Volume 6, No. 3 – September 2002
MIDDLE EAST ISLAMISM IN THE EUROPEAN ARENA
By Reuven Paz
An important new development has been the extension of Middle Eastern movements and ideologies to other parts of the world, especially Europe. This article evaluates how these groups and their ideas are extending the reach of Middle East politics to other parts of the world. This has been particularly true of the “jihad movement,” generally associated with Usama Bin Ladin but involving many other forces and doctrines. This change is also having a feedback into Middle Eastern issues which must now be taken into account in analyzing the region.
The development of new forms of Islamist movements and ideologies, often called the jihadist movement, has brought Middle Eastern doctrines and political groupings to other parts of the world, notably Europe. This factor was both made more visible and intensified by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America and subsequent events. Wide-ranging investigations uncovered a large infrastructure of radical Islamist terrorist cells, groups supporting violence, and sympathizers for these viewpoints.
For many decades, of course, Western ideas and organizations have been transferred to the Middle East, but now this process has become a two-way street. Those who study the Middle East must now also take into account events, leaders, organizations, and doctrines which have their feet solidly planted on European soil while their thoughts and actions are in large part aimed at Middle Eastern outcomes. Indeed, as will be shown below, the growth of Islamist movements in Europe is in part due to the conscious efforts and ideological justifications of their Middle Eastern counterparts.
On one level, this new feature can be related to the familiar realm of exile politics. Many of these groupings are in fact created and influenced by individuals or political organizations which seek to have a direct influence on events in the Middle East. At the same time, though, there is an attempt to mobilize and shape the activities of European Muslims to make them a factor in the region?s political issues. These Middle Eastern activities range from the development of radical Islamist websites–now based in such countries as Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Poland(1)–to the development of entire political parties and intended “second fronts” in fighting Middle Eastern conflicts.
Equally, there is a question of how Muslim identity in Europe will relate to Middle Eastern issues. There are many factors involved in this process. A Muslim intelligentsia has slowly emerged to call for recognition of the Muslim presence, triggering debates in European public opinion. Coordination among Muslims in Europe is perhaps encouraged by the unification of Europe itself. Religious solidarity also bridges ethnic and national divisions among them. Another aspect is an Islamist tendency paralleling that in the Middle East, what the French scholar Olivier Roy has called the phenomenon of “born-again Muslims.” There is also, of course, a more moderate “liberal” Islam which parallels the historical trend of Christianity in Europe but its influence on Muslim publics in Europe seems relatively weak. The biggest-selling books in Islamic bookstores are those dealing with Islam?s fundamentals in accordance with Salafi trends in the Arab world.
Three distinct but interrelated trends have an impact on European Muslims as they do on Middle Eastern Muslims. First, there is traditional Islam, which is accepted in some form or another by the relatively silent majority of Muslims. Second, there is the politicized doctrine of Islamic movements that seek a state governed by Islamic law (Shari?a). These groups recruit support through political efforts alongside social welfare and cultural activities. The most important of this trend is the Muslim Brotherhood. Finally, there is radical Islamism which demands fulfillment of violent jihad as a duty, rejecting rival interpretations and making war on governments even when their rulers are Muslims.
THE CULTURE OF GLOBAL JIHAD
The term Global Jihad characterizes the latest trend among Middle Eastern Islamist groups. While previously emphasis was usually put on revolutions within specific countries trying to overthrow their societies and regimes, priority was now to be put on a direct struggle against the United States, Israel, and at times European states.
Among the important elements inspiring this development were:
–The failure of revolutionary movements to attain victory through staging revolutions in different Arab states.
–Difficulties for both individuals and societies in coping with Western modernization and its values, both for Muslims living in the West and those in Arab societies affected by it.
–Relative ignorance on the part of many young Muslims regarding elements of Islam as a result of spreading secularism. This allowed them to accept claims that certain heretical ideas were actually the only proper form of Islam.
–The growing transnational links among different parts of the Muslim world, both in the greater Middle East area and among intermingled Muslims in Europe. This is partly the product of improved Western technology, especially communications.
–A series of conflicts which seemed to pit Muslims against non-Muslims in such places outside the Arab world as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Chechnya, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Kashmir.
–The collapse of the Soviet bloc and discrediting of Communism and the renewal of old nationalist ideologies and conflicts.
