IS’s beheadings of Western hostages: Jihadi ideologues speak out

The recent beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and the British aid worker David Haines by the Islamic State (IS) have been the subject of much media attention. Some of this attention has focussed on the question of whether IS is actually “Islamic” or not. World leaders like the American President Barack Obama and the British Prime Minister David Cameron have weighed in on this question by stating, respectively, that “[IS] is not Islamic” and “they are not Muslims; they are monsters”. The shock of seeing one’s countrymen being beheaded, Obama and Cameron’s wish to distinguish between the Islamic State and Islam as a religion and the fact that it is Muslims themselves who are often the victims of IS’s policies make such statements seem obvious. Still, one may wonder whether the question “Is IS Islamic?” is really one that non-Muslim politicians such as Obama and Cameron

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Obama is more Dangerous than Bush

This is the title of the main story in the July issue of al-Sumud, the Arabic-language magazine of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The 56-page magazine has several articles devoted to Obama and the Cairo speech, and the front page features a particularly unflattering picture of the US president. But it is the lead article which I find the most interesting, because it confirms that jihadis feel threatened by Obama in their fight for Muslim hearts and minds. The two-page article (pp-18-19) is written by the Saudi sheikh Abd al-Aziz al-Julayyil and is actually taken from the latter’s website, which says the text was written on 17 May 2009. Al-Julayyil starts off by saying he was motivated to write this article after observing a lot of optimism among Muslims over the arrival of the new US administration. He says he realises  many will react to the headline, for how can

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