Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stopping Salafists with Harlem Shake

Salafists fail to stop Harlem Shake in Tunisia

TUNIS (AFP) - Salafist Muslims in socially divided Tunisia tried to prevent the filming of current Internet craze the Harlem Shake at a school on Wednesday, but were driven off after coming to blows with students.

At another school, south of the capital, the principal banned a performance there, and angry students reacted by hurling stones at police, who responded with tear gas.

When a dozen or so ultra-conservative Muslim youths, some of them women in veils, showed up at the Bourguiba Language Institute in the El Khadra neighbourhood of Tunis, a Salafist bastion, students shouted "Get out, get out!"

One of the Salafists shouted "Our brothers in Palestine are being killed by Israelis, and you are dancing," adding that he wanted to explain the difference in Islam between behaviour that is "haram" (prohibited) and "halal" (permitted).


Tunisians restrain an Islamist student who was part of the group that attacked students of the Bourguiba Language Institute in the El Khadra neighbourhood, a Salafist bastion, of the capital Tunis, as they tried to prevent the filming of current Internet craze the "Harlem Shake" on February 27, 2013. Salafist Muslims caused a fight when they tried to prevent the filming of the global online buzz, but the Islamists eventually withdrew and the students were able to film their production. -- PHOTO: AFP


Violent tide of Salafism threatens the Arab spring

A series of repressive dictatorships have been brought down in north Africa, but the ensuing struggles for power have left a vacuum that has allowed the rise of an extremist movement that is gathering both force and supporters

Late last year, largely unnoticed in the west, Tunisia's president, Moncef Marzouki, gave an interview to Chatham House's The World Today. Commenting on a recent attack by Salafists – ultra-conservative Sunnis – on the US embassy in Tunis, he remarked in an unguarded moment: "We didn't realise how dangerous and violent these Salafists could be … They are a tiny minority within a tiny minority. They don't represent society or the state. They cannot be a real danger to society or government, but they can be very harmful to the image of the government."

It appears that Marzouki was wrong. Following the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid last Wednesday – which plunged the country into its biggest crisis since the 2011 Jasmine Revolution – the destabilising threat of violent Islamist extremists has emerged as a pressing and dangerous issue.

Violent Salafists are one of two groups under suspicion for Belaid's murder. The other is the shadowy, so-called neighbourhood protection group known as the Leagues of the Protection of the Revolution, a small contingent that claims to be against remnants of the old regime, but which is accused of using thugs to stir clashes at opposition rallies and trade union gatherings.

The left accuses these groups of affiliation with the ruling moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, and say it has failed to root out the violence. The party denies any link or control to the groups. But it is the rise of Salafist-associated political violence that is causing the most concern in the region. Banned in Tunisia under the 23-year regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, which ruthlessly cracked down on all forms of Islamism, Salafists in Tunisia have become increasingly vocal since the 2011 revolution.

The Salafist component in Tunisia remains a small minority, but it has prompted rows and mistrust among secularists and moderate Islamists. The Salafists are spread between three broad groups: new small political movements that have formed in recent months; non-violent Salafis; and violent Salafists and jihadists who, though small in number, have had a major impact in terms of violent attacks, arson on historic shrines or mausoleums considered to be unorthodox, demonstrations against art events – such as the violence at last summer's Tunis Arts Spring show, which was seen to be profane – and isolated incidents of attacking premises that sell alcohol outside Tunis.

It is not only in Tunisia. In EgyptLibya and Syria, concern is mounting about the emergence of violent fringe groups whose influence has already been felt out of all proportion to their size.

In Egypt last week, it was revealed that hardline cleric Mahmoud Shaaban had appeared on a religious television channel calling for the deaths of main opposition figures Mohammed ElBaradei – a Nobel peace prize laureate – and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy.

In Libya in recent months, Salafists and other groups have been implicated in a spate of attacks, including the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi in which two Tunisians were suspected.

Among the countries which succeeded in removing their authoritarian leaders in the Arab spring, Tunisia has faced the greatest challenges in its transition from Salafi-inspired jihadism. These groups – once ruthlessly suppressed by Ben Ali – have re-emerged with a vengeance over the past two years.

In May last year, armed Salafists attacked a police station and bars selling alcohol in the El Kef region. A month later, a trade union office was firebombed. In September, a Salafist mob stormed the US embassy in Tunis and an American school.

If it is difficult to describe what is happening, it is because of terminology.

Although many of those involved in violence and encouraging violence could accurately be called Salafis, they remain an absolute minority of a wider minority movement that has emerged as a small but potent political force across post-revolutionary North Africa.
Although the encouragement to violence from this minority has been most marked in Tunisia, it has not been absent in Egypt.

"We've already started to see real threats," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Centre last week. "There are many instances in Egypt where Salafis have used the language of incitement against opponents."

Last year, one Egyptian Salafi cleric, Wagdi Ghoneim, called for a jihad on protesters against President Mohamed Morsi, a demand he repeated this month. Another – Yasser el-Burhamy – reportedly banned Muslim taxi-drivers from taking Christian priests to church.

Yasser el-Shimy, Egypt analyst for the Crisis Group said: "All it takes is for one guy to take it upon himself to carry out a fatwa. But the prospects of that happening in Egypt are less – or certainly not more – than they are in Tunisia. In Egypt, there was a deeper integration of Salafis into the political process as soon as the revolution had taken place."
Most tellingly, two leading Egyptian Salafis last week condemned the death threats against ElBaradei and Sabbahi.

A spokesman for al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya – which only last week called for the crucifixion of masked Egyptian protesters known as the Black Bloc – "rejected" assassinations as a political tool, while the leader of the Nour party, Egypt's largest Salafi group, went further, criticising "all forms of violence".

Nader Bakkar, a spokesman for the Nour party, said: "The Salafis in Tunisia are not organised well and they don't have the scholars who can teach them how to deal peacefully with things that they don't like in their country. It gives you a clear vision that we will not see in Egypt what we saw happen in Tunisia."

Bakkar also argued that Shaaban, the cleric who issued the fatwa against ElBaradei and Sabbahi, had little currency in Egyptian Salafism.

"He doesn't have many followers," said Bakkar, who claimed that Shabaan came from a school of Salafism that had preached obedience to former dictator Hosni Mubarak, and whose reputation had therefore been ruined in the post-revolution period.

The main Salafist political parties, which are represented in parliament, have far more of a stake in democratic transition than in Tunisia and Libya.

In Libya, Islamist violence, in some cases inspired by Salafism, has followed its own trajectory. After more than a year of violence that came as much from the competition between rival groups who fought former dictator Muammar Gaddafi for power and influence, recent incidents have had a more jidahi flavour even as Salafist groups have attacked Sufi shrines and demanded that women be covered.

If there are differences between the strands of Salafist extremism in North African countries, there are some striking similarities. Like Egypt – as Anne Wolf pointed out in January in a prescient essay on the emerging Salafist problem in Tunisia for West Point's Combating Terrorism Centre, "certain territories … have traditionally been more rebellious and religiously conservative than others. Tunisia's south and interior, in particular, have found it difficult to deal with the modernisation policies launched by the colonial and post-independence governments, whose leaders came from more privileged areas."

And while violence – and the threat of violence – by the "minority of the minority" of Salafis has the potential to disrupt the post-revolutionary governments of the Arab spring, for the new Islamist governments it also poses considerable political problems, which are perhaps as serious.

In Tunisia, the government estimates that 100 to 500 of the 5,000 mosques are controlled by radical clerics. Although the majority of Salafists are committed to non-violence, the movement has been coloured by the acts of those following a jihadi stream.

That has created problems for Ennahda, which secular opponents suspect of secretly planning with Salafis the "re-Islamisation" of Tunisia, not least because of the government's unwillingness or inability to move against the most extreme Salafi groups.
Indeed, when an al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb cell was broken up in Tunisia last year, all its members were also found to be active in another Salafist grouping – Ansar al-Sharia, founded by Abou Iyadh. He was jailed for 43 years under ex-dictator Ben Ali's regime after being extradited from Turkey, but was freed under an amnesty for political prisoners following the 2011 revolution that ousted the president.

The jihadist strand has recently been vocal in its condemnation of the intervention by France in its former colony of Mali, which has increased anti-French feeling. Algerian officials said 11 of the 32 Islamist gunmen who overran the In Amenas gas field last month were Tunisian. Tunisian jihadists are said to have left for Syria.

For Ennahda – as a number of analysts pointed out last year – confronting extremist Salafist violence has become a challenging balancing act. Fearful of radicalising the wider movement by cracking down too hard – as the former Ben Ali regime did – it has sought instead to have a dialogue with those renouncing violence by condemning the "rogue elements". This is a policy that has led to accusations that it has been too soft or has secretly tolerated violence against secular opponents such as the murdered Belaid.
As Erik Churchill and Aaron Zelin argued in an article for the Carnegie Endowment for Peace last April, "this position opens the door for secular groups to criticise … the ruling party's actions [as] evidence of a double discourse – conservative in private and moderate in public".

