Made-to-measure Qur’anic quotations: the incomplete verses of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

By Sergio Altuna

First published by Royal Elcano Institute: http://www.realinstitutoelcano.org/wps/portal/rielcano_en/contenido?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/elcano/elcano_in/zonas_in/ari72-2019-altuna-made-to-measure-quranic-quotations-incomplete-verses-al-qaeda-islamic-maghreb

Theme

More than half the Qur’anic quotations used by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in its propaganda are faithful reproductions of the text but incomplete or truncated.

Summary

A digitalised corpus comprising more than 200 official documents released by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) between 2004 –when it still styled itself the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC)– and 2017 enables an evidence-based answer to be given to the question of how religious its rhetoric really is. Moreover, by systematically collating all the Qur’anic quotes that have been recorded –more than 1,200– it emerges that, although the organisation never alters or modifies the Qur’an, enabling all accusations of the sacred texts being manipulated to be definitively rejected, there is a notable use of tailor-made quotation. Despite being unrestricted in terms of both time and space, on more than half of the occasions when AQIM has quoted the Qur’an in its propaganda over the course of the last 14 years – 52.42% of the total – it has done so using incomplete or shortened quotations.

 

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