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Jihad for Dummies

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- as Karl Sharro notes, the Guardian piece "says it all" ]
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The Guardian article linked in that tweet contains the following para:

Their path to radicalisation involved inspiration from material from Osama bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam, online material, and using the internet to chat with extremists overseas. As part of their preparations they ordered books online from Amazon, including titles such as Islam For Dummies, the Koran For Dummies and Arabic For Dummies.

Gotcha.

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Here are two other paras of interest:

School friends Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, both 22, pleaded guilty to terrorism offences before their trial could start at Woolwich crown court.

Police did not know the men had travelled to Syria, where they spent eight months, until one of their mothers contacted detectives in May last year, shortly after the pair had left. She had found a note written by her son saying he had gone to fight and wished to “die as a martyr”.

My comment here? My own frequent focus is on the importance of religious drivers in contemporary terrorism — and that’s present here too, but as what is distinctly a secondary theme.

More to the point, the two were “school friends” — supporting Marc Sageman’s contention in Leaderless Jihad and Understanding Terror Networks that bonds of friendship play an important role in recruitment. Also of note, it was once again [this example is from the UK, link is to US data] the support of the Muslim community that gave police the heads up that lead to these arrests.

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As to wanting to “die as a martyr” — perhaps obtaining a deeper understanding of Islam than Islam for Dummies can present would be advisable first. Ordering a copy of Arabic for Dummies makes sense, perhaps — but Martyrdom for Dummies is strictly for dummies.

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Varieties of ecumenical alliance, in two tweets

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- let's just say the world is awesome -- and you can take that to mean amazing, tragic, infuriating, or hilarious -- your choice ]
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Let’s have the bad news tweet first, get it out of the way.

The Reuters article Laura links to tells us the Ugandan army now views Séléka, an almost entirely Muslim militia, as “in bed with” Joseph Kony‘s Lord’s Resistance Army, a group generally regarded as Christian — air quotes optional in both cases.

Here we go:

Uganda’s army said on Tuesday the mainly Muslim Seleka group in Central African Republic was now its enemy as the fighters were “in bed” with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels they are hunting there.

A spokesman for the Ugandan army said its forces in CAR had clashed for the first time with Seleka, killing 12 and suffering one casualty. A Seleka official told Reuters on Monday that 15 of their fighters and three Ugandan soldiers were killed. “Seleka had never tasted our fire. I think it was important that they taste our fire so that they are careful,” Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) said, when asked about clashes on Sunday and Monday in CAR.

The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, is using CAR as one of its rear bases for attacks across regions straddling CAR, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Uganda heads a 5,000-strong African Union force tracking down the rebels but has no specific mandate to confront Seleka, which seized power in CAR in March last year and was pushed out under international pressure in January. “We know we don’t have that mandate but since they are in bed with our enemy, we’ll treat them as such,” said Ankunda, accusing Seleka of forcing civilians to give food and medicine to the LRA and trading ivory and minerals with them. Seleka’s time in power in Bangui was marked by rights abuses, prompting mainly Christian self-defense militia to spring up across the country. Nearly a million people – around a quarter of the population – have been forced from their homes in cycles of sectarian violence. Tit-for-tat killings continue and Seleka fighters still occupy pockets of the country.

Colonel Christian Djuma Narkoyo, deputy spokesman for Seleka’s armed wing, dismissed Uganda’s claims as “lies.” “If they have proof, let them show it. … There is no reason for us to collaborate with the LRA,” he said.

Enough of that.

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Now for the good news:

Mmmm, yes! That’s what I like to see.

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Sunday surprise surprise

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- simply irresistable ]
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Daveed Gartenstein-Ross twitterstreaming re Iraq & ISIS…

Friday, June 20th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- today's source of understanding addresses the tensions within the ISIS alliance -- with a question about the Naqshbandiyya tagged on for our readers ]
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Here, including a “ramp-up” from two days ago, is a series of related tweets from Daveed G-R:

Nota bene:

  • We reject Sharia.
  • IAI may eventually have to fight ISIS.
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    While we’re at it, here are two other DG-R tweets on significant topics:

    Daveed’s Spectator cover-article is (appropriately) spectacular, btw.

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    Of particular interest to me, in case you read this and know where to point me, is anything re the strength or nominality of connection between the Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi or Naqshabandi army and the Sufi Naqshbandiyya order.

    Thanks!

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    Non-dual Islam and Iraq

    Friday, June 20th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- a tale of Sunni, Shia and Sushi ]
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    It’s a remarkable image, with viral potential to be sure, but there’s a practical side to it too — I found it at the head of an IQNA (ie Iranian) article from February, titled Karbala’s Shiites Welcome Anbar’s Sunni Families, which informed us:

    After weeks of fighting between armed groups and Iraqi military forces in the Anbar province, civilians caught in the middle of the clashes have been fleeing for safety. The region has a Sunni majority but safe places of refuge are being found in Shiite districts such as Karbala.

    In the previous month, Osama al-Shami, deputy head of Karbala’s Shiite endowments authority, said that families fleeing Iraq’s predominantly Sunni Anbar province would be welcomed in the southeastern Shiite-majority province.

    Dozens of displaced families – including many women and children – have fled to the city of Karbala, where they have been given shelter in the part of the city usually reserved for pilgrims.
    Observers have noted the significance of Karbala’s Shiite endowment authority offering shelter to Sunni refugees amid ongoing sectarian tension in Iraq.

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    Did I say viral? It has been cleverly adapted with exactly that in mind…

    — and there’s even a translation in circulation:

    Not talking about fish indeed!

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    In much the same spirit…

    Hayder al-Khoei, scion of a remarkable Shiite clerical dynasty and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, shifts the emphasis regarding ISIS away from sectarianism and towards simple terrorism:

    — while Maajid Nawaz, once a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and now Executive Director of the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation, re-orients “say no” to the same purpose:

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