In particular, Tunisia's secular leftist parties were critical of the setting up of a religious affairs ministry under Noureddine al-Khademi, an iman affiliated to the Al-Fateh mosque in Tunis, known for its Salafist presence and protests.

Khademi's office vowed that several hundred mosques in Tunisia which had been taken over by Salafist preachers after the revolution would be brought back under moderate control. Last year, his office said that around 120 remained controlled by extremist preachers, of which 50 were a serious problem.

Even MPs in Ennahda have recently woken up to the problem. Zied Ladhari, an MP for Sousse in the Assembly said the Salafist issue was a concrete part of the heritage of the Ben Ali era and "must be handled in a concrete manner".

He said violent Salafism and jihadism "presents a danger for the stability of the country", while non-violent Salafism – "a way of life and literal reading of Islam" often "imported and foreign to our society"– was something that Ennahda distinguished itself from.
"The violent element must be fought very firmly by police and the law," said Ladhari. "Then there should be dialogue with the peaceful element, in the hope of evolution through dialogue. It's more of a sociological issue than a political one."

He said social-economic issues and fighting poverty and social exclusion were crucial. He said: "We have to deal with it seriously and with courage, a drift must not take hold."
Selma Mabrouk, a doctor and MP who recently quit the centre-left Ettakatol party in protest over the coalition's stance on the constitution and power-sharing, said: "The problem is the violent strain of Salafism, not the strain of thought, because we now have freedom of expression, everyone can have their views."

She warned against an "ambiguous" stance by Islamist party Nahda and the centre-left CPR in the coalition towards street violence, hate speech and attacks which she said were going unchecked. She was also highly critical of the fact that two Salafists arrested for the US embassy attack died in prison after a long hunger strike without a proper trial procedure coming into effect.

She said: "There is this ambivalent attitude from the government, a permissivity on street violence on one side and, on the other hand, indifference to prisoners and the hunger strike."

Additional reporting by Angelique Chrisafis

• This article was amended on 10 February 2013. In the original a paragraph by the writers was wrongly marked as a quote from Shadi Hamid. This has been corrected.
What is salafism?

■ An ultraconservative religious reform movement within Sunni Islam, which has received backing from Saudi Arabia, Salafism calls for a return to the moral practices of the first Muslims.
■ It has incorrectly become synonymous with jihadi ideology, however. Salafists – while extremely puritanical – reject suicide bombing and violence.
■ A minority movement in Islam, it is growing and has become increasingly politically important, not least in Egypt where Salafist parties came second in last year's parliamentary elections to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

A Salafi (Arabic: سلفي‎) is a Muslim who emphasises the Salaf ("predecessors" or "ancestors"), the earliest Muslims, as model examples of Islamic practice.[1] The term has been in use since the Middle Ages but today refers especially to a follower of a modernSunni Islamic movement known as Salafiyyah or Salafism, which is related to or includes Wahhabism (a name which some of its proponents consider derogatory, preferring the term Salafism), so that the two terms are often viewed as synonymous.[2] At other times, Salafism is deemed as the hybridation between Wahhabism and other movements which has taken place since the 1960s.[3] Salafism has become associated with literaliststrict and puritanical approaches to Islam and, in the West, with the Salafi Jihadis who espouse violent jihad against civilians as a legitimate expression of Islam.[4] It has been noted that the Western association of Salafi ideology with violence stems from writings done "through the prism of security studies" that were published in the late 20th century, having persisted well into contemporary literature.[5] More recent attempts have been made by academics and scholars who challenge these major assumptions. Academics and historians use the term to denote "a school of thought which surfaced in the second half of the 19th century as a reaction to the spread of European ideas," and "sought to expose the roots of modernity within Muslim civilization."[6]

Just who or what groups and movements qualify as Salafi remains in dispute. In the Arab world, and possibly even more so now by Muslims in the West, it is usually secondary to the more common term Ahl-as-Sunnah (i.e., "People of the Sunnah") while the term Ahl al-Hadith (The People of the Tradition) is more often used in the Indian subcontinent to identify adherents of Salafi ideology, a term that is used in the Middle-East more often to indicate scholars and students of Hadith. All are considered to bear the same or similar connotation and have been used interchangeably by Muslim scholars throughout the ages,Ahl al-Hadeeth possibly being the oldest recorded term for these earliest adherents[7] whileAhl as-Sunnah is overwhelmingly used by Muslim scholars, including Salafis as well as others, such as the Ash'ari sect, leading to a narrower use of the term "Salafi".[8] TheMuslim Brotherhood includes the term in the "About Us" section of its website[9] while others exclude that organisation[10] in the belief that the group commits religious innovations. Other self-described contemporary salafis may define themselves as Muslims who follow "literal, traditional ... injunctions of the sacred texts" rather than the "somewhat freewheeling interpretation" of earlier salafis. These look to Ibn Taymiyyah, not the 19th century figures of Muhammad AbduhJamal al-Din al-Afghani, and Rashid Rida.[6]

According to the 2010 German domestic intelligence service annual report, Salafism is the fastest growing Islamic movement in the world.[11]

The first generations of Muslims are collectively referred to as the "Pious Predecessors" (as-Salaf as-Saleh),[12] and include the "Companions" (Sahabah), the "Followers" (Tabi‘un) and the "Followers of the Followers" (Tabi‘ al-Tabi‘in). These are revered in Sunni Islamic orthodoxy and their example has been used to understand the texts and tenets of Islam by Sunni theologians since the fifth Muslim generation or earlier, sometimes to differentiate the creed of the first Muslims from subsequent variations in creed and methodology (see Madhab),[13][14] to oppose religious innovation (bid‘ah) and, conversely, to defend particular views and practices.[15][16]

Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern Studies, states that among Sunnis is "a strongly held view that temporal proximity to the Prophet Muhammad is associated with the truest form of Islam." [17] This veneration is based on a number of records of the sayings ofMuhammad who said, "I am the best Salaf for you"[18] and, as narrated in the Sahih al-Bukhari of `Abd Allah ibn `Umar, a companion of Muhammad; "The best people are those of my generation, and then those who will come after them and then those who will come after them..."|Sahih al-Bukhari collected by Muhammad al-Bukhari.[19] Other narrations indicate that there will follow people who will bear false witness of Islam.[20]


Salafis view the Salaf as an eternal model for all succeeding Muslim generations in their beliefs, exegesis, method of worship, mannerisms, moralitypiety and conduct: the Islam they practiced is seen pure, unadulterated and, therefore, the ultimate authority for the interpretation of the Sunnah.[21] This is not interpreted as an imitation of cultural norms or trends that are not part of the legislated worship of Islam but rather as an adherence to Islamic theology.[22] Salafis reject speculative philosophy (kalam) that involves discourse and debate in the development of the Islamic creed. They consider this process a foreign import from Greek philosophy alien to the original practice of Islam. The ImamAl-Dhahabi (d. 748H / 1348) said:

It is authentically related from ad-Daaraqutnee that he said: There is nothing more despised by me than kalam. I say: He never entered into kalam nor argumentation. Rather, he was a Salafi.[23]

Salafism holds that the Qur'an, the Hadith and the consensus (ijma) of approved scholarship (ulama) along with the understanding of theSalaf us-salih as being sufficient guidance for the Muslim. As the Salafi da'wa is a methodology and not a madh'hab in fiqh as commonly misunderstood, Salafis can come from the MalikiShafi'iHanbali or the Hanafi schools of Sunni jurisprudence[24] and accept teaching of all four if supported by clear and authenticated evidence from the Sunnah. They support qualified scholars to engage in ijtihad in the face of a clear evidence be it from Qur'an of Hadeeth as opposed to total blind imitation (taqlid) if he is qualified. Their views in theology are based on the Athari creed as opposed to engaging in kalam, dialectics or any form of speculative philosophy.

Salafism condemns many common practices as polytheism (shirk) and tawassul of religious figures, such as venerating the graves of Islamic prophets and saints or using amulets to seek protection. They maintain that practices which are understood to be bid‘ah or heretical innovations are not permissible and should not be taught or practiced. Salafis believe that Islam's decline after the early generations results from religious innovations and from an abandoning of pure Islamic teachings; that an Islamic revival will only result through emulation of early generations of Muslims and purging of foreign influences.

Salafis place great emphasis on following acts in accordance with the known sunnah, not only in prayer but in every activity in daily life. Many are careful to always use three fingers when eating, drink water in three pauses with the right hand while sitting[25] and make sure their jellabiya or other garment worn by them does not extend below the ankle so as to follow the example of Muhammad and his companions.

