An Achilles Heel for Saudi Wahhabis?

by Mark Woodward* On September first the British on-line paper The Independent reported on alleged plans by the Saudi Arabian government to demolish the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb and move his body to an unmarked grave. The Prophet’s tomb is located in the mosque he built in Madinah in the seventh century and is the second most important Muslim holy site. Millions of pilgrims visit every year.   The Independent’s story was based on a 61 page […] Read more »

Aftermath of a Buddhist Shrine Bombing in Indonesia

by Chris Lundry On Sunday evening, August 4, a small bomb detonated at the Ekayana Buddhist shrine in West Jakarta, Indonesia (story here). The blast injured three people and damaged the building, although if the second bomb found at the scene had detonated the toll likely would have been higher and the damage worse; the bombing was timed to coincide with well-attended sermon. Immediate speculation centered on the act as retaliation for the Burmese treatment […] Read more »

Indonesia’s President, Commander of the Crusaders!

By Chris Lundry Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has been branded a commander of the crusaders following the announcement that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will be awarding him the Honorary Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Bath. The award has angered extremist Islamist groups, some of whom are still simmering over the recent arrest of 11 people suspected of terrorism throughout Java and the uncovering of plots to bomb […] Read more »

Is the Ansar al-Shariah Crackdown a True About Face?

by Nathaniel Greenberg The Libyan consulate bombing has drifted into the twilight world of murder mystery and conspiracy theory, a talking point for American political pundits, and major source of frustration for leaders in the region. In Cairo a militant from Libya suspected of having participated in the Consulate attack was killed when Egyptian authorities raided his hideout in Nasser City earlier this week. But it is doubtful that this action represents a true change […] Read more »

Egyptians Protest Islamophobic Video

 by Jeffry Halverson With all the very serious problems facing Egypt, the region, and indeed the world today, what brought out thousands of Egyptian protestors in Cairo on September 11, 2012? A thirteen-minute Islamophobic online video produced by a group of US-based Coptic Christians. But Coptic officials in Egypt, understandably fearful that Muslim anger might turn against them yet again, quickly issued a statement condemning the activities of Copts living abroad in producing such projects. […] Read more »

A Different Take on the ICG Indonesia Report

by Mark Woodward This ICG report recently reviewed by Chris Lundry is another example of that organization doing what it does best, providing detailed information about the activities of extremist groups linked to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in some way. But in my view the degree to which JI poses a threat to Indonesia has always been overestimated and there are more important developments in the country related to extremism and terrorism. The Indonesian security forces […] Read more »

Extremists Rebrand the Conflict in Afghanistan

by Chris Lundry Indonesian extremist site Prisoner of Joy recently posted the announcement by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that operations against the United States and its allies will now be named Al Farooq Operations. From the post: The invaders should be made aware that the names of these operations are not merely accidental rather they have a special meaning and interpretation. This new name, however, may carry broader connotations of conflict within the Muslim […] Read more »

Wahhabi Perspectives on Pluralism and Gender

The CSC has released a new white paper by Inayah Rohmaniyah and Mark Woodward entitled Wahhabi Perspectives on Pluralism and Gender: A Saudi – Indonesian Contrast.  The paper is available here and the executive summary follows: In public discourse about Islam, “Wahhabi” is usually a synonym for intolerance, misogyny, and extremism.  Though this is sometimes true it is an over-generalization.  In this paper we contrast two very different forms of Wahhabi Islam focusing on education, […] Read more »

Review: “De-Legitimizing al-Qaeda”

by Jeffry R. Halverson The Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) has released a short monograph, De-Legitimizing al-Qaeda: A Jihad-Realist Approach, by sociologist Paul Kamolnick, a professor at Eastern Tennessee State University. Kamolnick criticizes current US efforts to counter al-Qaeda’s messaging and recruitment strategies as ineffective, and proposes an alternative two-fold solution to marginalize and defeat al-Qaeda. However, Kamolnick’s proposed strategy is problematic for several reasons. In the first component of his proposed strategy, Kamolnick suggests that […] Read more »

“We are All Afghans” in Iran

by Jeffry R. Halverson The Arab Spring showed the world how social media can help organize mass political dissent. In the cases of Tunisia and Egypt, single issues coalesced online into far broader and diverse campaigns that toppled ruling regimes. Recently, outside of the Arab world, discriminatory government policies  in Iran against Afghans have come to light. Decried by critics as overt state-backed racism, it is a scandalous hot-button issue that the rulers of the […] Read more »