Qutbism: An Ideology of



From Parameters,  Spring 2007, pp. 85-98.

The recently published National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism (NMSP-WOT) is to be commended for identifying “ideology” as al Qaeda’s center of gravity.1 The identification of an ideology as the center of gravity rather than an individual or group is a significant shift from a “capture and kill” philosophy to a strategy focused on defeating the root cause of Islamic terrorism. Accordingly, the plan’s principal focus is on attacking and countering an ideology that fuels Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately, the NMSP-WOT fails to identify the ideology or suggest ways to counter it. The plan merely describes the ideology as “extremist.” This description contributes little to the public’s understanding of the threat or to the capabilities of the strategist who ultimately must attack and defeat it. The intent of this article is to identify the ideology of the Islamic terrorists and recommend how to successfully counter it.

Sun Tzu wisely said, “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.”2 Our success in the War on Terrorism depends on knowing who the enemy is and understanding his ideology. While characterizing and labeling an enemy may serve such a purpose, it is only useful if the labels are clearly defined and understood. Otherwise, overly broad characterizations obscure our ability to truly “know the enemy,” they diffuse efforts, and place potential allies and neutrals in the enemy’s camp. Unfortunately, the War on Terrorism’s use of labels contributes a great deal to the misunderstandings associated with the latter. The fact is, five years after 9/11 the NMSP-WOT provides little specific guidance, other than labeling the enemy as extremist.3 This inability to focus on the specific threat and its supporting philosophy reflects our own rigid adherence to political correctness and is being exploited by militant Islamists portraying these overly broad descriptions


as a war against Islam. As David F. Forte states “We must not fail . . . to distinguish between the homicidal revolutionaries like bin Laden and mainstream Muslim believers.”4

Knowing the enemy requires an understanding of militant Islam’s ideology and recognizing that it is the militants’ “center of gravity.”5 Their extremist ideology has been called many things, “Militant Islam,” “Salafism,” “Islamism,” “Wahhabism,” “Qutbism,” “Jihadism,” and even “Islam.”6 Since most ideologies reflect the integration of various related concepts, theories, and aims that have evolved over time into a broader body of thought, no label is entirely perfect and all are subject to critique. However, it appears that President Bush has ended the debate and accepted “Islamic-Fascism” as the ideological label.7 While Islamic-Fascism immediately conjures up images of an evil to be resisted and is therefore useful as a public relations term, intellectually it does little for the serious students of Islam or the strategic planners charged with its defeat.

So what is this ideology we label Islamic-Fascism? What are its sources, theories, aims, and who are its proponents? The answers to many of these questions can be found in a collection of violent Islamic thought called Qutbism.8 Qutbism refers to the writings of Sayyid Qutb and other Islamic theoreticians, e.g., Abul Ala Maududi and Hassan al Banna, that provide the intellectual rationale underpinning Islamic-Fascism. Qutbism is not a structured body of thought from any single person (despite its name), source, time, or sect; rather it is a fusion of puritanical and intolerant Islamic orientations that include elements from both the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam that have been combined with broader Islamist goals and methodologies. Qutbism integrates the Islamist teachings of Maududi and al Banna with the arguments of Sayyid Qutb to justify armed jihad in the advance of Islam, and other violent methods utilized by twentieth century militants. Qutbism advocates violence and justifies terrorism against non-Muslims and apostates in an effort to bring about the reign of God. Others, i.e., Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Abdullah Azzam, and Osama bin Laden built terrorist organizations based on the principles of Qutbism and turned the ideology of Islamic-Fascism into a global action plan.


