Is Thinking Displayed In Al-Qaeda Writings and Statements Primary Religious or Ideological In Form?
An armed Sunni Islamist organization that has the objective and intention to eliminate and eradicate foreign influences from the Muslim countries is Al-Qaeda, which is nowadays is the hot topic in every country and state. Who should be eradicated it depends upon them, whom they deem and consider being infidels. One of the main purposes of this militant organization is to reestablish the caliphate, which is the title given to an Islamic leader in the community of Islam.
The philosophy of Al-Qaeda is based on Wahabism, an orthodox conventional Islamic movement started by Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab in the 18th century.
Salafism is another orthodox Islamic fundamentalist movement and it followers are the prominent members and militants of this armed group. These two movements of Islam are very dominant in Saudi Arabia, the Western Iraq, and Qatar. The group is generally recognized by its leader, Osama bin Laden, whereas, Ayman al-Zawahiri had also influenced the practice and theory of this organization. A common cause of it is linking many collaborative and independent working cells, which may exist in more than one country, resulting in its operations to be un-centralized or not at one place.
The September 11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, and the Pentagon were the result of the planning and execution of this group, who has committed multiple terrorism acts in the name of Islam. In response, various series of legal and military operations were launched against Al-Qaeda by United States, which were supported by many other countries, including the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – only Islamic country that posses declared nuclear weapons.
The United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, NATO, and the United Nations, have officially designated this group as harmful and terrorist organization due to its continuous radical acts in the different parts of the world. In late October 2001, al Jazeera, a Middle-east television network’s journalist, Tayseer Alouni, videotaped Osama bin Laden’s interview, while he was explaining the origin of his group. In his interview, Osama said, “The name ‘al Qaeda’ was established a long time ago by mere chance.
The late Abu Ebeida El-Banashiri established the training camps for our mujahedeen against Russia’s terrorism. We used to call the training camp al Qaeda [meaning “the base” in English]. And the name stayed”. In this interview of 2001, he used the world mujahedeen, which is used to describe the Muslims, who are ready to sacrifice their lives in any war or a meaning of struggle, in the name of Allah, often taken in the words, Jihad. In true Islamic context, it is an Islamic term that was derived from an Arabic root, which means to struggle or to strive.
In religious terms, an inner effort and struggle for the mobilization of energies, in order to make one, a pious Muslim spiritually is called Jihad. Secondly, it is an attempt to serve the Islamic community and ummah through the capabilities. In extreme circumstances, it is regarded in military terms through the conquest of enemy’s territory or power. After knowing the true definition of Jihad in its Islamic terminology, a nonprofessional person can articulate that the ideology of Islam, which is being presented by these militant groups are fake and ridiculous.
Islam is a religion of peace that requires Muslims to submit their wills to the Almighty Allah, one God. Whereas, no Islamic context or Allah’s words have ordered to kill innocent people and frighten them with the bombings and suicide attacks. Historically, if we investigate into the origin of Al-Qaeda, we come to know that it was originally established in the premises where training was given to thousands of mujahedeen, and they were recruited in Russia by the CIA. In January 2001, the U. S.
Department of Justice used the term Al-Qaeda for the first time, when four men were accused in the case of the United States embassy bombings in East Africa, during the year 1998. Again, if we analyze the concept of Al-Qaeda for these militant acts, we can take the example of another part of the previously mentioned interview of October 2001. During the interview, the Al-Qaeda leader was asked regarding his economic sources as it was assumed that it was a fight between the United States and them. In reply, Osama bin Laden said, “This battle is not between al Qaeda and the U.
S. This is a battle of Muslims against the global crusaders. In the past when al Qaeda fought with the mujahedeen, we were told, “Wow, can you defeat the Soviet Union? ” The Soviet Union scared the whole world then. NATO used to tremble of fear of the Soviet Union. Where is that power now? We barely remember it. It broke down into many small states and Russia remained. God, who provided us with his support and kept us steadfast until the Soviet Union was defeated, is able to provide us once more with his support to defeat America on the same land and with the same people.
We believe that the defeat of America is possible, with the help of God, and is even easier for us, God permitting, than the defeat of the Soviet Union was before”. According to this statement of Osama, this war is not with the United States, which is often assumed by the media, but with the global crusaders. Even if we accept this statement of this militant chief, do innocent people of New York or the students of the United Kingdom are regarded as crusaders in their opinions.
This would have really made anybody feel ridiculous of the statement, or of the terrorist actions that are happening nowadays in the world. To take things more theoretically, we should try to gather around more facts. According to Diaa Rashwan, a senior researcher at the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, in mid 1990s, a merger between the Bin Laden groups and the Zawahiri’s Al-Jihad groups was the result of a new name of this group, Qa’edat al-Jihad that means a base provided for the Jihad (the struggle).