Opposition to the use of Kalam

Salafi scholars are in staunch opposition to the use of kalam, dialectics or speculative philosophy in theology. This is because it is seen as a heretical innovation in Islam which opposes the primordial aspiration to follow the original methodology of the Salaf us-salih with regards to Aqidah. Statements of the early Imams of the early Muslims are in corroboration with this such as Imam Abu Hanifa who prohibited his students from engaging in kalam, stating that those who practice it are of the "retarded ones."[26] Imam Malik ibn Anas referred to kalam in the Islamic religion as being "detested",[27] and that whoever "seeks the religion through kalam will deviate".[28] In addition Imam Shafi'i said that no knowledge of Islam can be gained from books of kalam, as kalam "is not from knowledge"[29][30] and that "It is better for a man to spend his whole life doing whatever Allah has prohibited – besides shirk with Allah – rather than spending his whole life involved in kalam."[31] Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal also spoke strongly against kalam, stating his view that no one looks into kalam unless there is "corruption in his heart,"[32] and even went so far as to prohibit sitting with people practicing kalam even if they were defending the Sunnah,[33] and instructing his students to warn against any person they saw practicing kalam.[34]


From the perspective of Salafis the history of the Salafi dawah starts with Muhammad himself. They consider themselves direct followers of his teachings as outlined in the Qur'an and Sunnah (prophetic traditions), and wish to emulate the piety of the first three generations of Islam (the Salaf). All later scholars are merely revivers (not 'founders') of the original practices. Modern scholars may only come to teach (or remind) Muslims of the instructions of the original followers of Islam, who based their beliefs and actions on the Qur'an and Sunnah.

Landmarks claimed in the history of Salafi da'wah are Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.240 AH / 855 AD) who is known among Salafis as Imam Ahl al-Sunnah, and one of the three scholars commonly titled with the honorific Sheikh ul-Islam, namely, Taqi ad-Deen Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728 AH / 1328 AD) and Ibn al-Qayyim (d.751 AH / 1350).[35][36][37]

Early examples of usage

Some scholars, such as Ibn Taymiyyah, have noted: "There is no criticism for the one who proclaims the madh'hab of the Salaf, who attaches himself to it and refers to it. Rather, it is obligatory to accept that from him by unanimous agreement because the way of the Salaf is nothing but the truth."[23]

The term salafi has been used to refer to the theological positions of particular scholars. Abo al-Hasan Ali ibn Umar al-Daraqutuni (d. 995 C.E., 385 A.H.) was described by al-Dhahabi as: "Never having entered into rhetoric or polemics, instead he was salafi."[38]

Also, al-Dhahabi described Ibn al-Salah, a prominent 12th century hadith specialist, as: "Firm in his religiosity, salafi in his generality and correct in his denomination. [He] refrained from falling into common pitfalls, believed in Allah and in what Allah has informed us of from His names and description."[39]

In another of his works, Tadhkirat al-huffaz, al-Dhahabi said of Ibn al-Salah: "I say: He was salafi, of sound creed, abstaining from the interpretations of the scholars of rhetoric, believing in what has been textually established, without recourse to unjustified interpretation or elaboration.[40]

In his book, Tabsir al-Muntabih, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani mentioned the ascription al-Salafi and named Abd al-Rahman ibn Abdillah ibn Ahmad Al-Sarkhasi al-Salafi as an example of its usage. Ibn Hajar then said: "And, likewise, the one ascribing to the salaf."[41]

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani also used the term, salafi in describing Muhammad ibn al-Qaasim ibn Sufyan al-Misri al-Maliki (d. 966 C.E., 355 A.H.) He said that al-Malaiki was: "Salafi al-madh'hab – salafi in his school of thought."[42]

In the book Al-Ansaab by Abu Sa'd Abd al-Kareem as-Sama'ni, who died in the year 1166 (562 of the Islamic calendar), under the entry for the ascription al-Salafi he mentions an example or more of people who were so described in his time.[43] In commenting upon as-Sama'ni, Ibn al-Athir noted; "And a group were known by this epithet."[44]

Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab

Many today consider Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab as the first figure in the modern era to push for a return to the religious practices of the salaf as-salih.[45] His evangelizing in 18th century Arabian Peninsula was a call to return to the practices of the early Muslims. His works, especially Kitab at-Tawhid, are still widely read by Salafis around the world today, and the majority of Salafi scholars still reference his works frequently.[46] After his death, his views flourished under his descendants, the Al ash-Sheikh, and the generous financing of the House of Saud and initiated the current worldwide Salafi movement.[citation needed]

The vast majority of Salafis reject the Wahhabi label because they consider it unfounded, an object of controversy,[47] holding that Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not establish a new school of thought but restored the Islam practiced by the earliest generations of Muslims.[citation needed] Followers of Salafiyyah consider it wrong to be called "Wahhabis" as the 17th Name of God is al-Wahhab ("the Bestower") and to be called a "Wahhabi" denotes the following of a person other than what in actuality is the believed following of the Qur'an and Sunnah.[48] Wahhabism has been called a "belittling" and derogatory term for Salafi,[49] while another source defines it as "a particular orientation within Salafism,"[24] an orientation some consider strongly apolitical,[50][51] and yet another describes it as a formerly separate current of Islamic thought that appropriated "language and symbolism of Salafism" until the two became "practically indistinguishable" in the 1970s.[52]

Trevor Stanley states that, while the origins of the terms Wahhabism and Salafism "were quite distinct" – "Wahhabism was a pared-down Islam that rejected modern influences, while Salafism sought to reconcile Islam with modernism" – they both shared a rejection of "traditional" teachings on Islam in favor of a direct, more puritan interpretation. Stéphane Lacroix, a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer atSciences Po in Paris, also affirmed a distinction between the two: "As opposed to Wahhabism, Salafism refers here to all the hybridations that have taken place since the 1960s between the teachings of Muhammad bin ‘Abd al-Wahhab and other Islamic schools of thought. Al-Albani’s discourse can therefore be a form of Salafism, while being critical of Wahhabism."[53]

The migration of Muslim Brotherhood members from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and Saudi King Faisal's "embrace of Salafi pan-Islamismresulted in cross-pollination between Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab's teachings on tawhid, shirk and bid‘ah and Salafi interpretations of the sayings of Muhammad.[54]

Contemporary Salafism

Salafism is attractive to its adherents because it underscores Islam's universality.[55] It insists on affirmation of the literal truth as understood by its apparent meaning of Qur'anic scripture and Hadeeth,[55] yet may challenge secularism by appropriating secularism's traditional role of defending the socially and politically weak against the powerful.[56]

Connections to extremism

In recent years the Salafi methodology has mistakenly come to be associated with the jihad of extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda and related groups that advocate the killing of innocent civilians. These acts have consistently been strongly opposed by Salafi scholars such as Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, Sheikh Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen and Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baazwho had all issued fatawa (religious verdicts) forbidding suicide bombing declaring the act as being totally haram (forbidden).

Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani who said; "We say that suicide operations now, in the present times, all of them are without legislation and all of them are forbidden. It could be that the person who commits it could fall into the category of those who remain in the Hellfire forever, or it could be that he does not remain in the Hellfire forever..."[57]

Sheikh Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen who said; " for what some people do regarding activities of suicide, tying explosives to themselves and then approaching Unbelievers and detonating them amongst them, then this is a case of suicide, and Allaah¹s refuge is sought. So whoever commits suicide then he will be consigned eternally to Hell-Fire, remaining there forever, as occurs in the hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam. (i.e., his, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, saying, " and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, then the iron weapon will remain in his hand, and he will continuously stab himself in his belly with it in the Fire of Hell eternally, forever and ever." Reported by al-Bukhaaree, no. 5778 and Muslim, no. 109, in the Book of Eemaan). Because this person has killed himself and has not benefited Islam. So if he kills himself along with ten, or a hundred, or two hundred other people, then Islam will not benefit by that, since the people will not accept Islam... ... Rather it will probably just make the enemy more determined, and this action will provoke malice and bitterness in his heart to such an extent that he may seek to wreak havoc upon the Muslims. This is what is found from the practice of the Jews with the people of Palestine, so when one of the Palestinian blows himself up and kills six or seven people, then in retaliation they take sixty or more. So this does not produce any benefit for the Muslims, and does not benefit those amongst whose ranks explosives are detonated. So what we hold is that those people who perform these suicide (bombings) have wrongfully committed suicide, and that this necessitates entry into Hell-Fire, and Allah¹s refuge is sought and that this person is not a martyr (shaheed). However if a person has done this based upon misinterpretation, thinking that it is permissible, then we hope that he will be saved from sin, but as for martyrdom being written for him, then no, since he has not taken the path of martyrdom. But whoever performs ijtihaad and errs will receive a single reward (if he is a person qualified to make ijtihaad)."[58]

Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baaz who said with regards to suicide bombings;
" ...such an act is never correct because it is a form of killing oneself and Allāh subhanahu wa ta'ala says: < And do not kill yourselves. [Sūrah al-Nisā 4:29] > And the prophet salAllahu 'aleihi wa selim said: < Whoever kills himself by any means, he will be punished by it on the Day of Resurrection.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 670] > The person should rather strive and seek to guide them and if fighting is legalized and legislated, then he fights alongside the Muslims. If he’s then killed in this way, then Allāh is praised. But as for killing himself by booby-trapping his body with explosives, thereby killing others and himself, this is wrong and completely impermissible. Rather, he should fight with the Muslims only when fighting is legitimately legislated. As for the [suicidal] actions of (some of) the Palestinians, they are wrong and produce no benefit. Instead, it is compulsory upon them to call to Allāh by teaching, guiding, and advising and not by such actions as these."[59]

The groups and individuals that carry out terrorist attacks are regarded as being out of the fold of the methodology of the Salaf, misguided and deviant; chiefly erroneous "Qutubi jihadism" groups.