The Foundation: Puritan Islam

Qutbism is structured on a common foundation of puritan Islamist orientations such as Wahabbi, Salafi, and Deobandi.9 These orientations share several traits and beliefs:
   l A belief that Muslims have deviated from true Islam and must return to “pure Islam” as originally practiced during the time of the Prophet.
   l The path to “pure Islam” is only through a literal and strict interpretation of the Quran and Hadith, along with implementation of the Prophet’s commands.
   l Muslims should individually interpret the original sources without being slavishly bound to the interpretations of Islamic scholars.
   l That any interpretation of the Quran from a historical, contextual perspective is a corruption, and that the majority of Islamic history and the classical jurisprudential tradition is mere sophistry.

The Architects: Islamist Theoreticians

While puritan Islamic orientations set the foundation, it was Islamist theoreticians who built Qutbism’s intellectual framework. One of the founding fathers of modern Islamist thought is Abul Ala Maududi (1903-1979), a Deobandi alumni.14 Maududi believed the Muslim community’s decline resulted from practicing a corrupted form of Islam contaminated by non-Islamic ideas and culture. Maududi reminded Muslims that Islam is more than a religion; it is a complete social system that guides and controls every aspect of life including government.15 He believed tolerance of non-Muslim rule and non-Islamic concepts and systems was an insult to God. Therefore, the only way Muslims might practice pure Islam and assume their rightful place in the world is through the establishment of Islamic states, where Islam rules independent of non-Islamic influences. These Islamic states would eventually spread Islam across the globe and establish God’s reign. Maududi argued the only practical way to accomplish Islamic rule is through jihad.

Maududi explained his concepts in Jihad in Islam.

In reality Islam is a militant ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals. “Muslim” is the title of that International Militant Party organized by Islam to carry into effect its militant programme. And “Jihad” refers to that militant struggle and utmost exertion which the Islamic Party brings into play to achieve this objective.


Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it.

It must be evident to you from this discussion that the objective of Islamic “Jihad” is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of State rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single State or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution.16

Maududi’s Jihad in Islam articulated the goals of an evolving Islamist ideology by reiterating the strategic objective of global Islamic rule and designating jihad as the way to achieve it. Thinkers like Hassan al Banna, in Jihad, Muhammad Adb al Salam Faraj, The Neglected Duty, and Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Quran and Milestones espoused similar ideas and attempted to put them into practice.17

Hassan al Banna (1905-1949), founder of the al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood), believed, like Maududi, that a revival of “pure Islam” was the antidote to Western domination and a cure for the malady infecting the Muslim world.18 A charismatic leader and organizer, al Banna implemented the Islamist vision by organizing the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 with the objective of establishing government rule on the basis of Islamic values.19 His approach was gradualist rather than revolutionary. By providing basic services to the community including schools, mosques, and factories he sought popular support for Islamist goals through persuasion.20 However, despite this, al Banna never articulated a practical method for taking power.21 Additionally, al Banna’s domineering personality and micro-managerial leadership style created a fragile organization that fragmented following his death in 1949.

Hassan al Banna’s lasting legacy was reminding Muslims that the Quran says jihad against un-believers is an obligation of all Muslims. He also argued that jihad was not just the defense of Muslim lands but a means “to safeguard the mission of spreading Islam.”22 The idea of jihad to spread Islam and to establish the Islamic state was then expanded by his contemporary Sayyid Qutb.

Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) is regarded by some as the founding father and leading theoretician of the contemporary extremist movement.23 According to William McCants of the US Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center, our jihadi enemies “cite Sayyid Qutb repeatedly and consider themselves his intellectual descendants.”24 Qutb became one of the leading spokesmen and thinkers of the Muslim Brotherhood, persuasively advocating the use of violence to establish Islamic rule and like Maududi inspired thousands to take up the cause of “establishing God’s rule on earth.”25 Unlike al Banna who


tried to build an Islamic society from the bottom up, Qutb changed the strategy by developing a top-down approach that focused on removing non-Islamic rulers and governments.

