Despite the frequent appearances of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri on television screens worldwide, Al Qaeda remains an elusive entity. As the world has grown increasingly familiar with the spectacle of Islamist terrorism, Al Qaeda's essential worldview has remained bewilderingly opaque. To reveal its inner workings, Gilles Kepel and his collaborators, all scholars of Arabic and Islam, have collected and brilliantly annotated key texts of the major figures from whom the movement has drawn its beliefs and direction. The resulting volume offers an unprecedented glimpse into the assumptions of the salafist jihadists who have reshaped political life at the beginning of the third millennium. Excerpts from the work of Azzabdallah Azzam, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - drawn from speeches, internet postings, and published writings - tell the story of Al Qaeda's evolution, from its origins in the Afghan war through the war in Iraq. These texts reveal the rational, discursive mode used to persuade and to justify violent armed struggle in a universe defined by militant Islam.
Substantial interpretive introductions to each leader's work and extensive critical commentary provide unparalleled access to the intellectual and doctrinal context of Al Qaeda in which these radical ideas have taken shape. By viewing Al Qaeda from within, this indispensable volume reveals the terrorist network's insidious role in the global web culture of today and the full dimensions of its frightening threat to world stability and security.
Gilles Kepel is Professor and Chair of Middle East Studies at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. Jean-Pierre Milelli is lecturer in Arabic at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris. Stephane Lacroix is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Sciences Po, Paris.
* Contents * Contributors * Note on the Translation * general introduction: Al Qaeda, the Essentials Gilles Kepel Part I: Osama Bin Laden * Introduction: Osama Bin Laden, the Iconic Orator Omar Saghi * The Companions Den (Excerpts) * Declaration of Jihad against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries (Excerpts) * Interview with CNN (Excerpts) * World Islamic Front Statement Urging Jihad against Jews and Crusaders * Interview with Al-Jazeera (Excerpts) * Tactical Recommendations (Excerpts) * Second Letter to the Muslims of Iraq * Message to the American People Part II: Abdallah Azzam * Introduction: Abdallah Azzam, the Imam of Jihad Thomas Hegghammer * The Defense of Muslim Territories Constitutes the First Individual Duty (Excerpts) * Join the Caravan (Excerpts) * Morals and Jurisprudence of Jihad (Excerpts) * To the Young Muslims of the United States (Excerpts) * The Solid Base (Excerpts) Part III: Ayman Al-Zawahiri * Introduction: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Veteran of Jihad Stephane Lacroix * Bitter Harvest: Sixty Years of the Muslim Brotherhood (Excerpts) * Advice to the Community to Reject the Fatwa of Sheikh Bin Baz Authorizing Parliamentary Representation (Excerpts) * Knights under the Prophet's Banner (Excerpts) * Loyalty and Separation: Changing an Article of Faith and Losing Sight of Reality (Excerpts) Part IV: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi * Introduction: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Jihad in "Mesopotamia" Jean-Pierre Milelli * Letter to Bin Laden and Zawahiri (Excerpts) * Notes * Index
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