Trends within Salafism

Salafist jihadism was a term coined by Gilles Kepel[60][61] to describe those self claiming Salafi groups who began developing an interest in jihad during the mid-1990s. Practitioners are often referred to as Salafi jihadis or Salafi jihadists. Journalist Bruce Liveseyestimates Salafi jihadists constitute less than 1 percent of the world's 1.9 billion Muslims (c. 10 million).[60] However those who take their actions beyond the limits of the shari'ah (such as terrorist attacks against civilians) are seen as deviant and not being true "Salafis".

Madkhalism is a term typically referring to the strain of Salafists viewed as supportive of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.[62][63][64] Originally taking its name from controversial Saudi Arabian cleric Rabee Al-Madkhali, the movement lost its support in Saudi Arabia proper when several members of the country's clerical body known as the Permanent Committee denounced Madkhali personally.[65] Influence of both the movement and its figureheads have waned so much within the Muslim world that analysts have declared it to be a largely European phenomenon.[65]

Salafist activism has sometimes been described as a third strain of the global movement, being different from the Salafist Jihadists by eschewing violence and from the Salafist Madkhalists by engaging in modern political proceses.[66] Due to numerical superiority, the movement has been referred to the mainstream of the Salafist movement at times.[64]

Qutbism is a movement which has, at times, been described both as a strain of Salafism and an opposing movement,[49] providing the foil to Madkhalism in that the movement is typically found in radical opposition to the ruling regimes of the Middle East.[62] Qutbism has, at times, been associated with the above mentioned Salafist Jihadist trend.[66]

Despite some similarities, the different contemporary self-proclaimed Salafist groups often strongly disapprove of one another and deny the other's Islamic character.[67]

Comparison with other movements

Main article: Islamism

Some Salafi Muslims often preach disengagement from Western activities, and advocate being apolitical and being against any form of extremism, "even by giving them an Islamic slant."[68] Instead, it is thought that Muslims should stick to traditional activities, particularly Dawah. Nevertheless, Salafis do not preach willful ignorance of civil or state law. While preaching that the Sharia takes precedence, Salafi Muslims conform to civil or state law as far as they are required, for example in purchasing mandatory auto insurance.


Salafism has been recently criticized by Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA School of Law. El Fadl argues that the Salafi methodology "drifted into stifling apologetics" by the mid-20th century, a reaction against "anxiety" to "render Islam compatible with modernity," by its leaders earlier in the century.[69] He attacks those who state "any meritorious or worthwhile modern institutions were first invented and realized by Muslims". He argues the result was that "an artificial sense of confidence and an intellectual lethargy" developed, according to Abou El Fadl, "that took neither the Islamic tradition nor" the challenges of the modern world "very seriously."[70][71]

Treatment of salafism in China

Salafism is intensely opposed by a number of Hui Muslims in China, by the Gedimu and Sufi Khafiya and Jahriyya. So much so that even the Yihewani (Ikhwan) Chinese sect, which is fundamentalist and was founded by Ma Wanfu who was originally inspired by the Salafis, condemned Ma Debao and Ma Zhengqing as heretics when they attempted to introduce Salafism as the main form of Islam. Ma Debao established a Salafi school, called the Sailaifengye (Salafi) menhuan in Lanzhou and Linxia, and it is a completely separate group from other Muslim sects in China.[72] Muslim Hui avoid Salafis, even if they are family members, and they constantly disagree.[73]The number of Salafis in China are not included on percentage lists of Muslim sects in China.[74] The Kuomintang Sufi Muslim General Ma Bufang, who backed the Yihewani (Ikhwan) Muslims, persecuted the Salafis, forcing them into hiding. They were not allowed to move or worship openly. The Yihewani had become secular and Chinese nationalists, and they considered the Salafiyya to be "heterodox" (xie jiao), and people who followed foreigners' teachings (waidao). Only after the Communists took over were the Salafis allowed to come out and worship openly again.[75]

German government's statement on Salafism

German government officials[76] have stated that Salafism has a strong link to terrorism but have clarified that not all Salafists are terrorists. The statements by German government officials criticizing Salafism were televised on Deutsche Welle broadcasts for the week of April 18, 2012.[77][78]

Playing EVE at Benghazi Mission

When the American mission in Benghazi was attacked on Sept. 11, 2012, Steve Smith, one of those who would die, was in the Tactical Operations Center playing an interactive internet game called EVE - a futuristic science fictional role playing game that includes pirate space ships, mineral exploiting colonial empires, revolutions and high intensity graphics. 

In GQ maggazine, Sean Flynn wrote "….As dusk fell over the American mission in Benghazi on September 11, an information-management specialist named Sean Smith was logged into an elaborate role-playing game called Eve Online. He was 34 years old, a veteran of the air force and ten years in the foreign service, with a wife and two kids in the Netherlands. Smith was also one of the more prominent players in Eve. He went by the name vile_rat. "Assuming we don't die tonight," he typed to his co-players six minutes before eight. Dark humor—Smith had done tours in far more dangerous places than Benghazi. "We saw one of the 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures."

He probably meant one of the Libyans patrolling the perimeter. But there were nine other guards in the compound—five armed Americans and four Libyans from the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade, the same militia that had helped protect Stevens when he was stationed inBenghazi the first time.

Almost two hours later, at nine forty, vile_rat typed: "FUCK. gunfire." He logged off.

According to senior State Department officials, the agent in the tactical-operations center saw, on the screen monitoring the main gate, armed men swarming in. There were too many to count. He punched the alarm, grabbed the microphone for the loudspeakers. "Attack! Attack!" he yelled….

                                                              Sean Smith Eve Gamer

From the Eve Sci Fi Gamer Program:

The Paradox of Democracy

The Gallente Federation is one of the largest star empires ever to be seen in the New Eden cluster, surpassed in volume only by the vast realms of the Amarr Empire. Yet even though its many regions are patrolled by a large and powerful navy, the Federation is governed by the consent of its peoples. Remarkably, the Gallente and their partners in the Federation founded and expanded their empire according to the principles of democracy. Additionally, the Federation has done much to enhance the standard of life of all the peoples living within its borders, including migrants and exiles from other empires.
The Federation might seem to be the one pure beacon of freedom and justice in New Eden. Yet its history is not without dark episodes. Gallente Ultra-Nationalism seized power during the turbulent period leading up to the Caldari-Gallente War and contributed significantly to the embittering nature of that conflict. The Gallente government has sometimes displayed authoritarian tendencies, suppressing independence movements and exiling dissidents. Federation foreign policy is viewed with a jaded eye even by their Minmatar allies. Amarr and Caldari opinions on Gallente interventionism are rarely expressed in terms suitable for polite company. The vastness of the Federation includes poverty, criminality and outright depravity in its sweep. In the end though, it is a free society where success is conceivable for every citizen.

The entire race remained enslaved until the historic battle of Vak'Atioth, when an Amarr invasion fleet was defeated by the mysterious and powerful Jove Empire. The shock of this defeat swept through the Amarr Empire and served as a spur for the gathering forces of the Minmatar resistance. Almost as one, the Minmatar rose against their masters in what would become known as "the Great Rebellion". Still reeling from their defeat at the hands of the Jove, the Amarr were unable to quell the rebellion and gave ground before Minmatar strike forces that attacked them with near suicidal fury. The outcome was the wholesale ejection of the Amarr occupation forces from Minmatar space and the foundation of the Minmatar Republic.
Outlaws and Vigilantes

One of the undoubted scourges of New Eden is piracy, a rapacious criminality that has been present in some form since humanity reached out to the stars. At first, bad enough, the pirates were mere mortals who preyed on other mortals. Now there are immortal pirates who devastate and loot mortals and other immortals alike. Many capsuleer pilots take to piracy, either as a means to gaining wealth or, more darkly, out of sheer enjoyment of the act of preying on those weaker than they. Most capsuleer pirates focus on the most lucrative targets: other capsuleers plying their way across the trade routes of low-security space and the outer regions.

