Mujahideen Consider Cartoon Crisis a Moment to Re-Define Islam…

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 3 Issue: 6

The Danish debacle continues to generate a deluge of material on the jihadi forums. While most of these (when not a matter of personal expressions of outrage and calls for revenge) relate to the growing boycott campaign of Danish goods, at least one “official” statement from the leading Taliban figure Mullah Dadullah has called for the death of the Jyllands Posten caricaturist. The posting appeared on the Mufakkirat al-Islam news site on February 9 and took the form of a financial reward posted for “the head of the Danish cartoonist,” along with a request for Muslim states to cut diplomatic relations with countries that published the pictures (

Despite the opportunity for international saber-rattling, however, the true value of the crisis for the mujahideen is the propaganda it provides in the struggle within the Muslim world. The cause célèbre has spurred the major ideologues to draw up plans of action to serve jihadi aims. On February 6, Abu Baseer al-Tartusi, famous for his hard line criticism of Saudi Sheikh Abd al-Muhsen al-Abikan’s denunciation of jihad in Iraq, applied the weight of Islamic jurisprudence to the campaign. His long epistle carried by the al-Ghorabaa jihadi forum and entitled “You have no more excuse, they have now taken it right unto the Prophet of God” is an accomplished example of incitement backed up by full citations from sacred texts and early Islamic history. Al-Tartusi attempts to pressure Muslim governments to halt oil supplies, break off economic and diplomatic cooperation with the offending states, and demonstrate “evidence of their support of the Prophet by establishing the rule of Sharia.” The purpose of the work is to define how Muslims should respond and, by implication, present the mujahideen as the true representatives of the Islamic Nation (

Demands are becoming progressively more refined. On February 8, al-Ghorabaa hosted a posting by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) that aimed to put the reaction on more institutionalized footing. The author, Bakr ibn Salim Bakri, instructed that the boycott be extended to goods of the U.S., the “official shepherd of all crimes against Muslims,” and to infidels as such, according to the doctrine of al-Wala’ wal-Bara’ (“Friendship and Enmity”). Part of this task is to be carried out by Muslim writers who must “repair the damage caused by our modernist sheikhs” who spread “false heretical claims about [the Prophet’s spirit of] tolerance.” For Bakri, as for all mujahideen ideologues, the cartoon crisis provides the strategic opportunity to re-shape public perceptions on “the nature of the confrontation” (