Many, many people have sent me this, some as a response to my request here: “If anyone does come across an attempt, or the appearance of an attempt, to refute Nidal Hasan’s Koranic exegesis, please send it to me at director[at]jihadwatch.org, and I will happily feature and discuss it here.” But I haven’t had time to look at it closely until now, and when I did, I was surprised — and yet in a deeper sense not surprised at all — to find that there was nothing here, just another example of the much ado about nothing that generally characterizes Western media coverage of any slight shadow of a hint of disagreement with the jihad doctrine and Islamic supremacism.
“New jihad code threatens al Qaeda,” by Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank for CNN, November 10 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — From within Libya’s most secure jail a new challenge to al Qaeda is emerging.
Leaders of one of the world’s most effective jihadist organizations, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), have written a new “code” for jihad. The LIFG says it now views the armed struggle it waged against Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime for two decades as illegal under Islamic law.
The new code, a 417-page religious document entitled “Corrective Studies” is the result of more than two years of intense and secret talks between the leaders of the LIFG and Libyan security officials.
The code’s most direct challenge to al Qaeda is this: “Jihad has ethics and morals because it is for God. That means it is forbidden to kill women, children, elderly people, priests, messengers, traders and the like. Betrayal is prohibited and it is vital to keep promises and treat prisoners of war in a good way. Standing by those ethics is what distinguishes Muslims’ jihad from the wars of other nations.” […]
But this is not some new discovery or new doctrine. Nor is it something of which Al-Qaeda is unaware. All these principles come from statements of Muhammad in ahadith that Muslims regard as authentic, and they are part of Islamic law regarding jihad. Is Al-Qaeda unaware of these stipulations? No. In fact, this controversy has been raging within the Islamic world for several years (at least). The late Zarqawi argued in a closely argued theological treatise in 2005 that “the goal must be pursued even if the means to accomplish it affect both the intended active fighters and unintended passive ones such as women, children and any other passive category specified by our jurisprudence.” He cites several Islamic scholars to justify jihad attacks against unbelievers even when those unbelievers are using Muslims as a shield, if “there is no other way of reaching, separating, and killing the Kuffar.”
Zarqawi was responding to arguments identical to the one put forth here. I am not saying Zarqawi was right and the Libyans are wrong — but it cannot truthfully be maintained that this is some kind of new idea or new rebuke to the jihad doctrine.
While the code states that jihad is permissible if Muslim lands are invaded — citing the cases of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine — the guidelines it sets down for when and how jihad should be fought, and its insistence that civilians should not be targeted are a clear rebuke to the goals and tactics of bin Laden’s terrorist network….
The idea that jihad is permissible if Muslim lands are invaded is likewise a bit of classic Islamic theology — that jihad becomes fard ayn, incumbent upon every believer to aid in any way possible — if Infidels invade a Muslim land.
When Saif al Islam al Gadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, decided he wanted to open a dialogue with the LIFG he needed to convince them he was genuine so he sought out a former LIFG commander Noman Benotman, who was living in London.
The younger Gadhafi convinced Benotman he would free LIFG members from jail if they renounced their long war with the regime. He promised Benotman immunity from prosecution and in January 2007 flew him back to Libya to meet with the LIFG leaders in the high-security Abu Salim jail.
Benotman and the other leaders in the LIFG had fought together in Afghanistan in the early 1990s helping the Afghan Mujahedeen overthrow the Soviet-backed government in Kabul. During those years they’d come to know bin Laden and many other of al Qaeda leaders.
Although they’d been brothers in arms with bin Laden, the LIFG never merged its operations with al Qaeda due to differences in approach. In particular the Libyan group never endorsed bin Laden’s global jihad, preferring to concentrate their attention on overthrowing the Gadhafi regime and replacing it with an Islamic state. From the mid-1990s the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s Afghan-trained fighters waged a fierce insurgency against the Libyan regime. […]
In late 2007 as Benotman, the LIFG leadership and Libya’s security officials debated the way forward al Qaeda tried to derail the peace process. Bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al Zawahiri issued a statement declaring the LIFG had joined al Qaeda.
Benotman fired back an open letter to Zawahiri questioning his credibility. “I questioned their idea of jihad … directly you know. This is crazy, it is not Islamic and it’s against the Sunni understanding of Islam,” Benotman told CNN. Zawahiri chose not to respond. As late as this August Zawahiri’s video statements included praise of LIFG leaders, in what may have been a desperate attempt to head off the condemnation he could see coming….