Books and Documents
Radical Islamism and Jihad

Is the Islamic State Really ‘Not Islamic’?
Jonah Goldberg

As for its not being Islamic, that’s at best unclear, if not just clearly wrong. And the fact that the majority of its victims are Muslim is irrelevant. Lenin and Stalin killed thousands of Communists and socialists; that doesn’t mean Lenin and Stalin weren’t Communists and socialists. If such terrorists who kill Muslims aren’t Muslims, why do we give them Qurans when we imprison them?.....

ISIS Acts Out Of Islamic Beliefs
Farzana Hassan

That’s all there is to it, and the sooner Muslims realize the origin of the ideology, its moral bankruptcy and its potential for devastation, the better it will be for them and the rest of the world.. ….

Gauging those characteristics without exposing the individuals concerned to operational information will be very difficult. The Islamic State group is unlikely to take a risk in most cases and will probably only attempt to release a few trusted individuals for uncomplicated suicide missions. The challenges of making and deploying suitable bombs without detection back in their home countries will probably be beyond most of these few. So, while the threat is real and must be taken seriously it must also be seen in context; one that is not as numerically great as the assessments of officials and experts have so far indicated……


‘Islamic State’ Is an Ephemeral Phenomenon, Before It Is Consolidated, It Will Be Eliminated
Farooq Sulehria

Daash, or Isis, and the ‘caliphate’ it has founded very much resemble Tashbash’s character. Mullahs have been telling us: a caliphate is the solution to all our ills. Ironically, in the Middle East what unites Washington and Moscow or Iran and Saudi Arabia is a pathological opposition to the ‘Islamic State’. The absurdity of puritan utopia is evident from the fact that every time a Tashbash of an ‘Islamic State’ arrives on the scene, fellow Muslims want to lynch it in horror. In my view, the ‘Islamic State’ is an ephemeral phenomenon. Before it is consolidated, it will be eliminated……


The Impossible War: ISIS Cannot Be Beaten As Long As There Is Civil War in Syria
Patrick Cockburn

The five or six million Sunni Arabs who live in areas controlled by Isis in Iraq and Syria may not be happy with the brutality, bigotry and violence of their new rulers. But they are even more frightened of the prospect of the soldiers and militiamen of the Baghdad or Damascus governments recapturing and wreaking vengeance in Sunni cities, town and villages. The Sunni communities in both countries have little choice but to stick with Isis as their defenders….


…the major issue remains that there is no national consensus among Nigerians on what Boko Haram is, what it stands for, what threat it poses to Nigeria and how it can be obtained. An insurgency with social and ideological roots has been thoroughly politicised by the political elite who accuse each other falsely as “sponsors” of the insurgency. These accusations and counter-accusations dominate public discourse and the media, and have obscured the real situation….


The Children with AK-47s Who Defied IS
Gabriel Gatehouse

Mother and son wept, as fear and uncertainty dissolved into tears of relief. Both were healthy and well. Ali bent down and kissed his mother's feet. The house soon filled up with relatives and neighbours. Two young boys were pushed forward through the crowd. Abdallah and Abdelhadi, aged 10 and 12, stumbled forward. Each was clutching a Kalashnikov rifle. "My nephews - these are the heroes of the siege…

Romeos of Terror
Sangram Parhi

After the Arab Spring, hailed so naively by the West as a reawakening of the Middle East’s soul, collapsed into insurgency and jihad, young men and women are flocking from all over the world to join Islamist fundamentalist guerrillas fighting in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Palestine. Many of them are dirt poor, uneducated with little employment prospects or disillusioned with their irrelevance in society. Spurred on by radical preachers financed with mainly Saudi and Qatari money, they are part of a growing legion that hates anything that goes against their twisted version of religion…..


A Jihadi Battle of Brands: For al-Qaeda, as for Any Fundamentalist Religious Movement, India’s Diversity Will Always Represent a Bitter Pill to Swallow
Bernard Haykel

Avoiding such topics is deliberate, not least because the historically dominant form of Islam in India, which is strongly inflected by Sufism and somewhat syncretistic, is inimical to al-Qaeda’s ideology and teachings. Even the Salafis in India, the otherwise named Ahl-e Hadees, among whom I have done extensive fieldwork research in such places as Batla House and in Old Delhi, are committed to an Indian nationalistic agenda, and readily participate in electoral politics. Indian Islam, in other words, does not fit the rigid categories that al-Qaeda would like to impose on the wider world of Muslim belief and practice. Hence, it is better for al-Qaeda not to delve into such matters for fear of losing further credibility and audience share. It is challenging enough to have to contend with the threat that ISIS poses, and it would be suicidal to have to argue also with the Barelvis, the Deobandis, the traditional Hanafis, the Ahl-e Hadees and the Sufis…..

