Books and Documents

Radical Islamism and Jihad

Understanding 'Jihad':  Prophet Mohammed Never Actually Uses the Word Jihad to Talk Of Military Action Led By Muslims
Roland Laffitte

A close and impartial reading shows that even when it is used in the context of war, which is often the case in the Medina era; it means nothing other than "virtuous conduct", precisely of the kind Ibn Khaldun speaks of as presiding over the type of war taking the same name.  The Prophet Mohammed never actually uses the word jihad to talk of military action led by Muslims, but instead uses "Ghazwa", meaning "expedition or campaign", and the conquests led for a good century after him are unanimously named "Maghazi", another word with the same root and the same meaning....


Jihad is the form of war that Muslims use to strive or struggle against bad habits. However, the Quran, just as the Bible, contains the clause “thou shall not kill” and expressly forbids the spilling of innocent blood. Terrorists commit acts of terror in the name of Jihad (Holy War) but this is contrary to the teachings of the Quran....


Islamic Extremism Advances In Indonesia, the World’s Largest Muslim Nation
Benedict Rogers

Indonesia’s pluralism has come under increasing threat. Local authorities, under pressure from Islamic extremists, forced hundreds of churches to close. While there have been few closures since Mr. Widodo took office, the Rev. Gomar Gultom, general secretary of Indonesia’s Communion of Churches, says “there has been no justice for old cases.” Authorities continue to misuse blasphemy laws....

'Groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, for example - who traditionally rally against what they perceive to be western human rights - increasingly and cynically use human rights to promote Islamist ideology,' Ms Khan said. 'They and their sympathisers weaponise Islamophobia in an attempt to shut down legitimate debate about Islamic extremism while undermining the general struggle against anti-Muslim hatred.'...


Defeating Islamism and Jihadism: Evolve a New Theology of Peace, Pluralism and Gender justice, Sultan Shahin asks Muslim States at UNHRC in Geneva
Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

A War on Terror has been raging for 17 years now but we are no closer to defeating Islamist terror. Jihadism continues to attract Muslim youth. This is because the world has not paid enough attention to the ideology of Islamism and Jihadism.

Mainstream Muslims have considered Islam a spiritual path to salvation, one of the many. Islam aims at reforming society for a peaceful, harmonious, pluralist existence. However, due to certain historical factors, the theology and jurisprudence of Islam that evolved in the 8th and 9th centuries (CE), present Islam as a political, totalitarian ideology of supremacism, xenophobia, intolerance and gender discrimination. It is this theology of violence, exclusivism and world-domination that is taught in madrasas and sustains Islamism. But despite the Islamist violence against peaceful Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the community is still not focussed on the need for evolving a counternarrative of Islam.

 It is imperative that Muslim countries that have signed the UN Charter look into the issue urgently and work towards developing a new theology of peace, pluralism and gender justice. While several countries like Morocco and now Saudi Arabia appear to be moving in this direction, the one country that has made a solid contribution is Turkey. In a decade-long exercise 100 Turkish scholars have managed to limit the number of authentic ahadith to just 1600, out of over 10,000, and provide each hadith with context and suitable interpretation. This book of authentic Hadith has been provided to all mosques in Turkey but I hope it is made available to the global Muslim community in their own languages as soon as possible.

Allama Iqbal, a poet-philosopher of the South Asian sub-continent had called for the reconstruction of religious thought in Islam almost a hundred years ago. Let us at least start working on it now....

The Sudden Rise of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Is Bound To Be As Volatile As Taliban or Daesh in Pakistan
Wajahat Masood

While uncomfortable with the Taliban militancy, the military establishment is still unwilling to eschew its religious optics. Tehreek-e-Labbaik is no flash in the pan. The Barelvi School has long felt left out of the power game and is raring to go for its pound of flesh. The catch here is that the Barelvi School may not harbour international ambitions; it is more amorphous and fissiparous at home....


Al Qaeda Continues To Have A Significant Presence In Afghanistan And Pakistan
Thomas Joscelyn

Indeed, al Qaeda is waging jihad in far more countries today than it was on 9/11, with loyalists fighting everywhere from West Africa, through North and East Africa, into the heart of the Middle East and into South Asia. Some labour to disconnect the dots on al Qaeda’s global network, so let us reconnect them. Al Qaeda honours Osama bin Laden as the “reviving imam”— an honorific that is intended to emphasize his revolutionary role in spreading the jihadist ideology. ...