Pirates are in particular an ever-present danger in low-security space, those half-abandoned and practically lawless systems that lie between the core empires and the outer regions. Nominally subject to law, low-security systems are guarded only by static sentry guns around stargates and stations, with CONCORD peacekeeper fleets concentrating on maintaining order in the more populated or important systems of the high-security zones. As these systems cannot be directly controlled by the capsuleer alliances, it is rare that even the brutal frontier justice of the outer regions is visited on low-security space with any consistency. Therefore the pirates flourish.

However, the pirates are sometimes opposed by bounty hunters and so-called "anti-pirate" corporations or coalitions. Some capsuleers actively hunt pirates for possible profit, while others band together to try and bring order to sections of low-security space. Even so, the pirates are many and the most powerful outlaws can command capital ships capable of destroying starbases and other infrastructure. Only the most determined can hope to fight against these pirate lords but some rise to the challenge.

EVE Online 

CCP was founded in the summer of 1997 with the goal of becoming a leading massively multiplayer game company. With the launch of EVE Online in May 2003, CCP has established itself as one of the leading companies in the field, winning numerous awards and receiving critical acclaim worldwide.

CCP is dedicated to the development of cutting edge massively multiplayer games. CCP is founded on the principle of pushing the envelope and breaking new grounds on all levels. CCP is not about making copycat products with compromised quality. CCP is about making dreams become a reality.

Massively multiplayer games are virtual realities. They are about creating experiences unattainable in any other form of media. A virtual reality is about true human interaction and true human emotions in a living and evolving world. It is CCP's belief that massively multiplayer games are the biggest revolution in computer gaming history and CCP is dedicated to make the dream of a true virtual reality come into being.

CCP's mission is to attract and retain customers by providing top quality online entertainment. CCP does this by establishing and nurturing a trust relationship with customers both in terms of quality of content as well as quality of service.

CCP encourages respect, dialog, interaction and cooperation on a deeper level between its employees and customers than is common in online games. By this and through this CCP provides a unique way for improving the quality of its products and creates an inspiring and challenging environment for talent to thrive.

EVE Online is set in space, in a far away future, in a world of unprecedented depth and magnitude. Your aim is to establish yourself as a major mover and shaker, trusted by your friends and respected by your enemies. Your means of accomplishing this will lie in your business acumen, social skills, Machiavellian thinking and cunning combat strategies. To back that up, you have access to an array of sophisticated equipment, deadly weapons, state of the art spaceships and connections to mega-corporations and crime syndicates.

EVE Online was published in May 2003 and has been consistently growing since launch. EVE Online has won numerous awards and has received critical acclaim worldwide.

EVE Online is in many ways different than other massively multiplayer games on the market today. The setting is Science Fiction, whereas most current offerings are Fantasy based. EVE does not employ sharding* or instancing** to split content and resources between players. This means that all players can interact with each other if they choose to do so. It also means that if you are famous in EVE, you are known by the EVE community, not by the population of one game server.

The practice of creating separate copies of virtual worlds each of which can not interact with each other. Makers of virtual worlds often resort to sharding to reuse content or to increase scalability as each world is smaller and thus more manageable. EVE Online does neither.

Similar to sharding but deployed on smaller content segment, like a dungeon. Two different parties of players appear to enter the same dungeon but do not see each other, as they are in their own dungeon (instanced space) and cannot interact with the other party. Makers of virtual worlds often deploy instancing to manage access to popular content and limit crowding. EVE Online does neither.

Introducing Our Core Technology Platform: Carbon
The Carbon Framework is a crucial component of CCP's strategy. It is the foundation upon which our virtual worlds are built.

The technology was initially created by harvesting code from EVE Online, code that had already been hardened through years of development and real world use. We call this Battle Testing. This code has then been refined and extended to serve the needs of other CCP projects.

What is in the Carbon Framework?

The Trinity Graphics Engine renders the stunning appearance of our virtual worlds. Since 2003, it has powered the graphics of EVE Online, and during this time has been constantly improved to maintain its position at the cutting edge of graphics technology.
Ambulation Technology builds on Trinity to provide full body animation, avatar movement, real world interior and exterior spaces.

Carbon Cluster Technology is the Peak Concurrent User record breaking cluster framework that out-scales all other MMOs in providing a single player universe experience.

Carbon Database Technology is common data structures, maintenance systems and support applications for our virtual worlds.

Our Single Code Repository is a consolidated development environment within which the source for each of our games resides. All changes are integrated into a common code base, instantly making available the benefits of improvements to Carbon technologies for developers at each of our studios worldwide.

The Carbon Build System works with the Single Code Repository to produce deployable versions of CCP virtual worlds in just hours instead of days.

The Carbon Technical Art Pipeline converts visually stunning artwork into detailed models and textures that can be rendered by Trinity. This optimized process represents ten years of experience for both in-house and outsourced art production.

Our Lightweight Authoring Tools provide CCP outsourcing partners with the ability to view their work as it would be rendered by the Trinity graphics engine, including lighting and special effects. These tools vastly reduce the amount of time it takes to integrate outsourced work into production builds.

Middleware components are carefully chosen and integrated into our solutions library to complement CCP's proprietary technology.

You can read more about the Carbon framework and CCP's Core Technology Group in this EVE Online dev blog post: Carbon and the Core Technology Group.

The Carbon Framework is used by CCP to create virtual worlds, and not intended or available for licensing.

Introducing New Eden and the World of the Capsuleer

The world of EVE Online centers on a dense cluster of star systems connected to one another by a vast network of stargates. These gates allow for near instantaneous travel between linked star systems, of which there are over 5,000 in the network. The core of this cluster, called New Eden by its inhabitants, is controlled by four major empires that constantly vie with one another.

These core powers are the Amarr Empire, Caldari State, Gallente Federation and Minmatar Republic. Beyond the interior of the cluster lie the outer regions, lawless zones where the independent space captains of EVE, the capsuleers, contend with one another for supremacy. Outside even these perilous regions exist the Jove Empire, an enigmatic power that rarely shows itself, and the mysterious realms of wormhole space. The capsuleers constantly seek means to exploit the planets, systems and regions of New Eden, and their power is on the rise.

Empire of Religion and Slaves

The Amarr Empire is a vast star empire that controls more regions of the New Eden cluster than any of the other core empires. The Amarr began aggressively expanding beyond the confines of their home star system over 2,000 years ago, conquering and enslaving several races in a crusade known as the Reclaiming, before encountering the Gallente Federation and the Jove Empire. A disastrous attempt to invade the Jove Empire triggered a rebellion by Minmatar slaves, resulting in the formation of the Minmatar Republic and the loss of some territory.

The Amarr Empire, together with satellite states the Ammatar Mandate and Khanid Kingdom, remains a vast and powerful empire, compelled by its religion and feudal structure to dominate others. The other empires, even its ally the Caldari State, keep a careful eye on this giant lest they be caught up in a new eruption of the Reclaiming.

Megacorporations and Militarism

The Caldari State was born in war, and militarism pervades Caldari society to this day. During the Caldari-Gallente War, the Caldari were forced to leave their homeworld and found a new state many star systems distant. The leading powers in the new order were the megacorporations and from its very inception the Caldari State was a corporate state. The combination of corporate power, a strong martial tradition and a deeply-felt sense of injustice at their exile led the Caldari to rapidly build a new empire to rival those of the Amarr and Gallente.

The relatively small fleets of the Caldari State rapidly became known for their advanced technology and ruthlessness in pursuit of their objectives. Constant low-level, and occasionally intense, corporate warfare between the "Big Eight" megacorps fuelled the Caldari's internal arms race and bred a pool of efficiently implacable soldiers. More importantly, although the corporate blocs rarely lose an opportunity to profit at the expense of one another, the Caldari will always unite against external threats.

