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Although al-Qaeda's totalitarian vision first caught our attention after 9/11, this was not the start of the global jihad. Through the '90s the group bombed targets across the Middle East, aiming to snatch power by unseating Arab regimes. It also targeted Western interests, including the bombing of US military bases in Saudi Arabia, the embassy bombings in East Africa and an attack on the USS Cole docked in Yemen. These were tactics entirely consistent with the message Azzam had preached. Suggestions that al-Qaeda might therefore implode under the weight of criticism from jihadist clerics like al-Awdah and Dr Fadl misreads the history of Azzam and the ideas of modern jihad. Where al-Qaeda parted with him was by shifting the centre of its campaign into the Western world, with 9/11 marking a dramatic break with its earlier tactics - not ideology. The debate now is about where the jihad heads next.

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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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