The generational divide

This is the third Q&A of the interview series with Ahmed Al Hamdan (@a7taker), a Jihadi-Salafi analyst and author of “Methodological Difference Between ISIS and Al Qaida“. Al Hamdan was a former friend of Turki bin Ali, and a student of Shaykh Abu Muhammad Al Maqdisi under whom he studied and was given Ijazah, becoming one of his official students. Also, Shaykh Abu Qatada al Filistini wrote an introduction for his book when it was published in the Arabic language. The interview series contains contains five themes in total and will all be published on Jihadica.com. You can find the first Q&A here and the second here. Tore Hamming: One of the differences between IS and AQ is the generational divide; the veteran Jihadists in the camp of AQ and the younger generation being attracted by IS. Do you think this is still the case and, as IS is loosing

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Memo about Syria: Jihadis are people too

Perhaps the most important reason mentioned by a lot of people why the United States should not bomb targets in Syria is that the possible downfall of President Bashar al-Asad’s regime may lead to a situation in which jihadis come to power, who may be even worse than the country’s current leader. Such fears are certainly justified. Yet we should also be careful not to exaggerate the threat that these men supposedly represent.  In this post, I look at a specific series of fatwas from the Shari’a Council of the Minbar al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad that deals with the problems and questions that potential jihadis have (these, these, these, these and these), which shows that jihadis – their sometimes radical views notwithstanding – can be quite human too. Refusing parents Many of the questions that Abu l-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, the shaykh who has long been the sole scholar on the Shari’a Council, has

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Who let the Dog out? A note on the German side of “jihadism”

Recently two videos emerged on Twitter of Denis Cuspert aka Dego Dogg aka Abu Maleeq aka Abu Talha al-Almani who is allegedly shown in Syria as part of a group called Junud al-Sham. Both videos are “trailers” with the promise of full versions to be released soon. The first video, published on August 14th, is entitled “Abu Talha al-Almani Dokumentation Teaser”. The short clip was published by ShamCenter on YouTube and also disseminated via Twitter. It has been viewed about 180,000 times by August 25. As of August 28 it has over 190,000 views. It was also published with the Turkish title “Deso Dogg Suriye’de muhaliflerin safında Esed’e karşı savaşıyor” (“Deso Dogg fighting on the side of the opposition against al-Assad in Syria”). This had an additional 50,000 views as of August 25th and is up to over 90,000 views as of August 28. The second video only has about

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Shabab and al-Qaeda Infighting (or Game of Thrones, Somali Style)

The most high-profile foreign fighter in Shabab, Omar Hammami, published two documents online yesterday detailing splits among Shabab’s leaders. Clint Watts has the scoop. Last night, I helped Clint read through the longer of the two Arabic documents and here were some things that struck me: Global vs. Local: Hammami uses “Ansar” (“Helpers”) for Somali jihadis and “Muhajirun” (“Emigrants”) for foreign fighters, which hearkens back to the distinction between Ansar and Muhajirs in Medina. The Ansar are divided between those who support the global jihad of al-Qaeda and those with a more local focus. He portrays the Muhajirs in Somalia as uniformly “globalist.” Oath of Allegience: On the one hand, Hammami claims that Godane, the current leader of the Shabab and the architect of its merger with al-Qaeda, has a lofty view of al-Qaeda:  “[Godane] said that an oath of allegiance to al-Qaeda is tantamount to an oath of allegiance to the

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Al-Maqdisi and the Jordanian Jihadi-Salafi Movement

As most readers of Jihadica will know, the famous Jordanian radical scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi was arrested in September 2010 on suspicion of aiding terrorists and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in July 2011. Since then, however, we have rarely heard anything from the man often described as the most important radical Islamic scholar alive. As my current research focuses on quietist Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, I regularly read Jordanian newspapers, which not only give us some idea of what is happening with al-Maqdisi, but also report on the Jihadi-Salafi community that he has left behind. Hunger strike For those who know something about al-Maqdisi’s earlier stays in prison, it is clear that these periods have often been some of the most productive ones in his entire life. He once even referred to the period 1994-1999 as the “blessed days”, as they allowed him to write

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Article on Foreign Fighters

The latest issue of the journal International Security features an article by your truly on the Muslim foreign fighter phenomenon. It basically tries to explain why Muslims became so keen on fighting in each others’ wars after 1980 and not before. It’s also an attempt at establishing foreign fighters as an actor category distinct from international terrorists; the conflation of the two has been driving me crazy for years.   

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