An Al-Qaeda Mastermind Questions Terrorism

[New Yorker] Lawrence Wright - Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, known to those in the underground mainly as Dr. Fadl, was the former leader of the Egyptian terrorist group Al Jihad and one of the first members of al-Qaeda's top council. Twenty years ago, he wrote two of the most important books in modern Islamist discourse; al-Qaeda used them to indoctrinate recruits and justify killing. Now Fadl was announcing a new book, rejecting al-Qaeda's violence. Fadl repeatedly emphasizes that it is forbidden to kill civilians - including Christians and Jews - unless they are actively attacking Muslims. "There is nothing in the Sharia about killing Jews and the Nazarenes, referred to by some as the Crusaders," Fadl observes. "They are the neighbors of the Muslims...and being kind to one's neighbors is a religious duty." Indiscriminate bombing - "such as blowing up of hotels, buildings, and public transportation" - is not permitted, because innocents will surely die.

2008-05-30 01:00:00

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