Dealing with Syria’s Foreign Fighters: A Liberal Conundrum – an Update

Abstract: The recent arrest of Alexanda Kotey and  El Shafee Elsheikh, the two British Jihadists part of the notorious Beatles, has again raised the debate as to what should be done with Jihadists returning to Europe.  Should they be sent to Guantanamo? Should they be kept where they were caught… Read more“Dealing with Syria’s Foreign Fighters: A Liberal Conundrum – an Update”

Rahmat Akilov’s Trial Raises Important Dilemmas for Swedish Policy Makers

The trial of Rahmat Akilov, the lone wolf terrorist who killed five pedestrians in Stockholm’s equivalent of Oxford Street, last April have just begun. Whilst the trial is expected to continue for several months, it will no doubt raise important questions pertaining to Islamic extremism, terrorism and fundamentalism in Swedish… Read more“Rahmat Akilov’s Trial Raises Important Dilemmas for Swedish Policy Makers”

Problems in the Caliphate: The Issue of Authority 

Abstract: For Muslims in the West especially those who become militant, the question of authority or the lack of it, is an important question. I will use the story of Aine Davis to illustrate some of these issues that young Muslims are grappling with. Case Study: Aine Davis It always… Read more“Problems in the Caliphate: The Issue of Authority “

An Interview with Youssef Rakha: Author of The Book of the Sultan’s Seal

Youssef Rakha is the author of The Book of the Sultan’s Seal: Strange Incidents from History in the City of Mars.  Cairo where Rakha lives and works, is at the heart of much of his work. His vision is particularly interesting in the light of the Egyptian revolution. It echoes the general dissatisfaction… Read more“An Interview with Youssef Rakha: Author of The Book of the Sultan’s Seal”

A Glimpse into Performance Art in the Muslim World: A Clash of the Profane and the Sacred

Cultural historians have often focused attention on Islam’s achievements in architecture, craftsmanship and calligraphy. However, except for poetry scant attention has been given to Islamic culture’s contribution to performance art: theatre, music and dance. This is partly because of the perception that Islam has an aversion to these art forms…. Read more“A Glimpse into Performance Art in the Muslim World: A Clash of the Profane and the Sacred”

Review: All the Battles my Maan Abu Taleb

There are things All the Battles by Maan Abu Taleb is not. It is not a cliched story based on a Rocky film. It is not an Arab version of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club in which the protagonist discovers fighting in order to feel “alive”.  Whilst Abu Taleb’s first novel… Read more“Review: All the Battles my Maan Abu Taleb”

Into the Heart of Darkness: Working Notes on Three ISIS Jihadists.

Raqqah has fallen. There are many jihadists who will look at this loss with a sense of bitterness. Some foreign fighters are pragmatic. Is the Jihad over? “It goes on” they say, “till the Day of Judgment.” For some though the fall of Raqqah isn’t good news. From the earth… Read more“Into the Heart of Darkness: Working Notes on Three ISIS Jihadists.”

Political Islam in Tunisia: a History of Ennahda and the Tunisian Exception

One of the most interesting books this summer may be a rather innocuous book by Anne Wolf, a leading Tunisia and North Africa specialist. In Political Islam in Tunisia: A History of Ennahda, Wolf, a University of Oxford researcher, presents the hidden history of Ennahda, Tunisia’s main Islamist movement, from… Read more“Political Islam in Tunisia: a History of Ennahda and the Tunisian Exception”

Mahdi al-Harati: A Libyan Garibaldi?

Sitting across Mahdi al-Harati in the hotel lobby it is difficult to see why anyone would want this quiet Libyan dead. His insulin rests on the low table alongside his sugarless coffee and with him is his over-protective doctor and friend. But you need to look closer, there is his… Read more“Mahdi al-Harati: A Libyan Garibaldi?”

