Al Qaeda in Its Own Words

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2008 - History - 363 pages

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 Qaedaâe(tm)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-Zarqawiâe"drawn from speeches, internet postings, and published writingsâe"tell the story of Al Qaedaâe(tm)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 leaderâe(tm)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 networkâe(tm)s insidious role in the global web culture of today and the full dimensions of its frightening threat to world stability and security.

 

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Contents

The Companions Den Excerpts
41
Declaration of Jihad against the Americans
47
World Islamic Front Statement Urging
53
Tactical Recommendations Excerpts
60
Second Letter to the Muslims of Iraq
66
The Defense of Muslim Territories Constitutes
102
Join the Caravan Excerpts
110
Morals and Jurisprudence of Jihad Excerpts
126
Advice to the Community to Reject the Fatwa
182
Knights under the Prophets Banner Excerpts
193
Changing an Article of Faith
206
JEANPIERRE MILELLI
251
Osama Bin Laden
271
Omar Saghi
294
Thomas Hegghammer
318
Ayman alZawahiri 316
341

To the Young Muslims of the United States Excerpts
136
STEPHANE LACROIX
171

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About the author (2008)

Jean-Pierre Milelliis lecturer in Arabic at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris.

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