Mujahidin of Jund al-Aqsa


Jaysh al-Muhajirin wal-Ansar fighters resting in a trench before attacking the front-lines in Nubul & Zahra #Aleppo.


3 Things we Learned from ISIS’s Spokesman’s Latest Statement

3 Things we Learned from ISIS Spokesman’s Latest Statement
Posted by: Bilal Abdul Kareem  in Articles September 23, 2014 Comments Off 108220 Views

ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Adnani released a statement yesterday that Muslims around the world should thank him for because he made things crystal clear for anyone with eyes to see.  Before we begin, it has to be made clear that Adnani is ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi’s spokesman and cannot be considered as “just another” ISIS member.  Therefore it is only reasonable to assume that Adnani’s statements are Baghdadi’s.  With that in mind here are 3 brief things that Adnani made clear in his statement and thus gifted the Muslims with around the world.
1. Muslim Blood Around the World Means Nothing to ISIS
In Adnani’s statement he mentioned the following:
“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allaah, kill him in any manner or way however it may be.  Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict.  Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling”.
What did we learn from this?  This article will not be a theological discussion on the permissibility/impermissibility of this type of order as I don’t believe his statement has entered the realm of Islamic reality to merit such a response.  So I will limit the analysis to something else at this time.  Let us say that individual Muslims in non Muslim countries begin to carry our Baghdadi’s orders and all of a sudden begin to attack a man here or there, spit in the faces of ordinary citizens (as Adnani said in his statement for Muslims to do to non Muslims), or other things of this nature.  Exactly what do you believe the response will be?  Is it reasonable to assume that non Muslim citizens of the US, Canada, France etc. will simply wipe away Muslim saliva from their faces and keep walking?  Is it reasonable that they will simply stand by and watch as Adnani stated Muslims in the West should do to even civilians: “Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him”.  I don’t think it is reasonable that non Muslims will not mind seeing their countrymen being treated in this fashion and thus not concern himself with it.  I think it is more reasonable that there will be gangs that will assault Muslim women while they go to the market or take their children to school.  It is more reasonable to assume that mobs will hold down and smash the faces of practicing Muslims as they come out of mosques in Chicago, London, and Paris.  The Muslims in many western countries don’t even amount to 5% of the population.  Muslims would become easy targets for any and all and they would be absolutely powerless to defend themselves.  Does Baghdadi’s “rule” extend to those lands wherein he can protect the Muslims from almost certain backlash?  And why would Adnani say: “Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict”, at the tail end of issuing his leader’s order?  Shouldn’t Muslims always seek the advice of people of knowledge?  Why would he feel threatened by Muslims seeking advice from the Qur’an and Sunnah?  Strange.
2.  Clues to what may/may not be Motivating ISIS Leadership
Why would Baghdadi/Adnani issue an order that will clearly harm Muslim interests with no discernible possibility for benefits for the Muslims at large?  I can only come up with 2 reasons ISIS leadership would push for such a scenario.  Either:
1. Both Baghdadi and Adnani are grossly ignorant when it comes to the highly likely scenario that Muslim blood will flow in the streets of non Muslim lands.  Maybe they are so disconnected that they think the 1.5% of the American population that are Muslims can protect themselves from the other 98.5% should they implement his orders.  Has the “Khalifa” so little regard for the safety of Muslims around the world?
2. Perhaps Adnani and Baghdadi have an anti-Islamic agenda.  Some may not think this is realistic.  “They are just misguided”, some will say.  However, let us look at some of the successes they have accomplished over the past year or so:
-Successful in turning their guns on fellow Muslims and halting Mujahideen advances against an Assad regime that was on the brink of collapse in early 2013 by virtually all accounts that were on the ground at that time.  Then Baghdadi announced the ISIS entity in Syria and the revolution has been backtracking ever since.
-Successful in avoiding any and all attempts to have grievances with other Islamic factions being settled in a Sharia’ court.  This is in spite of calls from an endless list of scholars around the globe for them to do so.
-Successful in unifying the entire planet in calling for international intervention in the Syrian conflict.  Barack Obama would not have been able to pull this off without overwhelming evidence of rampant evil that ISIS provided in a big way.  Even the best US spin machine couldn’t have produced enough faked videos to be convincing enough bring all these squabbling countries together.
-Successful in displaying the ugliest, bloodiest, most distorted image of Islam that any group has been able to do perhaps in the history of the religion.  Even George Bush and Tony Blair did not have this level of success in demonizing jihad and Mujahideen.
While I am not in a position to say that they are/are not agents of some government conspiracy, I am certainly in a position to say that ISIS efforts will probably appear in CIA/MI6 trainee manuals of “How to put down a Just Islamic Struggle” for years to come.
3. ISIS Leadership is Truly Committed.  But to what?
As of 00:30 Tuesday September 23, 2014 US airstrikes have started in Syria.  Spokesman Rear Adm John Kirby said fighter and bomber jets and Tomahawk missiles were used in the attack.  Additionally other anti regime forces who are NOT ISIS are reporting that as of 3:20am their positions have come under attack in Idlib by missiles not seen in the Syrian territories before.
Keep in mind this is the same United States that makes a total mess of every single country it sets it’s foot (or bombs) in.  The world had grown so totally weary of it’s aggression, lies, and deception that there is no way any country would have followed them in another coalition.  However ample ammunition was provided by ISIS to bring another such “coalition of the willing” back to Muslim lands.  Is Baghdadi sincere to the Muslims yet grossly ignorant and inept as a leader or is he something else?  It is perhaps that he is so awful as a leader that he simply can’t see that he is being used like a tool in the hands of those who would harm Muslims lands.
I will not engage in a conspiracy theory but anyone with any intelligence can see what has been happening to Muslim interests since the announcement of ISIS in Syria 18 months ago.  I know people will continue to blame me for “helping” non Muslims against Muslims by speaking out against ISIS.  Journalism places the realities at the feet of the people so they can make intelligent and informed decisions.  After all is said and done there are some who would still support Baghdadi no matter what. I remember a statement a friend of mine used to say: “Bilal, you can’t wake up someone who’s pretending to be sleeping”.

