Dr Fadl Mania? UPDATED

Can someone please explain the sudden interest in Dr Fadl  (aka Sayyid Imam)?  In just the last 4 days, The_Telegraph, Haaretz, and Middle_East_Times have all published news articles on Fadl’s latest book, which came out — in November.   Am I missing something here?   The only coverage I’ve seen on Fadl (anywhere) during the last few months was  at ForeignPolicy.com by  Marc_Lynch who, like almost every Arab commentator,  does not consider Fadl all that important. 

Some things to consider regarding Sayyim Imam’s importance:

1)  The Tanzim Al-Jihad group which both Zawahiri and Fadl headed at different points can be thought of as an extremely violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.  It was never Salafi.  Its questionable whether Zawahiri  can be described as Salafi today but there’s no doubt about Fadl.  Al-Qaeda’s thinkers are mostly pure Salafis, so when Fadl, a non-Salafi, starts publishing books criticizing them, they laugh at him.  Think of it this way — how much would the Head of the Protestant Church of England care about criticisms from the Catholic Bishop of Chicago?   

2)  Fadl was never part of Al-Qaeda.  All three of the above articles say he was but this is simply wrong.  Al-Qaeda was founded in February 1998.  Fadl quit the Jihad group around 1994 and hasn’t been a part of any group since that point.  So his criticisms are not as an insider but as someone who was never part of the movement in the first place.

UPDATE:  A reader alerts us to the likely cause of this recent burst of Fadl mania:  MEMRI’s summaryof  Dr. Fadl’s book which was released yesterday.

7 Responses

  1. > Can someone explain the sudden interest in Dr Fadl (aka Sayyid Imam)?

    It might have something to do with MEMRI very recently publishing a synopsis of Fadl’s second book. Jihadica carried a multi-part analysis some months back, as you know — starting at:


  2. Don’t forget Lawrence Wright’s New Yorker piece.

  3. yeah but Wright’s piece came out in May 2008.

    For some reason 3 different papers in the last 4 days have printed NEWS articles on the publication of his November book. What explains the four month gap? As hipbone pointed out, the most logical explanation is MEMRI’s translation of the book which was published on Feb 23.

  4. But the Telegraph piece, from where I think the others took their lead, came out on February 20th, three days before the MEMRI translation. My guess is that it’s something the Telegraph correspondent had stored up for a while and it only happened to get into the paper last week, then others took their cue from that. But I’m looking into it…

  5. hmmm this is very interesting. its a news story in itself why there is sudden interest in a book that was publised 4 months ago

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