Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is a Member of the "Revolution Muslim" Salafi Web Site a Contributor to Jihad Recollections? (Exclusive)

Cover of the second issue of Jihad Recollections

*Please see the end of this post for important Updates*

Revolution Muslim claims to be a collective project claiming to be (bold red comments are mine), "a message and movement grounded in the sayings, deeds, actions and understanding of Ahlus Sunnah wal jama'ah (The collective body of those Muslims that adhere to the ways of the Prophet (SAWS) and the first four generations of Muslims) [Sunni Muslims]. Revolution Muslim’s purpose is to invite people to proper Islam (Aqeedah (creed) + Shariah (path)) and command the good (justice and peace), while forbidding the falsehood (lies and deceptions) of society. Our mission is to one day see the Muslims united under one Khalifah [caliphate, centralized Islamic state romanticized by some modern Sunnis] and under the commands of Allah (SWT) [the One God, literally "the god," from the Arabic construction "al-ilah"]. We focus on educating Muslims and Non-Muslims alike about the actuality of the religion and thereby work to preserve traditional Islamic values for Muslims across the globe. We pray that we may witness the dismantlement of western, secular dominance across the world as we hold it to be pagan and idolatrous in the majority of its presumptions. We seek a resurrection of the just example set forth by centuries of Islamic rule throughout the ages and we hold it to be self evident for the objective soul and mind that Allah is One and that Muhammad ibn Abdullah is His Prophet and that the religion offers the solution to all of the world’s ills and afflictions."

The positions espoused by the producers of the Revolution Muslim web site can be situated within a particular trend within the Salafi tradition within Sunni Islam, an interpretative tradition that is often quite literalist and purist in its theological outlook (I have written about Salafism and its diversities HERE), specifically the political trend within modern Salafism (what some scholars call "neo-Salafism," see the previous hyperlink). They also are among those Sunnis who have romanticized the notion of a caliphate, or unified Islamic state. I have written at some length about this tendency HERE.

On their web site, a feed from the radio station of the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, a Saudi dissident group connected to the exiled Sa'd al-Faqih, is embedded.

They say in a disclaimer that they are not advocating violence, though they seem to justify it in their writings and videos: "We hereby declare and make absolute public declaration that revolutionmuslim.com operates under the first amendment right to freedom of religion and expression and that in no, way, shape or form do we call for war against the U.S. government or adhere to the enemies of the United States elsewhere. We do however hold the belief, as stated honestly and openly in our mission statement, that the Muslim world should be permitted to unite under the banner of Islam. To suggest that this in some way implies that the reestablishment of the caliphate would require the dismantlement of the United States government is fallacy. We seek, rather, to witness the imperialist ambitions of the United States government and especially the private tyrannies (corporations, financial institutions, military-industrial complex) that control it subside in their quest for empire and "full spectrum dominance" and we call for the relinquishment of autonomy and respect for sovereignty across the Muslim world to the people and not in the hands of the dictators, and authoritarian regimes this structure keeps in power by continuing to engage in foreign policy we feel is the root cause of all the terrorism in the world."

On September 11, a member of the web site posted a video commentary about the terrorist attacks eight years and the foreign policy of the United States (view it below). The speaker runs own a lengthy list of criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, essentially arguing that the attacks were at the very least understandable, if not justified outright. His style of speaking is typical of a trend, common to all radicals (left/right, liberal/conservative, religious/secular), where an action, which is often seen as a reaction, is caused by an action or set of actions by a second party. Because of the actions (perceived wrongs) of the second party on the first, the first is then justified in its response, whatever it may be, or at least it is understandable why the first acted/reacted in the way they did. The main problem with such thinking is that it overshadows any valid or partially valid questions or points brought up about an ideology (or set of policies), which it sees as absolutist or overbearing and that are worthy of further discussion and debate, with an equally absolutist ideological response. The first party is in turn blinded by its own ideology.

View the video.

Prof. Jarret Brachman of North Dakota State University wrote about their video commentary a couple of days ago.

Revolution Muslim has produced several regular publications, including a flashy newsletter in English, The Islamist, and pieces of religious analysis that are available via their Scribd account. They have also uploaded translations of religious texts that represent their ideological stances, which tellingly includes a volume from the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb's influential exegesis (tafsir) of the Qur'an, Fi Dhilal al-Qur'an (In the Shade of the Qur'an).

Read the Ramadan issue of the Revolution Muslim outfit's The Islamist newsletter.

Originally a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Qutb formed his own school of thought that saw Egyptian society as one of a new "age of ignorance" (jahiliyya) that needs to be corrected (not necessarily through violence). He was executed in 1966 on the orders of Gamal 'Abd al-Nasir, the country's president-strongman, and was unable to further develop or adjust his arguments, which left them open to a widely varying interpretations. Al-Qa'ida "Central", in terms of its ideology, is an interesting mix of ideologies, most importantly the most radical form of takfiri thought within Salafism, where many Muslims are considered to really be apostates or non-Muslims, and a particular reading of a group of non-Salafi Muslim thinkers, including Sayyid Qutb and his brother, Muhammad, who was an influential professor in Saudi Arabia for decades, where he wrote under-appreciated theological texts such as al-Jahiliyya fi Qarn al-Ishreen (The Age of Ignorance in the Twentieth Century), which have had a profound influence on the transnational Salafi jihadis of today.

While perusing Revolution Muslim's Scribd account, I noticed an article entitled "Obamanomics," which clicked in the back of my mind. Looking into my research files, I remembered where I had seen the same title for an article before, in the second issue of the English-language Salafi jihadi cyber journal Jihad Recollections, which is reportedly based in the United States. In this issue the same article is published, attributed to one Younus Abdullah Muhammad, who is listed as the "executive officer for media and marketing" of Revolution Muslim. It appears that he authored both versions of the article.

Obamanomics (J Recollections #2)
Read the version of "Obamanomics" that was published in the second issue of Jihad Recollections.

The draft version of "Obamanomics" on the Revolution Muslim Scribd account can be read HERE.

Photograph from Younus Abdullah Muhammad's biography page on the Revolution Muslim web site. No written biography was provided as of the time of this post.

The fact that a member of the Revolution Muslim web site team, which says that it does not advocate violence, has seemingly contributed to Jihad Recollections, arguably the most comprehensive and impressive English-language jihadi cyber journal being published and one that praises al-Qa'ida "Central" and other transnational Salafi jihadi outfits, is noteworthy and deserving of further attention and study.

UPDATE #1 (1:35 A.M., September 16): The Revolution Muslim web site is now down, but the Scribd account is still active. Since the biography page is no longer viewable, at least for the time being, a PDF I made of it earlier today is viewable below (see page 1 for the photograph and name and page 3 for the web site disclaimer):

View Younus Abdullah Muhammad's biography page and the web site disclaimer from the Revolution Muslim web site.

UPDATE #2 (2:35 A.M., September 16): After checking my research files, I found another article attributed to "Younus Abdullah Muhammad," this one in the inaugural Jihad Recollections issue:

Read the inaugural Jihad Recollections article of "Younus Abdullah Muhammad."

UPDATE #3 (11:39 P.M., September 16): According to the "amir" (prince, leader) of the Revolution Muslim project, they are moving their servers to Malaysia, which is why their web site is currently down.  "Amir"....of a web site.  How ridiculous.

Also, a big thanks to Prof. Jarret Brachman for sharing his insights, as well as for making some valuable suggestions about this post.  He pointed out this video from YouTube where the great exalted web site "amir" brags about his friends contributions to Jihad Recollections. Bragging about contributing to a militant magazine.  Wow.  What an "amir," an ego and brains. 


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