Ideological Clash of Two Jihadi Titans Shakes Al-Qaeda

[Christian Science Monitor] Caryle Murphy - A bitter, year-long feud has shaken al-Qaeda's ideological pillars. Sayyed Imam, an esteemed theoretician of jihad whose ideas helped shape al-Qaeda's ideology, continues to attack Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's no. 2. "Zawahiri's support among jihadis is still strong, but he is losing the media battle to convince the public that al-Qaeda is winning," says William McCants, a Washington area-based analyst of militant Islamism who monitors al-Qaeda Web activity. In Nov. 2007, Imam released Rationalizing Jihad in Egypt and the World, a book that refuted al-Qaeda's terrorist tactics and ideology and was especially critical of Zawahiri. Zawahiri responded in March with Exoneration, a book charging that Imam lacked credibility because he wrote from an Egyptian prison and was supervised by U.S. intelligence. Last month, Imam's reply to Zawahiri, a book titled Denudation of the Exoneration, was serialized in Cairo's Al Masri Al Youm newspaper. In it Imam vigorously rejects the victimization theme in jihadist thinking. "The cause of Muslims' problems is Muslims themselves," Imam writes.

2008-12-15 09:00:00

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