Initiative to Stop the Violence: Sadat’s Assassins and the Renunciation of Political Violence

Mubādarat Waqf al-‘Unf al-Gamā’ah al-Islāmīyah

In The Name of God, The Most Merciful, The Especially Merciful

This book is an important read as it emerges from within one of the largest and most militant Islamic organisations in the Middle East, Egypt’s al-Gamā’ah al-Islāmīyah. The movement is believed to have played a role in a number of acts of terrorism, including the assassination of President Anwar Sadat and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Yet, it has received very little attention. Besides being a reflexive manifesto, it challenges and enriches prevailing notions about the role of Islamists in fighting the scourge of extremist politics, blind anti-Westernism, and, alas, wayward jihad.

The movement went on to renounce violence, along with its former ideology in 1997 and opted to look deep into the rich intellectual Islamic tradition; to emerge with a more deeper understanding of what the aim and application of jihad actually is.  As Dr Jackson states, ‘the Gamā’ah drew on a conspicuously traditional set of arguments – indeed, to a large extent, an emphatically traditional universe of meanings, tropes, and articulations…’ clearly showing that the sharī’ah, when viewed through the prism of tradition, is the ‘most effective means of promoting peaceful conflict resolution with or among Muslims.’ This essential manifesto is available in English thanks to Dr Sherman A. Jackson.  Lucidly written and presented in a manner that can be read by wider audiences. A must read for anyone interested in debates surrounding contemporary Islam.

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