Jihad by court: a modern strategy to “terrify the enemy of Allah”

27.09.2015 Valentina Colombo

Hasan al-Banna in the Letter of teachings, which is still one of the key documents in the Muslim Brotherhood curriculum, explained the meaning of jihad in the following way: “By jihad, I mean that imperative duty until the day of Resurrection which is reflected in the following saying of the Messenger of Allah – praise and benediction of Allah upon Him: “Whoever dies without carrying out a military expedition, or wishing to do so, dies a pre-Islamic death.” Its lowest degree is the heart’s abhorrence of evil, and its highest degree is fighting in the path of Allah. Between these two degrees are other forms of jihad: jihad with the tongue, pen, hand, and speaking a word of truth to the unjust authority. The call can survive only with jihad. The more lofty and far reaching is the call, the greater is the jihad in its path. The price required to support it is immense, but the reward given to its upholders is more generous: ‘And strive in the Way of Allah as you ought to.’ By this you know the meaning of your slogan ‘Jihad is our path’.”

Jihad by court is another form of “intermediate” jihad and is a modern and aggressive form of jihad through legal means. It is the Westernised and pseudo-democratic form of the Islamic institution called hisba which is derived from the Qur’anic order upon every Muslims of “commanding good and forbidding wrong”: “Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors” (Qur’an 3: 110).

Jihad by court is one of the favourite means of the organizations and individuals ideologically linked with the Muslim Brotherhood in the West and sometimes is connected with the accusation of islamophobia. The strategy is clear: any journalist, writer, intellectual, academic, activist or any newspaper, organisation, association criticising or exposing an MB individual or organisation is very likely to be sued for defamation. The Legal Project, based in the USA, has given a very useful definition of this tactic: “Such lawsuits are often predatory, filed without a serious expectation of winning, but undertaken as a means to bankrupt, distract, intimidate, and demoralize defendants. Plaintiffs seek less to prevail in the courtroom than to wear down researchers and analysts. Even when the latter win cases, they pay heavily in time, money, and spirit. As counterterrorism specialist Steven Emerson comments, “Legal action has become a mainstay of radical Islamist organizations seeking to intimidate and silence their critics.” Islamists clearly hope, Douglas Farah notes, that researchers will “get tired of the cost and the hassle [of lawsuits] and simply shut up.”

This has been going on for years in Europe and the US. In some countries there are Western lawyers representing generations of leaders of political Islam from Yusuf Qaradawi to Rached al-Ghannouchi, from Tariq Ramadan to the UOIF, from the global Muslim Brotherhood to national organisations.

Only a few recent examples. On September 4, the Police Tribunal in Lille found Soufiane Zitouni guilty of non-public defamation and non-public insult toward the Lycée Averroès in Lille, linked with UOIF and his president Amar Lasfar, for an email he had sent colleagues accusing the school’s leadership of being a “hypocritical vipers’ nest.” The court assessed that Zitouni did not substantiate his claim and thus found him guilty. In a press communiqué, Averroes high school welcomed the court’s decision against Zitouni’s guilty verdict: “The Lille Court sentenced Soufiane Zitouni and found him guilty of defamation and insults against the Lycée Averroès.” It further stated that “this decision comes after a report from the Ministry of National Education which demonstrated no violation of the Republic’s values.” In the same press release the Lycée “mistakenly” wrote that Zitouni was condemned for public defamation instead of “non-public defamation”.

The court judgement has been an apparent victory for the Lycée, that however did not dare to sue Zitouni for his articles on Liberation where he exposed the methods and the contents of classes in the high school. A few days later, Mohamed Louizi, another prominent critic of the MB in France, announced on his Facebook page that he was being sued for public defamation by the President of the Association Lycée Averroès, Amar Lasfar for a series of critical articles he published last Spring on his Mediapart blog. If found guilty, he could be liable for a fine of up to 12,000 Euros.

On July 29, 2015, the Italian newspaper Il Giornale launched a call to financially support its journalist Magdi Cristiano Allam after an Italian court ordered him to pay more than 8,000 Euros because he linked the Italian Union of Islamic Organisations in Italy (UCOII) with the MB and Hamas during a TV program in 2006. Although I do not agree with his political choices and his harsh stand against Islam, Magdi Cristiano Allam was condemned to death by Hamas and has been living under the protection of the Italian Ministry of Interior since 2003 as a result. During the program, he accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being at the origin of his death sentence.

