Winning the Long War: Amplifying Muslim Challenges to al-Qaeda   [open pdf - 425KB]

"Criticism and condemnation of al-Qaeda that originate from the worldwide Muslim community present the most formidable challenge to its existence and legitimacy as an organization and movement. There is ample literature that questions whether or not there are Muslim challenges to the ideology and harmful acts of violent extremists such as al-Qaeda. However there is a growing body of literature from the worldwide Muslim community that challenges al-Qaeda. Consequently, challenges to al-Qaeda that originate from the worldwide Muslim community are critical because they are a component in any strategy to defeat al-Qaeda. The identification, amplification, and exploitation of these Muslim challenges will serve to defeat al-Qaeda. The purpose of this monograph is to determine the nature of this Muslim challenge to al-Qaeda. This is accomplished by analyzing the recent revisions of the former mujahid that helped create al-Qaeda and developed its jihadi ideology, Sayyid Imam. In these revisions entitled Rationalizing Jihad, Sayyid Imam criticizes and condemns al-Qaeda and other violent extremists. To determine the legitimacy of his revisions, the major themes of Rationalizing Jihad are compared to the prescriptions in classical Islamic jurisprudence. Sayyid Imam's stature and influence within the mujahidin community is so great it prompted an immediate response from al-Qaeda's intellectual leader and second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. His response and that of nine other former and current mujahidin are analyzed in order to examine the rift in al-Qaeda's jihadi ideology and challenges to its tactics, strategy, and ideology. Finally, five recent initiatives by respected and prominent members of the worldwide Muslim community are analyzed to demonstrate the Muslim challenge to al-Qaeda."

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