–The failure of Arab nationalism to solve the problems of their societies or to win victories over foreign foes.
–The shift of the center of gravity of Islamist activity from the Arab world to the margins of the Middle East or to Europe following the success of Arab governments to counter this radical phenomenon in their homelands.
–The liberal attitude of European governments which accepted Muslim immigrants or refugees and tolerated their religious and political activities without trying to impose on them a set of demands for assimilationist conformity.
–The belief among some Islamist elements that focusing on an external enemy, which is defined as the eternal fight between God and the Devil, right and wrong, light and darkness–in Islamic terms between al-Haqq and al-Batil–would bring them victory.
In many ways, this new approach can be called a counter-globalization in which Islam rather than Westernization is to be the dominant force. The battle is to be waged by a “brotherhood of the oppressed” (Mustadh`afin) against Western conspiracies and the “betrayal” of secular-oriented Muslim societies and nationalist regimes.
One of the best definitions of Global Jihad was written by Omar Abu Omar, alias Abu Qutadah, a Palestinian living under the protection of political asylum in London since 1993 and one of the phenomenon?s main ideologues. The Jihad movements are “those groups and organizations that were established in order to eliminate the evil (Taghutiyyah) heretic (Kafirah) regimes in the apostate countries (Bilad al-Riddah), and to revive the Islamic government that will gather the nation under the Islamic Caliphate.”(2)
In addition, Abu Omar claims true Jihad movements differ from other Islamic groups in Muslim countries that “seek political legitimacy of the ?heretic? regimes.” They do not seek to reform the existing regimes but to eliminate them. What is most important, he continues, is not armed struggle in itself but having “the comprehensive civilizational view that comes from the perception of the true unity [of Allah] (Tawhid)?the unity of serving (`Ibadah) and following (Ittiba`) the Lord.” Its vision is of a future “world totally controlled by Islam.”
Abu Omar suggested in 1994 a new term to illustrate these themes, the “Jihad movement of future hope” (Al-Harakah al-Jihadiyyat al-Amal). He defined this as “a movement of Salafi worldview, perceptions, doctrines, and way.” It would be “totally cleansed from any remains of the wrong Sufi doctrine; does not belong to any school or trend besides that of the Qur?an and Sunnah.” He did not think the existing movements had achieved this goal “but they are in the right path.” To do so, the movements “should open new arenas for the Jihad outside their countries.” This required unity to wage the battle under a single commander, whom all other leaders should serve.
A short while after the September 2001 attacks in the United States, a Palestinian Islamist scholar published a paper entitled, “The Great Qur?an predicts the destruction of the United States, and the drowning of the American army.”(3) The West under U.S. leadership, has moved, says the author, through a process of “Pharaohization,” based on the Qur?anic story (of Biblical origin) of the evil Pharaoh. Egyptian Islamist groups at times referred to Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat, and Husni Mubarak as the “Pharaoh.” Thus, this terminology provides a useful symbol of the movement?s transformation of the enemy from an internal to a foreign foe.
The author writes that, according to one Qur?anic verse,(4) Pharaoh was only the first of his kind, a series that would continue in each generation until the day of resurrection. The present Pharaoh is the United States. But Pharaoh is not the only force oppressing Muslims today. There is Haman, too. According to the author, “The two of them are two poles of evil, oppression, and corruption. Therefore, no one should wonder if Haman in our days is the United Kingdom, such as Pharaoh is the United States.” Haman is Great Britain, which was also responsible for the oppression of Muslims “in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and the rest of the Muslim world.” In combating this evil, the author continues, “The one who represents these days the eternal truth is Sheikh Usama bin Ladin.”
The conclusion is that the end of the United States is very close. Indeed, “the United States will not exist to see the year of 2004!” And, since the last Qur?anic chapter to mention Pharaoh is The Dawn (Al-Fajr), the author says that “the destruction of the United States is going to be the dawn of the Muslim believers.” Western civilization might view such writings as nonsense. Yet this kind of literature became popular in Islamic circles following the September attacks, similar to the phenomenon that happened at the time of Iraq?s 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the war that took place the following year.