Allam has been one of the staunchest accusers of the MB network in Italy and has been for years the target of the jihad by court, led by the Italian lawyer Luca Bauccio who counts among his clients Rached Ghannouchi, Tariq Ramadan, Yusuf Qaradawi, Youssef Nada and all Italian leaders of political Islam.

Another example is the lawsuit that was initiated by the Union of the Islamic Organizations of France and the Great Mosque of Paris against “Charlie Hebdo” for republishing the Danish cartoons about Muhammad is one of the most famous examples of this kind of jihad. In March 2008, the Paris Court of Appeals rejected all the accusations as, the cartoons, “which clearly refer only to a part not to the whole Muslim community, cannot be considered neither an outrage nor a personal and direct attack against a group of people because of their religious faith and do not go beyond the limits of freedom of expression.” However, the deadly attack against Charlie Hebdo on January 2015 confirms that jihad by court can turn out to be the green light to more radical organisations that decide to use less democratic means.

The French Court acted in a responsible and sensible way, but what happened to “Charlie Hebdo,” and keeps on happening to many writers and journalists should lead us to conclude that: first, the attacks of “jihad by court” do not come from all Muslims, they come from so-called “Islamic communities and organizations”, that usually are simple non-profit associations which do not represent anybody but themselves, and from individuals and organizations who protect themselves by attacking the others in the name of freedom and defamation.

In Europe and the US there is a long list of people who have been victims of jihad by court: from Daniel Pipes to Fiammetta Venner, from Mohammed Sifaoui to Magdi Cristiano Allam, from Soufiane Zitouni to Heiko Heinisch, from Souad Sbai to Mohamed Louizi. Most of them perfectly know political Islam, its actors and strategies. Some of them have also been in the past active members of political Islam. However, Western judges have not realised yet that anti-defamation laws have been exploited by political Islam in the West to silence the other, that political Islam is not Islam and does not represent the majority of Muslims living in Europe.

Last but not least, Western judges and law makers should realise that jihad by court is one of the new strategies to implement not only Hasan al-Banna’s Letter of teachings, but also the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood represented by the following Qur’anic verse: ““And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged” (Surat al-Anfal, 60).

Jihad by court is the non-violent, but aggressive way to “terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”


Ikhwanophobia : A neologism not to be underestimated

31.08.2015 Valentina Colombo

In recent years the term “Islamophobia” has been widely used- and misused. If there are certain thinkers and politicians in the West who can be defined as “Islamophobes” for their ideas and writings, it is not entirely fair that people criticising radical Islam deserve this moniker. 

For instance, an irrational fear of Islam and Muslims can be found within the Italian party “Lega Nord” whose members are against mosques, without exception. In this case we are facing a kind of fear which is close to hate. But if someone says that mosques must operate transparently and remain far from ideologies linked to radical Islam, there should be no doubt that he or she is not an “Islamophobe.”

It is well known that the battle against “Islamophobia” is mainly led by the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, the former Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and all Islamic associations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. In the name of freedom of expression and of faith they have asked the international community to fight “Islamophobia”. Their efforts have produced the Resolution of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2010, condemning “Islamophobic” behaviour, including Switzerland’s minaret building ban, despite some states’ major reservations.

The Resolution “strongly condemns… the ban on the construction of minarets of mosques and other recent discriminatory measures.” These measures “…are manifestations of “Islamophobia” that stand in sharp contradiction to international human rights obligations concerning freedoms of religions,” the Resolution says. This document clearly shows how the term “Islamophobia” is misused and misunderstood. In Mohammad’s time there were no minarets and the first minaret of Islamic history dates to 80 years after his death, so banning minarets cannot be understood as fear of either Islam or of Muslims.

Following the recent revolutions in the Arab world, the return of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, previously in exile, and the legalisation of political parties linked to the movement, certain scholars, journalists and intellectuals have begun to point to the dangers of their ideology, since their stated aim is a unified Islamic state ruled by sharia law, where women, Christians and Jews will be considered minorities. The reaction of the movement founded by Hasan al-Banna in 1928 was immediate. “Islamophobia” has been joined by the term “Ikhwanophobia”, a term used to describe fear and hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood, in Arabic ikhwan al-muslimun. Among the websites connected to the movement there is www.ikhwanophobia.com. Here we read that: “’Ikhwanophobia’ is a new term, a neologism meaning the fear and hatred of Muslim Brotherhood members and their ideologies.” It continues that the term “refers to the unjustified intimidation of Muslim Brotherhood members by other people. “Ikhwanophobes” are the factions who call for discrimination towards Muslim Brotherhood members and Muslims in general. They may be characterised by having  the belief that all or most MB members  are religious fanatics, with  violent tendencies towards non-Muslims, and reject as directly opposed to Islam such concepts as equality, tolerance, and democracy.” This means that whoever quotes either Hasan al-Banna’s or Sayyid Qutb’s or Rached al-Ghannouchi’s work could be accused of “Ikhwanophobia.” In effect, this means that only praise of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood is permitted, with criticism forbidden.

