WORLDWIDE: Suicide bombings are unIslamic
Writing in the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan argues that there is nothing Islamic about suicide bombings which are completely alien to the Islamic tradition of warfare. Hasan highlights the fatwa issued by Sheikh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti, a Malaysian jurist who teaches theology at Oxford University, that sets out firstly, there is no legal precedent in the history of Islam for the tactic of attacking civilians; secondly, suicide bombings cannot be sanctioned and ordered by the likes of Bin Laden and al-Zarqawi who lack the political and theological authority to declare a jihad; and thirdly, suicide is prohibited in Islam.
PAKISTAN: Musician prays for Taliban defeat
Mohammad Akbar says he prays every day for the Taliban to be defeated so he can play music without fearing for his life. Akbar, who lives in Dera Ismail Khan, part of Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt, where people are fiercely protective of their independence from the federal government, explains how the Taliban have alienated many with their hardline approach. Recalling incidents of flogging and beheading by the Taliban, Akbar said ‘The Taliban cannot be our friends.’ He also talked about his friend who had been executed by the Taliban for playing the flute.
WORLDWIDE: Support for Al Qa`ida continues to fade
In an opinion piece for CNN, Audrey Kurth Cronin, a professor at the US National War College, and research associate of the Changing Character of War program at Oxford University, argues that the end of AQ will come about when it loses popular support – a process already underway. Images of dead Muslims, and lack of progress towards its stated goals, particularly in areas of grievance such as Palestine, has resulted in AQ suffering a backlash of popular opinion. A Pew Global Attitudes Project poll in September showed a remarkable drop in support for suicide bombings and Osama Bin Laden across key Muslim majority countries – evidence of AQ’s alienation of popular mainstream Muslim opinion and loss of support from those whose hearts and minds it is trying to win.
Al-Qaeda in retreat as cash stops flowing
Al-Qaeda has been forced into retreat as a result of a lack of funding. Senior US Treasury official David Cohen stated that AQ is in is worst financial state for many years, with cash flow problems having an impact on the group’s recruitment and training efforts. AQ had made several appeals for funds this year as a result.