Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ideological Genealogy of Al Qaeda Extremism

(The following is based on a comment I previously posted on Banned by HWA.)

Based on what I have read about Al Qaeda Extremism and its offshoot, ISIL extremism, I am inclined to blame those who created that movement instead of people who lived about fourteen centuries ago. The following is informed by the 2009 book, Al Qaeda in its Own Words.

Among those who prepared the ideological ground for Al Qaeda extremism to later arise were Sayyid Qutb. He denounced much of the modern world as a form of "ignorance" comparing it the world before Islam thus delegitimizing modern society within the Arab world. And if one will say things like that this insinuates that it is necessary to make the world not like that anymore.

Then came the war in Afghanistan which began in 1978. Some within the Arab world decided to go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and the Communist regime then in power. One preacher who encouraged people to go there was Abdullah Azzam. He proclaimed the war in Afghanistan to be a defensive jihad that all Muslims were religiously required to go and fight there. He called it an individual responsibility which all Muslims must perform instead of a communal responsibility in which only those directly concerned are required to perform.

Then came the evil one, Osama bin Laden. He went to Afghanistan. His role in the armed struggle against the Communist government in Afghanistan there was quite minor and gained little attention at the time. But after the war he grew bitter against the Saudi government and the United States. He willfully ignored the role the United States played in aiding the armed struggle against the Soviets. He decided to wage war on the United States.

While Azzam declared a religious war on the Soviets in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden declared a religious war on the United States. Exploiting various crises and problems to justify his decision he declared the entire Muslim world "needed" to launch a "defensive" war against the United States. Various local wars were twisted by him and his imitators (such as Ayman al-Zawahiri) into "evidence" of a "war against Islam" being waged by the United States. This, of course, is nonsense and filthy propaganda. After finding a safe haven in Taliban ruled Afghanistan he sent his followers out to plunge the world into the war of his dreams.

But as vile and murderous as Osama bin Laden was he not particularly fixated on hating Shia Muslims. He said little about them. That aspect of Al Qaeda extremism would be devised by one Abu Musab al Zarqawi. After being trained in Al Qaeda's camps in Taliban ruled Afghanistan he set up shop in Iraq and exploited the tense situation to seize power for himself and his followers. To gain power he decided to tear Iraqi society apart by launching bombings against predominantly Shia urban areas to tear Iraqi society apart along sectarian lines. These bombing were made to deliberately incite violence by Shia in order to gain new recruits. Although he was killed in 2006 unfortunately his organization lives on to this day imbued with his venomous hatred.

They claim to fight for their religion but their actions show that they fight to seize power for themselves.

One reading the Quran or the early Islamic writings is not going to come away with an informed understanding of Al Qaeda Extremism. Rather Al Qaeda Extremism is something created in modern times built on ideas taught by Qutb and Azzam which were later used against the United States and the governments of the Arab world and elsewhere by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi into the vile concoction of hatred that led to ISIL's bombing in Baghdad which murdered over 300 innocent people on July 3, 2016.

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