A couple days ago I posted that people need to stop calling Egypt’s Islamic Group (Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya) a terrorist group because 1) they have not used terrorism since 1997 and 2) they clearly do not aim to overthrow the Government.
By coincidence, IslamOnline just posted a remarkable interview with one of the group’s leaders, Najah Ibrahim, who answered questions from readers around the region. Most were related to the group’s new (and sole) emphasis on Dawa (preaching).
He did mention how 12k of IG’s prisoners and 1k of Jihad’s have been released from jail. In my analysis, IJ is making the same shift away from violence and towards Dawa. However, for IJ its going to take them much longer because their conflict was always more ideological and because of this they have a harder times rationalizing to themselves the jump.
The most remarkable question came from a guy in Qatar, challenging IG’s insistence on an anti-violence platform:
paraphrasing- “With all due respect to the movement’s efforts to benefit the society by distancing yourself from internal conflict with the state- what about when its a question of foreign countries (the US) occupying our countries- don’t we have the right to adopt the idea of Jihad to deal with them?”
Ibrahim acknowledges that Jihad is an absolute religious right. ‘We all love Jihad in the path of God. And we spent many years at this and fought many battles.” But Jihad has conditions that need to be met. One can’t just go and fight whenever they feel like it. It has to be done at the right place and at the right time.
Basically, Ibrahim is basically saying recklessly fought Jihad is something that must be avoided because it only harms the society and this is what Islamic Group now admits that it did, especially between 1988 and 1997. This is exactly what Sayyid Imam says in his anti-violence initiative. Its great that they say this, but alot of people would disagree with their interpretation. For some pissed off 18 or 19 year old who might be interested in joining the Resistance in Iraq, etc, this sounds like a pretty lame arguement.
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