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Jihad and Just War in the War on Terror$
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Alia Brahimi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562961

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562961.001.0001

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Jus in Bello, Suicide Bombing, and Killing Civilians

Jus in Bello, Suicide Bombing, and Killing Civilians

(p.157) Chapter 6 Jus in Bello, Suicide Bombing, and Killing Civilians
Jihad and Just War in the War on Terror

Alia Brahimi (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In the 1990s, Osama bin Laden observed proudly that the Afghan jihad against the Russians was unstained by the blood of innocents. Yet, since 1993, civilians have been al‐Qaeda's chosen targets. This chapter explores issues raised by al‐Qaeda's conduct during its war against the United States in the light of Islamic ideas about jus in bello. The first section of this chapter briefly introduces the jus in bello tradition in Islam. The second section discusses the legitimacy of suicide attacks and the place of martyrdom in the Islamic tradition. The final section examines bin Laden's attempts to overturn the robust Islamic protections for civilians in war. Bin Laden himself subscribes to the principle of non‐combatant immunity and employs it in levelling virulent criticism against the US's policies—yet his acceptance of the principle leads him into an unclear and uncomfortable moral position with regard to al‐Qaeda's attacks.

Keywords:   Osama bin Laden, Ayman al‐Zawahiri, al‐Qaeda, jihad, just war, Islam, Islamic law, jus in bello, non‐combatant immunity, discrimination, civilians, reciprocity, suicide bombing

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