Terrorism is based on Perverse and Selective Interpretation of Islam
Ifty Rafiq

According to a survey commissioned by Islamic Relief in 2015, 12% of people associated terrorism with the word “Muslim”. In the wake of attacks since then, it would hardly be surprising if that figure has grown. And yet, the very term “Islamic terror” is an oxymoron. “Terrorism” is a relative neologism; “Islam”, a word incidentally derived from the Arabic for “peace” and “submission to God”, is very clear about the sanctity of life.


Al-Qaida Conducted the Most Destructive Terrorist Attack in History and Is Still Going Strong, Why?
Tricia Bacon

The group lost its safe haven in Afghanistan, including its extensive training infrastructure there. Its surviving members were on the run or in hiding. Though it took nearly 10 years, the U. S. succeeded in killing al-Qaida’s founding leader, Osama bin Laden. Since 2014, al-Qaida has been overshadowed by its former ally al-Qaida in Iraq, now calling itself the Islamic State. In other words, al-Qaida should not have survived the 17 years since 9/11...


Holy War on Atheism in Afghanistan That Formed the Basis of the Al Qaeda Organisation
Nabal Khammash

In the early stage, the Arab Afghan saw that it was necessary for them to be independent from the Afghan fighting factions and formations, and decided to have their own camps. Taking into consideration that bin Laden was the most prominent jihadist leader, he was able to establish six camps that attracted those willing to join from among the young Arab men. The group was called Al Qaeda, and experts in Islamic movement see that the name appeared for the first time between August 1988 and the end of 1989. Eventually, the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, and all the involved groups dispersed and ceased the jihadist operations against atheism....


September 11, 2001: Saudi Arabia's Use of Political Islam Has Caused the Spread of the Beast of Terrorism

Sadly enough, 15 of the 18 hijackers, who took part in the attacks, were Saudis, and the majority of them either grew up in government-supported religious camps in Saudi Arabia, or were Imams (clerics) there. Other nationalities that participated in the attacks include the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. As all of us already know, amongst all the Arab countries the mental image of Saudi Arabia is that of the one and only country which is deeply and heavily associated with Islam, given the fact that the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah are located there. The indication here is not that Islam as a religion promotes such barbaric acts. Rather, it is the Saudi government-based version of Islam that arguably encourages so....


Al-Qaeda, Now in Daesh’s Shadow, Was the Pioneer of Global Extremism
Rahimullah Yusufzai

As Al-Qaeda receded and Daesh gained power, most militant groups across the Muslim world withdrew allegiance from the former and pledged loyalty to the latter. Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Shabab in Somalia, the Sinai province affiliate in Egypt and other factions in Yemen and Libya, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan all declared allegiance to Daesh. Al-Qaeda’s losses resulted in large gains for Daesh.....


Barelvi Radicalism Looks to Transcend Its Old Image of Being Apolitical, ‘Peace-Loving Spiritualists’
Nadeem F. Paracha

The Sunni Barelvi sub-sect, that a majority of Pakistanis belong to, did not have any historical tradition related to armed jihad. Therefore, the state of Pakistan, with help from the US and Saudi Arabia, forked out millions of dollars to pull in radical Deobandi elements from the fringes and into the mainstream. The Sunni Barelvi sub-sect narrative has been moulded by changing state narratives but has also met resistance...

Tablighi Jamaat, Not Limited to the Deobandi Community, is a Gateway to Terrorism
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

The Tablighi Jamaat canon is bare-boned. Apart from the Qu’ran, the only literature Tablighis are required to read are the Tablighi Nisab, seven essays penned by a companion of Ilyas in the 1920s. Tablighi Jamaat is not a monolith: one subsection believes they should pursue jihad through conscience [Jihad Bin Nafs] while a more radical wing advocates jihad through the sword [Jihad Bin Saif]. But, in practice, all Tablighis preach a creed that is hardly distinguishable from the radical Wahhabi-Salafi jihadist ideology that so many terrorists share....

Jalaluddin Haqqani Is Dead But the Infrastructure That He Put In Place Is Very Much Alive
Kriti Shah

The group’s legacy is one of launching large-scale, high-target attacks in Kabul and elsewhere, using suicide bombers, vehicles and large improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The attacks on the Serena Hotel in 2008, Intercontinental Hotel and US Embassy in 2011, have all been attributed to the work of the Haqqani Network. Jalaluddin’s insistence on publicising the attacks was to generate media exposure that casts doubt on the ability of Western powers to provide stability and security....