Review: Unwinnable: Britain’s War in Afghanistan 2001-2014 by Theo Farrel

The 9/11 attacks gave birth to a Manichean world which is, as I write this, being played out in Syria and Iraq amongst other places. With this world in mind and the upcoming 9/11 anniversary, Professor Theo Farrel’s Unwinnable is a timely reminder of the consequences of the War on… Read more“Review: Unwinnable: Britain’s War in Afghanistan 2001-2014 by Theo Farrel”

Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

I entered Najiyeh, a small town of no consequence, without their permission. The town claimed to be an ISIS principality. The claim seemed ridiculous but as we drove in to the town it seemed less so. They had fixed the prices, the markets were bustling, even the gold shops were… Read more“Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”

Fading contrasts in the future of global Jihadism: Military strength driven by perceptive tolerance

What follows is Part II of an interview about the Sharia with Al-Maqalaat by Tam Hussein @tamhussein. Part I can be found here The Dawn of Islamic Theocracy: Monumental Sacrifice for Consistent Stability. Background Context of this discourse began when the interviewer tweeted an interesting article, Stoning and Hand Cutting-… Read more“Fading contrasts in the future of global Jihadism: Military strength driven by perceptive tolerance”

Musa al-Qarni on the Afghan Jihad

The Afghan Jihad: An Annotated Interview with Musa al-Qarni about Abdullah Azzam and Ahmed Shah Massoud and the tension with the ‘Afghan Arabs’ In my research into the Arab Afghans I came across this interview which I thought I would share here. This article is important because it shows how… Read more“Musa al-Qarni on the Afghan Jihad”

When Arabic and Hebrew Irregulars Worked Together

After the death of the Prophet Muhammed the early Muslim community became acutely aware of the need to preserve their Prophet’s legacy. This idea of preserving revelation became even more pressing as the nascent Islamicate expanded. Memorisation was not enough since new converts to the faith did not have the… Read more“When Arabic and Hebrew Irregulars Worked Together”

A Crisis Waiting to Happen: Book Review of Christopher M. Davidson’s ‘After the Sheikhs’

  In an important new book Durham University fellow Christopher M. Davidson, author of many books on the Gulf, sets out to explain why despite all the modernising forces that has transformed the Gulf kingdoms, the royal dynasties have still survived. He argues that their continued existence can be explained… Read more“A Crisis Waiting to Happen: Book Review of Christopher M. Davidson’s ‘After the Sheikhs’”

Prison Radicalisation: Dealing with Muslim Inmates with Terror Convictions

By @tamhussein Recently, Anjem Choudhary, 49, and Mizanur Rahman, 33, were imprisoned for their active support of the Islamic State. Choudhary’s imprisonment ends, for a small period at least, his decade plus history of agitation in the UK. Whilst the British press lapped up his colourful and extreme pronouncements, his… Read more“Prison Radicalisation: Dealing with Muslim Inmates with Terror Convictions”

The Dawn of Islamic Theocracy: Monumental Sacrifices for Consistent Stability

An interview about the Sharia with Al-Maqalaat @AMaqal by Tam Hussein @tamhussein Background Context of this discourse began when the interviewer tweeted an interesting article, Stoning and Hand Cutting- Understanding the Hudud and the Shariah in Islam, by Jonathan Brown @jonathanACBrown, Associate Professor and Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University. Al-Maqālāt… Read more“The Dawn of Islamic Theocracy: Monumental Sacrifices for Consistent Stability”

The Arabs at War in Afghanistan: From the Cradle of the Jalalabad School of Jihad to Syria and Iraq

By Tam Hussein @tamhussein The Arabs at War in Afghanistan questions the foundational myths of the Afghan Jihad which touched a generation of Muslim men growing up in the 90s. It is told by one of the earliest Afghan Arabs, Mustafa Hamid who joined the warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani against the… Read more“The Arabs at War in Afghanistan: From the Cradle of the Jalalabad School of Jihad to Syria and Iraq”

Fathi Warfali: A Democrat who Sought Martyrdom in the Fields of Afghanistan.

Mr. Fathi Warfali is one of Libya’s earliest and youngest political activists and hails from a pedigreed religious and scholarly family from Bani Walid. At sixteen he joined the nascent Islamic movement in Libya. Despite being a committed democrat he decided like many of his generation to join the Mujahideen… Read more“Fathi Warfali: A Democrat who Sought Martyrdom in the Fields of Afghanistan.”

The Human Nature of Jihadism- an interview with al-Maqālāt

Here begins a series of interviews and dialogues with al-Maqālāt who describes himself as “an independent media outlet”.  He tweets under @Al_Maqal_Ps. The reader will find that the interviewees attitudes and views are useful because he encapsulates a certain outlook which serves as a useful barometer for how some Salafi-Jihadists… Read more“The Human Nature of Jihadism- an interview with al-Maqālāt”