The Paradox of Democracy

The Gallente Federation is one of the largest star empires ever to be seen in the New Eden cluster, surpassed in volume only by the vast realms of the Amarr Empire. Yet even though its many regions are patrolled by a large and powerful navy, the Federation is governed by the consent of its peoples. Remarkably, the Gallente and their partners in the Federation founded and expanded their empire according to the principles of democracy. Additionally, the Federation has done much to enhance the standard of life of all the peoples living within its borders, including migrants and exiles from other empires.
The Federation might seem to be the one pure beacon of freedom and justice in New Eden. Yet its history is not without dark episodes. Gallente Ultra-Nationalism seized power during the turbulent period leading up to the Caldari-Gallente War and contributed significantly to the embittering nature of that conflict. The Gallente government has sometimes displayed authoritarian tendencies, suppressing independence movements and exiling dissidents. Federation foreign policy is viewed with a jaded eye even by their Minmatar allies. Amarr and Caldari opinions on Gallente interventionism are rarely expressed in terms suitable for polite company. The vastness of the Federation includes poverty, criminality and outright depravity in its sweep. In the end though, it is a free society where success is conceivable for every citizen.

Tribalism and Liberty

The Minmatar Republic is a society weighed down with a tragic and terrible history that remains alive in the present. Centuries ago, the Minmatar peoples lived in a confederation of tribes that had managed to achieve the basics of space flight, explored their home system and even begun to reach out to other stars. This progress was halted abruptly by the arrival in the Minmatar home system, Pator, of the Amarr Empire's slaver fleets. The Amarr initially contented themselves with frequent raids that gathered up millions of slaves from the technologically outclassed Minmatar nation. These raids ended when the Amarr Empire, acting on the religious imperative of their Reclaiming doctrine, launched a full-scale invasion and conquered all the Minmatar worlds, enslaving the entire race in the process.

The entire race remained enslaved until the historic battle of Vak'Atioth, when an Amarr invasion fleet was defeated by the mysterious and powerful Jove Empire. The shock of this defeat swept through the Amarr Empire and served as a spur for the gathering forces of the Minmatar resistance. Almost as one, the Minmatar rose against their masters in what would become known as "the Great Rebellion". Still reeling from their defeat at the hands of the Jove, the Amarr were unable to quell the rebellion and gave ground before Minmatar strike forces that attacked them with near suicidal fury. The outcome was the wholesale ejection of the Amarr occupation forces from Minmatar space and the foundation of the Minmatar Republic.

The Social Universe

The EVE universe is inhabited by many peoples and diverse personalities, the most varied of which are the capsule pilots in their self-made societies. The core empires are controlled by powerful men and women, sitting at the apex of corporate and government power structures. The destinies of trillions living on the planets of the Amarr Empire, Caldari State, Gallente Federation and Minmatar Republic are in the hands of these rulers and the forces they command. The peoples of the empires strive to survive and prosper in an age of extremes. While they acknowledge those who rule in the core worlds, the toiling populations both fear and admire the most extreme personalities of all: the capsuleers.

Capsuleer technology is in use in all the empires and there are independent pilots from all the major races. While some capsuleers choose to remain loyal to their home empires, many have taken very different paths and operate beyond the core and often beyond the law. Fame and fortune can be found as a loyalist, to be sure, but the most notorious and well-known pilots are very often outer region warlords, pirates or freedom fighters. Some capsuleers have even found fame with the extreme opposite of loyalism, advocating anarchy and libertarian posthumanism. Yet others have taken darker paths, supporting the outlaw cartels of the Angels, Guristas and Serpentis. Even Sansha's Nation has its capsuleer adherents.

A Devout People

The undoubted rulers of the Amarr Empire are the True Amarr, a race that rose to power over their home planet of Athra, known to the modern world as Amarr Prime, through a religious crusade called "the Reclaiming". In the course of the Athran Reclaiming, the True Amarr conquered, enslaved and eventually absorbed the Udorian people. Additionally, they gained a powerful subject people that became known as the Khanid, from the Amarr for "little lords". While the Udorians were absorbed entirely into the True Amarr culture, the Khanid retained their ethnic characteristics and aspects of their own culture. Valued by the True Amarr as warriors, the Khanid came to occupy a relatively high status within Amarr society.

When the Amarr went into space and explored their home system, they discovered a disabled stargate and were able to reverse-engineer much technology from it. Once warp and jump technology were available, the Amarr began to spread out from their home system and establish colonies around nearby stars. Over several centuries, the Amarr spread across a vast domain, sometimes encountering other races. Without exception, the fanatical Amarr conquered and either enslaved or exterminated these races. Their Khanid soldiers were always at the forefront of such invasions, such as the conquest of Mishi IV, the home planet of the Ni-Kunni.

In the years following their enslavement, many Ni-Kunni earned their freedom and their children were born as free subjects of the Empire. The Amarr Empire's enslavement of the entire Minmatar race provided an enormous influx of new slaves that accelerated the emancipation of most Ni-Kunni. Today, almost all Ni-Kunni are free subjects. As a result, Amarr capsuleers are drawn from three bloodlines constituting the free peoples of the Empire: the True Amarr, Khanid and Ni-Kunni.

Servants of the State

The Caldari State is made up of three distinct peoples: the Achura, Civire and Deteis. Only the last two bloodlines come from Caldari Prime itself, and they make up by far the majority of the State's population. The Achura joined the inhabitants of Caldari Prime in their break from the Gallente Federation and originate from the third planet of the Saisio system.

In general, the Deteis are considered by outsiders to epitomize the Caldari qualities of efficiency and cunning, while the Civire are regarded as tenacious and straightforward in their dealings. While there is a certain amount of truth to these stereotypes, members of the two bloodlines are far more concerned with their identities as defined by the State, their megacorporation and their family than ethnic differences. This has meant that the Achura have found little difficulty in adapting to the Caldari way of life, as they are taken at face-value by other Caldari as citizens of the State.

The first after the mysterious Jove to make use of the hydrostatic capsule, Caldari captains are prevalent throughout New Eden and have traditionally made up the largest proportion of independent capsuleers. The Caldari combination of militarism and capitalism has led to many of its people adopting the life of the capsuleer. While some of these pilots choose to serve the State as loyalist paramilitaries and militia pilots, many others go into business for themselves, become mercenaries, or end up as pirates and alliance fighters in the outer regions of the cluster.

A Vast Diversity

While it embodies the principles and ideals of its Gallente founders, the Federation is made up of several different peoples living within the only classically democratic empire in the New Eden cluster. Aside from the ethnic Gallente, the major member races of the Federation are the Intaki, Jin-Mei and Mannar. The Intaki and Mannar were founder members of the Gallente Federation, and are well established throughout its territories.
The Intaki in particular have a talent for administration and diplomacy, and have produced several noted Federation Presidents. The Mannar are by temperament a loyal and determined, even stubborn, people, and provide a significant proportion of the intake of the Federal armed forces. The Jin-Mei are a more recent addition to the Federation and have had some difficulty adapting their traditional caste system to the libertarian ways of the Gallente political system. In addition to the home races, the Federation plays host to a very large Minmatar population and significant communities of other races. The Federation's relatively relaxed attitude to immigration and its undoubted freedoms have proved attractive to many able to make the journey from their home empires.

A considerable number of capsuleers are trained in the Gallente Federation every year and many go independent upon qualifying. Most of these capsuleers had tended to be either Gallente or Intaki, but a large number of Jin-Mei have begun to take up the challenge of the captain's life in recent years. Capsuleers of Federation origin are very diverse indeed and while some join the Federal Defence Union militia, many take up their own affairs immediately, whether in business or in less peaceable activities.

The Seven Tribes of Matar

The Minmatar race is made up of seven major tribes but the republic that emerged after the Great Rebellion was founded by only four of these: the Brutor, Krusual, Sebiestor and Vherokior. A fifth, the Thukker Tribe, chose to pursue a nomadic life apart from the Minmatar Republic, while the Nefantar Tribe became the Ammatar under the rule of the Amarr Empire. The seventh tribe of Matar, the Starkmanir, was considered extinct for many years after their supposed extermination by the Amarr Empire.

Indeed, the discovery of a surviving population of Starkmanir within the Ammatar Mandate was the trigger for momentous events that led to the Empyrean War, and the subsequent return of the Starkmanir and many Nefantar to the ancestral worlds of the Minmatar. Today, with even the nomadic Thukker accepting political union with the Republic, the Seven Tribes of Matar are once more united.

Even though the seven tribes are once again in union, the Minmatar Republic is an empire riven by tensions old and new. The horrors of the Amarr occupation are fresh memories for many, and with so many Minmatar still in bondage under the Amarr Empire the cause of the freedom fighters attracts many, including significant numbers of capsuleers trained in the Republic. Some Minmatar capsuleers take up arms in the Republic militia. Many others take a more radical direction and engage in direction action, terrorism to some, against the Amarr Empire and its allies. Most independent Minmatar capsuleers are drawn from the Brutor, Sebiestor and Vherokior tribes.