On the website, it clearly states that “Ikhwanophobia is completely linked to the ”Islamophobia” term, where there are continued accusations of Muslim societies and the Islamic Centers in Europe or in the US as being affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.” It continues, “Intimidation of the Muslim Brotherhood, of course, leads to many negative consequences that are contrary to basic human rights.” It seems as though all Muslims are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, but of course this is not true. As Izz Eldin El Zir, president of the Union of Islamic Organizations and Communities in Italy (UCOII), who is ideologically linked to the Brotherhood, recently admitted in an interview: ”We do not pretend to represent all Muslims in Italy, but only the members of our association”.

The link between “Islamophobia” and “Ikhwanophobia” is dangerous and should be rejected out of hand. Ikhwanophobia.com says it is “determined to shed light on the accusations and allegations against the MB illustrating to the world the true face of moderate Islamists.” Ikhwanophobia.com also states that it is “concerned with exposing the claimants and ‘Ikhwanophobes.’” This means the start of a new form of legal jihad to halt the tongues of academics and researchers in the name of defending what the website calls the “absolute values of justice, freedom and human rights.” In fact, all this is simply a way of reducing freedom of expression and the freedom to conduct objective analysis about radical Islam which does not necessarily lead to the hatred of Muslims who are, themselves, the primary and most numerous victims of Islamic extremism.

Date: 20th July 2011

Valentina Colombo is Senior Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy.


Teacher quits French muslim school

08.05.2015 Soufiane Zitouni

Philosophy teacher Sofiane Zitouni wrote in  Libération on February 5 that the Averroès Lycée  hosted an “anti-Semitism, sectarianism and insidious Islamism”.

He could no longer tolerate the school’s alleged contradictions with France’s strictly secular “Republican values”.

“The reality is that Averroès Lycée is a Muslim territory that is being funded by the state”

“It promotes a vision of Islam that is nothing other than Islamism. And it is doing it in an underhand and hidden way in order to maintain its [80 percent] state funding.”

‘I have never heard so many anti-Semitic remarks’

Assassination of Muslim Brotherhood in Misrata

26.01.2013 La rédaction

Gunmen opened fire at Sheikh Mohamed bin Othman, a Muslim Brotherhood and Misrata local council member, near Ras Amar mosque, Misrata, Misrata, libya. Othman died in the attack. No group claimed responsibility for the incident.


Global Terrorism database

“Muslim Brotherhood member shot dead in libya,” Agence France Presse — English, January 27, 2013.”

“Misratan Councillor murdered outside mosque,” libya TV, January 27, 2013.”

“Misrata council member murdered,” libya Herald, January 26, 2013.”

Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Building Attacked

Assailants threw a grenade at the libyan Muslim Brotherhood center in Al-Marj city, Marj district, Libya. There were no reported casualties; however, the building was damaged in the blast. No group claimed responsibility for the incident.


Global Terrorism database

“Local libyan Muslim Brotherhood Building Attacked With Hand Grenade,” Al-Tadamun News Agency, October 21, 2012.”

Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: Assad Must be Opposed and Killed

Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, told Al-Jazeera that clerics across the Muslim world agree that Assad must be fought against and even killed, because he is using his weapons against the peaceful Syrian people. Therefore, he said, the Muslims must wage jihad against him in their hearts, with their tongues (i.e., with words), or with weapons, as the FSA is doing. He added that it is a duty to fight this arrogant and tyrannical regime that is behaving as though it is God, and that the task of fighting it belongs first of all to the Syrians themselves, though the rest of the Muslims must assist them.[1] It should be noted that in August 2011, Al-Qaradhawi signed his name to a fatwa that was published in the Gulf, which called to sever all official ties with the “heretical” Assad regime.[2]

Source Memri

[1] See MEMRI TV clip no. 3370, “Sunni Cleric Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Bashar Al-Assad Deserves to Be Fought and Killed,” March 4, 2012, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/3370.htm.

[2] See MEMRI Special Dispatch no. 4094, “Fatwa in the Gulf, Signed by Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Syrian Regime Is ‘Heretical’; Sever Ties with It,” August 22, 2011, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5589.htm.