Abu Muhammad Asem Al-Maqdisi
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (Arabic: أبو محمد المقدسي ) or more fully Abu Muhammad Asem al-Maqdisi ( أبو محمد عصام المقدسي ) is the assumed name of Isam Mohammad Tahir al-Barqawi ( عصام محمد طاهر البرقاوي ), a Salafi jihadi Islamist Jordanian-Palestinian writer. He is best known as the spiritual mentor of Jordanian mujahid Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the initial leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. However, an ideological and methodical split emerged between Maqdisi and Zarqawi in 2004 due to Zarqawi's takfiri proclamations towards the Shi'a populations in Iraq. Maqdisi opted for a more cautious approach towards targeted Shi'a killings, attempting to stop Zarqawi's radical ideological movement before Zarqawi's methods become counter-productive. The writings of Maqdisi still have a wider following; a study carried out by the Combating Terrorism Center of the United States Military Academy (USMA) concluded that Maqdisi "is the most influential living Jihadi Theorist" and that "by all measures, Maqdisi is the key contemporary ideologue in the Jihadi intellectual universe".
Maqdisi is currently in the custody of the government of Jordan. The Tawhed jihadist website, which he owns, continues to operate; the USMA report describes it as "al-Qa`ida's main online library".
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