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On going shopping

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — this one’s for the Thomas Hegghammer’s “Bored Jihadi” archives ]
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For that special occasion when formal “penguin” attire is required, all black and white — yet with a casual artistic / rebellious flair:

isis-fashion-poster2239940377

A good place to shop for such things if you happen to be in Istanbul — Islami Giyim, or Islamic Clothing:

jihadi-gift-shop

Of course, you may not feel like dressing in support of terror — but you can still have swag:

tote

This tote-bag carries an Arabic inscription that reads:

The only goal of this text is to spread panic among those who fear the Arabic language.

And there are in fact people for whom a small amount of Arabic script is enough to call in the bomb squad, as occurred a few days back in Marshall’s Creek, Pennsylvania:

cookies

Mmm, date-filled cookies!

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Sources:

  • Vocativ, The Perfect Gift for the Jihadi on Your Shopping List
  • Roads & Kingdoms, The Jihadi Gift Shop in Istanbul
  • Special Broadcasting Service, The Arabic on this tote bag is hilariously edgy
  • WNEP The News Station, Bomb Unit Investigates Box Left at Gas Station
  • When laïcité destroys egalité and fraternité

    Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameronlaïcité meets the banlieue, and ISIS takes note ]
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    french-laicite
    France: blind to religions. Graphic: Nouvel Obs

    **

    My latest piece is up at LapidoMedia, addressing the impact of the French doctrine of blinding secularism on French Muslims — and ISIS targeting of France:

    ANALYSIS When laïcité destroys egalité and fraternité

    FRANCE and ISIS have a special enmity, and it is compounded by the French form of secularism, known as laïcité.

    France’s colonial history and policy of state-reinforced religion blindness adds special intensity to the confrontation.

    It is important to understand how particularly powerful the animosity is.

    France’s contribution to the coalition attacks on ISIS in Iraq and Syria is second only to that of the United States.

    While France had a thousand troops in theatre in March 2016, the UK by comparison had only 275, with Germany at 150, and Belgium at 35.

    Meanwhile, close to two thousand fighters of French origin are reported to have joined ISIS forces – more than any other western European country.

    Jihadist attacks in France have included the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015, the November attack at the Bataclan concert hall later that year, this year’s Bastille Day attack in Nice, and the gruesome killing of Fr Jacques Hamel in Normandy, also in July.

    An ISIS video released in mid-August encouraged further Nice-like attacks on France.

    You can read the whole piece on the Lapido site: ANALYSIS When laïcité destroys egalité and fraternité.

    Uh-oh, The Times believes Dabiq is “Koranic”

    Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — the London Times gets the Qur’an wrong, let’s hope it’s not this sloppy about cricket! ]
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    In an article titled Death to Cheshire florist, declares Isis magazine, London Times writers David Brown, Sara Elizabeth Williams, and Tom Coghlan write about Rumiyah, the new ISIS magazine:

    Charlie Winter, a researcher who follows Isis media closely, said of Rumiyah: “Intriguingly, it features relatively little original content, suggesting Isis is having to cut corners in its media operations.”

    It is not clear if the new magazine has replaced the main Isis title, Dabiq, which has appeared sporadically in recent months. Dabiq is named after a town in northern Syria where Isis believes a Koranic prophecy foretells the final victory for a Muslim army against an alliance of world armies before the apocalypse. Syrian rebel and Kurdish fighters are now less than five miles from taking the town.

    “If you put out a publication about a place you no longer control it might raise eyebrows,” said Raffaello Pantucci, the Royal United Services Institute’s director of international security studies.

    Okay, I’ve included the Charlie Winter and Raff Pantucci quotes because they’re both germane to the bigger question of how ISIS is faring these days. It’s the middle paragraph that disturbs me.

    **

    Dabiq in the Qur’an?

    On the contrary — it’s not even in David Cook‘s two seminal books about Islamic end-times writing, ancient or modern, nor in J-P Filiu‘s Apocalypse in Islam.

    Dabiq (the town) was mentioned by Abu Mus’ab az-Zarqawi (died June 2006) in a quote featured at the start of the first issue of Dabiq, the ISIS magazine (july 2014):

    The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify – by Allah’s permission – until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.

    The last page features the longish hadith that backs up Zarqawi’s point — I posted the whole thing just the other day in A Tale of Two Places – Dabiq and Rumiyah. And Will McCants gives it the detailed treatment in his fine book, The ISIS Apocalypse.

    But the Qur’an?

    Dabiq simply isn’t there. And yet three Times writers think — let me repeat —

    Dabiq is named after a town in northern Syria where Isis believes a Koranic prophecy foretells the final victory for a Muslim army against an alliance of world armies before the apocalypse.

