This is a repost concerning my essay recently published by the Middle East Review of International Affairs. As I have learned, and thanks to the commenters who pointed this out, the original posting did not clearly differentiate between my commentary and al-Qaeda’s words, resulting in a very jumbled and incoherent read. This link takes to the PDF version, which is much more reader-friendly.
The purpose of this essay is to clearly demonstrate that al-Qaeda justifies its actions to non-Muslims through one paradigm (retaliation to “oppression”), while justifying its actions to Muslims through another (sharia law, specifically the doctrines of jihad, Loyalty and Enmity, and dhimmitude — all which stand regardless of “grievances,” real or feigned). I briefly touched upon this phenomenon for the Chronicle of Higher Education; a much shorter version (the MERIA essay is 13 pages long) can be read here.