Warrant for Terror: The Fatwas of Radical Islam and the Duty to Jihad

Warrant for Terror: The Fatwas of Radical Islam and the Duty to Jihad

by Shmuel Bar
     
 

Since September 11, 2001 much has been written about "Islamist terrorism," arguing that it is a perversion that has "hijacked Islam" in the service of social, political and economic grievances. However, such accounts cannot explain why other people that can lay claim to similar or more serious grievances have not developed such devastating religious terrorist

Overview

Since September 11, 2001 much has been written about "Islamist terrorism," arguing that it is a perversion that has "hijacked Islam" in the service of social, political and economic grievances. However, such accounts cannot explain why other people that can lay claim to similar or more serious grievances have not developed such devastating religious terrorist ideologies. Moreover, many of the terrorists themselves have attested to their own religious motivation and their belief that they acted in accordance with the precepts of Islam. In Warrant for Terror Shmuel Bar examines fatwas—legal opinions declaring whether a given act under Islam is obligatory, permitted, or forbidden. Fatwas serve as a major instrument by which religious leaders impel believers to engage in acts of jihad. Bar argues that fatwas, particularly those that come from the Arab world, should not be dismissed as a cynical use of religious terminology in political propaganda. Many terrorists testify that they were motivated to act by them. Indeed, this book shows that Islamic law plays a central role in determining for believers the practical meaning of the duty to jihad. Bar examines the underlying religious, legal, and moral logic of fatwas and the depth of their influence, particularly in contrast to alternative moderate Islamic interpretations. He explores the wide scope of issues that fatwas deal with, covering almost all facets of Islamic "law of war": the justification for declaring jihad; the territory in which the jihad should be fought; whether women and children may participate in jihad; the legality of killing women, children and other non-combatants; the justification for killing hostages and mutilating their bodies; and the permissibility of diverse tactics and weapons, including suicide attacks and even nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Warrant for Terror also delves into the contradictions between the radical and the mainstr

Editorial Reviews

The Miami Herald
Bar has crafted an important book. This short volume is a must-read for anyone disturbed by the government and media's failure to truly elucidate the underpinnings of the terrorism threat that's here to stay.
The Bookwatch
Warrant for Terror offers many insights.
The Dallas Morning News
Shmuel Bar offers a much-needed account of the religious logic that inspires and justifies Islamic radicalism and its terrorist manifestations...His conclusion, that the war of ideas within the Muslim world is primarily a religious war, should be taken seriously.
Literary Review
This is an important book, its limpid prose matching the authority Bar brings to a subject about which we cannot afford to be ignorant.
Francis Fukuyama
Drawing on Arabic sources not typically available to English readers, Shmuel Bar outlines the way that fatwas from Muslim religious authorities have in recent years laid a basis for jihadism and terror. Warrant for Terror is critical reading to understand the nature of the challenge posed by radical Islamism today.
Robert Satloff
If you are sick of instant experts offering sound-bite style insight into the phenomenon of Radical Islam, then Warrant for Terror is the right medicine for you. Through an exhaustive yet refreshingly readable analysis of fatwas—Muslim religious injunctions—Shmuel Bar takes us deep into the minds of both those who issue calls for jihad and those who heed them. As a tool to understand the logic, the rationale, and the motivation of the enemy in the war on terror, this book is sure to be assigned in counter-terror training courses around the world. Thankfully, the rest of us can read it, too.
Steven Emerson
Shmuel Bar has written one of the most important and compelling books in recent years. If you want to understand Islamic terrorism and jihad, this is the book to read. He has written an absolutely brilliant page-turning analysis of the dynamics underlying radical Jihad today—and for policymakers, analysts and the public, Warrant for Terror will provide you insights that few other books even dare try. This is one of the best books I have ever read on the dynamics of jihad and fatwas. Read it to be educated and to truly understand. Ignore it at your peril. Dr. Bar has performed a wonderful public service by compiling and analyzing the fatwas for us. This book is a bench mark in the literature on Jihad.
R. James Woolsey
Non-Muslims rarely pay attention to the religious struggle within Islam. They must, urgently. Radical clerics, wielding the deadly accusation of apostacy, have silenced most mainstream Muslim clerics and regimes in the Muslim world on the issues of jihad and terrorism. We are at serious risk of having hundreds of millions of religiously-driven enemies and deferential followers.
Salt Lake Tribune
Shmuel Bar offers a much needed account of the religious logic that inspires and justifies Islamic radicalism and its terrorist manifestations. His sections on the extremists legal justifications for attacking Americans, fellow Muslims, and particularly Israel are enlightening and useful for anyone who has wondered how religious thinking can be used to support terrorism.
Middle East Journal
Since the author of this hard-hitting book is Israeli, some may dismiss it out of hand, as politically motivated. However, the depth of research, drawn from Arabic sources, should cause every reader to pay attention. It is invaluable for understanding the reasons for radical Islamism in the 21st century.
Middle East Journal - Warren Larson
It is invaluable for understanding the reasons for radical Islamism in the 21st century. Bar drives home the point that only Muslims can turn the tide....Warrant for Terror is a compelling book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780742551206
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/2006
Series:
Hoover Studies in Politics, Economics, and Society Series
Pages:
152
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.34(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Shmuel Bar is a senior research fellow dealing with Middle Eastern and Islamic affairs at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, Israel. Bar retired (in 2003) after 30 years of service in the Israeli civil service (as an intelligence officer in the IDF and in the Office of the Prime Minister) in senior staff and operational positions, including diplomatic posting in Europe. Bar holds a Ph.D. in History of the Middle East from Tel-Aviv University and has published numerous books and papers on Middle Eastern affairs, terrorism, and radical Islam.

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