TNSM Leader Sufi Muhammad Fights Government Offensive in Swat with a Barrage of Words

Andrew McGregor

May 18, 2009

Even as 15,000 Pakistani troops prepared to flood the Swat valley stronghold of his Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) movement, Maulana Sufi Muhammad continued to unleash a series of edicts on topics as varied as democracy, the status of women and the Islamic legitimacy of photography.

Sufi MuhammadMaulana Sufi Muhammad (Dawn)

Sufi Muhammad was reported to have left his home in Lower Dir on May 4 after it was hit by mortar fire in the opening phases of Operation Rah-e-Haq 4. He is now believed to be in the TNSM stronghold at Aman Darra (Pakistan Observer, May 5). His son, Maulana Kifayatullah, was killed in the shelling of his home in Lower Dir (The News, [Islamabad], May 8).

In a recent interview by Pakistani television, Sufi Muhammad rejected democracy as the creation of “infidels.” The TNSM leader asked, “How can people who believe in democracy be expected to enforce the ideals of Shari’a?” Even the Islamic states of Saudi Arabia and Iran had failed to implement Shari’a to Sufi Muhammad’s satisfaction as he cited the Taliban regime of Afghanistan as the only example of a government that had properly administered Islamic law. According to Sufi Muhammad, communism, socialism and fascism were also “un-Islamic” political systems (Geo TV, May 4). In the same interview, he also condemned still photography and videos as “un-Islamic,” before declaring that in a Taliban-run society, women would only be allowed to leave their house to perform pilgrimage to Mecca (Daily Times [Lahore], May 4). Finally, Sufi Muhammad proclaimed that jihad was not mandatory in Kashmir as Islamic insurgents there were seeking a state rather than the implementation of Shari’a (The News, May 3).

Sufi Muhammad has not escaped criticism from other Islamic scholars in Pakistan. A recent meeting of the Ahl-e-Sunna in Karachi issued a statement asking if Taliban excesses in Swat would now be dealt with by the new Islamic courts. “If not, to whom are they accountable for the injustice they have committed? Who slaughtered innocent people, dishonored bodies, and hanged them on poles? Will they be called to any Shari’a court and [be] sentenced? Is it legal, according to Shari’a, to dishonor the body of a rival and then hang it from a tree? Do the people who have a different opinion deserve death? Are the people who have killed scholars of the Ahl-e-Sunna or forced them to migrate and taken control of their mosques, madaris, and properties exempt from the dictates of Shari’a, or are they answerable to any Shari’a court?” (Jang Online, May 4).

The Pakistani press has also been highly critical of Sufi Muhammad’s failure to fulfill his end of the peace agreement with the NWFP government, his rejection of government-appointed qazis (Islamic judges) and his unwillingness to disarm local Taliban and TNSM fighters (Aaj Kal, May 5; Nawa-e-Waqt, May 5; Jinnah, May 5). According to one major daily, “The demands of the TNSM have been accepted by the government, and they are being implemented as well. Despite this, the opposition by Sufi Muhammad and his disciples is beyond comprehension. Apparently, it appears that these people have a desire to establish a state within a state to be headed by Sufi Muhammad. Such a situation cannot be acceptable to a sovereign country. Therefore, it will be justified if the Army launches an operation for the stability and security of the country” (Khabrain, May 5).

This article was first published in the May 18, 2009 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor.

Kuwait’s Hamid Abdallah al-Ali Describes Pending Defeat of Americans in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Andrew McGregor

May 18, 2009

Shaykh Hamid Abdallah al-Ali, a leading Kuwait-based Salafist preacher and advocate of global jihad, has declared that Islam’s battle in Afghanistan will continue to escalate in the coming days, extending to Pakistan where the “Zionist-Crusader” alliance will use strategies similar to those that have already failed in Palestine, Iraq and Somalia. His analysis was contained in a May 2 article entitled; “Afghan-Pakistani Tight Spot and Zion-American Ambitions” (, May 2). The analysis was carried by many jihadist websites.

