Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Al Qaeda
            Al Qaeda is a militant Islamic organization that has engaged in terrorist activities since its creation in 1988.  Al Qaeda is a global network with worldwide influence stationed largely in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and various African nations.  Western powers have largely been a target of Al Qaeda attacks with the U.S. being its primary threat and enemy.  Through the use of jihad Al Qaeda stretched its authority and scope to the far reaches of Islamic society and has only recently been on the decline.  Al Qaeda is important to study because of its impact on today’s world and in its interpretation of Islam.

            “Established around 1988 by bin Laden, Al Qaeda helped finance, recruit, transport and train thousands of fighters from dozens of countries to be part of an Afghan resistance to defeat the Soviet Union.”[i]  During this time period the Soviet Union was still a large superpower with enormous military and economic power.  When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 a decade of guerilla warfare ensued.  Many Muslims saw the Soviet invasion as an attack on Islam itself and thus used this moment as a rallying cry for the cause of their people.  Radical Muslims from across the Middle East joined the cause and waged jihad against the Soviets. 
            Osama bin Laden was one of the Muslims that joined the Mujhadeen cause like thousands of other radical holy fighters.  Lester Grau and Michael Gress argue that “faced with this imposing security challenge, and burdened with a military doctrine, strategy, and operational and tactical techniques suited to a European or Chinese theater of war, the Soviet Army was hard-pressed to devise military methodologies suited to deal with the Afghan guerrillas.”[ii]  This type of warfare proved to be too frustrating for the Soviets and thus they withdrew in 1989.  With the end of the war there were still thousands of fighters looking to continue jihad and fight for their ideals.  Many returned to their homes only to return later to join Al Qaeda.
            Throughout the 1990’s bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri expanded the influence of Al Qaeda through radical jihadist literature.  Terrorist manuals were given out and the internal structure of Al Qaeda began to take shape.[iii]  Afghanistan in 90’s was wrought with civil war and warring factions.  Al Qaeda however was able to unite several ideas and factions by continuing the jihad and refocusing its attention towards the U.S.  Al Qaeda operated in Sudan for much of the 90’s and then moved headquarters to Afghanistan up until 2001 when the U.S. invaded.[iv] 
            Al Qaeda since 2001 has largely been a nomadic, tribal, terrorist network that relies on Sunni extremism and those sympathetic to their cause.[v]  They no longer have a viable, physical headquarters but rather operate underground and in secret.  They have engaged in multiple acts of terrorism since this time including the attack on the World Trade Center, the London bus bombings, and other bombings throughout Europe and the Middle East.  After the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, al-Zawahiri took command of Al Qaeda and their mission continues.  They are no longer as powerful or influential as they used to be, however they still have significant impact on jihadist doctrine and similar terrorist organizations still in operation.

Key Figures
            As mentioned above, Osama bin Laden was the primary founder of Al Qaeda and exerted the most influence and control over the organization for the majority of its existence.  Bin Laden came from a wealthy Saudi Arabian family but was exiled from his homeland after the Soviet-Afghan War for speaking out against the Saudi government.[vi]  Osama began forming Al Qaeda following the war and recruited Muslim extremists to join his cause.  His first attacks were on Egypt, Tanzania, and Kenya; all of which were cooperating with the U.S.[vii]  He further pushed a holy war against the West and took credit for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  He was unquestionably the most important authority within Al Qaeda and shaped the organization’s goals, tactics, and operations.
            Khaled Sheik Mohammed was also a very important leader of Al Qaeda.  By most accounts he is considered to be the mastermind behind 9/11.  He also confessed to being the head of the Al Qaeda military committee as well as its propaganda wing.[viii]  Khaled Sheik Mohammed is heralded as an efficient organizer and is said to have participated in over 30 plots of terror before his detention in Guantanamo Bay.[ix]

            The ideology of Al Qaeda is fundamentalist, political, and very radical.  They are predominantly a Sunni movement that further expanded the views of Sayid Qutb and radical Islamists.  Bin Laden wanted to forcibly convert all people to the Islam religion and establish Islamic governments across the world.  Bin Laden believed that the U.S. was the primary enemy of Muslims and thus focused terrorist attacks towards the West and those under western influence.  This differed from previous radical Islamists because the enemy was now a foreign power that was not in the Middle East.  Al Qaeda promoted jihad against all non-Muslims and those who did not believe in the same radical Islam as they did.  This was certainly a step in a new direction and paved the way for an increase of bombings and attacks.

Type of Activism
            Al Qaeda certainly uses terrorism as its means for activism.  It can be argued that Al Qaeda started off with political goals of removing non-Islamist governments but this soon expanded to include jihad and fatwa of all non-Muslims.  They are organized in a cell structure that decreases centralization but increases secretiveness.  This allows Al Qaeda to carry out attacks with considerably more effectiveness.  “Although the network of terrorist cells has an established leadership and command structure, direct approval from the top is not necessarily needed to commit an act of terrorism in Al Qaeda’s name.”[x]  Al Qaeda is very mobile and nomadic and stretches across many continents.
            They are highly trained in suicide bombings and making explosives.  Many are used for the purpose of assassination of political leaders and the destruction of U.S. embassies.  The events of September 11 were certainly the largest terrorist act committed by Al Qaeda.  This has further been used as a recruiting tool to bring in more radical Islamists.  The future of Al Qaeda depends on its ability to stay organized and recruit new members.  The majority of Muslims strongly oppose terrorist organizations but they must work with the West in rooting out Al Qaeda at its core.

[i] GlobalSecurity.org, Al Qaeda Military, 2012, available from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/al-qaida.htm.  
[ii] Lester Grau & Michael Gress, The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost, 2002, available from http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/grasovpreface.html.
[iii] GlobalSecurity.org.
[iv] Ibid.
[v] Ibid.
[vi] Biography.com, Osama Bin Laden, 2012, available from http://www.biography.com/people/osama-bin-laden-37172?page=1.
[vii] Ibid.
[viii] BBC News World, Profile: Khalid Sheik Mohammed-al-Qaida’kingpin’, 2012, available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12964158.
[ix] Ibid.
[x] Center for Defense Information, In the Spotlight: Al Qaeda (The Base), 2002, available from http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/alqaeda.cfm.

Annotated Bibliography

“Al Qaeda Military.” GlobalSecurity.org, 2012. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/al-qaida.htm. 

This source was used to explain the military aspect of Al Qaeda including its organizational structure as well as its tactics and leaders.  This was helpful in understanding the theory behind their acts.

Grau, Lester and Gress, Michael. “The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost.” 2002. http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/grasovpreface.html.

            This source was used to understand the relationship between the Afghan guerillas and the Russian military.  This was the precursor to the formation of Al Qaeda.

“In the Spotlight: Al Qaeda (The Base).” Center for Defense Information, 2002, http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/alqaeda.cfm.

            This source further examined the Al Qaeda command structure and their style of organization.  It also looked at the military and logistical aspects of their attacks.

 “Osama Bin Laden,” Biography.com, 2012, http://www.biography.com/people/osama-bin-laden-37172?page=1.

            This source was used get a background on Bin Laden and to understand his ideas about Islam and terrorism.

“Profile: Khalid Sheik Mohammed-al-Qaida ‘kingpin’.” BBC News World, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12964158.

            This source gave great insight into the role KSM played in the 9/11 terrorist attack.  He was one of the most vital aspects of Al Qaeda and this source detailed both his exploits and torture.


         Hamas is an organization which has been shrouded in misconception and mystery since it has been in existence.  To outsiders, it seems strange that the organization has managed to gain such popular support.  Its goals and promises seem impossible, and yet the Palestinian people support it regardless.  The rest of the world has a different view of Hamas than the people of Palestine.  The way Hamas is portrayed in the western world through media sources, though it is somewhat truthful, is a very lopsided and misleading.  Following the news media in the United States, one may be led to believe that Hamas is nothing more than a group of crazy terrorists striking out at everything they can.  While Hamas certainly has its violent side, there is much more to the story than many people realize.
          The rise of Hamas was made possible by the existing conditions in Palestine.  Throughout much of the 60s, surprisingly, Palestinians and Israelis lived alongside each other with minimal conflict.  Unfortunately, conflict broke out in 1967, and after 1977 things got progressively worse for Palestine.  The Israelis became oppressive, and the situation became more and more tense throughout the 80s.  These conditions created a perfect environment for an organization such as Hamas to develop .
          The history of Hamas can be traced back to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.  In 1987, on December 8th, an Israeli truck crashed into two Palestinian taxis, leaving the Palestinian drivers dead.  This traffic incident enraged the Palestinians, and on the very next day a group of Muslim Brotherhood members cooperated with a university in Gaza to stage a strike.  That night, these members decided to found a new organization called the Islamic Resistance Movement, which in Arabic produces the acronym HAMAS.  This movement was able to establish itself by taking off at the right moment, while the Palestinians were in a state of rage, allowing a movement such as this one to gain momentum .  In 1988, the movement began to market itself as an alternative to the secular and weak government which was the Palestinian authority, also known as the PLO.  Beginning in 1993, Hamas began using methods of terrorism to fight the Israelis.  In the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center which took place in 2001, Hamas was labeled by the U.S. and Israel a terrorist organization.  After Yassir Arafat died in 2006, Hamas won support of the Palestinians through elections in a landslide victory.  The violence still comes and goes in waves, with treaties being broken as tensions mount and new agreements signed when things get better . However, since 2006 Hamas seems to have taken on a slightly more moderate appearance, at least trying to maintain some sort of peace in the region in comparison to its previous years of all-out war.
Key Figures
Khalid Mashal – Khalid Mashal, a physics teacher, is considered to be the highest-ranked personnel of Hamas.  He has stated that Hamas will not disarm.
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin – Yassin was the founder and leader of the movement, but was killed in 2004 by an Israeli helicopter.  Besides being the leader, Yassin was in control of all terrorist activities.  He went to prison on more than one occasion, and other than attacking civilians through bombings Yassin is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of several Israeli soldiers.
Abdel Aziz Rantisi –Rantisi took leadership after the death of Yassin.  He was a doctor by profession as well as one of the founding members of Hamas along with Yassin.  Rantisi often spoke publicly about increasing suicide bombings and kidnapping soldiers, and in many ways the ideology he pushed exemplifies the problems Hamas has with their policies.  He advocated that violent struggle was the only way, that Muslims must not give up even an inch of land, and that they must fight until every Israeli is dead.  He too was killed in 2004, after the second attempt on his life.  In the first attempt Rantisi avoided a missile fired at his jeep and then barely escaped the vehicle before a second missile landed a direct hit.  His car was later hit by another missile, and though he was pulled out alive he died on the operating table.  Hamas decided after his death to keep the leadership a secret from then on.
Mahmoud Zahar – Another of the founders of Hamas, Zahar was the first public speaker for the organization.  He is a high ranking official, but after Hamas decided to keep the leadership a secret it is uncertain the role he plays.  However, he did announce after the 2006 elections that Hamas would extend its truce with Israel if Israel would return the favor.  It is possible that he would have been a rival to Rantisi and Mashal, as he is more moderate than they were .
         The ideology of Hamas to the outsider is very complicated.  They seek to instate a religious government, inspired by Islam and working within Islam.  Hamas also stresses the importance of elections, and though the majority of Palestinians are tired of war and want to live their own lives, they voted overwhelmingly for Hamas in the 2006 elections.  This is due to a variety of reasons; one being that really the only other option is the official Palestinian Authority, which nobody wants to see back in control.  Another reason is that Hamas actually does provide several services for regular civilians and members alike that are extremely modern.  Hamas provides health care, schools, financial aid, and many other social services to the people which it governs.  With respect to this, the issue is often very misunderstood to foreigners, especially in the West.  Western thinking tends to lump all “terrorist” groups together, treating al-Qaeda as the same thing as Hamas, for example.  Hamas is actually closely related ideologically to the Muslim Brotherhood, with a few major differences.  One difference is that Hamas believes in the use of violence to achieve its goals.  Another important difference to note between Hamas and other organizations is that Hamas and its movement revolve around a very strong national identity for Palestine.
             Terrorism is another major aspect of the ideology of Hamas.  The first terrorist attack on an Israeli citizen by Hamas occurred in December of 1991.  In April of 1993 Hamas backed its first car bombing, and in 1994 saw its first successful car bombing .  Attacks such as these not only have a damaging effect on the lives and stability of the people they are directed at, but fulfill the other half of the goal of terrorism; to scare the masses.  Perhaps the nature of these bombings is where the western world derives its image of Hamas.  Westerners find suicide bombing particularly disconcerting.  For proof one only has to look at the psychological effect Japanese kamikaze pilots had on Americans.  These bombings are not only a way to launch a direct attack on an enemy, they are also symbolic of people’s willingness to lose everything in the fight for their cause as well as an effective means of psychological warfare.  The strategy has certainly worked.
              So, what is the basic ideological standpoint of Hamas?  The answer to this question depends on who you ask.  Hamas has been labeled a terrorist organization, a political movement, and a social welfare program.  Indeed, it does capture aspects of all of these things, and sometimes these ideologies clash or contradict.  At any rate, one thing is for certain; Hamas is a more complicated organization than one might initially realize.
The future of Hamas and the Palestinians is unclear.  The Palestinians are poor and tired of war, but one of the main ideals of Hamas since the very beginning has been to fight Israel until the bitter end.  Unfortunately, there is no end in sight, and with neither side willing to back down it seems as though something catastrophic would have to occur in order to resolve the issue.  At the same time, it is always possible that Hamas could disappear as rapidly as it came into existence.   It is difficult to predict the outcome of the situation Hamas has created for itself, though eventually something must change.

Levitt, Matthew. Hamas: Politics, Charity, And Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. Harrisonburg, VA, 2006.
Pike, John. Hamas Leadership. July 9th, 2011. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/hamas-leaders.htm (accessed April 27th, 2012).
Tamimi, Azzam. Hamas: A History From Within. North Hampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2007.
Wilkinson, Peter. Timeline: The Evolution of Hamas. December 30th, 2008. http://articles.cnn.com/2008-12-30/world/hamas.profile_1_hamas-claims-responsibility-rantisi-hamas-leader?_s=PM:WORLD (accessed April 27th, 2012).

Jihad States

19th Century Jihad States of West Africa
            The term “jihad state” refers to the states of West Africa which flourished particularly during the 19th century under French colonial rule and were founded on the basis of the Islamic jihad.  These states are an interesting phenomenon, as they are a cultivation of multiple circumstances and the result of the extreme instability of the regimes which they replaced.  It is difficult to piece together the exact conditions which allowed the widespread influence of these states to develop as rapidly as they did, however there are several factors that certainly played a large role in the creation of these states.
            In order to understand the full implications of the existence of these jihad states, it is important to first understand the history of the states themselves.  Though the presence of jihad states was not a specific attribute of the 19th century, these states certainly were much more numerous and more prominent during this century.  Some were larger and more influential than others, and though many of these states were somewhat connected they all arose independently.
-The Fulani
            The Fulani are a group of people primarily found in West Africa.  They are scattered throughout most of the western part of the continent, however they hold no majority in any country (Britannica.)  The Fulani are an essential part of the history of jihad states in West Africa.  Though they are not by any measure the only citizens who were calling for reform in the 19th century, they provide a strong Islam-oriented backbone for these movements.  The Fulani becoming militarily and politically active had a direct and decisive impact on the creation of many jihad states, some larger and more prominent than others.
-Uthman Dan Fodio
            Uthman Dan Fodio is likely the single most important figure in the history of the West African jihad states.  He was the necessary spark that set off the events which led to the creation of these states, as well as a political and religious figurehead for the movements.  He had the most direct impact on the creation of the Sokoto Caliphate in present day Nigeria.  Dan Fodio’s involvement with the creation of Sokoto began with Bawa Jangworzo.  Bawa was the leader of Gorbir, a large city-state in Hausaland.  He hired Dan Fodio as a tutor for his children, bringing him into his court and therefore giving him prestige.  Bawa himself was not a Muslim, however he was tolerant of Dan Fodio’s preaching. This made it possible for Dan Fodio to build a name for himself and gain followers throughout the city of Gorbir.  Dan Fodio did not often preach to leaders or particularly powerful people for that matter.  He generally directed his preaching to the ordinary people, rallying support for change and pushing Islam as the medium for that change. 
            When Bawa died, so did the official approval of Dan Fodio (Collins 166.)  He began to attract continuously more negative attention and was forced to leave the court.  After Bawa’s grandson Yunfa came to power, the situation between Dan Fodio and the ruling elite had become incredibly tense.  At one point Yunfa calls Dan Fodio to his court and pulls a gun on him in what was likely a moment of rage.  The gun allegedly backfired, burning Yunfa’s clothing but leaving Dan Fodio unharmed (Waldman 347.)  Obviously, this incident only served to increase Dan Fodio's status in the eyes of his supporters.  Shortly after this incident, it became apparent to Dan Fodio that there was no reasoning with Yunfa, and jihad seemed imminent (Waldman 349.)
            The key to Dan Fodio’s success, and indeed the reason for the complexity of the issue, can be broadly defined by his transition from preacher to militant reformer.  Dan Fodio was clearly among other things a very intelligent and charismatic man.  His rallying was highly effective, and his influence spread rapidly through the city-state.  The jihad which he was eventually the head of was not planned from the beginning.  Dan Fodio began as a preacher, then as an advocator of reform within the Hausa system, transitioning into a military leader only when completely necessary (Waldman 334.)  The foundation within society that Dan Fodio had aligned for himself through his reputation and connections became essential to his transition into leadership.  He had established a basis which he could use to his advantage.  Dan Fodio never had a plan, which was the reason he was successful.  Like  many great leaders in history, Dan Fodio simply seized and utilized opportunities he had created for himself throughout the years.  Basically, he made decisions based off of educated improvising.  As a result, it was possible for him to be flexible in his tactics during an event that was nearly unpredictable.  The establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate would not have been possible without Dan Fodio.
-The Sokoto Caliphate
The events that occurred after the death of Bawa definitely accelerated the shift of power from the Hausa government into the hands of the jihadis.  Nafata was the next in line for leadership after Bawa.  Nafata almost immediately began prosecuting followers of Islam, going so far as to ban everyone under his control from converting to Islam.  He completely turned against Uthman Dan Fodio, forcing him to retreat into his community of loyal followers (Waldman 346.)  When Nafata’s son Yunfa came to power, the government became even more aggressive.  Dan Fodio realized quickly that Yunfa could not be reasoned with and must be replaced.  Jihad was declared because Dan Fodio and his community had to make the decision to fight or be destroyed (Waldman 349.)  The movement gained momentum rapidly, with support spanning across members from all elements of society (Waldman 350.)   This aspect of the jihad complicated things.  Surprisingly, Islam was not particularly strong within the region.  Dan Fodio’s followers, which consisted mostly of the Fulani were only a fraction of the revolutionary population.  Religion was used by Dan Fodio to instill a sense of unity within the group and motivate the people to fight, but once the wheels were set in motion the rules of jihad were quickly forgotten (Waldman 351.)  Nevertheless, and even after several defeats, the jihad was successful and established control over the Hausa state (Waldman 354.)  The Sokoto Caliphate was the largest of the jihad states, and lasted formally from around 1809 (Waldman 333) to l903 when it was divided by colonial powers (Umar 135.)  During the colonial era, Europeans became intrigued by the state and attracted many visitors (Umar 137.)  Though the caliphate has been dissolved for quite some time, Sokoto and its neighboring states defined several borders which are still in place today (Cook 89.)
            The creation of the Massina Empire was led by Seku Ahmadu, who drew his influence directly from Uthman Dan Fodio and the establishing of the Sokoto caliphate.  In fact, Dan Fodio had made Seku a shaykh and sent him a flag prior to the revolt Seku led against the Bambara, the previous governing enitity (Ade 239.)  Though this was not the only state created in the aftermath of Sokoto, it was the largest Fulani jihad state after Sokoto.  Massina was not as long lasting as the Sokoto Caliphate, but was operating in full force from 1818 until 1862 when it was attacked by the Tukolors and defeated.  As with Sokoto, Islam was not an overwhelmingly strong force in the region.  However, Islam provided common ground for people to rally around, whereas the opposing side split due to struggles between themselves (Ade 245.)
-Futa Jallon and Futa Toro
            Futa Jallon and Futa Toro are much older than the other Fulani states.  Both were slave trade states until the abolishment of the slave trade in the late 18th century.  Futa Jallon was a jihad state from the early 18th century until French occupation in 1896 (Britannica.)  Futa Toro was under Muslim control by the latter part of the same century, in a revolution connected to the rebellion in Futa Jallon.  Both of these states, though established much earlier, were not nearly as large or powerful as the Sokoto and Massina empires (Boubacar 95-105.)
            The jihad states of West Africa were some of the largest and most powerful entities on that side of the continent.  Considering they existed during a time of colonial interference, it is impressive that these states managed to stay intact, at least for as long as they did.  Had colonial powers not eventually become fully involved in these empires, their fates would have been much different.  By the time the Sokoto Caliphate was broken down and separated, it had been long established and did not show signs of falling apart on its own accord.  These states were certainly an interesting occurrence.  They were jihad states, led by a minority, and established on the basis of Islam in a time of crisis even though most of the population did not necessarily practice the Islamic faith.  The remnants of these states still continue to have considerable influence on the region today.  Even their borders remain to an extent, drawing not only political lines but ethnic and religious lines as well in a world where the empires themselves no longer exist.  These jihadi movements have undoubtedly had a lasting impact on the condition of Africa throughout recent history.


Ajayi, L.F. Ade. General History of Africa. Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1998.

Barry, Boubacar. Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade. Cambridge: The Cambridge Press, 1998.

Collins, Robert. Documents from the African Past. Princeton : Markus Weiner Publications, 2001.

Cook, David. Martyrdom in Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

[ZH22]  Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Fouta Djallon," accessed April 04, 2012, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/215288/Fouta-Djallon.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Fulani," accessed April 04, 2012, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/221697/Fulani.

Umar, Muhammad S..  Islamic Discourses on European Visitors to Sokoto Caliphate in the Nineteenth Century.  Studia Islamica , No. 95 (2002), pp. 135-159

Waldman, Marilyn Robinson.  The Fulani Jihad: A Reassessment.  The Journal of African History , Vol. 6, No. 3 (1965), pp. 333-355


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Muslim Brotherhood

Flag of the Muslim Brotherhood

            The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic group that is labeled as a terrorist group. It is centered in Egypt, but has influence throughout the Islamic World. Having its origins as a secret society it is now a worldly known group and has even brought their movement to the cyberworld of the internet.

Foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood And the Early Years
Hassan al-Banna
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt March 1928 by Hassan al-Banna and was originally a religious social organization. Most of the original members were Egyptian laborers from the city if Isma’iliya[1]. The Muslim Brotherhood grew at a rapid rate to the point that al-Banna saw that for the Muslim Brotherhood to further grow and have some influence that it needed to be moved to Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood gained a foot hold in Cairo in 1932 after absorbing a group headed my al-Banna’s brother. Shortly after being established in Cairo the Muslim Brotherhood began to publish a weekly newsletter. It was estimated that by 1938 there was an estimated three hundred branches of the Muslim Brotherhood and a membership count of 50,000 to 150,000 members (Munson).
            In the early years of the Muslim Brotherhood they focused mostly on recruitment and forming a group based around religious reform and mutual aid to society. The Muslim Brotherhood did not truly take a political interest till the late 1930s. The political interest was brought upon by an Arab strike in Palestine.  The strike itself acted like a catalyst and began to bring the Brotherhoods focus on the unfair British rule that was currently active in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood began to openly voice out their dislike of the British rule.  During the 1941 Parliamentary election the Muslim Brotherhood entered members as a candidates and held rallies openly, calling out for social reform and for the British to leave Egypt.  The British government saw the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat and sent the military to remove al-Banna from Cairo in May 1941, he was later arrested in October along with other members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Shortly after the British banned the Muslim Brotherhood forever meeting.
            During World War II, with the government distracted by the war, the Muslim Brotherhood us that as a time to meet once again and plan ways to get rid of the British government completely from Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood saw that the only way they were going to get rid of the British was to start doing more than protesting and putting members up for elections.  With a membership of 300,000 to 600,000 members the Brotherhood was able to cause a lot of turmoil in Egypt. The Brotherhood has started to resort to violence and explosions to make their point. Many members were arrested for hiding large caches of weapons or explosives, but it seemed that nothing was going to stop them.
President Gama 'Abd al-Nasser
            Nothing was really done about the Brotherhood till after a Brotherhood member tried to assassinate Egyptian President Gama ‘Abd al- Nasser on October 27, 1954. After the assassination attempt on al-Nesser there was a large round up of Muslim Brotherhood members.  Members were imprisoned and tortured while six of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders were executed. Ones would think this would put an end to the Muslim Brotherhood, but it did not.

Beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood

The credo of the Muslim Brotherhood was “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations”. The Muslim Brotherhood fallows the teaching of the Hanbali School of Islamic thought (Munson). As it is clear in the history of the Muslim Brotherhood stated above, a main focus of the group is the fact that the Egyptian government is being ruled by the British government. The Muslim Brotherhood also fallows the belief that every Islamic individual has the divine responsibility to stand with them to get rid of the British government and also fight against all Western influence.  Their leader Hassasn Al-Banna believed that there was an Islamic Manifest destiny that gave all Muslim the divine right to push the Western influence completely out of the area that stretched from Spain to Indonesia.
            The Muslim Brotherhood also attacked the lifestyles of all Muslims that were not involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. They said that other Muslims had fallen away from the right life and needed to come back before being completely lost.

Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood
            The Muslim Brotherhood is essentially split into three groups. The groups are the general Organizational Conference, the Shura Council and the General Masul. The General Organization Conference is the general population of the Brotherhood. They are the average member of the group and make up the largest part of the Muslim brotherhood. The Shura Council is a group of leaders that have the duty of planning events, creating the general polices and making the programs that will help the group obtain the goals. In a sense the Shura Council could be seen as the tractions of the Muslim Brotherhood. The General Masul, meaning General Guide, are the leaders and members that fallow up and guide the activities of the general organization. In a sense each group of the Muslim Brotherhood builds of one another and do not work well without the others. The organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is well balanced and allows it to be a well-balanced and well working machine. 

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

            The Muslim Brotherhood is based in Egypt and has a strong effect in Egypt since its reemergence after is banning. The Muslim Brotherhood reemerged in the 1970s[2]. The Muslim Brotherhood no longer held back from using violence and formally declared Jihad on the Western Society. The Muslim Brotherhood continued to us violence but seemed to slow down after a 2005 Parliamentary election where Muslim Brotherhood members won 88 seats of Parliament. The 88 seats accounted for 20% of Parliament[3].
            Since gaining the seats in Parliament the Muslim Brotherhood has switched to a more administrative role for Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood even after the successful removal of the British rule continues to try and enforce a pure Islamic government and still says that many citizens of Egypt have fallen from the way of Islam and need to return to the ways or get punished.


            The Muslim Brotherhood went from a soft spoken origination to an organization that used force to get their point across. They were banned from the country they loved, but they did not let that stop them from trying to free their country of British rule. They can be seen as a key figure for Egypt’s Modern history. They are a group that has some governmental power and a group that will not easily go away or give up.

            Aly, Abd Al-Said, and Manfred W. Wenner. "Modern Islamic Reform Movements: The Muslim Brotherhood in Contemporary Egypt." Middle East Journal 36.5 (1982): 336+. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. 

            Leiken, Robert S., and Steven Brooke. "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood." Foreign Affairs 86.2  (2007):  107+. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.

             Munson, Ziad. "Islamic Mobilization: Social Movement Theory and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood." The Sociological Quarterly 42.4 (2001): 487-510. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.

             Shehata, Samer, and Joshua Stacher. "The Brotherhood Goes to Parliament." Middle East Report 240 (2006): 32-39. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.

Zahid, Mohammed, and Michael Medley. "Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt & Sudan." Review of African Political Economy 33.110 (2006): 693+. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012

[1] Ziad Munson “Islamic Mobilization: Social Movement Theory and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
[2] Mohammed Zahid and Michael Melody “Muslim Brotherhood & Sudan”

[3] Samer Shehata and Joshua Stacher “The Brotherhood goes to Parliament”

The Sepoy Rebellion

            During the colonization of India by the Europeans the East India Trading Company employed a group of Islamic Indians. This group was called the Sepoy and protected everything connected with the East India Trading Company. There were no real conflicts between the Sepoy and their employers till a rumor started that the pre made cartages used by their standard issues rifles were sealed with the fat of pig and cow. Once the rumor took hold the Sepoy became furious.
                The British honestly did not see any issue with the matter of how the cartages where sealed, but once one looks at the beliefs of the area the issue became quite clear. In order to open the cartages to be inserted into the rifle the individual had to bite the end. The Sepoy by having to do that were going against their religion by in a way ingesting pig and cow which was sin in both the Islamic religion and Hindu religion.
            Outraged by this the Sepoy raised arms against their employers. The revolt occurred in 1857 in Meerut, India, but they Sepoy were put down by the British. The Sepoy Rebellion even though it was quickly halted, it is seen by historians as India’s First War of Independence. The Sepoy Rebellion was just the first of many rebellions that in the end resulted in India’s independence.  Along with being the spark of a chain of revolts the Sepoy Rebellion made Britain’s hold in the area of Delhi.
            By the Sepoy Rebellion occurring opened the eyes to the other Indians about how the British was only trying to suppress them and that the British how to be stop. Even though it took a bit for the fallowing rebellions to finally push the British out but it eventually did. The Sepoy Rebellion just gave those around them the reason to fight and to look at how the British would only harm their way of life and in no way help.  The fact that the Indians never gave up they won their land back from British control.

Norris, David A. "Mutiny In India: The Sepoy Rebellion." History Magazine 13.3 (2012): 22-26. Historical Abstracts. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
Discuses the effects of rebellion.

Raja, Masood Ashraf. "The Indian Rebellion Of 1857 And Mirza Ghalib's Narrative Of    Survival." Prose Studies 31.1 (2009): 40-54. Literary Reference Center. Web.  1 Apr.            2012.
A more in depth look at the effects of the rebellion.

The Young Ottomans

In the 19th Century conflicts began to raise more between Islamic factions. The issues mostly were fueled by the interference of the Europeans. Most Islamic groups shared a distaste of any and all things that could be connected to the Europeans. The Europeans were strong in trying to install a constitutional government which enraged the Muslims. On one hand there was an Islamic group that liked the idea of a constitutional government. This group was called the Young Ottomans.
The Young Ottomans was a Turkish nationalist group formed in Istanbul in June 1865. They believed that the current government in Turkey was no longer helpful for the people and insisted that a new government be put in place.  The main issue that the Young Ottomans had was that the current government was made in the multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic Ottoman Empire and not just a Turkish State. The group was kept a secret group because it was in direct opposition to the current government.  Even though it was a secret group it grew quickly. It started out with just 6 members when it was formed in 1865 to a member count of 245 in 1867[1]. That was a member increase of 239 members in just 2 years. 
Again unlike other Islamic groups the Young Ottomans accepted the liberalism brought by the Europeans. By combining the liberalism of the Europeans and traditionalism they believed they could form a successful Turkish State. The Young Ottomans believed that the European ideas went well with the traditional beliefs that the ideas were completely acceptable and would in turn revive some of the traditions through modernization.
            The Young Ottomans were one of the first Islamic groups that realized how helpful the modernized technology of the west and saw that it would only make it better for those in the East[2].  Helvaici also divides the Young Ottomans into two generations. 
The leading figures of the first generation Young Ottomans were Namik Kemal, Sinasi and Mustafa Fazil Pasha. Each leader had a different way of approving the modernization through Western ways. Namik Kemal went with modernization along with the traditions of the past saying they fit together and complimented each other. Kemal believed that the modernization would cause no harm to Islamic ways but in turn help them in every way. Kemal believed that the government should have a Parliament fashioned similar to that of the Europeans. Sinasi in some ways agreed that there should be a modernization, but the land should be ruled by a sultan. All in all Sinasi believed that the people should be ruled by an educated individual. Mustafa Fazil Pasha, unlike the other two, did not call for a full reform but in his manifesto requested that a liberal constitution be instated. Pasha stressed that there was a gap between the commoners and the uppers class and that a constitution would truly give everyone a chance to be treated as equals.
            The second generation of Young Ottomans ran in opposition of some of the leaders of the Young Turks, primarily, the main opponent to many of the Young Turks. This individual was Ahmet Riza. Riza believed that the elite were better suited to run the government, where on the other hand most of the Young Turks believed that any intellectual person hand an equal right to have some voice in the government.
            Even though it might not have been seen that the Young Ottomans had contributed much to the modern Turkish government, that is completely not the case. Each leader of the Young Ottomans proposed a new form of government that were different in their own way but each focused around the creation of a constitution and the creation of a parliament.  Those plans proposed by the Young Ottoman leaders helped shape the government that is in place in Turkey.  Along with the plans of a constitutional government the Young Ottomans helped with the modernization through the acceptance of Westernization.

Works Citied
Helvacı, Pelin. "A Critical Approach: Political Thoughts Of Young Ottomans." European Journal Of Social Science 16.3 (2010): 449-457.Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
            An analytical look at how the Young Ottomans saw the Western Civilization and the workings of becoming modernized. Pointed out good and bad things about each approach by leaders.
"Young Ottomans." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.    EncyclopædiBritannica Inc., 2012. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/654092/Young-Ottomans>.
            Online Encyclopedia entry about the Young Ottomans. Had some numbers about the growth of the group and basic facts.

[1]  “Young Ottomans” Encyclopædia Britannica, Online
[2] Pelin Helvaci, “A Critical approach: Political Thoughts of Young Ottomans”

Tijaniyya Tariqah

         Tujaniyya Tariqah is a Neo-Sufi moment that originated from the teachings of Sīdī 'Aḥmad al Tijānī. This Tariquah was big in North and West Africa and reach as far as Indonesia. Though it was widely spread, it was not widely accepted due to the fact that Sīdī 'Aḥmad al Tijānī’s ideas were extreme in the eyes of other Muslims.
Sīdī 'Aḥmad al Tijānī was a scholar born 1737 in Algeria. After studying hadith in Fez he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1772. Upon returning from Mecca he announced that he had been given the task from the Prophet to create another tariqah. Soon after his announcement he revealed his new tariqah which is known as the Tijaniyya Tariqah. Unlike the other tariqah, Tijamiyya focused on the mystical relationship with the Prophet. Most other tariqah focused on the mystical relationship between the believer and Allah.   al Tijānī and Alī Harāzim b. al-ʿArabī Barāda wrote the  that outlined al Tijānī life and his teachings that were approved by Tijānī himself. This book called Djawāhi al-maʿānī and was seen as the only recorded teachings of the Tuaniyya that was true.
            al Tijānī thought high of himself that he went as far as to say that he was an equal to that of the Prophet and that he was higher than other awliyā. His belief in that led to his declaration that it was forbidden to be involved with any other Sufi order once you have accepted the Tijaniyya faith. He himself broke a Sufi way with this declaration. al Tijānī also claimed in the  Djawāhi al-maʿānī that he was the only way God could reach his people and visa versa. He tried to make himself the only way to God.  al Tijānī also took the title of ḳuṭb (meaning pole).  Ḳuṭb is the title given to the person that holds the highest rank in Sufi religion. All in all al Tijānī saw himself and his followers far superior than their other Sufi counterparts. This caused major issues to happen between other Sufis.
            From the beginning, al Tijānī was criticized along with Tijaniyya. In the 1920s reformers of the Salfiyya schools in Morocco and Algeria began to speak against Tijaniyya due to the teachings and the fact that there had been open interactions between Tijaniyya leaders and leaders of the French colonization. In the 1970s in Nigeria there has been protest against Tijaniyya  in an attempt at unity with in the Muslim religions as a way to secure political power.  Over all Tijaniyya was not welcomed with open arms.
            Against all odds and critical criticism from the others, Tijaniyya spread with little to no problem.  It started  to spread the most in the Maghrib and West Africa. In the 1830s Tijaniyya spread in Algeria with the help of  ʽAyn Māḋī  because they spoke aginst the current Muslim leaders who were against the French colonization. The Algeria spread of Tijaniyya was due to the fact that the Tijaniyya leaders gained favoritism with the French colonist leaders. If it was not for the French pull, Tijaniyya may have not had that strong of a hold in Algeria. Since then Tijaniyya has spread rapidly throughout Africa. Its greatest expansion occurred around the mid-19th century.
            In Senrgal, one of the largest areas to accept Tijaniyya, there was a revivalist movement led by Ibrāhīm Niasse. Niasse helped the spread of Tijaniyya by using World War Two as a way  to promote it. Under the Niasse Tijaniyya spread into the Republic of the Sudan and deeper into West Africa. Niasse also went as far as to claim that al-Tidjānī came to him in a vision and told him that he was the embodiment of Tijaniyya. That helped him gather followers and continue with his revival of Tijaniyya.
            The ideology of Tijaniyya was basically the same as other forms of Islam. There were only three real differences from the other Islamic sects. The first difference was that each individual must perform the wird of the  Tijaniyya every morning and evening. The wird is a prayer of forgiveness from Allah 100 times , saying a prayer for the Prophet and fallowed by  reciting haylala 100 times. The next difference is that an individual must perform wazīfa at least once a morning along with other prayers.  The third and final difference that the hadra, the holy day, is on Friday.  Everyone meets and performs the rituals as a group. The only other difference than these there that had been stated before that once one becomes a member of  Tijaniyya they are not able to be in any other  Sufi group as dictated by  al-Tidjānī.
            Over all Tijaniyya was a Neo-Sufi movement that was majorly successful due to the fact that they accepted the help and took alliance with foreign colonists.  Tijaniyya covers a large area of Africa even though there was great opposition from other Islamic groups.  Many still believe in al-Tidjānī view that those that fallow Tijaniyya are superior than other Muslims and that Allah himself have more favor towards them.  Tijaniyya through its revival only spread further and take a permanent mark in Africa. In the end Tijaniyya remains one of the most popular sects of Islam.

Works Sited
Voll, John Obert. Islam, Continuity and Change in the Modern World. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse     UP, 1994. 48, 53, 128, 143, 265-267. Print
“Tidjāiyya” Enclopedia of Islam, Second Edition.