Qutb argued that the entire world, including the Muslim, was in a state of jahiliyah, or ignorance where man’s way had replaced God’s way.26 According to Qutb, since jahiliyah and Islam cannot co-exist, offensive jihad was necessary to destroy jahiliyah society and bring the entire world to Islam.27 Until jahiliyah is defeated, all true Muslims have a personal obligation to wage offensive jihad. When Qutb added offensive jihad to the widely accepted concept of defensive jihad, Qutb broke with mainstream Islam and ridiculed Muslim scholars:

Those who say that Islamic Jihad was merely for the defense of the “home land of Islam” diminish the greatness of the Islamic way of life and consider it less important [than] their “homeland.” . . . However, [Islamic community] defense is not the ultimate objective of the Islamic movement of jihad but it is a mean of establishing the Divine authority within it so that it becomes the headquarters for the movement of Islam, which is then to be carried throughout the earth to the whole of mankind . . . .28

Thus offensive jihad against non-Muslims in the cause of spreading Islam and the rule of God was not only justified, it was glorious.

In addition to offensive jihad Sayyid Qutb used the Islamic concept of “takfir” or excommunication of apostates.29 Declaring someone takfir provided a legal loophole around the prohibition of killing another Muslim and in fact made it a religious obligation to execute the apostate. The obvious use of this concept was to declare secular rulers, officials or organizations, or any Muslims that opposed the Islamist agenda a takfir thereby justifying assassinations and attacks against them. Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was later convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center attack, invoked Qutb’s takfirist writings during his trial for the assassination of President Anwar Sadat.30 The takfir concept along with “offensive jihad” became a blank check for any Islamic extremist to justify attacks against anyone.

Fawaz A. Gerges, who claims to have interviewed Islamic terrorists in several countries, states “Qutb showed them the way forward and . . . they referred to [him] as a shadhid, or martyr.” He describes how “jihadis look up to Qutb as a founding spiritual father, if not the mufti, or theoretician of their contemporary movement.”31 Ayman al-Zawahiri credits Qutb’s execution in 1966 for lighting the jihadist fire. Al-Zawahiri claims Qutb dramatically altered the direction of the Islamist movement by forcefully driving the idea of “the urgent need to attack the near enemy” (rulers and secular governments in Muslim countries).32


Qutb’s theory of unrestricted jihad “. . . against every obstacle that comes into the way of worshiping God and the implementation of the divine authority on earth . . .” is the intellectual basis behind the exhortations of Abdullah Azzam and Ayman al-Zawahiri and ultimately the establishment of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.33

The Contractors

Qutb’s disciples, Abdullah Azzam and Ayman al-Zawahiri, introduced Osama bin Laden to Qutb’s ideology. Azzam first met bin Laden when he lectured at King Adbul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where bin Laden was studying under Mohammad Qutb, Sayyid’s brother.34 In response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Azzam left Saudi Arabia and established the Maktab al-Khadamat or “Services Offices” in Pakistan to organize, train, and support international mujahideen fighting in Afghanistan. Bin Laden joined Azzam in 1984 and supported the mujahideen effort through his Bait ul-Ansar or “House of Helpers.” Azzam’s mentorship provided the young bin Laden the practical experience to develop the logistical and organizational skills necessary for recruiting, training, and funding a jihadi network with global reach. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Azzam attempted to shift the jihadi effort to Palestine. This shift created a rift with bin Laden—who was under the ideological mentorship of Ayman al-Zawahiri—over the direction of the organization. Conveniently for bin Laden, Azzam was killed in Peshawar by assassins in November 1989 and bin Laden assumed full control of the Maktab.35

Ayman al-Zawahiri, a prolific writer on Qutb’s ideas, met Osama bin Laden during the Afghan war. Their close relationship resulted in the 1989 merger of the Maktab and Egyptian Jihad that formed al Qaeda. Al-Zawahiri served as the organization’s ideologist while bin Laden was the organizer and leader.36 Al-Zawahiri authored al Qaeda’s manifesto Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner which clearly links the Islamist’s goal with Qutb’s strategy of unrestricted jihad.37 Significantly, it explains al Qaeda’s rational for attacking the “far enemy” (the US, Israel, and other non-Muslim powers) first.38