What We’ve Learned about Terrorism in 13 Years
Fareed Zakaria

I began by noting that Islamist terror is not the isolated behaviour of a handful of nihilists. There is a broader culture that has been complicit, or at least unwilling to combat it. Things have changed on his front but not nearly enough…..


ISIS Campaign: Bingo! Here’s Another Force of Evil to Be ‘Vanquished’
Robert Fisk

Obama is going to resurrect the Sunni “Awakening Council” militias – a creature invented by a certain General David Petraeus – who were paid to fight al-Qaeda by the Americans during the US occupation of Iraq, but who then got blasted by al-Qaeda and betrayed by the Shia-dominated Iraqi government. Obama has even invented a new name for these militias: he called them “National Guard Units” who will “help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL”. National Guard indeed!......


Al-Qaeda’s Move to Create a South Asian Wing Should Be Viewed in the Context of Its Patchy Sub Continental Record
Shashank Joshi

Over 6,000 Indian Muslims did apply for visas to Iraq but these were Indian Shias who wanted to fight against Sunni jihadists. While this throws up its own set of problems for India, given the prevalence of Iran-backed hard-line Shia militias in Iraq and Syria, it doesn’t help al-Qaeda.  “Zawahiri’s first public message in two years looks like a desperate gamble intended to help al-Qaeda keep up”……


It Should Be a Matter of Great Shame for All Clerics, If Even One Muslim Is Involved In Terrorism
Javed Anand

“It is not a question of numbers. For me, as police commissioner of the city and for the police force under me, it should be a matter of great shame if even one police man or woman is communal.” Call it “zero tolerance” policy. For Muslims, the takeaway from Sahney’s comment should be this: It is not a question of how many Muslim youth have taken to terrorism. Since it is oft reiterated that Islam strictly prohibits the killing of even one innocent person, it should be a matter of great shame for all Maulana’s, muftis and Maulvis if even one Muslim is involved in a terror act. Who would pretend there is none?....

Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri Eyes India but Stays Silent on Islamic State
Bruce Riedel

The new group is called al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and Zawahiri named as its leader Asim Umar, a Pakistani who had written previous messages for al-Qaeda threatening India. Last year, Umar said to Muslims in India, “You ruled India for 800 years,” and that it was time to return to the Islamic rule and law across the subcontinent. This ideological fantasy of restoring the Mughal Empire in India is not unique to al-Qaeda; other terror groups in Pakistan share it….


Her parents, Muzaffar and Khalida, said they were horrified that their 'sweet, peaceful, intelligent' child had joined jihadists in Syria and had hoped she would become a doctor in Britain.  In a statement issued today, they said she had 'betrayed' the family but begged for her to return home. They said: 'We still love you, Aqsa, but we now have to put your family, your brother and sisters first as you have betrayed us, our community and the people of Scotland when you took this step. 'You have torn the heart out of our family and changed our lives forever. Please come home.'....


Another Related Story:

'You've betrayed us': Parents of private school jihadist in emotional appeal for her to stop inciting massacre and return home from Syria

By Emma Glanfield


Al-Qaeda’s Play in the Sub-Continent: An ISIS Evolution?

This analysis may be missing the mark: What may be occurring is the evolution of Sunni extremism and proto-state development into Pakistan and India while at the same time that the Islamic Caliphate is in its early stages of functioning. This activity is not to set up an epic competition and battle between the ISIS and al-Qaeda: Instead, the move is looking towards the next level of the concept of Caliphate construction in the coming years….


Why Are They, Al Qaeda, Storms In Your Teacups?
Ajai Sahni

"Today, when the call of Jihad is being raised all over the world and Muslims of every region have started Jihad in their lands to eradicate the system based on global disbelief; the leaders of the global Jihad have the right to ask... Why is it that the Muslims of India are totally absent from the fields of Jihad?"......


The Pendulum of the Islamic State
Vijay Prashad

Responsibility for the emergence of the IS vests with a number of key actors. The United States’ reckless war on Iraq created the reservoir for Jihadis, as money from the Gulf Arabs came to sustain them in an emerging sectarian clash against an ascendant Iran. The narrow and suffocating Assad and al-Maliki regimes – which alienated large sections of Sunnis – propelled the disenfranchised to reckless rebellion. In 2007, the cartoonist Ali Ferzat said of the process called the Damascus Spring (2005), “either reform or le deluge [the flood].” It was the flood. Alienated people who measure their alienation in sectarian terms (Sunni) cannot be only defeated in the battlefield......