Who Are These Mysterious Terrorists And What Are The Reasons For Their Insurgency In Mozambique?
Matteo Pugliese

Who are these mysterious terrorists and what are the reasons for their insurgency? The media used several names when referring to them: Al-Sunna wa Jama’ah, Swahili Sunna, Al Shabab or Ansar al-Sunna. The birth of this organization is similar to Boko Haram in Nigeria: a religious sect that turned into a terror and guerrilla network. According to some sources, the core group of Al-Sunna wa Jama’ah dates back to 2014, when a group of young Salafists in the town of Mocimboa da Praia were radicalized under the influence of foreign preachers from Tanzania, Somalia and Sudan....


Mali’s Elections: Islamist Militants Think On a Longer Timeline

In the short term, Islamist militants appeared satisfied with an outcome where they showcased their power in Mopti, while biding their time in the north. Going forward, Mali’s elections have affirmed a grim status quo — and now the real struggle to determine who controls Mali will resume....


ISIS Needed Mass Media To Tell A Story The Same Way Mass Media Needed ISIS’s Technologically Savvy Outreach To Sell Their Story To Us
Kabir Taneja

The fame of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), which has gained worldwide attention as the most brutal Islamist terror group of our times, would not have been possible without the internet and the reach of broadband connectivity, even in bombed out cities and towns. The fact that ISIS managed to take over the front pages of major global news outlets was by design....


The horrors of Jihadism, committed by those who claim to speak for my faith, is a complete rejection of Islam
Qanta Ahmed

But it’s not just the terrorists who twist and pervert Islam: it’s also those who commandeer the faith to demand the subjugation of women. In fact, Islam is quite clear on what it expects of women: that we observe the same duties of belief, prayer and charity as men, and enjoy the same legal rights — autonomy in marriage and divorce, holding wealth, inheritance and property, and so many others. This is the Islam I love and the Islam which fully liberates my life today. It is also the Islam which the cruel and the cowardly Islamist jihadists seek to obscure from view. In the name of God, don’t let them....

Jamaat-e-Islami, Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan: The New Islamists
Qamar Cheema

A state can take steps to appease the latter category, but it must plan how. There are international examples in Ireland, Colombia and South Africa where those who challenged the state’s writ were eventually embraced by it. Now the international community is asking the Taliban to engage with the Afghan state and leave the course of confrontation. We already have one example. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, once known as the butcher of Kabul, is now a mainstream politician in Afghanistan....


Defeat We Must Salafist-Jihadist Ideology Which Motivates and Inspires the Terrorist, to Conquer Militancy
Danny W. Davis

The motivation behind those heinous acts, like others committed around the world, is the Salafist-jihadist ideology. Reports claim that Islamic State has been militarily defeated, but this ideology remains viable and intact in affiliated groups and true believers scattered around the world. Attacks carried out by individuals with this worldview could help IS survive during lean times....


The Mufti of Terrorism, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Prohibits To People What God Almighty Has Permitted
Jameel al-Thiyabi

A characteristic of the Muslim Brotherhood’s guides and preachers is allowing themselves what’s prohibited – they prohibit to people what God Almighty has permitted. There is no need to say that Qaradawi’s tweet indicates a deviation from religious thought. He has twisted religious texts to satisfy his Hamad masters. In the end, however, his talk is nothing more than utter nonsense...


Children ‘Procured’ By the ISIS Are Indoctrinated Through Various Methods
Rafia Zakaria

They were running from the IS, which was bent on slaughtering them. In the eyes of the IS, this population of people, who follow an ancient religion connected to Zoroastrianism, were ‘infidels’. They could be slaughtered, their women and children taken as the spoils of war. That is indeed what happened that August; nearly all the Yazidi men were slaughtered, and the women and children were taken captive. Many of the women were taken as slaves, sold and exchanged between IS fighters...


It would be difficult to achieve perfect coordination of clerics and there is no assumption about a unified body of imams. However, it remains in the interest of everyone that attempts are made to address the ideological threat posed by Boko Haram. In a struggle where winning hearts and minds is paramount in addressing root causes, a deeper integration of actors with the appropriate skill set is crucial and has implications for policymaking...


The War Crimes (WC) Trials, which began on March 25, 2010, have thus far indicted 124 leaders, including 50 from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI); 27 from the Muslim League (ML); 11 from Nezam-e-Islami (NeI); five from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP); two each from the Jatiya Party (JP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); 26 former Razakars (a prominent pro-Pakistan militia); and one former Al-Badr member....

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  • Thank you Sultan Shahin, thank you.
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