The “far enemy first” strategy was revolutionary as it overthrew the accepted “near enemy strategy” of al Banna, Qutb, Azzam, and Faraj.39 This shift was the result of careful strategic decisionmaking by al-Zawahiri and bin Laden. It is only natural to assume that the two compared the failures of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, Egyptian Jihad, and other organizations to prevail over the “near enemy,” to the successes of the Afghan mujahideen in their victory over the Soviets. They reasonably concluded that the “far enemy” strategy was the wiser course of action.40


   l Advantages of Jihad against the infidel “far enemy.”

     w Unifies and rallies international Muslim support.
     w Allows greater sanctuary in supportive states.
     w Is easier to portray as the defense of Islam and a religious obligation.
     w Attacks the source of power behind “apostate regimes.”
     w Is easier because infidel countermeasures are limited and less effective.

   l Disadvantages of Jihad against the “near enemy.”

     w Splits Muslims and localizes support.
     w Subjects the organization to more effective state security organs.
     w Geography and political factors limit internal sanctuary.
     w Local politics versus religious issues confuse the members and the people, weakening their resolve.
     w Western support to apostate regimes not affected.

For these reasons al Qaeda in the 1990s focused its efforts on the “far enemy” and the United States in particular. Zawahiri and bin Laden pushed a shift from small isolated extremists attacking local apostate regimes to clear-cut and unified jihad against infidels. The intent was not so much as to destroy the West, but rather to unify Muslim masses behind al Qaeda’s goals.41 The intent of progressively spectacular attacks against US and Western interests was to drive the United States from the Middle East, thus weakening apostate Muslim regimes and increasing al Qaeda’s prestige. They intended the attacks of 9/11 to provoke an inevitable infidel retaliation that would rally ordinary Muslims to global jihad in defense of Islam. Al-Zawahiri and bin Laden thought that by changing the target of the Qutbist strategy, they could turn the struggle into a war between Islam and the West. Naturally, pro-western secular regimes in Muslim lands would be the first casualties of this war. As these regimes fell they would be replaced by Islamic rule; thus setting the initial stage for further Islamic conquests.

Osama bin Laden’s chief contribution to Qutbism may be his management and organizational skills. The Muslim Brotherhood’s collapse after al Banna’s death demonstrated the fragility of hierarchical organizations dependent on a single leader. It can be assumed that bin Laden as a business management student and protégé of Azzam learned from al Banna’s mistakes and designed al Qaeda as a networked organization of franchises rather than a conventional hierarchical organization. His organizational design facilitated the rapid globalization of Qutbism and distribution of resources, while building durability and protective firewalls between cells.

Whether al Qaeda’s leadership is the central planning and controlling hub or only the ideological center of loosely affiliated groups is debat-


able.42 What is clear is that al Qaeda cells share Qutbist ideology and goals. This is why it is essential that the National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism correctly identifies ideology, not the leadership or organization of a particular group, as the center of gravity. The question then becomes how best to attack it.

Attacking the Center of Gravity

There are five “lines of operations” to be utilized in the attack on Qutbism, the ideological center of gravity for the Islamic-Fascist movement. Four of these lines are entirely the responsibility of the Muslim world: The message, the messenger(s), the ideology’s supporting institutions, and the institutions of the counter-ideology. A fifth line lies in both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds and is the defense of the universally accepted values, norms, and principles of modern civilization. Any successful strategy for the War on Terrorism requires synchronized efforts along all five lines to pressure and eventually collapse the ideological center of gravity. In theory this would strip al Qaeda and its affiliates of their source of power and bring victory in the war against the jihadi.

