Cameron on “A Translation of Abu Walid al-Masri’s Reply”

Charles Cameron, my regular guest blogger, is the former Senior Analyst with The Arlington Institute and Principal Researcher with the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University. He specializes in forensic theology, with a deep interest in millennial, eschatological and apocalyptic religious sects of all stripes.

Zen here – some background prior to Cameron’s guest post. As I mentioned previously, Charles, a while back, posted a deeply reflective essay here at ZP and at Leah Farrall’s  All Things Counterterrorism, in response to the unusual dialogue that Farrall, a former Australian counterterrorism official, was having with  Abu Walid al-Masri, an Egyptian strategist of jihad, a sometime critic of al Qaida and an adviser to the Taliban. In other words, al-Masri is an influential voice on “the other side” of what COIN theorists like Mackinlay and Kilcullen call the “globalized insurgency” and a theorist of insurgency himself. After some delay, al-Masri responded to Charles, as Farrall described:

Abu Walid al Masri responds to Charles Cameron

Abu Walid  has responded a letter from Charles Cameron. Abu Walid’s response  to Charles can be found here.  You’ll notice when following the link, that he has a new website.It’s well worth a look. There is also an interesting comment from a reader below Abu Walid’s response to Charles; it’s from “one of the victims of Guantanamo”.

As you’ll see from his website Abu Walid is also engaging in a number of other interesting dialogues at the moment, which I am interested to read as they progress.Charles wrote his letter in response to the dialogue Abu Walid and I had a little while back. For those of you new to the site, you can find this dialogue to the right in the page links section.  The letter from Charles can be found on my blog here.

….These letters may not change anything, but they are important because  in mass media sometimes only the most controversial and polarising views tend to make it into the news.I think person to person contact, especially via mediums like this, can go some way to providing opportunities for all of us to discover or be reminded that there is more than one viewpoint and along with differences there are also similarities. Contact like this humanizes people, and in my book that’s never a bad thing.

With that context in mind, we will now let Charles take it away:


by Charles Cameron

I asked a native-speaking grad student associate of mine to give me a literal translation of Abu Walid’s response to my post, and then tweaked it to give it a reasonable combination of accuracy and fluency, and my associate has kindly given the result his thumbs up — so what follows is probably fairly close to the sense of Abu Walid’s original.

Is this a return to the Age of Chivalry? — Comments on the Response of Charles Cameron

May 31, 2010

Author: Mustafa Hamed, Abu al-Walid al-Masri

MAFA: The Literature of the Outlaws

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