I am not a Salafist or a Jihadist

November 3, 2014 ↔ 1 comment
Abu Qatada: I am not a Salafist or a Jihadist
Ali Younes

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In exclusive interview, Abu Qatada decries “Jihad is not and should not be about murdering innocent civilians;” believes US-led coalition to fight ISIS unnecessary because “ISIS will destroy itself”

By Ali Younes 

Ali Younes

He was called Al Qaida’s ambassador in Europe, a radical preacher, a Salafist, a violent Jihadist, a terrorist mastermind and Europe’s Bin Laden. But Omar Othman, better known as Abu Qatada insists that he is none of that. I spoke to him at length at his house in Amman, Jordan on several occasions about the stages he went through in his life.

We discussed his controversial “ Algerian terror fatwa”  the terror charges he was charged with in Jordan, his intellectual transformations over the years, and of his developed doctrine  of Jihad which stands as a total opposite to the “militaristic” or violent Jihad that dominates of the current Jihadist groups today.  He also talked about his disdain for Salafisim which he now renounces and says that he is no longer one and of his rejection of using terror to empower Muslims.

He also talked about his British experience which made him rethink his strategies and his legal case both in Britain and Jordan which he says Arab Journalists never really understood its scope. He also spoke of   his deep respect for women especially his wife and his mother who he says have made him a better man, and his strong belief that Muslim women should be empowered and respected as equal human being. He also spoke about his dedication to Palestine and how ISIS, based on his theological reasoning, will eventually cannibalize and destroy itself from within. He also talked about his three young daughters and two sons and their choices in life and education.

