There is a very significant development taking place in the so-called war of ideas. Senior leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), who recently laid down their arms, are publishing a Dr. Fadl-like treatise revising their previous understanding of jihad. The text, entitled “the Book of Correctional Studies” (kitab al-dirasat al-tashihiyya), is being published as a nine-part series on the website www.oealibya.com. You can find the first three chapters here, here and here. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to look at it in detail, but Jarret Brachman will be covering the story. He already has some interesting background info and analysis.
The text in itself is probably not a landmark work of Islamic jurisprudence, but it is important because it adds to what may now be called a corpus of treatises by former militants challenging al-Qaida on theological grounds. The trend started with al-Gamaa al-Islamiya in Egypt, continued with Dr Fadl and now it’s the LIFG’s turn. Credible MB figures like Yusuf al-Qaradawi have also chipped in. Of course, no one text is going to change the world, but put together, these treatises will constrain al-Qaida’s recruitment pool somewhat. The Libyan text has yet to make a big splash on the forums, though it is talked about. It will be very interesting to see if and how the AQ leadership will respond to the latest salvo.