Works and statements by former extremists

The documents linked to this website are examples of statements by former extremists repudiating their previous ideology of violent extremism. They are reproduced here as a resource, to show how attitudes to extremist ideologies change over time, and to help mitigate the threat of terrorism or other forms of violence, wherever they might occur.

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group

In 2009 the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group issued a 417-page document that set out a revised version of their extremist ideology.  They renounced violence as a means for changing political situations, challenged al-Qaeda, and said that their previous adherence to violence had been in error and a result of a lack of religious knowledge.  The document has been partially translated by the UK-based Quilliam Foundation: A Selected Translation of the LIFG (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) Recantation Document, translated by Mohammed Ali Musawi, published by Quilliam, 2009.

Sayyid Imam al-Sharif (Dr Fadl)

In 2007 the Egyptian former extremist Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, also known as "Dr Fadl", published a treatise entitled The Document for the Guidance of Jihadi Action in Egypt and in the World (Wathiqat Tarshid al-Jihad fi Masr wa al-Alam), serialized in the Egyptian newspaper al-Masri al-Yawm.

Dr Fadl was one of the founders of the Egyptian group Islamic Jihad and a close associate of al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. He participated in the struggle against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and authored a number of important texts used by extremists.  However, Dr Fadl began to disagree with the other extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan and moved to Yemen. In 2001 he was arrested by Yemeni authorities and extradited to Egypt.

In The Document for the Guidance of Jihadi Action Dr Fadl criticised the leaders of al-Qa’ida, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, as seeking "worldly gain", and said "this is not the jihad that Islam calls to."

The Arabic text of the book is found here.

An English translation is found here.

A six-part interview with Dr Fadl with the newspaper al-Hayat, entitled "My Fundamental Disagreement with al-Zawahiri as a Result of the Operations Inside Egypt", gives further background to the original work. It can be found here, published online 8th December 2007 (Arabic).

In 2008, Dr Fadl/Sayyid Imam wrote a second book, also serialised in al-Masri al-Yawm and the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, between 18 November and 2 December 2008.  This second book was entitled Unveiling the Great Deception in al-Zawahiri's 'Exoneration of the Nation' (al-Ta’riyya li-Kitab al-Tabri’a), a response to a book written by al-Zawahiri entitled The Justification of the Community of the Sword and the Pen from the Blemish of the Accusation of Impotence and Weakness (Tabri'at Ummat al-Sayf wa al-Qalam min Munqasat Tuhmat al-Khawar wa al-Da’f), itself a response to Dr Fadl's first book.

The Arabic text of the second book can be found here, and in serialised form at the following links:

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8 / Part 9 / Part 10 /Part 11 / Part 12 / Part 13

An English translation of the second book can be found here.

The Egyptian Islamic Group

The Egyptian Islamic Group (al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya), known for formerly embracing violence as a means for achieving its political goal of establishing an Islamic state, published a series of works from 2002–2006 entitled the Corrective Concepts Series (Silsilat Tashih al-Mafahim), which revised their former views on violence and political change. Some are still available from the website of the newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, where they were serialised, and others have been made available by the website  Also, five of these texts are now available in English translation (see links below).

* Usama Ibrahim Hafiz and Asim Abd al-Majid Muhammad, The Initiative to Cease Violence: A Realistic Vision and a View Based on the Shari’a (Mubadarat waqf al-unf: ru’ya waqi’iyya wa nazra shar’iyya), Cairo: Maktabat al-Turath al-Islami, 2002. Internet Archive

* Hamdi Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Azim, Najih Ibrahim Abdullah, and Ali Muhammad Ali al-Sharif, Shedding Light on Errors Committed in Jihad (Taslit al-adwa’ ‘ala ma waqa’a fi al-jihad min akhta’), Cairo: Maktabat al-Turath al-Islami, 2002. Internet Archive

* Najih Ibrahim Abdullah and Ali Muhammad Ali al-Sharif, The Prohibition on Extremism in Religion and on the Excommunication of Muslims (Hurmat al-ghuluww fi al-din wa takfir al-muslimin), Cairo: Maktabat al-Turath al-Islami, 2002. Internet Archive

* Ali Muhammad Ali al-Sharif and Usama Ibrahim Hafiz, Advice and Clarification Regarding the Rectification of the Concepts used by Those who Assume Responsibility (Al-nush wa al-tabyin fi tashih mafahim al-muhtasibin), Cairo: Maktabat al-Turath al-Islami, 2002. Internet Archive

* Karam Muhammad Zuhdi, Najih Ibrahim Abdullah et al., The River of Memories: The Fiqh Revisions of the Gama’a Islamiyya (Nahr al-dhikrayat: al-muraja’at al-fiqhiyya li al-jama’a al-islamiyya), Cairo: Maktabat al-Turath al-Islami, 2002. Internet Archive English Translation

* Isam al-Din Dirbala, Al-Qaeda’s Strategy and its Bombings: Flaws and Perils (Istratijiyyat wa tafjirat al-qa’ida: al-akhta’ wa al-akhtar). Cairo: Maktabat al-Turath al-Islami, 2003. Al-Sharq al-Awsat English Translation

* Karam Muhammad Zuhdi, Ali Muhammad Ali al-Sharif, et al., The Riyadh Bombings: The Rulings and the Consequences (Tafjirat al-riyad: al-ahkam wa al-athar), Cairo: Maktabat al-Turath al-Islami, 2003. Al-Sharq al-Awsat English Translation

* Najih Ibrahim Abdullah, Authority: The View of the Shari’a and a Realistic Vision (al-Hakimiyya: nazra shar’iyya wa ru’ya waqi’iyya), serialised in al-Sharq Al-Awsat, 2005, beginning 27 July 2005.Al-Sharq al-Awsat

* Najih Ibrahim Abdullah, Guidance of the People Between Ends and Means (Hidayat al-khala’iq bayna al-ghayat wa al-wasa’il), Cairo: al-‘Ubaykan, 2005.

* Isam al-Din Dirbala, Islam and the Purification of Warfare (al-Islam wa-tahdhib al-hurub), serialized in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, 2006, 27 August through 4 September, 2006. Al-Sharq al-Awsat

* Najih Ibrahim Abdullah, Views Regarding the Reality of Transcendence by Faith (Nazarat fi haqiqat al-isti’la’ bi-l-iman), Cairo: Makabat al-‘Ubaykan, n.d. English Translation

* Najih Ibrahim Abdullah, The Renewal of Religious Discourse (Tajdid al-khitab al-dini), Cairo: Maktaba al-‘Ubaykan, n.d. English Translation

Please note the list above contains external links and the NCEIS takes no responsibility for their contents. They do not necessarily represent the views of the NCEIS, its staff, or the NICF.