Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, AKA, the Pragmatist
Much has been made of former al-Qaeda leader Sayyid Imam al-Sharif’s criticism of al-Qaeda. As is evident to anyone who closely examines his words, however, the man is not disavowing jihad or Islam’s imperative to subjugate the world, but rather assessing al-Qaeda’s tactics vis-a-vis infidels, and finding them wanting. Even the brief excerpts quoted below from his much touted book demonstrate as much. Moreover, getting caught up in what one man has to say either for or against al-Qaeda completely overlooks the fact that, the worldview that motivates al-Qaeda — not to mention an undetermined percentage of the Islamic world — does not begin or end with Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, or Sayyid Imam al-Sharif.
“One of the Men Who Created Al Qaeda Rips Into Usama bin Laden,” by Bret Baier for Fox News, February 24:
One of the founders of Al Qaeda has written a book repudiating terrorism and railing against Usama bin Laden and deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, better known as Doctor Fadl, led an Islamist insurgency in Egypt in the 1990s. Now he writes that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were both immoral and counterproductive: “Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours?“
Notice, he is not condemning the strikes of 9/11 in and of themselves, but rather that they produced negative repercussions for the Muslim world (which is bad). He is not condemning the destruction of one infidel building or person per se, but rather that doing so may lead to the destruction of Muslim countries and thousands of their inhabitants (which is bad). As for the report’s assertion that he condemns 9/11 as “immoral,” this excerpt appears to be motivated by pragmatism, not “morality.”
Fadl says the murder of innocent people goes against Islam: “Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers.”
Why doesn’t he bemoan the fact that American blood shed on 9/11 is also “the responsibility of of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers”? In fact, even though this report maintains that al-Sharif says “the murder of innocent people goes against Islam,” the quote excerpted as demonstrative of this makes mention only of Muslim innocents — which is to be expected since only the latter are truly “innocent.” (The Muslim prophet himself seems to have concurred: when Muslims questioned the use of catapults during Muhammad’s siege of the infidel city of Ta’if, citing that women and children might also be struck, the prophet coolly asserted,”They [innocent women and children] are from among them [reprobate infidels whose blood is halal, or permitted].”