Sunday, October 21, 2007

Effectively Communicating Jihad: a spade is a spade

Politeia is honoured indeed to have gained permission by the author to publish this highly important essay on how strategic communications on the War on Terror against militant Islamism can be improved. These pages have adopted, effective immediately, his recommendations with regard to idiom related to terrorism and Jihad. We heartily encourage the readership to follow suit.

Sam C. Holliday is a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, a former director of Stability Studies at the Army War College, and a retired Army Colonel. He earned a Master's in Public Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in International Relations from the University of South Carolina. Currently he is Director of The Armiger Cromwell Center, a small nonprofit Internet clearinghouse for thinking "outside of the box of conventional wisdom." By means of its online essays, the ACC seeks more effective foreign policies to achieve stability through equilibrium.


The apparent renunciation of terrorism by the person who provided the rationale for the global Muslim revivalist movement presents an opportunity for the United States to improve its performance in strategic communication.

In Foundations of Preparation for Jihad, Sayid Imam al-Sharif prescribed a Third Jihad for the Islamization of the world. Al-Sharif founded the Egyptian Islamic Jihad; his supporters assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and he was with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan fighting against the Soviet Union. He is a medical doctor and was an associate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, another Egyptian doctor, who is now Osama Bin Laden's deputy. Al-Sharif was captured after 9/11 and has been in an Egyptian jail since 2004.

There have been several reports that Al-Sharif will soon publish a book in which he states that the use of terror, and the killing of innocent nonbelievers, in the name of Jihad, violate the Qur’an. On July 27, 2007, the Guardian (London) reported him as citing the injunction: “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits; for God loveth not transgressors. Qur'an 2:190” In other words, he now condemns the violence that has been an integral part of all three Jihads. This would mean a modification in how to achieve the Great Caliphate.

A caliphate, which combines religious and political authority, is the only form of governance approved by traditional Islamic theology. There have been caliphates in the Middle East since the seventh century. The Great Caliphate is a goal; it would replace all secular governments from Morocco to Indonesia with a single caliphate that would then be able to convert the rest of the world to Islam. This was Al-Sharif's original vision that has had a major influence on the global Muslim revivalist movement—an effort to achieve Islamic conquest through violence known to its partisans as the Third Jihad.

It has been reported that Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden's deputy in Al Qaeda, is very unhappy with Al-Sharif's recantation since it might cause many others to question their basic ideas about the Third Jihad. Also it has been reported that hundreds of other former Islamic militants now imprisoned are prepared to join Al-Sharif in renouncing the use of violence to spread their beliefs and are ready to accept the free flow of religious ideas.

~ The entire essay is published on the Articles Database here ~

... Our enemies have called their cause Jihad (holy war), and their assassins "mujahiddin" (holy warriors), or Servants of Allah, or “martyrs.” All of these have positive emotional and religious connotations ...This usage is both inaccurate and dangerous. The leaders of the Third Jihad have exploited this weakness. ... By accurately stating that we are fighting against evildoers—not holy warriors, we can remove some of the communication advantage that the leaders of the Third Jihad have enjoyed. We must reach out and hold our people, our enemies, and people around the world ...

Copyright © 2007 Armiger Cromwell Center

Update: "Al Qaeda Associate Renounces Third Jihad", 17th December 2007

In his posting here on 21st October Dr Sam Holliday, director of the Armiger Cromwell Center in "Effectively Communicating Jihad: a spade is a spade" reported that Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, one of the least public yet most important figures in the Third global Jihad, would shortly be making a public renunciation. This has now been the case. This morning Dr Holliday drew our attention to the article on the Middle East Media Research Institute MEMRI's Special Dispatch No. 1785 >>>


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