The Jaad (Grandfather) Letters: An Al Qaeda Worldview Through the Eyes of a Terrorist Mentor by Air University

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Air University
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The Jaad (Grandfather) Letters: An Al Qaeda Worldview Through the Eyes of a Terrorist Mentor

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Book review

This work models the militant worldview of a militant Islamic terrorist through a series of fictitious letters written by a hypothetical Jaad (Grandfather) to his grandson, Habib Talib (Grandson Student). These letters represent Jaads attempt to mentor Habib Talib and to indoctrinate him into the world of international militant jihad (holy war). Through these letters, the reader will get to know the workings of Jaads mind and will develop a mental model of his worldview as a senior leader within Al Qaeda. The letters will show how easily an extremist can twist logic to convince otherwise rational people that waging violent jihad is their religious duty. Unfortunately, there are as many specific terrorist worldviews as there are terrorists. Jaads letters are intended to provide a representative model, a composite viewpoint to illustrate many beliefs common to those who adhere to his version of militant Islamic ideology. The baseline understanding gained by getting to know Jaads mind will help the reader understand the larger world of Islamic extremism. While few beliefs are common to all Islamic militants, the views expressed by Jaad should be representative of much of the militant thinking within Al Qaeda. Jaads character is a well-educated native of Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim of the Wahhabi Salafi tradition, and a member of Al Qaedas leadership currently living in the mountains of Kashmir. Habib Talib is Jaads fictitious grandson who immigrated to the United States with his parents as a toddler and is currently in college. Despite the sympathy of Habib Talibs parents for the jihadist cause, Jaad believes they have failed to properly educate Habib Talib in Jaads fundamentalist version of radical Islam. Therefore, Jaad uses this series of letters to imprint his worldview on the student. Jaads goal is to prepare Habib Talib for a future role in the leadership of Al Qaeda. Jaad will explain his ideology, focusing primarily on his views of religion, history, jurisprudence, and their effects on todays political situation. Understanding Jaads mind will help the reader understand the ideology that motivates him to violence. By listening to his logic, the reader will discover why his message resonates with many Muslims throughout the world. This understanding will provide the reader a foundation on which to build a clearer understanding of the vast, complex world of militant Islamic terrorism.

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