    And so Times readers get the impression ISIS is basing its worldview on the strongest possible Islamic authority, when in fact it’s using a little-known saying attributed to Muhammed by Abu Hurayrah.

    Consider also that Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi in his respected book, Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development and Special Features (pp 19-20) comments on Abu Hurayrah — who contributed more hadith to the corpus than any other single Companion —

    Bearing in mind Abu Hurayrah’s intense dedication to learning hadith, his devotion to the Prophet, and the various tests which were applied to his memory and scholarship by his contempories during his life, it appears very unlikely he himself fabricated any hadith. This does not mean, however, that material was not falsely imputed to him at a later date. The fact he narrated a uniquely large number of traditions itself did make inventing hadiths in his name an attractive proposition.

    **

    And not a fact checker in sight.

    It all kinda makes LapidoMedia‘s point, doesn’t it? We need religious literacy in journalists who deal with current events that include sugnificant religious influences..

    Gülen a secret cardinal of the Catholic Church? [UPDATED]

    Monday, September 5th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — a case of Catholic taqiyya? srsly? you jest! ]
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    This tweet about Fethullah Gülen is just too rich in ironies to relegate to the comment section of my earlier posts, Turkey — keeping an eye out for Gülen and its follow-up, Turkey Tweeted, continued:

    H/t Bryan Alexander.

    I may write this one up for LapidoMedia, in which case I’ll report back here…

    **

    Update:

    Apparently LapidoMedia won’t be covering this, since they already have two pieces from me for this week & next.

    Here’s the gist:

    The suggestion has recently been made in at least two Turkish media that the Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, now resident in the US, is a secret Catholic, not a Muslim, and that when he met Pope John Paul II in 1988, the latter made him a cardinal “in pectore”.

    The Turkish Minute article Indictment claims Gülen secretly made cardinal by John Paul II reports the claim as having been made in a court case, and explains:

    The indictment said “in pectore” is a term meaning “in the heart” and that it refers “a person who keeps his religious beliefs secret in their country.”

    Shia, under the doctrine of taqiyya, have the right to say that they are Sunni if questioned in a sectarian life-and-death situation, and the Turkish indictment apparently conflated this idea with the authentic Catholic poractice of a Pope making a cardinal “in pectore” — where the secret of the appointment is kept, not because the cardinal keeps his religion a secret, let alone that he claims to be a Muslim cleric while in fact being a high-ranking Catholic — but because the news that the person had been raised to the College of Cardinals might draw unwanted attention to him as a public figure in an area where this might have dire consequences.

    So the two ideas have their similarities — but are in fact different.

    Add in the fact of the amazing image of Gülen wearing a bishop’s miter and the pallium — an item worn only by major archbishops and the Pope — and you have quite a multitude of ironies in play.

    Heat and Hajj 2076

    Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — one black swan that’s almost predictable — where two timelines meet ]
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    God in His wisdom has decreed that all right thinking humans should circumambulate the Kaaba in Mecca if at all possible during their human lifetimes, so proclaims Islamic orthodoxy.

    A Guardian piece titled Extreme heatwaves could push Gulf climate beyond human endurance, study shows gives an approximate date by which Mecca may be impossibly hot for humans, even clothed in the brilliant white ihram of the pilgrimage:

    The extreme heatwaves will affect Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and coastal cities in Iran as well as posing a deadly threat to millions of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, when the religious festival falls in the summer. The study shows the extreme heatwaves, more intense than anything ever experienced on Earth, would kick in after 2070 and that the hottest days of today would by then be a near-daily occurrence.

    After 2070.

    **

    Tim Furnish, describing the Boston conference at which we both participated last year, expresses his regret that the Center for Millennial Studies is no longer with us in these words:

    It’s a pity that Landes’ CMS has run its course, for as the Islamic year 1500 AH (after hijrah)/2076 AD approaches, Muslim eschatological fervor — almost certainly to include jihadist leaders thinking themselves the Mahdi — will only increase

    Graeme Wood in his article What ISIS’s Leader Really Wants perhaps simplifies reality a little when he writes:

    David Cook, a historian at Rice University who studies Muslim apocalypticism, points out that the battles preceding the Day of Judgment will take place in modern Syria, with a final showdown in the year 1500 of the Islamic Hijra calendar, or A.D. 2076.

    2076, or 1500 AH, is indeed a plausible date, but not the only possibility.

    **

    If there’s a second part to this post, it will express the extreme fierceness and driving passion of what Richard Landes calls “Active Cataclysmic Millennialism” — a category that includes both secular variants (Nazi, Marxist) and religious (Taiping Rebellion) — and how it ties in with the converging ecological and Mahdist timelines discussed above.

    Okay, at the point of convergence:

    Mecca uninhabitable, Hajj obligatory, and the arrival of the Mahdi imminent — it’s a potent brew to consider as we head towards the 2070s.


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