Hamid Abdullah al-AliShaykh Hamid Abdullah al-Ali

Al-Ali says the most prominent achievement of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Baitullah Mahsud has been the rejuvenation of “the jihadist network in Afghanistan, all the warlords from Pashtun [tribes] and the mujahideen from the Punjab district… aligning them under one banner.”  The fusion of trained jihadis, funds and organizational skills has made it possible for Baitullah to strike anywhere in Pakistan. According to al-Ali, the success of the Taliban is based on its ability to win supporters and postpone “secondary disputes” within the alliance.

The Salafist preacher is, unsurprisingly, critical of Shiite Iran. Al-Ali notes that the “Safavids” (Iranians) do not cooperate with Sunni jihad movements, except temporarily to “burn out such movements” in a “wicked scheme.” “What is astonishing in their ambition is that they want a deal that reaches a degree that equalizes them with the international deals the West concludes with China or Russia.” The shaykh suggests Iran will continue to display their ability to cause harm continuously until they are given status alongside the great powers, even if it involves provoking the United States in Latin America (an apparent reference to Iranian relations with Venezuela).

The shaykh suggests that the destruction of NATO supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan would be one of the greatest achievements of the ongoing jihad. This would help make the Afghanistan-Pakistan region “a vast and safe camp” for Islamic jihadis. “The Afghan-Pakistani jihad is gearing up to a higher degree, taking advantage of the U.S. exhaustion caused by the Iraqi quagmire, the economic crisis, [and] the widespread American fatigue from external wars…”

Shaykh Hamid Abdallah al-Ali is best known for his 1999 fatwa declaring the government of Kuwait to be composed of disbelievers – legitimate targets for the mujahideen – and for his early 2001 fatwa sanctioning suicide bombings, including those involving the flying of aircraft into public buildings (see Terrorism Monitor, April 26, 2007).

This article was first published in the May 18, 2009 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor.

Egyptian Islamists Urge al-Qaeda to Declare a Truce

Andrew McGregor

February 19, 2009

Al-Gama’a al-Islamiya (GI – The Islamic Group), once one of Egypt’s most feared Islamist terrorist organizations, has issued a statement urging al-Qaeda to observe a ceasefire to better assess the intentions of the new Obama administration in Washington (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, January 24).

Najih Ibrahim 2

Shaykh Najih Ibrahim (Al-Ahram)

GI has observed its own ceasefire agreement with the Egyptian government since March 1999. The agreement followed a number of spectacular terrorist attacks by the group, such as the 1997 Luxor attack that killed 58 tourists and four Egyptians. These attacks, however, only succeeded in alienating the movement from public support. The targeting of tourists and the tourism infrastructure proved highly unpopular in a nation that relies heavily on revenues from these sources (up to $4 billion per year in much-needed foreign currency). The group’s often pointless attacks on Egypt’s large Coptic Christian community inflamed sectarian divisions within the country while doing little to further the Islamist cause. In August 2006, al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Egyptian national Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced the merger of GI with al-Qaeda, but this development was immediately denied by JI leaders within Egypt (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, August 14, 2006).

The GI’s chief theorist, Shaykh Najih Ibrahim, was released in 2004 after spending 24 years behind bars following his conviction as a ringleader in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat. Since then he has adopted a more conciliatory role in Egypt while rejecting the violence of al-Qaeda: “Their aim is jihad and our aim is Islam.”

Shaykh Najih rejected a call from al-Qaeda strategist Abu Yahya al-Libi for immediate attacks on Britain and other Western nations as retaliation for the Israeli assault on Gaza: “We fear that the al-Qaeda organization might carry out operations that will turn Obama into another George Bush and turn the good [in President Obama’s stated intention to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq and close Guantanamo Bay], albeit small, into evil from which only Israel will benefit” (Al-Arabiya TV [Dubai], January 23; Al-Sharq al-Awsat, January 24).

