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Synopsis

This bilingual Arabic-English text was originally written for Muslim readership, but is important for anyone with an interest in current affairs to understand. “The declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad on Jews and Crusaders” of February 23rd 1998 may yet turn out to have been a dangerous and cynical hoax. However, if we assume that it is genuine, then we have to recognise that the leadership of Al-Qaeda has claimed that it is an absolute duty on each and every Muslim to kill, and steal from, Americans and their allies, be they civilian or military, whenever and wherever it is possible to do so. The authors of the Declaration expected their readers to accept their authority and to pledge allegiance to them. However, there is much disagreement amongst Muslims as to whether what the fatwa states is Sharia-compliant or not, with the overwhelming majority rejecting it as violent extremism. Fortunately, the authors of the Declaration itself mention the titles of four classical works that they relied on. So, in order to help you reach your own informed opinion on whether to accept the fatwa as orthodox Islamic teaching, or else to reject it as the work of dangerous and misguided extremists, this guide includes relevant, often lengthy, passages in Arabic and English from the scholars referred to in the Declaration. In addition, questions are provided to stimulate critical understanding and constructive debate.

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