This booklet was the start of a series of books, articles, religious rulings, and other forms of writings published primarily in numerous websites over the Internet. That source has become increasingly important in shaping the Jihadist movement. The most prominent of them have been two books that might serve also as fatwa–Islamic rulings–for the supporters of Global Jihad. One is “The base of legitimacy for the destruction that occurred in America,” by the Saudi radical scholar Abd al-Aziz bin Salih al-Jarbou`, published in November 2001.(5)
The other was by the above-mentioned Palestinian radical scholar, Omar Abu Omar, who dropped out of sight from London in January 2002, and following their investigations, was later accused by the Spanish authorities of being the political leader of al-Qa`ida in Europe. He was also linked also to the attack on the old Jewish synagogue in the island of Jerba in Tunisia in April 2002 in which 18 people, most of them German tourists, were killed. In June 2002, the official spokesman of al-Qa?ida, the Kuwaiti-born Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, announced his group?s responsibility for the operation.(6)
In April 2002, Abu Qutadah?s fatwa, “The Islamic Legal Perception of the September 11th Events,” was placed on one of the radical websites of the Global Jihad culture.(7) His main motive in legally justifying the September attacks was to present them as part of a religious war between the Muslims and the West:
And when we define it as a religious war, this is because the West does not want to let Islam exist in the form of a state and power. Yes, they always repeat that they are not against Islam, but what Islam is the one they support and not against? This is the false so-called moderate Islam, the kind of Islam that accepts the submission to America and to the West and is glad to live in accordance with their way of life. It grants America the legitimacy to spread its hegemony over the entire world, with no protest or resistance. Yes, they want the kind of Islam that approves the service of the American Muslim in the military forces in order to fight another Muslim from the Muslim world. They want an Islam that does not prohibit what Allah and the Prophet forbade, and the kind that does not deny their civilization, and their political, economic, and social values.
The conflict is therefore, not just between this interpretation of Islam and Western culture, but also between the two different Islamic interpretations of culture and worldview. Hence, it is not only a threat to Western or European societies, but to Muslim communities in the West including Europe, as well.
The general culture of a Global Jihad movement is not unique to a certain state, language, or community, though it has been dominated by Arab thinkers and activists. Even the pro al-Qa`ida Islamist groups in non-Arab parts of the Muslim world–such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Chechnya, western China, or Pakistan–use mainly Arabic in their messages and even in their websites. Moreover, despite their conscious internationalism, the Egyptian, Saudi, Algerian, Palestinian, Yemeni, and other Arab elements in this culture of Global Jihad, cannot really release themselves from focusing on conflicts in their homelands. Global Jihad then, even for European-based groups, constantly becomes oriented toward Middle Eastern issues and struggles.
This factor is illustrated in the book by the Egyptian Islamist, regarded as the right-hand man of Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The book Knights Under the Prophet?s Banner was at least partly written after the September attacks.(8) Zawahiri, who is also the leader of the Egyptian Jihad group, argues that the Jihad movement is the best way of promoting a revolution within Egypt and for coping with that movement?s past failures.
THE WEST AS A BASE FOR MIDDLE EAST ISLAMISM
The effort to develop a Western base for Middle East Islamist groups, free from the repressive activities of Arab regimes, is rather ironic since the movement is based on the notion of Jihad as a religious duty, a war aimed at a perceived Global cultural conspiracy against Islam as a religion, culture, and way of life.
This interconnection is also furthered by an emerging doctrine of the “non-territorial Islamic state.” This doctrine views Muslim communities as a kind of loose-knit Islamic state, though without the Islamic territorial and religious mission of reestablishing a califate. Islamic scholars in the United Kingdom have long provided a basis for this view by emphasizing the cultural, economic, and political consolidation of these Muslim communities.
Long before the establishment of groups like al-Qa?ida, Islamic and Islamist movements regularly spoke of a conspiracy against Islam and advocated attacks on the United States, Israel, and Western culture. Anti-Western and anti-Jewish feelings have long proliferated in the Muslim world. What has been new, however, was the new movement?s success in translating that doctrine into actual terrorist activity. The success of these efforts was, in turn, based on recruitment and preparation in European Muslim communities and by fund-raising among Muslims in the United States.