First Line of Operation: Attack the Message

The first and most important line of operation is attacking the Qutbist message. While the West has a supporting role, it is ultimately the responsibility of the Islamic world to lead this effort.43 Obviously, only moderate Islam can undermine Qutbism’s theological foundations. The most credible weapons in this attack are the voices of mainstream Muslims and scholars. Abdal-Hakim Murad, a British Muslim, explains:

Certainly, neither bin-Laden nor his principal associate, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are graduates of Islamic universities. And so their proclamations ignore 14 centuries of Muslim scholarship, and instead take the form of lists of anti-American grievances and of Koranic quotations referring to early Muslim wars against Arab idolaters. These are followed by the conclusion that all Americans, civilian and military, are to be wiped off the face of the Earth. All this amounts to an odd and extreme violation of the normal methods of Islamic scholarship. Had the authors of such fatwas followed the norms of their religion, they would have had to acknowledge that no school of mainstream Islam allows the targeting of civilians. An insurrectionist who kills non-combatants is guilty of baghy, “armed aggression,” a capital offense in Islamic law.44

Moderate Islam’s faithful should be given the encouragement and tools required to make their voices heard, so they might direct fellow Muslims who have let anger mislead them to a more radical ideology.


One method of rescuing the jihadi from Qutbism is “hujjat” or proof. Yemeni Judge Hamoud Al-Hitar believes that terrorism has an intellectual base and it can be defeated intellectually.45 He uses hujjat in theological dialogues that challenge and then correct the wayward beliefs of the jihadi. Hitar believes that moderate Islam can rescue the jihadi whom he believes are ordinary people that have been led astray by al Qaeda propaganda. His successful record of rehabilitation has piqued the interest of several countries that see his methodology as a powerful anti-terrorism technique.46

Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, in response to the 2003 Casablanca bombings, took a number of steps to attack the extremist’s message and recapture a large segment of Moroccan society (disillusioned youth) that had fallen under the influence of radical imams. He established special training programs for imams and a unique program to train female religious guides. The King’s establishment of the Council of Religious Scholars, a group responsible for issuing religious edicts, was well received by Muslims.47

Respected Islamic leaders increasingly are speaking out against Islamic-Fascism. Sheikh-ul-Islam, Talghat Tajuddin, the Supreme Mufti of the Commonwealth of Independent States, recently challenged all Muslims to resist extremism and defend Islam:

Violent, extremist Islamists invoke on their own head the true jihad. Challenging all the peoples of the Earth, and first of all mainstream Islam, professed by the overwhelming majority of the Islamic world, these forces put themselves in opposition to Islam. And reacting against them is a religious, moral, social, and political duty of each Muslim.48

Attacking the message also requires a paradigm shift for moderate Muslim spokesmen. Defending Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance with the subliminal objective of blunting Western criticism of Islamic extremism does little to help in defeating the terrorist or saving Islam. These spokesmen need to shift to the offensive, targeting their rhetoric and philosophy against their own disillusioned people in an effort to expose Islamic-Fascism for the evil it is. This is probably the only way they will extract themselves and their followers


from the catastrophic plague infecting Muslim culture and threatening world peace. Failure to actively pursue such a strategy might suggest that the problem is not with extremism but with the basic tenets of Islam.

Second Line of Operation: Attack the Messenger

Creditability of a message relies not only on logic and reasoning but also on the credentials of the messenger. Many of Qutbism’s proponents are individuals with questionable religious credentials, yet they claim religious authority. These misrepresentations can be their achilles heel and the means to discredit them and their message. With the exception of Abul Ala Maududi and Abdullah Azzam, none of Qutbism’s main theoreticians trained at Islam’s recognized centers of learning. Although a devout Muslim, Hassan al Banna was a teacher and community activist. Sayyid Qutb was a literary critic. Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj was an electrician. Ayman al-Zawahiri is a physician. Osama bin Laden trained to be a businessman. As Muslims, al Banna, Qutb, Faraj, al-Zawahiri, and bin Laden may have the right to claim a singular understanding of God’s will, the intent of the Prophet, and how Muslims should live. However, the more formally and rigorously trained, moderate Islamic scholars exercising the collective wisdom of 14 centuries of Islamic theology should be able to challenge and refute their extreme Qutbism positions.

