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Jailed Islamists Revise Jihad Concept | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Egyptian Islamist Osama Ayyub, a political refugee in Germany and head of the Islamic Center in Munster, which advocates the Islamic Jihad ideology, has revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that there have been a number of attempts to carry out [ideological] revisions by Islamic Jihad leaders in Egyptian prisons.

He said that these attempts preceded the release of “The Rationalization of Jihad in Egypt and the World Today,” which is a book written by Dr Fadl, who is also known as Sayyid Imam Abdulaziz al-Sharif.

Dr Fadl is the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group and is Ayman al-Zawahiri’s first mentor.

Ayyub was born in 1966. He belongs to the Bani-Suwayf group and is the former religious head of Bayt al-Ansar in Peshawar. He described Islamic Jihad revision as “a turning point on the road toward ideological revision, which the Islamic movement is pursuing today.” The revision document, which Al-Misri Al-Yawm is publishing, and of which Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy of its first part, stresses that “the performance of jihad for the sake of God has included several Islamic Shariaa violations, foremost among which is the killing of people on the basis of nationality, color of skin and hair, and sect.” The document says that “these violations lead to nothing but God’s resentment and indignation.” It adds that “when a Muslim sets a goal for himself that exceeds his ability or that does not suit his situation then it is impermissible in Islam to use any illicit means to achieve this goal even if the goal itself is legitimate.”

The following is the text of the interview with Osama Ayyub over the Internet:

Asharq Al-Awsat: How do you view the revisions conducted by the Islamic Jihad?

Ayyub: The revisions conducted by the Islamic Jihad derive their importance from the fact that they were drawn up by the first person to lay down the principles of jihadist ideology in the world. He is the author of “The Mainstay of Preparation for Action” on the doctrine of jihad. No other such books have been written for over half a century. No other scientific publication on jihad has been issued except for Sheikh Muhammad Abdul-Salam Faraj’s booklet “The Absent Duty,” which includes some head notes on jihad. Many people in Egypt, such as Engineer Ismail Nasr, head of the Islamic Jihad’s civil organization and a main defendant in the so-called “the heralds of victory” case joined the Islamic Jihad because of “The Rationalization of Jihad.” Also, many salafists, such as Sharif Hazza, the writer of the book “Ignorance is the Excuse,” joined the Islamic Jihad for the same reason. These people found in Fadl’s book a great scientific reference that answers many doubtful issues.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Was Dr Fadl the first to begin the revisions?

Ayyub: No. As far as I know, there have been attempts inside prisons by Engineer Ismail Nasr and Sheikh Nabil Naim, who presented some ideas in his book entitled “Visualization.” In 2001, I issued a call in this regard which gained the support of Sheikh Ahmad Yusuf, the emir of the Bani-Suwayf group; Sheikh Nabil al-Mughrabi, who was sentenced to two life terms in prison; and the Khan al-Khalili case group. Lawyer Saad Hasaballah conveyed their support at that time. However, when Dr Fadl moved from Yemen to Egypt in 2004 and met with the brothers inside prisons, the vast majority of Islamic Jihad prisoners, both leaders and members, joined Sheikh Fadl, including many of those who had been hesitant. According to my knowledge, Sheikh Fadl definitely has a great influence on everyone who associates with him.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Do the recent revisions fall within the framework of a deal between the Islamic Jihad and the Egyptian Government?

Ayyub: These words are illogical and those who say this have poor knowledge of Dr Fadl’s personality. He is a religious scholar and not a politician. He is a skillful surgeon and was awarded a masters degree in medicine with distinction. If he was seeking worldly gains, he would not have given up all the money and prestige he could have enjoyed. His writings and words are governed by Islamic Shariaa proofs and by the interests of Muslims. Moreover, those who supported Sheikh Fadl’s revisions, such as Abu-Khalid al-Dabit, Abdulaziz al-Jamal, Nabil Na’im, and others, have a long history of giving and enjoy great credibility among Jihadists.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Do you believe that the Al-Qaeda will respond to these revisions?

Ayyub: Of course it will respond within the next few weeks. However, it will be a very well-calculated response, because the Al-Qaeda Organization is well aware of who Sheikh Fadl is and of his weight. Many zealous youth have perhaps made hasty responses without reading Sheikh Fadl’s book. As for Al-Qaeda, it knows who Dr Fadl is, because he was its first jurist. Dr Ayman had responded in a videotape recording to the facsimile message that was sent by Dr Fadl to Asharq Al-Awsat, but his only comment was that the revision document was issued from inside prisons. Dr Fadl responds to this uncertainty at the end of his book, as you will read in “The Rationalization of Jihad.”