While only a small minority have joined or given direct support to violent Jihadist groups, what is equally significant is the ability of these ideas? advocates to plant their notion of a global cultural war in Arab and Muslim societies, convincing many in the region that Islam is under attack. Thus, concepts synonymous in Western political culture with terrorism or political violence–such as Jihad, Takfir (refutation or excommunication), Istishhad (Martyrdom, including by suicide), and Shahid (Martyr)–are now viewed by many in the Islamic world as religious duties.
What is especially remarkable is that these concepts would not have been accepted, or were viewed quite differently, only a decade or so ago in Muslim societies and less than two decades ago in even Islamist circles. Today, the central feeling among most Islamists–from those who carry out terrorist acts to those who provide a supportive atmosphere for such activity–is that of being under siege. Thus, all means of self-defense are justified in their eyes, particularly when these means are granted religious legitimacy.
Rather than undermine such notions through experience with the realities of Western society and intentions, the interaction in the West between Muslim immigrants from various countries, cultures and ideologies, has greatly facilitated the growth of this doctrine. Such interaction has promoted both solidarity and a shared sense of a global threat to Islam and the Muslims. These factors have in turn led to the doctrine of the culture of Global Jihad and to the brotherhood felt by its adherents. As the worldwide investigation of the September 11 attacks and the Al-Qa?ida terrorist network has shown, this new doctrine resulted in a new operational development–the establishment of multinational and multi-organizational militant and terrorist cells among Muslim immigrants in the West. Apparently, some of these cells in Europe were just as responsible for planning and carrying out terrorist attacks as their commanders and leaders in Afghanistan.
TERRORISTS OF ALIENATION
Another emerging development among Islamist groups is the radicalism brought on by social ills and alienation–that is, terrorism motivated primarily by elements such as xenophobia (both by and against Muslims), growing unemployment, economic circumstances, difficulties in coping with Western modernization, the changing and dismantling of traditional values and family ties, and so forth. For example, in an unsigned 1991 article appearing in its main journal, the Palestinian Hamas, usually identified with purely Palestinian concerns, offered the following introduction of sorts to the doctrine of Global Jihad:
The whole world is persecuting you and the satanic powers ambush you. The whole world is your front, and do not exclude yourself from the confrontation? The life of misery [keeps] you from the meaning of life and [turns] your life into death. You live as a dead man . . . We stand today in a crossroad: life or death, but life without martyrdom [is] death. Look for death and you are given life.(9)
This rhetoric would clearly appeal to those already afflicted by a sense of hopelessness or resentment. The implicit alienation in such statements becomes all the more striking when one considers that the September 11 hijackers lived in relative comfort in the United States or Europe for long periods of time before carrying out their operation, yet were apparently undeterred from their plans. Of course, other groups of immigrants are susceptible to social ills as well. Yet, the growing Islamist activity among Muslim immigrants, along with their shared notion of Global struggle against the West, have encouraged a more rapid spread of radical doctrines among younger Muslim generations, and mainly among those of Arab origin.(10)
Furthermore, the profiles of many of the people arrested in the West following the September 11 attack–most on suspicion of links to Al-Qa?ida–are quite different from those of the typical Arab extremists in Afghanistan or Chechnya. The former are generally more educated and familiar with Western culture. Yet, instead of using this familiarity for personal benefit and for greater integration with Western culture–as the predecessors of this social type did in the past–these “terrorists of alienation” hold on to their hostility and exploit the weaknesses of the societies in which they reside.
This process is not new in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Some university students and graduates have always tended to adopt radical Islamic positions and fight the regimes of their homelands as a result of their strong social awareness. In many cases they view themselves as social elites who must sacrifice themselves for the sake of their society. This sense does not change when they live outside their homelands.
Their radical positions are also a result of more recent interpretations of various radical Islamist trends that developed in the 1960s and 1970s. During this period, under the influence of the Egyptian ideologue Sayyid Qutb, social justice–or in Qutb?s words Al-`Adalah al-Ijtima`iyyah–became the key criterion by which Islamists began to judge their ruling elites and to accuse some of facilitating Western culture?s conspiracy against Islam. Therefore, some of these radicals did not necessarily fit what was then the profile of the typical Islamist–that is, one whose religious observation is total.