Third and Fourth Lines of Operation: Attack Islamic-Fascism’s Supporting Institutions and Support Mainstream Islamic Institutions

The third and fourth lines of operation are mirror images, one being the negative image of a positive. Moderate Islam and Islamic-Fascism essentially have the same institutional support structures which fall into three categories; educational, financial, and informational. Educational institutions include schools, universities, mosques, and centers. Funding for these institutions include private donations, charities, endowments, and state sponsorship. Informational institutions include centers, dedicated media, independent media, state controlled media, and organizational outreach. The tactic that moderate Muslims and those fighting against extremism should use is to restrict and close those institutions advocating Qutbism while promoting others that offer positive alternatives. Actions along these two lines complement one another and should be synchronized to obtain the most effective synergistic results.

Societies not only have the right to self-defense, but an obligation to protect themselves against Islamic-Fascism’s use of unrestricted jihad. A claim of religious obligation or freedom does not supplant the right to self-defense.


Simply put, the murder of non-Muslims cannot be protected under the guise of Islamic religious or cultural freedom. Therefore, any religious or secular institution supporting Qutbism should be restricted or closed. There are recognized governmental and religious authorities with the ability to enact the appropriate legislation that would facilitate restrictions on or the closing of Qutbist institutions. Conversely, institutions that provide alternatives to Qutbism or support moderate Islam need to be recognized and supported. The measures taken by the King of Morocco and others are clear examples of what can be done. Only by enabling advocates and disciples of moderate Islam can we expect to counter the siren-call of Qutbism and its associated terrorism.

Fifth Line of Operation: Inoculation

While the Muslim world wrestles with the future of Islam the rest of the world must inoculate itself against the ideology of Islamic-Fascism. Inoculation not only enables continued resistance to the spread of Islamic-Fascism but sets the stage for its eventual elimination. Inoculation comes in two ways. The first is the answer to the wartime question, what are we fighting against. The second form of inoculation answers the question, what are we fighting for. The answer to these two questions serves to immunize the societal body against the corrupting message of Islamic-Fascism. It has the associated benefit of strengthening society to fight for the elimination of such a message or philosophy.

Inoculation requires information campaigns and the education of individuals regarding the anti-human rights and religiously intolerant agenda of the Qutbists. The most effective weapon we might utilize in this campaign is the Qutbists’ own words and writings. Exposing the greater society to writings promoting world conquest, the murder of non-Muslims, and total submission to a particular view of what the world should be would go a long way in alerting nations to the threat they need to be prepared to resist.

The second half of the inoculation explains to the various societies what they must protect and promote. Towards this end an information campaign is required in an effort to promote a vigorous defense of what many nations term “universally accepted values.” These universal values are perhaps best summarized in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United States Bill of Rights. Treaties, conventions, constitutions, courts, and tradition have further defined these values, the result being an established and widely accepted body of norms and goals for civilized behavior. The objective in this part of the inoculation is to promote the superiority of values and principles so that societies worldwide might enthusiastically defend them against the threat posed by the Islamic-Fascists.



The 9/11 hijackers and London’s 7/7 bombers were not poor, uneducated, and hopeless men without futures. They had futures, but were seduced by an extremist ideology disguised as an obligation to God. The National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism correctly identifies ideology as the center of gravity. It recognizes that this is a war of ideas between competing social and religious systems, one offering the promise of individual liberty and the other, Islamic-Fascism. To successfully defend freedom against the threat poised by Islamic-Fascism, global leaders and individuals must understand the foundation of Qutbism as primarily derived from Sayyid Qutb. Understanding Qutbism, exposing and discrediting it as an extremist theology and strategy is the most direct course to the defeat of the Islamic-Fascist movement’s center of gravity and victory in the War on Terrorism.


