Sign of the Times

A cleric who was very popular among the 9/11 hijackers and jihadis in North Africa, Muhammad al-Fazazi, is now causing a stir with an article he published in Hespress. The following passage addressed to a secular critic is particularly aggravating his former fan club: I am now in the same trench with the king [of Morocco] fighting the enemies of God and the nation on all sides, including associates like yours who are homosexuals, eat during Ramadan, and advocate apostasy.  You pick a fight with the government and still do not understand that I accept the establishment of an Islamic party if it offers assurances. I may join the Justice and Development Party–the party you hate for no other reason than it is Islamic. Shmukh forum member abuhamza rightly observes that Fazazi previously considered parliamentary politics to be heresy. “His words now resemble the words of the secularists and the Brotherhood.” Fazazi’s

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Fizazi Letter Published

Der Spiegel has just published a full version of Fizazi’s letter, as well as a good article by Yasin Musharbash and Andreas Ulrich. Upon reading the letter it seems to me that Fizazi is speaking primarily about terrorism in Germany and by extension about terrorism in Europe. His statements do not amount to a renunciation of violence, but to a moderation of his previous views regarding where and against whom violence can be used. By saying that Germany is not a legitimate area of operation, he is implicitly rejecting al-Qaida’s global jihad doctrine. Unfortunately Fizazi does not elaborate on his views on violence elsewhere. I am speculating, but I suspect he still views attacks on Western targets in Afghanistan and Iraq as legitimate, not to mention the jihad in Palestine. It is not clear what he might think about attacks in the US or attacks on Arab regime targets. While

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Fizazi Joining Recantation Club?

Der Spiegel reports that the imprisoned Moroccan scholar Muhammad Fizazi has issued a letter to Muslims in Germany declaring Germany “not a battle zone”. The letter, which was allegedly issued on 21 July, has not yet been made public. Without knowing the precise content, it is difficult to assess its importance. We don’t know whether he is discouraging operations in Germany only, in Europe more broadly, or renouncing violence altogether. But Fizazi is one of the most influential ideologues in the European/North African jihadi sphere, so this could be quite significant. Of course, all the caveats of recantations from prison apply. Moreover, as I have said before, no individual recantation is going to end jihadism, but a critical mass of such declarations will have an influence. In any case, Berlin must be relieved. After the latest barrage of anti-German al-Qaida statements, here is finally a jihadi with nice things to

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Jihadi Media Pioneer Drowns, Friend Explains How They Met Online

The Sumud Squadron announced last week that one of its founding members, Abu al-Haytham al-Shamali, had drowned.  According to the statement, Abu al-Haytham had established a number of media brigades and squadrons, including the Ghuraba Brigade and the Sumud Squadron.  He was also known on the forums for his postings on security and propaganda.  The statement gives the following as his online aliases: مخابرات المجاهد on Ekhlaas, Hesbah, Shumukh, and others عيون المجاهد on Faloja أبو عاصم المغربي when meeting with hadith scholars عالي الهمة on the Alukah forum أبو الهيثم النقشبندي on the Ana Muslim forum al-monsif as a supervisor on the Shamal Room forum On Faloja, a member posted a letter from Faris al-Khafa’ (Knight of Secrecy), who claims to know Abu al-Haytham personally.  Faris says that he met Abu al-Haytham on the forums and did not realize initially that they were from the same country.  Abu al-Haytham

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