Fatwa on the Permissibility of Killing an Ambassador

I have to admit that it makes me feel rather uneasy choosing a title like this and writing a post about last week’s death of four staff members of the American embassy in Libya, including the ambassador himself, Christopher Stevens. Yesterday, however, a fatwa was published on the permissibility of killing ambassadors that I think Jihadica readers should know about. Three questions The fatwa, published by Abu l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, is in response to three different questions by three different people. The first question deals with the permissibility of killing an ambassador who doesn’t approve of insults against Islam and has a positive attitude towards Muslims. For those readers thinking this is a direct reference to ambassador Stevens, who was apparently known for his affection for the Libyan people, think again. The person asking the question adds that he’s not talking about the American ambassador since “targeting American embassies in all

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Fatwa calling for the death of the director, producer, and actors involved in making the film “Innocence of Muslims”

Yesterday, Ahmad ‘Ashush published a fatwa on the jihadist forums where he “decrees and calls on all Muslim youth in America and in Europa to fulfill this inescapable obligation. Namely, to kill the director, producer and the actors and anyone who helped to promote this film.” The fatwa was published by the relatively new al-Bayan media group that has established itself in the jihadist forums since the turmoil in Egypt. The media group acts in parallel to the al-Faruq media battalion, which has in the meantime published several videos showing Egyptian cleric Ahmad ‘Ashush with other renowned jihadist scholars in Tahrir, such as Muhammad al-Zawahiri or Marjan Salim (videos here and here). Ahmad ‘Ashush first surfaced in the al-Shumukh forum a while ago with a lengthy interview talking about the Hizb al-Nur (here) and established himself as an Islamic authority clearly adhering to the “jihadist torrent” while his – as

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US Embassy Protests

Update 9/21/2012: Here’s a Foreign Affairs essay I wrote about the roll of Salafis in the riots. Below are some thoughts I shared with a friend this morning who asked about the protests. I had to edit one pretty heavily in light of the events of the past few hours, and I’m sure I’ll have to revise them again in the coming weeks given how confusing everything is right now. If I’ve made any egregious errors in well-established facts, please let me know here or on twitter and I’ll update it. 1.     Who’s behind the film? A Coptic Christian living in California who claimed to be an Israeli-American. Other Coptic Christians living in the US promoted the film on their Arabic websites and also enlisted the support of Terry Jones (ie Qur’an burner). 2.     How did the film get to the Arab world? An Egyptian channel supervised by a Salafi cleric (Muhammad al-Zughbi) was the

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What’s in a Name? A Jihadi Labels Himself

As all academics know, defining the subject you study is very important and often complicated. This is obviously no different in the study of jihadis, where terms such as “radical Muslims”, “Muslim extremists”, “Jihadi-Salafis”, “takfiris” and even “Islamo-fascists” are often used to describe Muslims engaging in violence against others. Such terms are based on criteria set by outsiders, sometimes resulting in terms that are crude, imprecise and/or used to describe people who strongly differ from one another. Others take the approach of simply listening to what the people that one’s research focuses on – in this case jihadis – call themselves. This often yields widely divergent and biased answers that are frequently ill-suited to be used by academics. Terms such as “Muslims”, “mujahidun” and “ahl al-Sunna wa-l-jama’a“, for example, are rather general and, more importantly, are also claimed by Muslims who have nothing to do with al-Qa’ida whatsoever. Defining one’s

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