Monday, December 05, 2005

Women of Al Qaeda   posted by Razib @ 12/05/2005 01:06:00 AM

Newsweek has a piece up titled Women of Al Qaeda, coauthored by Lionel Tiger (The Decline of Males and Men in Groups). Just like the standard Left-Right spectrum compresses a considerable amount of the multi-dimensional character of genuine political opinion, so the liberal-moderate-fundamentalist spectrum in Islam masks the tensions and diversity within the various groups. I haven't explored it in detail yet, but, suffice it to say that there are differences and variations within the 'Salafist' umbrella. In 1993 the 'supreme religious leader' of Saudi Arabia declared that the Earth was flat. Or did he? A Muslim website published a translation of a letter from Shaikh 'Abdul-'Aziz ibn 'Abdullah ibn Baz. He affirm that the earth is a sphere, but, adds that he "...only declared kufr upon the one who says that the sun is stationary" (that is, all of you heliocentrists out there). Now, I bring this up to show that there are 'traditionalists,' and then there are traditionalists. The violent terrorist Salafists probably don't spend too much time waging jihad in the name of the geocentric hypothesis, especially since many have science and engineering backgrounds. In Western Muslims and the Future of Islam Tariq Ramadan goes into detail about the varieties of Salafists out there, and 'Salafi reformists' are not literalists. I don't know much more than that at this point (oh, but I will....). Even ignoring what I have written about theological incorrectness, we need not to be complacent about Salafi terrorists. Though they style themselves revivers of the old traditions, it seems clear that is all cant, they will shape their neo-7th century in their own images and according to their own wills.