from Middle East Forum:
In his June 14 address to the nation, President Obama attributed Omar Mateen’s attack on patrons of Orlando, Fla.’s, Pulse nightclub to “homegrown extremism,” saying “we currently do not have any information to indicate that a foreign terrorist group directed the attack.”
While Obama acknowledged that the Islamic State has called for attacks around the world against “innocent civilians,” he suggested these calls were incidental, emphasizing that Mateen was a “lone actor” and “an angry, disturbed, unstable young man” susceptible to being radicalized “over the Internet.”
It is a terrible thing to misunderstand one’s enemy so deeply. The doctrine of jihad invoked by terrorist groups is an institution with a long history, grounded in legal precedent going back to the time of Muhammad.
Militants who invoke the doctrine of jihad follow principles influenced by Islamic law. The point to be grasped is that the doctrinal basis of jihad generates conditions that can incite “bottom-up” terrorism, which does not need to be directed by jihadi organizations.
When the Ottoman Caliphate entered World War I in 1914, it issued an official fatwa calling upon Muslims everywhere to rise up and fight the “infidels.” In 1915, a more detailed ruling was issued, entitled “A Universal Proclamation to All the People of Islam.”
This second fatwa gave advice on the methods of jihad, distinguishing three modes of warfare: “jihad by bands,” which we would today call guerrilla warfare; “jihad by campaigns,” which refers to warfare using armies; and “individual jihad.”
The fatwa cited approvingly as an example of individual jihad the 1910 assassination of Boutros Ghaly, a Christian prime minister of Egypt (and grandfather of former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghaly), at the hands of Ibrahim Nassif al-Wardani, a Muslim graduate in pharmacology who had been educated in Lausanne, Paris, and London.
This Ottoman fatwa cited precedents from the life of Muhammad for each of the three modes of warfare. To support individual jihad, it referenced three instances when companions of Muhammad conducted assassinations of non-Muslims. Two of these involved attacks on Jews that were personally instigated by Muhammad.