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However, Azzam's authority over the "Afghan Arabs" was soon eroded by a large influx of Egyptian fighters. They came in the wake of the Egyptian government's repression of al-Jihad, the militant Islamist group which had assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Its leaders included al-Zawahiri. "They were harsh and relentless," Jalal recalled. "From the moment they arrived, the fanaticism in the Arab camps began to rise."

They undermined Azzam's authority by urging Arab fighters to wage jihad against their own governments in the Middle East, arguing that these governments' deviation from literalist interpretations of Sharia made them apostates. They wanted to revive a Caliphate in the Arab world which could then destroy Israel and subjugate the West. Azzam disagreed, declaring that Arab rulers, though decadent, were still legitimate. He wanted his men to focus their efforts instead on Afghanistan. According to some reports, Azzam and Osama bin Laden also quarrelled about whether or not the Arab fighters should be integrated into Afghan mujahideen units or fight separately.

A bitter feud erupted. Zawahiri, along with another founder of al-Jihad, Sayyid Imam Abdulaziz al-Sharif, who took the name Dr Fadl, accused Azzam of selling out and being a CIA stooge. They refused to acknowledge his authority and urged followers not to pray with him.

Bin Laden too was increasingly intoxicated by Zawahiri's vision of global jihad. But bin Laden also had an established relationship with Azzam which stemmed from their time in Jeddah and continued to pray with him and to acknowledge him as leader of the Arab mujahideen. This irritated Zawahiri, but the Egyptian and his followers needed the financial and logistical support of bin Laden's construction business in Saudi Arabia for their global jihad.

For a while, bin Laden tried to straddle the widening gulf between Azzam and Zawahiri by financing both of them, creating an alternative network of guesthouses called al-Masadah, the lion's den.

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November 5th, 2008
9:11 PM
Jihad has many dimensions and fronts, not merely those of a military, terrorist nature. There is legal jihad (lawsuits in Western courts to prevent literature being published or disseminated which is critical of Islam); political jihad (the ongoing steamrollering through the United Nations and the EU by the Organisation of Islamic Conference's attempts to silence freedom of speech by presenting criticism of Islam as 'injurious to peace' and religious intolerance in societies because it occasions hurt feelings and violent protest from 'offended' Moslems); economic jihad (Sharia-compliant financial institutions, through which Sharia as the Moslem order of life becomes more pervasive and violent jihad is financed); educational jihad (everything from restricting the teaching of Islam at universities to Moslems-only to large-scale 'donations' to universities to set up Islamic study centres); religious jihad (da'wa with its false 'inter-faith' gatherings of Moslems using taqiyya against dhimmified non-Moslems) and, of course, social jihad (with its unceasing demands for acquiescence to and accommodation with Sharia by non-Moslems). If we continue to delude ourselves with the notion that jihad is simply a tactic of violence, rather than a means of wholesale dominance and destruction of other societies, jurisprudences and civilisations, we will wake up one day and find ourselves in full dhimmitude, paying the jizya, or quite dead.

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