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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

a gift for 'Eid Al-Fitr

This ten-minute video , titled "Rise Up,"

was posted on Islamist websites on October 22, 2006, and was described as "a gift for 'Eid Al-Fitr." Produced by an individual identified as "Abu Osama" (whose real identity is unknown), it calls on the Muslims to wage jihad against the "Crusaders." A caption in the film explains that Abu Osama produced the film on the occasion of the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq.

The film begins with footage of horsemen under the caption: "O ye who believe! What is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter" (Koran 9:38).

Next, several Al-Qaeda leaders and commanders, including bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, Al-Zarqawi and a number of unidentified young men (who may be field commanders or intended suicide bombers) call upon the Muslims to join the jihad. The following are excerpts:

Al-Zawahiri says: "I urge you, in [the name of] the duty of jihad, which is incumbent upon every Muslim, to hurry and pursue martyrdom in order to kill the Crusaders and the Zionists." An armed individual calls: "[Oh] defenders of the faith, hurry and prepare [for jihad], this is no time for [internal] disagreement." Another individual, sitting under a banner that reads, "Expel the polytheists from the Arabian Peninsula," asks: "Are there no men in this nation?" and a masked individual declares: "Jihad is ancient, and the fate of [all] infidel leaders is one and the same: to be slaughtered."

The video then shows a scene in which a man is beheaded. This is followed by another beheading, even more grisly, in which the severed head is waved in the air. (Both scenes, and another graphic scene, have been omitted from the version of the film posted here, but are available upon request).

The film ends with a caption congratulating the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq on the occasion of the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq. It also conveys greetings for 'Eid Al-Fitr, and expresses hope for the unification of all the jihad fighters in Iraq.

Abu Basir Al-Turtusi Calls on Tunisians to Revolt Against Their Regime

On October 22, 2006, an Islamic website posted a response by Abu Basir Al-Turtusi [1] to the Tunisian government's recent decision to enforce the law [2] prohibiting women from wearing the veil (hijab) in the public sphere. In his response Abu Basir Al-Turtusi describes the battle of Tunisian President Zin Al-'Abidin Bin 'Ali against the hijab as more malicious than the war waged against the veil by some Western leaders. "You are not [like the real] Zin Al-'Abidin," [3] declares Al-Turtusi in this message. "[A real] Zin Al-'Abidin… would not battle Islam and Muslims…would not fill his prisons with Muslims whose only crime is that they declare that Allah is their Master… Zin Al-'Abidin would not combat Muslim women… neither would he force them to remove their hijab…"

Abu Basir concludes his message by addressing the Tunisian people directly: "You should know that this tyrant… has no authority over you, and [therefore] you should neither listen to him nor obey him… [Instead,] you should all… rebel against this infidel and apostate tyrant and… [against] his regime…"

Abu Qatada Al-Falastini: The Pursuit of Religious Knowledge is More Important Than Jihad

On October 22, 2006, an Islamist website posted an old fatwa by the U.K.-based Muslim scholar Abu Qatada Al-Falastini, a key Al-Qaeda operative currently in prison. The fatwa states that "the pursuit of [religious] knowledge (talab al-'ilm) is more important than [waging] jihad in the path of Allah…" and that "the state of [moral] decay [among Muslims today] stems from the fact that the mujahideen and other Muslims lack [sufficient religious] knowledge."

The posting sparked a fierce debate among the forum members. Some rejected this opinion outright, citing texts from the Koran and from Islamic tradition to indicate the supremacy of jihad, while others accepted it. Among those who endorsed the fatwa, some argued that it prefers the pursuit of knowledge over jihad only when a Muslim's natural inclination is more towards study than towards fighting. Others speculated that Abu Qatada recommends the pursuit of knowledge in place of jihad only for Muslims who cannot participate in jihad for legitimate reasons, such as being geographically distanced from the battlefield.

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