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Hans Kippenberg

Hans Kippenberg

Hans Kippenberg

Abstract

The document found with three of the four cells responsible for the crimes of 9/11 is unique in providing specific information about how the Muslim suicide terrorists conceived of their action. The document shows that they found justification for violence by emulating the moment in early Islamic history when Muhammad cancelled contracts with non-Muslims and organized raids (ghazwa) against the Meccans in order to establish Islam as a political order. No statement in the Manual explicitly identifies the United States as the financial, military, and political center of today's paganism; rather, such identification is tacitly assumed, as was shown by the action itself. Instead, the Manual prescribes recitations, prayers and rituals by which each member of the four cells should prepare for the ghazwa, purify his intention and anticipate in his mind the successive stages of the struggle to come. Not the objective aim but the subjective intention is at the center of the Manual. The article places this type of justification of violence in the history of Islamic activism since the 1980s.