Uighur Jihadism

Uighur jihadism is one of the most understudied sub-topics in our field, so I was thrilled to read this report on the Islamic Party of Turkestan by the independent consultant Kirk Sowell. Don’t be fooled by the lack of an institutional stamp; this is a really strong piece of research – easily the best study I have seen on the topic. The report was published before the seventh issue of Turkistan al-Islamiyya, but you can download the latest issue from one of these links.

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The Jihadis’ Path to Self-Destruction

Nelly Lahoud’s much-awaited new book, the Jihadis’ Path to Self-Destruction, is out. Lahoud, who recently joined West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center as an associate professor, is one of the finest scholars of jihadi ideology around. Her book is a brilliant dissection of contemporary jihadi discourse with an original twist, namely an in-depth comparison of modern jihadism with early Kharijism. She argues convincingly that the takfiri reflexes of contemporary militants will lead to their internal fragmentation and political marginalisation, just as it did with the Kharijites. A very impressive work.

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The Case for Chasing al-Awlaqi

I don’t often disagree with my friend and former colleague Greg Johnsen, but I think al-Awlaqi is more important than he suggests. In a new piece on ForeignPolicy.com, I explain why.

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A Crash Course in Jihadi Theory (Part 3)

In the first part of this series on a book written by the Shari’a Council of the Jama’at al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad in Gaza, we saw that its authors were highly critical of the rulers of the Muslim world and employed their Islamist terminology to accuse these rulers of kufr (unbelief), the details of which are dealt with in the second part of this series. Knowing this, you might expect the Council’s treatment of excommunication (takfir) to deal entirely with the legitimacy of excommunicating Muslim rulers and why they may be called “infidels” and expelled from Islam. Well, this is actually not the case. Apparently, the authors believed they had made a strong enough case against Muslim rulers in the previous chapters because chapter 4 is virtually entirely dedicated to giving a theoretical description of what takfir is, what its conditions and obstacles are and when it may or may not be

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Stout on Strategic Study

I highly recommend Mark Stout’s latest analysis of a new jihadi strategic study entitled “The Vision of the Jihaadi Movement”.

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