Capsuleers and the Grand Strategy

In the inky depths of the outer regions, new powers rise and fall as alliances and coalitions of capsuleers struggle for dominion over star systems, constellations and entire regions. Politics is key to the forging of alliances and the grand coalitions that make possible the control of large swathes of the cluster by capsule pilots. Their enemies? Other capsuleer alliances waging war to control resources, invade whole regions or simply to eliminate a hated foe. Brinkmanship, espionage and statecraft all have their place in the politics of the grand strategy. Yet, in the end, war is so often the means by which the political aims of corporations and alliances are realised in the outer regions of New Eden.

Industry, War, Comradeship

When independent capsuleers began to appear in New Eden they rapidly joined together with like-minded pilots and formed the first capsuleer corporations. These corporations were as diverse in purpose as the capsuleers making up their membership. Corporations mine, manufacture, research and trade. Corporations explore, setup starbases, manage colonies and build outposts. Corporations wage war, engage in piracy, fight for freedom, build empires and serve them with their loyalty. When a pilot joins a corporation they become part of a small society or band of comrades. The corporation is the essential building block of capsuleer activity throughout New Eden. Operating independently or in alliances, the capsuleer corporations have made space their domain, and their pilots' ships travel and fight across all the stars of New Eden in pursuit of their various goals.

The New Powers

In the early years of the capsuleer era, many corporations realized that even though they could call on many pilots it would be necessary to ally with other capsuleer groups in order to control the outer regions. As swiftly as the idea arose, the capsuleer alliances were born. At first, the alliances organized on regional lines according to pacts between their member corporations. Some organized councils to govern their affairs, others were unashamedly military dictatorships. Some were little more than pirate coalitions, others were dedicated to political ideals such as democracy and free trade. These early alliances rapidly grew to control their various regions, and as rapidly fell to fighting with their neighboring alliances or dissolving in vicious civil wars.

The various faction and conquerable stations of the outer regions constituted the power base of the alliances until the technology of starbases became available to capsuleer corporations. These were swiftly spread across space and CONCORD was forced to acknowledge that the alliances were sovereign powers in their own right. As technology advanced more infrastructure became available to the alliances and the first true capsuleer stations, the outposts, were constructed in deep space. With the increasing hold of the alliances over the outer regions came intense warfare, as capsuleers struggled for control over territory, resources and the hearts and minds of their fellows across New Eden. While the core of the New Eden cluster remains the relatively calm domain of the old empires, the outer regions are a swirling maelstrom of capsuleer empires rising and falling in titanic struggles for power.

Swords for Hire

Many capsuleers operate as mercenaries across New Eden, in conflicts ranging from small corporate wars to the cluster-spanning campaigns of outer region alliances. Mercenaries operate as individuals for hire, corporations on contract and even as alliances fighting in the grand conflicts for payment in coin, resources and territory. Every aspect of the mercenary life is present in some form in New Eden.

Mercenaries can be found as often in CONCORD monitored space, as in lawless systems. The system of sanctioned corporate warfare allows corporations and alliances to wage war on one another even in "high-security" space. If war declaration fees are paid and no bystanders are attacked, the deadly retribution of CONCORD peacekeeper fleets can be avoided. Skilled mercenaries command high fees and the most powerful mercenary organizations are capable of deploying capital fleets and laying siege to entire constellations. The capsuleers have lent even the ancient business of the mercenary their own special urgency and intensity.

Outlaws and Vigilantes

One of the undoubted scourges of New Eden is piracy, a rapacious criminality that has been present in some form since humanity reached out to the stars. At first, bad enough, the pirates were mere mortals who preyed on other mortals. Now there are immortal pirates who devastate and loot mortals and other immortals alike. Many capsuleer pilots take to piracy, either as a means to gaining wealth or, more darkly, out of sheer enjoyment of the act of preying on those weaker than they. Most capsuleer pirates focus on the most lucrative targets: other capsuleers plying their way across the trade routes of low-security space and the outer regions.

Pirates are in particular an ever-present danger in low-security space, those half-abandoned and practically lawless systems that lie between the core empires and the outer regions. Nominally subject to law, low-security systems are guarded only by static sentry guns around stargates and stations, with CONCORD peacekeeper fleets concentrating on maintaining order in the more populated or important systems of the high-security zones. As these systems cannot be directly controlled by the capsuleer alliances, it is rare that even the brutal frontier justice of the outer regions is visited on low-security space with any consistency. Therefore the pirates flourish.

However, the pirates are sometimes opposed by bounty hunters and so-called "anti-pirate" corporations or coalitions. Some capsuleers actively hunt pirates for possible profit, while others band together to try and bring order to sections of low-security space. Even so, the pirates are many and the most powerful outlaws can command capital ships capable of destroying starbases and other infrastructure. Only the most determined can hope to fight against these pirate lords but some rise to the challenge.

Engines of Creation and Destruction

Economic power and industrial might are as crucial to the capsuleers of EVE as to any other society that has sought to impose its will on history. The space-industrial economy of New Eden is increasingly controlled by the capsuleers, who produce and use a large proportion of its vast output. Capsuleers mine asteroid belts and moons for vital resources. They exploit planets through their colonies and build starbases and outposts, in order to refine minerals and create exotic new materials. These pilots research their own creations and construct them in nanoforges controlled by sophisticated blueprints. The capsuleer market sees trillions of ISK in transactions every day, with goods ranging from ore to battleships changing hands in vast quanities. This economy is the engine that drives EVE's never-ending cycle of creation and destruction.

Buying Low and Selling High

The capsule pilot has access to a sophisticated network of regional markets on which goods as simple as unrefined ore and complex as mighty capital ships can be bought and sold. Every day on the capsuleer markets of New Eden there are hundreds of thousands of transactions, millions of items changing hands, and trillions in ISK passing through the network. With few exceptions, anything that can be used by capsuleers can be bought or sold on the market.

Traders find many opportunities to buy goods in one region and sell in another. Even systems relatively close to one another provide potential gains for those willing to ship goods from one market to another. The major hubs provide anything that a capsuleer could want, with Jita holding the crown as king of market hubs. In Jita, the ISK flows like water and capsuleers make fortunes trading on the fine margins that exist in this most active of marketplaces.

A significant alternative trading system exists in the contracts system, where capsuleers can offer bundles of items and also auction goods to the highest bidder. Some of the rarer and more expensive goods are typically found on offer in exchange and auction contracts. However, this is the dark and risky world of EVE. The buyer should beware, and take care to check the price of market goods and the details of any contract. Many capsuleers make a good living preying on the gullibility of casual buyers.

Factories in Space

Independent pilots having been building their own ships, equipment and ammunition since the dawn of the capsuleer age. The vast array of Tech I, II and III items available to use can all be manufactured in the factory facilities of space stations, outposts and capsuleer starbases. Many of the rarer ships and items can be constructed using blueprints given as rewards for loyalty or seized from the wrecks of pirate vessels.

In most cases, every stage of the supply chain can be satisfied by capsuleer industry. Raw materials are refined and processed into fuel, minerals or advanced materials. Processed materials can be used to manufacture advanced ships and equipment. Mighty capital ships can be assembled using enormous and complex components produced by capsuleer industrialists. Even the starbases and outposts used by capsuleers can be built through the industrial processes made available to them.

Capsuleer industry even reaches into the realm of pharmaceuticals, with enterprising individuals and corporations manufacturing a range of chemical boosters. Such combat drugs are very popular with advanced pilots and their advantages ensure that the purest boosters command high prices on the market. The thirst among capsuleers for maximizing the potential of their ships is also responsible for the ingenious ship rig industry. Using salvaged materials, many canny industrialists manufacture devices that can be used to jury rig ships in many different ways. The industrial output of capsuleer manufacturers is enormous, meeting the demands of an economy of celestial destruction generated by the never-ending struggles of immortal warlords.

Stripping the Heavens

When capsuleers first went into space, the most readily available resources were found in the tumbling asteroids that swarmed in belts in every system of New Eden. The mineral riches to be found in the belts, particularly in the relatively pristine outer systems, were high indeed. The ores extracted from these rich fields were swiftly used to fuel the burgeoning space industries, and asteroid belts remain at the heart of the capsuleer economy. Early technologies were limited to relatively low-yield mining lasers, often mounted to ships that were not even specialized in mining. The technology of mining improved as time went on, with the Tech II revolution affecting mining lasers and their yields as it affected other areas of capsuleer endeavor.

Even more important than the improvement in narrow-beam mining lasers, was the development and release of an entire class of specialized mining ships. The mining barges, and the high-yield strip miners they could wield, enormously increased asteroid mining yields. Tech II versions of these barges branched out into specialized mining such as the extraction of Mercoxit ore and ice-harvesting.

The expansion of mining into ice fields, in search of advanced fuels for starbases and capital ships, was not the only advance in resource harvesting. Those manufacturing illegal boosters for the capsuleer market required large quantities of various chemicals found most abundantly in certain interplanetary gas clouds. The technology of gas harvesting was quickly developed and put to work extracting these useful chemicals. When wormhole space was found to contain large clouds rich with rare fullerenes, the gas harvesters found a new resource to collect and a new market to sell into.

