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Naji: The Islamist's New Qutb?

Writing in today's New York Post, Amir Taheri writes of Sheikh Abu-Bakr Naji's new book, "Governance in the Wilderness." It is one of today's most important reads.

No one should feel safe without submitting to Islam, and those who refuse to submit must pay a high price. The Islamist movement must aim to turn the world into a series of "wildernesses" where only those under jihadi rule enjoy security.

These are some of the ideas developed by al Qaeda's chief theoretician, Sheik Abu-Bakar Naji, in his new book "Governance in the Wilderness" (Edarat al-Wahsh).

Middle East analysts think that the book may indicate a major change of strategy by the disparate groups that use al Qaeda as a brand name.

The Saudi police seized copies of the book last week as they arrested 700 alleged terrorists in overnight raids.

Naji's book, written in pseudo-literary Arabic, is meant as a manifesto for jihad. He divides the jihadi movement into five circles - ranging from Sunni Salafi (traditionalist) Muslims (who, though not personally violent, are prepared to give moral and material support to militants) to Islamist groups with national rather than pan-Islamist agendas (such as the Palestinian Hamas and the Filipino Moro Liberation Front).

All five circles are at an impasse, says Naji. Some accept the status quo while hoping to reform it. Others have tried to set up governments in a world dominated by "infidel" powers, and have been forced to abandon Islamic values. Still others failed because they didn't realize that the only way to win is through total war in which no one feels safe.

Naji claims that the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Islamic Caliphate in 1924 marked the start of "the most dangerous phase in history." Those events put all Arab countries, the heartland of Islam, under domination by the "infidel"- who later continued to rule via native proxies.

In Naji's eyes, it is impossible to create a proper Islamic state in a single country in a world dominated by "Crusaders." He cites as example the Taliban - which, although a proper Islamic regime, didn't survive "infidel" attacks and opposition by Afghan elements.

Instead, he says, the Islamic movement must be global - fighting everywhere, all the time, and on all fronts.

Read it all.

2 Comments

This is not a new book. It was translated by William McCants 2 years ago. http://www.wcfia.harvard.edu/olin/images/Management%20of%20Savagery%20-%2005-23-2006.pdf

Thank you, Mac. I thought they were one and the same after writing this and now recognize from the link.

Governance in the Wilderness = Management of Savagery

Much appreciated. Had been looking for it.