This sense of social mission is equally visible among Islamists who have left their homelands. Many such emigrants have sought to preserve in entirety their homeland culture, unlike previous generations which did their best to adopt, or at least adapt, the cultures of their new environments. This element has in turn facilitated the globalization of the Jihad. At the root of this phenomenon lies the inability of many individual Muslims to cope with the technological, cultural, social, or economic aspects of Western modernization. Rather than any of a host of potential alternative scapegoats, this failure is then blamed on the secular cultures and ideologies that have influenced various modern Middle Eastern regimes. Since orthodox Islam is identified with Islamic establishments whose source of power is these secular regimes, many Muslims now support those who represent the opposite culture: the radical activists who oppose the national state and its interpretation of Islam.
Aside from these direct efforts of Islamist involvement to expand their influence, their success in both the Muslim world and the West is due to changes in what can be called the Islamic “atmosphere”–that is, the often indirect framework of support created by groups that are not connected to political violence or terrorism, some of whom even publicly condemn such methods. These groups, mostly of the school of the Muslim Brotherhood or Sufi groups, carry out the vast majority of political, social, cultural and educational work in the name of Islam, both in Muslim countries and among Muslim communities in Europe and in the West. They may transmit attitudes and interpretations of Islam in which more extremist and violent Islamist groups thrive; they serve as a greenhouse of sorts for radical groups and for the growth of views hostile toward the West or Western culture.
Such behavior is not restricted to the realm of ideas. Some groups also provide–not necessarily consciously or deliberately–an infrastructure of educational and cultural institutions, printed materials, and financing which also encourage support, provide cover, help recruiting, or even fund the operations of terrorist groups. Within Arab countries, Islamic social work has long been a form of social protest against either secular Muslim regimes or Western societies.
A number of specific Middle Eastern religious scholars have paved the way for justifying the export of the Middle East to the West, and in particular of Islamist thinking to Muslim communities there. Hasan al-Turabi in Sudan and the Tunisian Rashed al-Ghanushi who lives in exile in London, led a line of thought accepting Arab and Muslim emigration to Europe. But they were determined to create, or recreate, those communities in their own ideological image. In this respect, the development of the doctrine of the “non-territorial Islamic state” was a useful tool. The unspoken notion, however, was that the capital of this “non-territorial Islamic state” would remain in the Middle East and that the communities in the West would be subordinate to its needs and standpoints. They rejected any idea of compromise with cultural or political Western values by the new communities.(11)
In attempting to isolate Muslim groups in Europe from the majority population around them, these thinkers and movements not only indoctrinated them with Islamist views but also created new and radical interpretations of Islamic behavior. These had appeal to some youngsters whose knowledge of traditional normative Islam was deficient precisely because they had grown up in non-Muslim societies. For example, the doctrine of Takfir–excommunicating their secular or non-Islamic environment–was based on radical interpretations of orthodox Wahhabism.
An example for this new radical trend could use a recent fatwa of the Saudi radical scholar Abd al-Mun`im Halimah Abu Basir on “The Rule of Seeking Political Asylum in the Infidel World.”(12) According to him “This question has occupied a growing number of Muslim youth, which hate the [idea of] living in Western countries” and fear “losing their religion and belief” there but must seek refuge there in order to save themselves “from killing and torture” by Arab regimes. Moreover, he continues, they know that “Islamic law orders immigration from the infidel world to the Islamic one.” Yet he justifies such emigration: “Since there is no true Islamic country in our times that could secure Islamic life in safety? he is allowed in case of emergency to immigrate to the infidel world?.But he should purify himself as much as possible from the heretic culture of that world.”
Following the September attacks in the United States, Abu Basir, one of the leading scholars supporting the ideology of al-Qa`ida, published a book of Islamic rulings on issues of immigration.(13) In his book of rulings, Abu Basir uses the Islamic principle of “the necessities allow the prohibited.” Just as Muslims can drink wine or eat pork in order to save them from starving, so they can immigrate to the Western “infidel countries” to save themselves from the oppression of the governments of their homelands. But he goes even further: immigration is allowed also “in order to enforce the Muslims and weaken the infidels. One of the goals of immigration is the revival of the duty of Jihad and enforcement of their power over the infidels. Immigration and Jihad go together. One is the consequence of the other and dependent upon it. The continuance of the one is dependent upon the continuance of the other.”