With the Western world predominantly reinventing the “Coalition of the Willing” and dispatching arms and air support to Kurdistan, where the Peshmerga have stood alone in battling the Islamic State, pressure is rightly being applied to Southeast Asia to pitch-in, particularly ASEAN’s three predominantly Muslim members: Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei……


The Affinity between Iraqi Extremists and the Rulers of Saudi Arabia
Peter Custers
Yet the United States and its European allies for long, too long, have bent over to service the Wahhabi state. Even as Western politicians loudly proclaimed their allegiance to democracy and secularism, they failed to oppose or counter Saudi Arabia’s oppression of, and utter discrimination against, Shia citizens. For over 40 years they opted to close their eyes and supply Saudi Arabia with massive quantities of fighter planes, missiles and other weaponry, in exchange for the country’s crude......


Can You Smell What The Caliph Is Cooking?
Pepe Escobar

Osama bin Laden, now arguably at the bottom of the Arabian Sea (according to the official spin), used to personify the intolerant Wahhabi worldview run amok. Then his Wahhabism married Sayid Qutb’s Egyptian Islamism, personified by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. Qutb, killed by the Egyptian regime in the late 1960s, was the wayward prophet of a global jihad between Islam and the West. Yet his zealous sons – from Osama/al-Zawahiri to current Caliph Ibrahim of ISIS/IS [The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL] – went much further, their jihad targeting civilians and even Muslims. Now Caliph Ibrahim has manoeuvred Washington into renewed bombing in Iraq – and potentially bombing Syria. Obama does “Syraq”. And yet, more crucially, what if Obama is doing Al-Qaeda’s bidding? This could all fit Osama’s carefully laid-out trap – over the years - of finally managing to expel the US from the Middle East via a constant war of attrition, slowly bleeding the Empire of Chaos. Eric Margolis has alluded to this possibility here…….


Ayman Al-Zawahiri: For Flagging Al-Qaeda, a Last Throw Of Jihadi Dice; Al-Qaeda Comes Out Of Cold to Call for Jihad in India
Praveen Swami

“This entity was not established today, but it is the fruit of a blessed effort of more than two years to gather the Mujahideen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity to be with the main group, Qaedat al-Jihad, from the soldiers of the Islamic Emirate and its triumphant Emir, Allah permitting, Emir of the Believers, Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid,” al-Zawahiri goes on……


Al-Qaeda Comes Out Of Cold to Call for Jihad in India

Al-Qaeda Declares New Front to Wage War on India, Calls for Jihad in the Subcontinent


His father, though, was not a gangster, but an Islamist, arrested in 1998 when the young Abdel-Majed was indeed six at the start of one of the most extraordinary and controversial episodes in British legal history. An exile for his Islamist activities from Egypt, where according to his family’s account he had been repeatedly imprisoned and tortured, his father Adel had been granted asylum in Britain five years before. But he was an associate of known jihadist sympathisers, and when al-Qaeda blew up the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya the police came knocking. Adel Abdel-Majed, an alleged associate and devotee of Ayman al-Zawahiri….


Islamist Terror Turf War That Threatens India
Hiranmay Karlekar

There is no imminent danger of this happening. The overwhelming majority of Muslims are loyal Indians. A number of them in the Armed Forces have readily died for the country displaying outstanding gallantry. Most mainstream Muslim organisations and clergy in India have roundly condemned the IS’s actions and exhortations and savage ways.SM Hameed Chishti, caretaker of Dargah Ajmer Sharif has called them Takfiris out to destroy the pristine image of Islam by razing Iraq’s historically and spiritually significant shrines. Most Sunni leaders, including those from Deoband, have also been harshly critical…..

Islamic State Back in Business
Peter Harling

The future looks bright for IS if the main actors continue to exploit its presence to avoid responsibility for their own failings. Shia Islamists, secular elites and western governments are redefining their relations on the basis of a sort of holy war that is becoming an end in itself. In this context, Gaza, Yemen, Sinai, Libya and even Tunisia are fertile grounds for IS expansion. This is a part of the world which has a high degree of regional integration, both across and within borders: as a result of rural migration, outlying regions are well connected to informal neighbourhoods that often sit close to the heart of the big cities……

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