), the obvious question is why he was re-arrested. Millat Ibrahim Several newspaper articles mention that the Saudi authorities were angry about al-Maqdisi’s book Millat Ibrahim and that this somehow led to his arrest. Although this book was a clear indictment of Muslim governments for their perceived failure to apply Islamic law and Saudi Arabia is indeed

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