November 20, 2007


Al Qaeda Faction Alters Course (Emad Mekay, Nov 20, 2007, IPS)

The ideology al Qaeda rests on to justify its activities suffered a major blow this week.

The Al-Jihad Group, partly responsible for killing former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, and the nest for some of most aggressive smaller violent groups, has begun publishing a "review of its positions" in two Arabic language newspapers.

The leading al Qaeda faction -- once led by al Qaeda's number two man, Ayman al-Zawahri -- has altered its traditional course by publishing this series of critiques of the religious justifications long relied on in calling for followers to take up arms against ruling regimes and foreign powers.

In the new "document", al-Jihad Group's founder and leading ideologue, Sayed Imam, renounces violent activities and calls for ceasing all armed operations in Egypt and in other Arab or Muslim countries.

Imam -- al-Zawahri's teacher and long time friend -- is currently in custody at a high-security Egyptian prison.

Analysts here say that the Imam's initiative -- not directed at Egyptians, Arabs or even Muslims alone, but directed specifically at al Qaeda -- derives its strength from the weight of its author.

"This al-Jihad initiative is very important, it is directed mostly to the outside world and more explicitly to the leaders of al-Jihad Group and al Qaeda because the author of those reviews is Sayed Imamal-Sharief, the very same person whose former writings are the point of reference for the al-Jihad members," said Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamic groups at al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo. [...]

For decades, Imam's writings have also formed the backbone for the philosophical arguments touted by several other armed groups to validate their attacks.

But in the new review he now says his group "erred enormously from an Islamic point of view" by allowing "killing based on nationality, color of skin and hair or based on religious doctrine".

"Those are actually the methods of secular revolutionaries and not the methods of Islam. There's no such a thing as the goal justifies the means in Islam, even when the goals are noble are legitimate. Muslims worship God by using legitimate methods too," he wrote.

Imam contends that those who target innocent people are working outside the parameters of the Islamic Sharia, or law.

"They place their own desires and will before that of Allah's," he argues in this new milestone study.

Imam says the Islamic rules for war stipulate that if Muslims are not certain about the true nature and make-up of the enemy "then it's compulsory under the rules of Islam not to take up arms against them" for fear that innocent people might be included and harmed.

The review calls for an end to targeting of "all civilians", and "tourists of all races".

How much money is it that Democrats are claiming was too much to pay for this victory over evil?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2007 3:26 PM

Your title is just gratuitous.

Posted by: jgm at November 20, 2007 10:16 PM

How much money is it that Democrats are claiming was too much to pay for this victory over evil?

To the Dems, nothing and no one is more evil than Bush. Thus, any amount is too much for this victory over "lesser" evil.

Posted by: ic at November 21, 2007 1:44 AM