Mining and resource harvesting are not limited to spaceship-mounted systems. The first capsuleer starbases were dedicated to running automated mining arrays that extracted many useful materials from the moons they orbited. Even now, after starbase capabilities have been expanded to running factories, laboratories and shipyards, many thousands of moons continue to be mined by harvesting systems based on industrial starbases.

Immortals Descending

For many years the capsuleers were prevented from establishing planetary holdings, the core empires being extremely wary of allowing the rogue immortals such a direct presence on their planets. The special technologies of colonial development were even withheld to such a degree that capsuleers in the outer regions could not practically establish colonies on planets that were of no importance to the core empires. This changed in mid YC112, with the signing of the CONCORD Planetary Development Treaty.

Since the outbreak of the Empyrean War in YC110, and the recruitment of capsuleers into militias that fought directly for the empires, it had become clear that the capsuleers were increasingly important to the future of the core empires. More pointedly, the empires had been at war with one another for nearly two years and perhaps saw an opportunity to access the vast wealth of the capsuleers by levying tariffs on orbital import-export movements. Negotiating among themselves through CONCORD, the empires finally agreed to the treaty that allowed capsuleers to establish colonies on their planets and released all the technologies they had long perfected in their own planetary facilities.

Given the means to finally extend their influence to the planets below, the immortal pilots sent down command centers and built industrial colonies extracting and processing all manner of raw materials. Swiftly grasping the possibilities of this new planetary industry, the capsuleers built up supply chains and established factory planets where they produced the most advanced items available using planetary technology. That planetary industry finally unlocked the ability to manufacture sovereignty structures, starbase components and fuel items was especially gratifying to industrialists and empire builders across the capsuleer diaspora.

If the core empires had hoped that allowing a presence on their planets would tie the capsuleers closer to their interests, they may have been over-optimistic. Many capsuleers chose to take the technology of colony management and use it in the outer regions or deep in wormhole space. In the end, planetary industry served to increase capsuleer independence and self-sufficiency.

Knowledge is a Weapon

EVE is a world of lost and rediscovered sciences and technologies, still recovering from a cataclysm that destroyed entire civilizations and plunged New Eden into a dark age. Today, many technologies have been recovered, and spaceships warp across star systems and jump between the stars. The means to exploit the resources of entire planets and wage war on a scale terrifying to imagine, let alone behold, are under the control of both empires and individuals.

The liberating science of cloning and the capsule allow the independent pilot a degree of freedom and power unimagined a scant few hundred years before. Not all science or technology has been recovered however, and many mysteries await the intrepid explorer in the darkness between the stars, in the strange zones of deadspace and in the weird realms of wormhole space. Science and technology were once lofty goals in themselves, now they are simply means to the ends of the ever-warring capsuleers.

Capsuleers in the Laboratory

Capsuleers use some of the most advanced technology in New Eden, their very existence relying on the powerful combination of cloning and capsule technology. As such, many capsuleers take a keen interest in research and development of new technology. Using laboratories on stations, outposts or even starbases, research-minded pilots improve their blueprints, reverse engineer ancient technologies and even invent more advanced designs. Many research corporations exist and often work with manufacturing and exploration concerns in mutually-beneficial arrangements.

Capsuleers are also able to perform minor research tasks on behalf of the various R&D corporations aligned with the core empires. In return for undertaking such work, pilots receive datacores that can be used in their own research or sold on the market. Fully exploiting the fruits of wormhole exploration also requires specialized researchers able to reverse-engineer the strange technologies that can be recovered from the wrecks of the Sleeper drones standing guard over the ruins of their mysterious civilization.

The Fundamental Designs

Capsuleer ship technology is largely based on designs that have long served in the navies of the core empires, and the basic equipment used by capsuleers reflects similar origins. The standard ship and module designs are often referred to as "Tech I", derived from "Technology Level I". While some of these vessels are typically the province of those pilots starting a career, many Tech I designs are used by veteran combat pilots and are among the most dangerous ships that can be encountered. The ships and equipment available at Tech I can be considered foundational designs and there are many variations.
The navies of the empires have a number of modified designs that can be acquired by capsuleers who are regarded as sufficiently loyal. Even such ships make their way onto the markets, however, and capsuleers of less certain loyalty, who are simply rich enough, are commonly seen in ships the empires might prefer to remain more exclusive. The various outlaw and pirate factions also have a number of designs based on foundational ships, together with some original designs that are entirely unique. These too are often acquired by pod pilots and used in the service of capsuleer interests.

The Morphite Revolution

Not long after the rise of the independent capsuleers, the properties of a rare mineral derived from Mercoxit ore were fully explored and a technological revolution began. It was realized that the mineral - now dubbed "Morphite" - had the remarkable property of altering and enhancing every other mineral, compound or alloy with which it was joined or combined. The applications were particularly exciting in the space industries and rapid development of a class of high-performance frigates called "interceptors" followed the discovery. Advances in ship technology were accompanied by parallel advances in ship equipment and other systems.

The applicability of Morphite was so widespread that it required a new category for the technologies developed using the remarkable mineral. Technology Level II or "Tech II" was born and new ships and equipment continued to be developed by applying Morphite and advanced materials sourced from moon-mining to the foundational Tech I designs. Capsuleers adopted Tech II ships and equipment with alacrity, their appetite for advanced technology fuelling the research and development of new designs by empire R&D corporations able to call on the services of the immortal pilots. The interceptors were followed by many other advanced designs.

Capsuleers were soon using heavily-armed assault vessels, sophisticated command ships, highly-advanced reconnaissance cruisers and many other specialized ships. Standard equipment designs were also substantially improved and Tech I workhorse ships could be transformed into formidable engines of destruction using Tech II modules. Moreover, the impact of the Tech II revolution on the capsuleers went beyond ships and equipment. The need for advanced materials spurred industrial expansion, as capsuleers established moon-mining starbases in orbit around thousands of moons across New Eden. These starbases would become the foundation of the first wave of territorial control by capsuleer powers.

An Ancient and Powerful Science

In early YC111, a terrible disaster destroyed the inhabited world of Seyllin I, leaving it a shattered husk of a planet. This cataclysm was but a symptom of a profound space-time event that caused large numbers of unstable wormholes to emerge in the New Eden cluster. While unstable, and prone to collapse after a certain period of time or if destabilized by excessive masses passing through them, the wormholes could be entered safely by most spaceships. The capsuleers lost no time in exploring these new gateways in space and found that many of them led to completely unknown star systems.

The systems of wormhole space, or "W-space", were found to be highly varied and often washed by strange radiations and other effects from cosmic phenomena. While these effects could often affect ship systems they were not the most interesting discovery to be found beyond the wormholes. W-space also contained the apparently abandoned and ruined remains of an ancient civilization, with technology that seemed to correspond to artifacts of the so-called "Sleepers" found by archaeologists in the New Eden cluster. Unfortunately for some early explorers much of the Sleeper technology in W-space remained active, particularly the legions of immensely powerful drone guardians that would attack on sight intruders disturbing their sleeping domains.

After some skirmishes, many capsuleers got the measure of these deadly wardens and were able to destroy them. It was soon discovered that the Sleeper's drone guardians were constructed using advanced technologies unknown to the science of New Eden. Salvaging from the wrecks of the Sleeper drones yielded much useful material for investigation. Explorers soon found that the sites of their structures could also be hacked to gain access to datacores and special tools used with the ancient technology. When archaeologists also found that many relics from the Sleeper ruins could be reverse-engineered, the blueprints for a whole new technology lay before the capsuleers.
One problem might have been sourcing the highly-advanced fullerene-based polymers used in the ancient technology. But W-space met even that need, as gas clouds rich in the necessary chemicals were discovered. It was clear the Sleeper civilization had taken advantage of the abundant resources of these strange systems and capsuleer explorers were able to follow suit. When all the elements of the ancient science were pieced together it was found that a remarkable new class of adaptable spaceships could be developed. Using a combination of subsystems that could be easily swapped in and out, "Strategic Cruisers" represented the newest, third level of technology and ushered in "Tech III".

From Frigates to Titans

A wide array of spaceships await the aspiring pilot in EVE Online. From the nimble frigates to the mighty titans, the range and scope of spaceships is considerable. Each of the major factions has a full range of vessels filling all the key roles in any fleet, while maintaining their own specialisms and preferred weapons. Spaceships can be found locked in combat with others, mining valuable ores, hauling trade goods, salvaging the wrecks of other ships, and even hacking into arcane technologies from lost civilizations. Spaceships are the instruments of creation and destruction across the cluster, and their capsuleer pilots are considered to be among the elite of New Eden.