Understanding the ideology and practice of the culture of Global Jihad and its movements is no longer simply a matter of looking at individual groups attempting to topple regimes in their homelands. Until recently, one could still differentiate between such groups and other Islamic trends, such as the various factions of the Muslim Brotherhood, The Khilafah groups of the Islamic Liberation Party, and the Salafiyyah groups in various parts of the Muslim world. Yet the changes that have been wrought on the Islamic map over the past few decades and during the post-September 11 anti-terrorism campaign, may lead at least part of the next generation of Muslims to seek more solidarity with the forces that lead the culture of Global Jihad.
The apparent “headquarters” of the Global Jihad movement can shift from Afghanistan to somewhere else. If in the past this center was transferred from the Arab world to Afghanistan and Central Asia, Western success in post-September 11 campaigns in those areas may lead to another shift: to the heart of the West, to marginal regions (e.g. the Philippines), or to both. But a search for such a central location detracts from an understanding of the relationship between this broad movement and those ideologues and groups in the Middle East which provide its basic justifications, support base, and often its recruits as well.
During the Middle Ages and later periods, Muslims tended to view the campaigns of Christian Crusaders as something akin to their own Jihad–that is, as a clearly spiritual duty that did not distinguish between religion and politics. The perception of the Crusader era as a triumphant phase in Islamic history has been revived and emphasized in the last few decades by Islamist movements. When Bin Laden named his front the “World Islamic Front for the Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders,” his meaning was clear to the entire Muslim World as providing both a definition of enemies and a belief in ultimate victory.
Historically, one could argue, anti-Western feeling in the Muslim Middle East has arisen from a failure to cope with the effects of Western modernization. The growth of Western military power, economic systems, technology, new ideas, and organizational methods, often defeated Middle Eastern societies, throwing them on the defensive. In the current era, this situation continues, though often with a more important role for cultural products. Apparently, the West keeps advancing in power and even world hegemony, while the Arab and Muslim world–despite oil wealth and Arab nationalism–have been unable to respond effectively.
The continuous sense of retreat felt by many Muslims during the second half of the twentieth century brought impatience that led to violence. Over the past few years, the doctrine of long-term social revolution–expounded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab World and by Jama`at-I-Islam in India, Pakistan, and the non-Arab Muslim World–lost much of its appeal for these Muslims. They were searching for an immediate improvement in their social conditions and therefore readily adopted the notion of Jihad as a more effective–and unifying–response than revolutions in specific local countries.
Being opposed to the existing states, the Jihad movement is not generally speaking state-sponsored. Focusing on direct and immediate revolutionary activity, the movement?s main groups (or factions of other groups which support it) have purposefully avoided and neglected social welfare activity. To the extent that Hamas and Hizballah are involved in this broader movement, they are exceptions on both of these points. Since their violence is directed mainly against Israel, they have attracted support from Arab states and from Iran. They have also engaged in extensive social welfare work to mobilize their respective constituencies.
Again, it should be emphasized that despite the shift of some Islamist groups to more global activity, their goal still remained the establishment of what they perceive as the true Islamic state in the heart of the Muslim world. Since the hardcore of the Global Jihad movement is composed primarily of Arab Islamists, the loss of the Afghan base might bring them back to square one: their homelands. This is what Zawahiri proposed in his book of memoirs summing up the experience of the Islamist movement since the 1980s. He wrote:
The jihad movement must come closer to the masses, defend their honor, fend off injustice, and lead them to the path of guidance and victory. It must step forward in the arena of sacrifice and excel to get its message across in a way that makes the right accessible to all seekers and that makes access to the origin and facts of religion simple and free of the complexities of terminology and the intricacies of composition.
The jihad movement must dedicate one of its wings to work with the masses, preach, provide services for the Muslim people, and share their concerns through all available avenues for charity and educational work. We must not leave a single area unoccupied. We must win the people’s confidence, respect, and affection. The people will not love us unless they felt that we love them, care about them, and are ready to defend them?.
Consequently, a new topic for those researching the Middle East, as well as Europe, should be to examine these emerging leaders, movements, and doctrines in comparison and with regard to their interaction to Middle Eastern counterparts. This should include the development of these movements during the 1990s; the social evolution of the immigrant communities; the growing role of internet websites as a central source and means of communication for radical Islamists; and the new phase of certain Islamist forces on Global Jihad.