Once again, the word Jihad was taken as the primary objective and purpose of this militant group, which was totally against the teachings of Islam. The young Muslims were brought into Afghanistan for the training purpose were being brainwashed by these militants, also they were turned into new the Afghani Mujahedeens. In August 1988, according to a document of the Defense Department of the United States, the organization was defined as the establishment of an organization for the recruitment of young Muslims, and turning them into the Afghani Mujahedeen as mentioned previously in our discussion.
It was also stated in this document that the main objective of this group was instituting the Islamist states throughout the world, while overthrowing the un-Islamic regimes, which were taken as the enemies of the God. The expulsion of the US soldiers from the Gulf was their one of the targets, and in the end, it was their mission to capture the city of Jerusalem as a Muslim city. If we look into the past, wars have been fought in the name of religion. However, no religion and even in the history of Islamic wars, we have never seen a war, in which innocent people, women and children were killed.
From the historical facts and the teachings of Islam given by Allah, a last option was given to the Muslims to fight in the name of their religion, if and only if, there was no other option remained in their hands. We can decide through these statements and discussions that it is a wrong thing to call this militant group as an Islamic militant group. The political and social reasons can be behind the establishment of this group. Personal benefits and leisure have been the cause and motive of this organization. However, it would be very ludicrous to relate it with Islam.
The statements and writings of these groups may give a perception of a religion that gives the teaching of spreading blood and hatred in the world. However, their statements are very philosophical and illiterate in nature, if properly investigated and studied. In 1998, the Al-Qaeda leader was interviewed and the tape was shown to the whole world. If we analyze his statements during that interview, Allah was praised by him for the help, by which, America’s greatest buildings were destroyed. He was seen thanking God for His blessings on them, and causing humiliation that was tasted by Muslims since more than 80 years.
According to him, Muslims children were being killed in Iraq, Israeli tanks were infesting Palestine, and the blood, honor, and sanctuaries of Islam were being abused by the infidels. Even then, nobody was seen moving a single limb against these infidels. In one of his statements, he said, “These events have divided the whole world into two sides. The side of believers and the side of infidels, may God keep you away from them. Every Muslim has to rush to make his religion victorious. The winds of faith have come. The winds of change have come to eradicate oppression from the island of Muhammad, peace be upon him”.
If we look into this statement, according to him, his world was at the peak of division of the believers and the infidels. Secondly, he had asked every Muslim to wake up and rush out for the victory of his religion. Even if we accept it, the injustices caused to the Muslims, and the injuries borne by them, no Islamic teachings guided to response in this manner, even with the enemies. If we go back in the history, Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last prophet of Allah (as per Muslims believe), and who spread Islam in the Arabia had also fought many wars during his life.
We can see the examples of forgiveness which he used to do with the enemies, and even used to forgive those persons who had abused him on the face. From these examples, it can be analyzed that the militant and terrorist acts of this Al-Qaeda group is not more than acts of the political wars. The statements of Al-Qaeda group may be primary religious, but in some parts. More fractions were used to humiliate the enemy and disgrace the religion of Islam – this is the reason that makes the Islamic countries to support the war of terrorism.
Injustices were also done during this war of terrorism and innocent people became the victims during this period. However, there is no difference between a person who slaps someone and the person who has just slapped him. Every religion that came in this world taught and guided to speak the truth, help the people, and serve the humanity. Therefore, if a group of extremists that arm themselves and kill innocent people and children of the so-called enemies, and call themselves as the true believers is completely wrong.
Only radical and illiterate ideology of a religion is represented by these groups and once again, one may not deem them as the representative of Islam. In order to understand their philosophy in more detail, we should examine their other statements too. A fatwa (binding religious proclamation) was issued and co-signed by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Sumedh Gawai, and three of the other Islamist leaders on February 23, 1998. This edict was made under the banner of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders.
Once again, it was very wrong step by them to use the world Islamic, as it only disgraced this religion, rather than giving it honor. In this declaration, it was announced that “[t]he ruling to kill the Americans and their allies civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim, who can do it in any country, in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Makka) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.
This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, ‘and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,’ and ‘fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah”. In the light of this pronouncement, it was compulsory for every Muslim to come out of his home and start fighting with any Jew that comes in front of him. Isn’t that a preposterous proclamation, or should it be taken as a dangerous edict?