1. Center of Gravity, Primary Sources of Moral or Physical Strength, Power, and Resistance; Joe Strange, Centers of Gravity & Critical Vulnerabilities (Quantico, Va.: Marine Corps Univ. Foundation, 1996), p. ix.

2. Sun Tzu, The Art of War (London, Eng.: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963), p. 84.

3. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism (Washington, 1 February 2006), http://www.defenselink.mil/qdr/docs/2005-01-25-Strategic-Plan.pdf, p. 3.

4. David F. Forte, Religion is Not the Enemy, http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/commentforte101901.shtml.

5. Center of Gravity, Strange, p. ix.

6. Personal interview with Dr. Sherifa Zuhur, 31 July 2006; Email exchange with William McCants, 6 August 2006; Email exchanges with Dr. Andrew Bostom, July-August 2006.

7. “Bush: U.S. at War with ‘Islamic Fascists,’” CNN.com, 10 August 2006, http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/08/10/washington.terror.plot/index.html.

8. William McCants, Problems with the Arabic Name Game, http://www.ctc.usma.edu/research/Problems%20with%20the%20Arabic%20Name%20Game.pdf, see also, Thomas O’Connor, Islamist Extremism: Jihadism, Qutbism, and Wahhabism, http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/429/429lect14.htm.

9. Islamism and Islamist are terms describing the worldwide puritanical Islamic revival movement that seeks to replace secular governments with Shari’a law and establish theocracies throughout the world. See O’Connor.

10. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Islam and the Theology of Power, http://www.islamfortoday.com/elfadl01.htm.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Abdul-Majid Jaffry, Maulana Maududi’s Two-Nation Theory, http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/politics/mawdudi2.html. Who was Abu Alaa Maududi? http://www.thewahhabimyth.com/mawdudi.htm.

15. Abu al-Ala Mawdudi, Human Rights, the West and Islam, http://www.jamaat.org/islam/HumanRightsPolitical.html#Human; Abdul-Majid Jaffry; G. F. Haddad, A Word About Mawdudi’s Ideas, http://www.sunnah.org/history/Innovators/mawdudi2.htm; Abdul-Majid Jaffry.

16. Sayyeed Abdul-Ala Maududi, Jihad in Islam (Lahore, Pakistan: Islamic Publications), pp. 8, 9, and 24, http://www.islamistwatch.org/texts/maududi/maududi.html.

17. Online library, preface by Dr. A. M. A. Fahmy of the International Islamic forum, http://www.youngmuslims.ca/online_library/books/jihad/. Muhammad Adb al Salam Faraj, The Neglected Duty, trans., Johannes Jansen (New York: MacMillian Publishing, November 1986). Syed Qutb, In the Shade of the Quran, trans. by A. A. Shamis (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: WAMY International, June 1995), [World Assembly of Muslim Youth is a Saudi nongovernmental organization that promotes Wahhabism.], http://www.youngmuslims.ca/online_library/tafsir/syed_qutb/; Syed Qutb, Milestones (American Trust Publications, December 1991), http://www.youngmuslims.ca/online_library/books/milestones/hold/index_2.asp.


18. Trevor Stanley, “Hassan al-Banna: Founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ikhwan al-Muslimum,” Perspectives on World History and Current Events, 2005, http://www.pwhce.org/banna.html.

19. Yasser Khalil, Hassan al-Banna – A Great Muslim and Teacher of Da’wa, http://www.jannah.org/articles/hassan.html.

20. Ibid.

21. Stanley.

22. Hassan al-Banna, “Why Do the Muslims Fight,” contained in Jihad in Modern Islamic Thought A Collection, ed., Sheikh Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Humaid, http://www.majalla.org/.