Former jihadist Abu Qatada renounces violence and his past in exclusive inteview

Contrary to the image the western media weaved for him as a dangerous terrorist mastermind and a blood thirsty murderer, Abu Qatada appears to be a man in complete harmony with himself and of clear religious convictions that he says are to make the world a better place for Muslims and Islam as he sees it.   “I am not a terrorist” he told me. He says that he transformed himself both theologically and politically in light of changing realities in Arab World especially after the rise of many Jihadists groups that use extreme murderous violence against innocent civilians in the name of Jihad and Islam. “Jihad is not and should not be about murder.”  “I am no longer a Salafi” he added. The historic term “ Salafi” means the return to the methods and religious life of early Islamic scholars.

But for Abu Qatada, this term has been abused and has become a “meaningless slogan.” And that “every group that calls itself a salafist is in reality no more than a front for political agendas that probably uses Islam and religion for political and monetary gains.” According to this reasoning, therefore, this label no longer applies to him.

His views on the doctrine of Jihad have also become more sophisticated and developed further, reflecting his new thinking about the best strategy to empower the Muslim Ummah or nation.  His doctrine of Jihad as he explained it to me, is not about murdering innocent civilians, journalists or aid workers or just wanton murderous violence the way ISIS is making it to be. In that sense, Abu Qatada said  ” I am not a Jihadist .” For him, Jihad should come to mean a Muslim renaissance where the whole “ Ummah” should rise up to be a powerful and advanced nation on par with other developed powerful nations of the world. 

He states that “Jihad should be among other things, about political, cultural, scientific empowerment of the Muslims.” The problem with current” Jihadist” groups today is that they use “ Jihad”  in a way that made the whole religion of Islam absorbed by “Jihad” not the other way around.  This is a pivotal point in Abu Qatada’s development of his doctrine of Jihad.

“The problem with groups like ISIS is that they use Jihad as paramount to everything else in Islam, and this is wrong and destructive.”

Speaking of ISIS, Abu Qatada said that this group is “a destructive, takfeeri, bloody and murderous organization that will not last too long.” He reasons that such murderous groups are intrinsically “self-destruct” . This is because its core values are based on finding elements within Islamic laws to negate the others and then murder them in the name of Jihad. Thus, ISIS will end up destroying itself by cannibalizing its members and murdering its way to a fiery end. Abu Qatada, meanwhile is confident that ISIS will eventually destroy itself based on his understanding of the way it uses Islamic faith and law to justify its actions and its narrow understanding of Jihad. That said, however, he argues that the international coalition led by the United States to destroy it has in essence breathed life in it.

While many in the Arab world speculate, rather conspiratorially, that ISIS is “a CIA creation” Abu Qatada holds that this is not true. “ISIS is not a CIA creation; it is, however, the choice of the enemies of our nation to use it against us.” In other words he thinks that the West has jumped on ISIS bandwagon, by amplifying its size and danger, in order to use it to its advantage to wreak havoc in the Arab World.

Abu Qatada conducts an exclusive interview with The Arab Daily News editor Ali Younes in Jordan (Nov. 2014)

He does not however consider the United States or the West as an inherent enemy of Muslims. “Their actions against us and their support of Israeli actions against the Palestinians made them our enemies.” Using the American actor Silvestre Stallone character Rocky Balboa in the movie “Rocky” to illustrate his point further, he argued that “Muslims did not go to the United States to fight it, the way Rocky Balboa went to Moscow to fight the Russian boxer, similarly, the US through its unconditional support for Israel to occupy our lands in Palestine, made itself as our enemy.”

Abu Qatada, in addition, was accused of being an “ Al Qaida’s man in Europe” and that he held allegiance to Bin Laden and that he gave a controversial fatwa to Jihadists in Algeria to kill women and children during the civil war in that country.  He denied both charges. He told me that he actually had  never pledged allegiance to Bin Laden, and never in fact, considered him to be qualified religiously and theologically to lead Muslims and that,he had advised others not to pledge allegiance to him during the heyday of Al Qaida. Abu Qatada. moreover, does not see himself as a member of any religious group, jihadist or not. ” I am a religious scholar, not a member of any political or religious group.  my concerns are researching Islamic religious laws and theology. ” he said

He also said that his famous Algerian Fatwa was about allowing Algerian Jihadists, on religious ground, to attack the Algerian army military bases not population or civilians. He said however, that the Algerian military had kept women and children-the families of its soldiers- on their military bases premises, therefore, it is the Algerian military that endangered the lives of innocent civilians by housing them inside legitimate military targets. He also said that Saudi religious scholars went even further than him and were too extreme about the issue.

