Islamic religious bigots use West Point defense

NY Times:

He has been mentor to some of the most brutal terrorists on earth. But Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a prominent cleric and theorist of jihad living in Jordan, has grown tired of hearing younger extremists accuse him of going soft.

So in a recent Internet post to his followers, Mr. Maqdisi defended his hard-line credentials by invoking a higher authority: the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

“Credit is due to the testimony of enemies,” Mr. Maqdisi wrote, as he directed his readers to a recent journal article by Joas Wagemakers, a Dutch scholar of jihadism, and the “Militant Ideology Atlas,” both published by the center. Both identified Mr. Maqdisi as a dangerous and influential jihadi theorist, he noted.

So did two articles by liberal Arab columnists, Mr. Maqdisi added proudly, including one that referred to him as a “sheik of violence” and “the head of the snake.”

It is not new for Islamic extremists to cite Western counterterrorism reports. Ayman Zawahri, the deputy of Osama bin Laden, has referred at least twice in his taped statements to “Stealing Al Qaeda’s Playbook,” a 2004 article also published by the center. But recently Mr. Maqdisi has taken this hall-of-mirrors phenomenon to a new level, complaining bitterly that secular Western analysts generally understand him better than many in his own community.

“I am surprised at the low level of their thinking,” Mr. Maqdisi wrote of his critics, “and how the enemies of religion read and understand us better than they do.”

The complaint is a testament to the growing community of Western jihad watchers, an obsessive and multilingual crew who monitor and debate terrorist Web statements like Talmudic scholars poring over a manuscript.

It also illustrates the fragmentation of authority within the global jihadist movement, where even prominent figures like Mr. Maqdisi are vulnerable to younger critics who feel free to interpret the call to jihad, and the Koran generally, as they see fit.

For the Western analysts, being cited approvingly by a Qaeda figure can be unsettling.

...

Mr. Maqdisi, who is now under house arrest in Jordan, has angrily turned that accusation against his critics, arguing that their efforts to undermine him and other jihadist leaders derive from a strategy outlined by Western analysts working for “the Crusader RAND Corporation.”

In fact, at least a few Islamists seem to see the hand of the RAND Corporation, an American policy organization that produces reports on terrorism and other subjects, in many plots. This year a hard-line Saudi cleric told this reporter during an interview that “RAND-ites” were seeking to de-Islamize Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Maqdisi’s problem is more homegrown. A new generation of jihadists, many of them less educated and respectful of authority than their elders, has begun taking issue with him. Mr. Maqdisi believes suicide bombing is a legitimate tactic but has said it should not be used indiscriminately, and he has spoken against the sectarian massacres in Iraq. For this he is accused of turning his back on jihad.

In a sense, Mr. Maqdisi can hardly complain, because he did the same thing to his clerical elders when he was young.

...
I enjoy seeing others accept my description of the enemy as religious bigots. It is their most obvious quality, yet few in the media seem to recognize it. It is a central character of the Islamic supremacist who dominate the enemy "intelligentsia."

The RAND guys have obviously gotten inside the enemy's head and are playing with them. Good. The funny thing is that I doubt there is a real Crusader among them.

As for the terrorist, Jonathon Kay highlights some of their latest depravity based on a story from the NY Times. A women takes a child with her to blow up some Iraqis standing in line for food aid. She manages a mass murder for Allah tally of 80 including the child. What a religious movement.

Comments

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