While linked to problems of terrorism and threat evaluations, this study should be conducted on its own merits–without ideological preconceptions–in order to provide the most accurate possible picture of this new phenomenon as well as its links to the Middle East.
1. Some of the main websites are: <http://www.jehad.net> or <http://www.aljihad-online.has.it> registered in Italy and Sweden; <http://www.alneda.com> is registered in Singapore and maintained from Malaysia, though in the recent months this website changed its address several times. The updated address (as of the end of June 2002) is <http://www.drasat.com> which is used also by the supporters of the Taliban; <http://www.almaqdese.com> registered and maintained in London; <http://www.aloswa.org. registered and maintained in Malaysia; <http://www.attawhid.com> registered and maintained in Warsaw, Poland; <http://www.sahwah.net> registered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; <http://www.erhap.com> registered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; and several other websites of various Islamist Saudi scholars that give the Wahhabi legitimacy to al-Qa`idah and its followers. Above all is the website of the main ideological direction of the global Jihad ? <http://www.azzam.com> — registered and maintained in London by Azzam Publication.
2. Omar Abu Omar “Abu Qatada al-Filastini” and “Shumuliyat al-Ru?ya al-Hadhariyyah wa-Fardiyyat al-Jihad,” in Maqalat Bayn Minhajayn (Articles between two Doctrines). The book is a collection of 98 articles he wrote in 1994, in which he presented his worldview. There is no information whether it has been published in hard copy. The articles were available on-line in a former website of Abu Omar, which was closed after September 2001, as well as on other Islamist closed websites. It is not available on his present website. The author possesses the whole book in a downloaded version from his closed website.
3. Sheikh Salah al-Din Abu Arafeh, Al-Qur?an al-`Azim yunabbi? bi-damar al-Wilayat al-Muttahidah wa-gharq al-Jaysh al-Amriki, Jerusalem, September 2001, no publisher.
4. Surat al-Zakhraf, 56.
5. Abd al-`Aziz bin Salih al-Jarbou`, Al-Ta?sil limashrou`iyyat ma jara li-amrika min tadmir, 23/8/1422H (10 November 2001). See on-line in<http://www.almaqdese.com> and other similar websites. The website is of “The platform of Tawhid and Jihad,” of the radical Jordanian-Palestinian Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. 18 books and articles of Al-Maqdisi were found by the German police in Hamburg, in the apartment of Muhammad Atta who led the September attack in the United States.
6. The announcement was first published as an audio recording in <http://www.drasat.com> in June 22, 2002. The next day it was broadcast on Al-Jazirah TV, and on June 24th, a written version was placed on <http://www.aloswa.org>.
7. Omar Abu Omar Abu Qutadah, Al-Ru?ya al-Shar`iyyah li-ahdath 11 Aylul, (The view of Islamic law on the events of September 11th), April 2002. See on-line in <http://www.aloswa.org>
8. Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Fursan tahta rayat al-nabbi, published in Al-Sharq al-Awsat, December 2-12, 2001.
9. “`Ars al-Shahadah,”Filastin al-Muslimah, no. 9 (September 1991), p. 63.
10. On this issue, see a good article by Murad Wilfried Hofmann, “Muslims as Co-Citizens of the West? Rights, Duties, and Prospects,” Islam On-Line, March 26, 2001. Available on-line at: <http://www.islamonline.net/English/contemporary/2002/05/article3.shtml>
Murad Hofmann is a Christian German who converted into Islam. He served as the German ambassador to Morocco.
11. See for example: Mahmoud Abd al-Nasir, “Preserving the Islamic identity in the West,” Nida?ul Islam, vol. 18 (April-May 1997). Available on-line in <http://www.islam.org.au>
12. Abd al-Mun`im Mustafa Halimah Abu Basir, Hukm al-isti?naf li-talab al-luju? al-siyas ifi dar al-kufr. Available on-line in <http://www.aloswa.org/book/lojoa.zip>
13. Abd al-Mun`im Mustafa Hlimah Abu Basir, Al-Hijrah, masa?il wa-ahkam (Immigration: questions and rulings), December 9, 2001. Available on-line in <http://www.abubaseer.com>
Dr. Reuven Paz is a Senior Fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and director of its Project for the Research of Islamist Movements.