Abu Qatada is a free man today, thanks to his legal victory in the European Human Rights Court against the British government especially Home Secretary Theresa May. The British government had tried for years to deport him to his native Jordan, where he was convicted in absentia on terror charges.

Abu Qatada was accused of masterminding plots to carry out several terror bombings in Amman known as the Millennium  bombings. His lawyers however argued successfully that the confessions by witnesses against Abu Qatada were gained through torture in Jordan. Several British judges recognized that the evidence against Abu Qatada was extracted through torture and it was“extremely thin evidence.”

The European Human Rights Court agreed with Abu Qatada’s attorneys and rendered all confessions and the evidence against him inadmissible in court. This ruling, therefore, prohibited the British government form extraditing Abu Qatada to Jordan based on the discredited witnesses statements that were key to his conviction in Jordan in the first place.

Therefore, the only way for the British government to get rid of Abu Qatada and deport him from Britain was to convince Jordan based the legal treaty between the two countries, to retrial Abu Qatada based on new evidence. Jordan agreed, and Abu Qatada was removed to Jordan where he faced a new trial. But since the Jordanian prosecutors were unable to come up with new evidence against him, Abu Qatada was found not guilty and was cleared of all charges against him. Local Jordanian newspapers reported, however, that the Jordanian government had agreed to the British demands not to use its alleged torture-based evidence only after it got paid a $ 150 million from Britain.

Although Abu Qatada was famous for his alleged connections to terrorism, Al Qaida, and violent Jihad, his views on women have rarely been explored and he comes across surprisingly, as open minded and modern. He told me that he considers women as the best creature God has created. “I have the deepest and utmost respect for women.”  He also said that he does not consider it mandatory for women to cover their faces under a veil. “Although it is ok to do so, but women don’t have to do it. It is a matter of choice.” He said.

 He spoke with a smile on his face about his mother Aisha who when she and his father were displaced from their village, Dier al Shaikh in 1948 after the founding of Israel, they went to live in the Palestinian Christian town of Biet Sahour, and how because of her, his father made better choices for his family.

 He laughed fondly as he was telling me about his mother when she as a young girl used to drink from her Christian neighbors “grape juice” who used to make it in big pots and was getting tipsy, unbeknown to her that it was wine. Or that when she gave birth to her oldest son and that it was her Christian neighbors who named him “Maher” while his father insisted on naming him Ali.

The name Maher remained the brother’s legal name, while Ali became the unofficial nickname. Just like his mother, Abu Qatada feels the deepest appreciation and respect for his wife. “She is in control of this house, and my lady.” he said.  He also added that it was because of his wife insistence that they made the decision the buy the plot of land where they built their house before Amman became too expensive to buy any land or build a house. He feels very much grateful to her because of that.

The same thing goes for his children. Abu Qatada has 3 daughters, and two boys. He told me that his oldest daughter, 24, made her own choice to study Islamic Sharia, and while she covers her face, it was solely her choice. The middle daughter is now studying Biology and the youngest, 16 is in high school.

Qatada, 19, told me that when he was in Britain he was studying engineering, but when the family returned to Jordan, he could not continue with Engineering at the University of Jordan, he changed his major to study Islamic Sharia. The youngest is 13 years old Zied who was born while his father was in British jail. Abu Qatada insists he never forced his children to do anything. “My role as a father is to teach my children on how to make the right choices in their lives.”

Ali Younes is the Editor of the Arab Daily News.