Jihadis Debate Egypt (3)

Two other pieces may deserve some attention. Both of them have been flagged as very important on Shumukh. Yesterday, “the Mas’adat al-Mujahidin in Palestine”, a jihadi media outlet claiming to speak on behalf of Palestinian jihadis, issued a statement on Shumukh in support of “the Brothers of Monotheism in Egypt”. It calls upon them to remain steadfast, maintain “the frontlines in all streets of Egypt”, and stresses that participation in this Uprising is a fard ‘ayn, an obligatory individual Islamic duty upon every able man. The communiqué also contains the obligatory listing of Mubarak’s evildoing. What I find most interesting in the communiqué is the emphasis on the post-revolutionary phase and the character of the new regime. This is different from Abu Mundhir al-Shanqiti’s fatwa (see my earlier post) and Abu Sa’d al-Amili’s epistle (see below). The Mas’adat al-Mujahidin communiqué stresses the need for “preserving the fruits of your jihad”, not

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Jihadis Debate Egypt (2)

Al-Qaida’s senior leadership (AQSL) is full of Egyptians, but they have yet to produce an official communiqué about events in their home country. Yesterday, a short message was published by a leading Egyptian jihadi figure. It is not from AQSL, however, but from someone we haven’t heard from for many years. The London-based Al Maqreze Center run by Hani al-Sibai has relayed a message from Thirwat Salah Shahata, a veteran of the old Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Jama’at al-Jihad bi Misr). Now nearly fifty one years old, he has been absent from the spotlight for many years. In 2005, he was reported to be under some sort of house arrest in Iran, and Al-Sharq al-Awsat’s sources claim the message was sent from Tehran. Al Maqreze, however, suggests he is now hiding in “Khurasan” (i.e. the Northern Af-Pak region). In his communiqué, Shahata speaks on behalf of the Jihad Group (EIJ), not al-Qaida.

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Jihadis Debate Egypt (1)

With Tunisia’s President Bin Ali tucked away in Jedda and the world’s attention fixated on the popular uprising in Egypt, al-Qaida may be about to lose one of its main ideological selling points: that only armed struggle can bring down the regimes in the region. Not surprisingly, the jihadi online community is captivated by the uprising, but many are also bewildered about what this means for their cause, and their leaders have been slow to respond. Jarret Brachman has a point when he taunts Zawahiri: “Your Silence is Deafening.” As of Thursday afternoon, the leading jihadi forum Shamikh only featured a handful of authoritative responses to the events in Egypt, from pro-jihadi pundits, a legal scholar and other participants. However, not a word from the leadership. The closest thing to an official response is AQIM’s statement on the events in Tunisia (available also in translation). Over the past few days, the most popular sub-forum on Shamikh,

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More Fitna in Cyberspace: Mihdar vs al-Maqdisi

Is another chapter in the history of cyber-jihadi infighting about to be written these days? The latest controversy is a series of attacks by the webforum Madad al-Suyuf on Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, perhaps the most influential salafi-jihadi clerics alive. That the cyber-Jihadis quarrel with one another should come as no surprise. Despite calls for unity and brotherly counseling, jihadi writers frequently fight it out in the open.  In fact, inter-jihadi quarrels seem to have become more common and less ‘brotherly’ in tone in recent years. As for al-Maqdisi himself, most of you will recall his open letter of advice to al-Zarqawi in mid-2005, which earned him a stern reply from his former disciple and many enemies among al-Zarqawi’s numerous buddies. More recently, people have suspected that al-Maqdisi is being pressured to follow in the footsteps Sayyid Imam Sharif and other revisionists. Will, Joas and others have already covered these accusations

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