23. Fawaz A. Gerges, The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (Bronxville, N.Y.: Sarah Lawrence College) prologue, http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521791403.

24. McCants.

25. Sayyid Qutb, “The Right to Judge,” contained in Jihad in Modern Islamic Thought A Collection; Who was Sayyid Qutb, http://www.thewahhabimyth.com/qutb.htm.

26. Jahiliyah, literally “ignorance,” is a concise expression for the pagan practice of the days before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (S. A. W.). Jahiliyah denotes all those world-views and ways of life which are based on rejection or disregard of heavenly guidance communicated to mankind through the Prophets and Messengers of God; the attitude of treating human life—either wholly or partly—as independent of the directives of God. http://www.islam101.com/selections/glossaryJ.html. See also, Sayyid Qutb, “The Right to Judge.”

27. Qutb, “The Right to Judge.”

28. Sayyid Qutb, “On Jihad,” in Jihad in Modern Islamic Thought A Collection.

29. Takfir or takfeer. The term refers to the practice of excommunication or declaring that a Muslim individual or a Muslim group is apostate or non-believers. Some consider the punishment for being a Takfir death, http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/islam/bldef_takfir.htm, http://www.pwhce.org/takfiri.html.

30. Gerges.

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid.

34. Kenneth Katzman, Al Qaeda: Profile and Threat Assessment, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, the Library of Congress, 17 August 2005, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL33038.pdf.

35. Ibid.

36. Christopher Henzel, “The Origins of al Qaeda’s Ideology: Implications for US Strategy,” Parameters, 35 (Spring 2005), http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/05spring/henzel.htm.

37. Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, “Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s Knights under the Prophet’s Banner: The al-Qaeda Manifesto,” Military Review 85 (January-February 2005), http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/milreview/English/JanFeb05/JanFeb05/Bbobjan.pdf; Michael G. Knapp, “Distortion of Islam by Muslim Extremists,” Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin (July-September 2002), 37-42; Nimrod Raphaeli, Ayman Muhammad Rabi’ Al-Zawahiri: The Making of an Arch Terrorist, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Zawahiri.html; Henzel.

38. Henzel.

39. Abd al-Salam Faraj, author of The Neglected Duty, was a Qutbist who lead the assassination conspiracy against Anwar Sadat. He was a forceful voice that advocated attacks against the “near enemy,” apostate Muslim regimes.

40. For a similar conclusion, see Giles Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West, trans., Pascale Ghazaleh (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 2004), pp. 1-2.

41. Henzel.

42. Katzman.

43. See Sami G. Hajjar, “Avoiding Holy War: Ensuring That the War on Terrorism is Not Perceived as a War on Islam,” in Defeating Terrorism: Strategic Issues Analysis, ed., John Martin (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, January 2002), p. 17, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=273.

44. Abdal-Hakim Murad, Bin Laden’s Violence is a Heresy Against Islam, http://www.islamfortoday.com/murad04.htm.

45. James Brandon, “Koranic Duels Ease Terror,” The Christian Science Monitor, 4 February 2005, p. 1, http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0204/p01s04-wome.html.

46. Peter Willems, “The Dialogue Committee is Known Internationally,” Yemen Times, http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=799&p=community&a=2.

47. Scheherezade Faramarzi, “Female Preachers Graduate,” Associated Press, 4 May 2006.

48. Sheikh-ul-Islam, Talghat Tajuddin in a speech “The Threat of Islam or the Threat to Islam,” Moscow, 28 June 2001, trans., M. Conserva, http://www.islamfortoday.com/tajuddin01.htm.

Colonel Dale C. Eikmeier is a strategic planner at the US Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership. He has held a variety of command and staff assignments in CONUS, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He recently served as a strategist with the Multinational Forces-Iraq where he worked with the Iraqi National Security Advisor’s staff. He also served as a staff augmentee planner with the J3, US Central Command, Forward, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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Reviewed 27 February 2007. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil