In Their Own Words

Voices of Jihad -- Compilation and Commentary

by David Aaron

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Abstract

This book presents the actual statements and writings of jihadis expressing their views on virtually every subject relevant to their cause. It is not about Islam as it is practiced in its many varieties in Muslim communities throughout the world, nor is it about Islamic fundamentalism or the various Islamist political movements. Rather, it is about a small group of Muslims who carry out and promote terrorism in the name of Islam. Because the jihadis' statements are often more appalling and more profoundly revealing than the accounts that have been written about jihadi terrorism, this book provides unfiltered access to a broad range of the stories, rationales, ideas, and arguments of jihadi terrorists and those who support them. Introductory and contextual material is also included, to provide the background and origins of what the jihadis are saying — to each other and to the world. It is hoped that this will provide greater insights into the motives, plans, and participants in jihadi terrorism, as well as the nature of the threat they pose. Not all of the quotations are from prominent jihadis. Some have been selected because they are representative, others because they are contradictory, and still others because they provide a unique insight into the jihadi mentality.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Life in Jihad

  • Chapter Three

    Seeds of Jihad

  • Chapter Four

    Ideology

  • Chapter Five

    World View

  • Chapter Six

    Enemies

  • Chapter Seven

    “Prescribed for You Is Fighting . . . (2:216)”

  • Chapter Eight

    Iraq and Afghanistan

  • Chapter Nine

    Operations

  • Chapter Ten

    Conclusion

Book Review Excerpts

"This generous and varied compendium of citations goes far beyond relatively standard [terrorist] messages to give a remarkably in-depth view of what jihadis are saying not only to the world, but to each other. Author David Aaron focuses primarily on al-Qaeda and related groups… His sources are quotations from the books, manuals, fatwas web postings and other written and oral discourse from jihadi leaders, as well as some direct quotations from Muslim holy texts, especially where they are used in justification or explanation of acts of jihad… It should be noted that the author makes clear in his preface, introduction and elsewhere in the text that the reader must separate between Muslim jihadists and terrorists, and Muslims in general, an important distinction for all readers to keep in mind. ‘In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad';, is a unique compilation of materials that are difficult for even the professional reader to access. The book will be an excellent addition to the library of any student of Jihadism, Terrorism, the history of Islam, and Middle Eastern studies, as well as anyone with an interest in the current global political picture. A picture seen by jihadists which indicates that the current imbalance of superpowers caused by the fall of the Soviet Union indicates that we are in a time of transition, and that a change will be wrought by them in the name of their god."

- Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Volume 5, issue 1, 2008

"Compiled by RAND's director of [the Center for] Middle East Public Policy, David Aaron, [this] book provides a wide variety of views, stories, and justifications by individuals who promote terrorism in the name of Islam. While terrorism may have always been a tactic of warfare, seldom have its authors been so well documented. Libraries and bookstores can't go wrong with [this] volume. [It is] indispensable for historians, journalists, academics, and policy makers"

- Foreword Magazine, Editor's Notes, August 2008

This book results from the RAND Corporation's continuing program of self-initiated research. Support for such research is provided, in part, by donors and by the independent research and development provisions of RAND's contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers. The project was conducted in conjunction with the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, part of International Programs at the RAND Corporation.

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