al Qaeda and the AssassinsCould al Qaeda be connected to the Islamic Assassin cults of the 11th Century?
After September 11, publishers rushed to rebrand a series of academic and popular books on the Assassins as tomes on the origins of terrorism, much to the consternation of the authors in most cases. Although it's an easy and obvious sort of comparison, there are a number of reasons why al Qaeda couldn't possibly be connected to the Assassins...
Cue the mandatory: "Or could they?"
The idea sounds great at first blush, but when you look into it, you quickly discover a handful of Really Good Reasons why it can't possibly be true.
But if you keep on digging, dribs and drabs of historical clues begin to emerge. Whether or not it's true, the premise is just as dramatic and perhaps significantly more credible than the premise of The DaVinci Code, just for instance.
Whether or not the premise is actually true, the tale that unwinds offers a fresh perspective on the War on Terrorism. Whether you want to take it as a time-killing lark, or study every word with all the burning gravity of grim unrelenting death, Rotten.com presents...
The Eternal WarHow al Qaeda could be descended from the 11th century Assassin cult, and why that's bad news for everyone
"Thus, this struggle (jihad) is not a temporary phase but an eternal state—an eternal state, as truth and falsehood cannot co-exist on this earth. ... The eternal struggle for the freedom of man will continue until the religion is purified for God."
—Sayyed Qutb, "Jihad in the Cause of God"
Then And Now: The Missing Link