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Al-Qaeda's Enemy Within

Pro Al-Qaeda demonstration
Could jihadis lose the war of ideas?

BBC Radio 4's Analysis: Al-Qaeda's Enemy Within is broadcast on Thursday 7th August at 20:30 BST and repeated on Sunday 10th August at 21.30 BST

Could Osama bin Laden's erstwhile comrades be responsible for bringing about the collapse of al Qaeda?

The BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner OBE talks to a former ally of Osama bin Laden who is now working to turn Islamist sentiment against al Qaeda.

As a leader of a jihadist organisation committed to overthrowing the Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Nu'man bin Othman was regarded by Osama bin Laden as an ally.

However, shortly before 9/11 bin Othman cautioned bin Laden against targeting the United States.

Frank Gardner interviews Nu'man bin Othman
Frank Gardner interviews Nu'man bin Othman

In this programme he explains why he now criticises publicly al Qaeda's strategy and lack of theological justification.

Others to whom bin Laden might have looked to for support have turned against him too.

Dr Fadl, one of the architects of the most extreme jihadist ideology now calls al Qaeda's leadership "extremely immoral".

Sheikh Salman al Oudah, a Saudi religious scholar once credited by bin Laden with inspiring him to take up "my duty of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong," has recently denounced the al Qaeda leader.

Furthermore, the targeting of Muslim civilians by al Qaeda affiliates in Iraq and elsewhere is undermining popular support.

Interviewees
Dr Kemal el Helbawi former Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson
Nu'man bin Othman Libyan former jihadi
Ahmed Rashid author "Descent into Chaos"
Stephen Ulph Jamestown Foundation
Nigel Inkster International Institute of Strategic Studies
Hanif Qadir Active Change Foundation

All this provides some cause for optimism. But with a resilient Taliban in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas sheltering al Qaeda, is it too early to talk about the unravelling of the global jihad network?

Frank Gardner examines how the war of ideas within the jihadi movement is becoming as important as the military frontline.

Presenter: Frank Gardner
Producer: Innes Bowen
Editor: Hugh Levinson

Coming Up:

As Olympic fever dominates the media landscape, Richard Weight examines the purpose and meaning of elite sports.




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Al-Qaeda faces Islamist backlash
07 Aug 08 |  South Asia

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