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Analysis: JNIM addresses detractors, sends message of unity

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Caleb Weiss

February 10, 2020

Over the last few weeks, al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) released two pamphlets that sent indirect messages to its detractors and supporters in the Sahel and beyond.

Penned by Qutaybah Abu Numan al Shinqiti, a Mauritanian religious scholar affiliated with al Qaeda’s franchises in North Africa, the two booklets addressed complaints regarding JNIM’s implementation of Sharia law and calls for unity among jihadists.

Responding to Islamic State sympathizers

In the first booklet, “Responding to suspicions that you do not apply Sharia,” released late last month, Shinqiti made the case that implementing Sharia is much more multifaceted than simply applying strict hudud [punishments under Sharia].

That release was likely in response to complaints made by Islamic State-sympathetic jihadists within JNIM.

In his argument, Shinqiti heavily quoted Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim, two medieval Islamic theologians who are routinely cited by al Qaeda’s ideologues.

For instance, Shinqiti quoted Ibn Taymiyya on heavy-handed approaches as saying, “[those who rule] without jurisprudence, patience, and consideration of what works and what does not work, he comes with the command and prohibition believing he is obedient to God and he is an aggressor in his hudud.”


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