The most interesting thing that takes your attention is the traditional Islamic scholarly qualifications were possessed by neither Osama bin Laden or al-Zawahiri. However, the contemporary ulema (true interpretators of Islamic teachings) were rejected by these radical extremists and this responsibility was taken upon them by themselves. The September 11, 2001 attacks at New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon was the deadliest and the extreme ones in the American history. Almost 3000 people were killed, which include Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
This act was an elevated operation of terrorism, and it changed the lives of thousand of Americans. In October 2004, a videotape was released by Al-Jazeera in which Osama bin Laden claimed his responsibility of these attacks and stated his inspiration to be the 1982 Israeli attacks at the high-rises in the Lebanon. Once more, he performed this act of repetition one’s wrong doing reciprocally. Even if Israel had done a devilish act, Islam had taught to forgive and pray for the blessings, even for the enemies. However, what happened was totally different and diverse from the Islamic teachings.
In this videotape, Osama bin Laden said, “As I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children”. It seems from these terrorism acts and their statements that this would not stop in the near future, and a war may not be the solution of this issue. Their philosophy, ideology, and psychology are related to their hearts that tends them to react in this state of terrorism.
One more example of their statements is the incident of July 13, 2006. In the Srinagar region of Kashmir, a man claimed to be the representative of Al-Qaeda and announced the Kashmiris and the people worldwide of their arrival in this region. The spokesperson also attributed the recent blasts to his group calling them a consequence of the Indian oppression, which was suppressed by the Muslim minorities. These series of different statements showed the image of Muslims and particularly, Islam as a religion of war rather than the peace.
These acts can only be the motives of political benefits and advantages as no Islamic teachings guide the Muslims to do the struggle in this manner even against their enemies. Therefore, once again it would be better to declare that these statements and writings can only be a reflection of motives behind personal promotion rather than the religious beliefs and teachings. However, it is still confusing to decide the final decision, because the Al-Qaeda’s nature and extent of its working and operations throughout the world remains a topic of dispute.
From the understanding of their statements, we can say that these acts and thoughts are the result of hatred against the United States, Israel, and the other western countries rather than an effort of struggling as per the teachings of Islam. According to their Islamic ideology, these abovementioned countries are taken as the infidels and enemies of Islam. They take it as these countries are trying to abuse the social, economic, cultural, and traditional values of their religion.
Many of the Saudi scholars, which were the result of the previously mentioned Wahabism wrote about the United States as the country of corruption, despotism, evil, and aggression. It was considered as a state of spreading abomination and corruption in the world. The resources being used on wines, cigarettes, and sex channels were the cause of their hatred against these western countries. In order to dominate their desire of revenge against these states, they portrayed themselves as the true representatives, scholars, and believers of Islam.
Young Muslims were brainwashed and persuaded to sacrifice their lives for the motive of Islam. However, the main objective was to humiliate the enemy rather than to honor the religion. The different proclamations of these extremists, such as, the future conquest of Rome and all of Europe; the state of confrontation with the west; civilians in the infidel states deserve to die; democracy as the religion of the infidels; and seeing the West as God’s enemy are some of the many and various statements given by these extremists.
These statements only portray their personal motives behind these acts and not the Islamic ideology in any sense. Many experts, writers, investigators and analysts have tried their best to analyze the Al-Qaeda’s position, in the light of their statements and writings, but it is still a topic of argument due to its anonymity. In this discussion, we tried to examine and scrutinize the testimonials of this militant group to decide whether they are playing a role as an Islamic group spreading true religious teachings and beliefs or it is an extremist group that is trying to cope up its problems radically.
Conclusively, according to the investigations done by different experts and facts available for the analysis, the Al-Qaeda network does not display or seems to be trying to portray an original picture and ideology, which was given by the Holy Quran and the Messenger of Allah, to the Muslims of the world. References Jason Burke. (2004). Al-Qaeda: a True Story of Radical Islam. I. B. Tauris. Daurius Figueira. (2004). the Al Qaeda Discourse of the Greater Kufr. iUniverse. Brad K. Berner. (2005). the World According to Al-Qaeda. Booksurge Llc. Olivier Roy. (2004). Globalised Islam: the search for a new Ummah. C. Hurst & Co.
Publishers. Robert O. Marlin. (2005). What Does Al Qaeda Want? : Unedited Communiques. North Atlantic Books. Paul J. Murphy. (2004). The Wolves of Islam: Russia and the Faces of Chechen Terror. Brassey’s. Dele Ajaja. (2006). The Return of Al-Qaeda: When a Dreaded Terrorist Reaches the Turning Point. iUniverse. David Malone (2005). Bin Laden’s Plan: The Project for the New Al Qaeda Century. Trafford Publishing. Phillip Margulies. (2003). Al Qaeda: Osama Bin Laden’s Army of Terrorists. The Rosen Publishing Group. Al-Qaeda from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Al-Qaeda Retrieved November 30, 2006