Isam al-Din Darbalah, a long-time GI leader, also issued a statement addressed to all levels of al-Qaeda’s leadership and membership. Noting that President Obama appears ready to abandon “Bush’s dead-end and crazy path,” Isam al-Din urged a four-month ceasefire designed to test American intentions: “Say [to the Western states] without fear: ‘We will not start fighting you in the next four months, unless in self-defense, awaiting fair and practical stands on the part of Obama. We welcome a peace based on respect for the Islamic identity and our peoples’ right to live independently under their creed and shari’a and on the basis of common interests with America and the world for the good of humanity, away from the conflict of cultures.'” While still in prison, Isam al-Din collaborated with Najih Ibrahim and several other imprisoned JI leaders in a reassessment of religious extremism entitled “Correcting Concepts.” He later contributed to a book-length study of al-Qaeda’s strategy that criticized the group for a flawed understanding of reality and the capabilities of the Muslim nation.

This article first appeared in the February 19 2009 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

Pakistani Islamist Fatwa Refutes Taliban’s Jihad

Andrew McGregor

October 22, 2008

In a surprising move, a group of Pakistani clerics best known for their hardline views on Islam’s role in society have gathered to issue a fatwa condemning suicide-bombing and the current trend of individuals or organizations declaring jihad against the state at any moment they feel appropriate. Brought together under the umbrella of the Mutahidda Ulema Council (MUC), the conference agreed “only the state has the authority to call for jihad, and individuals or groups are not authorized to do that” (Daily Times [Lahore], October 16).

NaeemiConference Host Maulana Sarfaraz Naeemi

The meeting brought together an unlikely assemblage of Pakistani religious leaders. The council included representatives from the Jamaat Ahl-e-Sunnat (a Barelvi Sunni movement largely based on the non-Pashtun population of the Punjab) and their ideological opponents in the conservative Deobandi Jamaat Ulema-e Islam. The Shi’a Ahl-e Tashee was present, as was the Sipah-e Sahaba, a banned radical Sunni organization involved in terrorist violence against Shi’a. Representatives from minority Sunni groups like the Ahl-e Hadith and Jamaat-e Islami were also present. The conference was hosted in Lahore by the Jamia Naeemia (led by Maulana Sarfaraz Naeemi), a group known for its harsh criticism of perceived government failures to implement strict applications of Islam in the social and political spheres of Pakistan.

Conference delegates were unanimous in their rejection of suicide-bombing as haram (forbidden) and najaaiz (illegitimate), though the statement added: “It seems as if the government is covertly backing these attacks so that patriotic citizens may not assemble and launch a mass drive for the defense of the country” (The News [Islamabad], October 14). While moderate Islamic leaders like Mufti Munibur Rehman have issued fatwas against suicide-bombing in the past, few members of the MUC group of clerics have any affiliation to “moderate” trends of Islamic interpretation (Daily Times, October 16). Despite the criticism of the government, the clerics’ condemnation of suicide bombing was welcomed by Pakistan’s Interior advisor, Rehman Malik.

The conference also issued a number of demands on the Islamabad government, including an immediate stop to military operations in the Bajaur and Swat frontier districts, an alliance between Pakistan and Iran, and the public revelation of any secret deals made between ex-President Pervez Musharraf and the United States. The clerics condemned the recent U.S. nuclear trade deal with India as dangerous to Pakistan, which has just completed its own deal for Chinese nuclear assistance (Press Trust of India, October 2; Daily Times, October 16; October 19).

Tribal lashkar-s (ad-hoc military formations) have been formed in the frontier region in recent weeks to combat Taliban militants, but since the MUC meeting the Taliban have struck back with deadly suicide attacks against tribal jirga-s (assemblies) convened to discuss eliminating the militants (Geo TV, October 18; KUNA, October 19). The attacks suggest that even a fatwa issued by hardline Islamists is now insufficient to slow the rapid escalation of violence in the tribal regions.

 This article first appeared in the October 22, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

Australian Convicted of Compiling Terrorism Manual under Anti-Terrorism Legislation

Andrew McGregor

September 18, 2008

On September 10 Sydney resident and former Qantas Air baggage handler Belal Sadallah Khazaal became the second individual to be convicted under Australia’s Terrorism Act, introduced in 2003. The conviction by the New South Wales Supreme Court on a charge of “knowingly making a document connected with assistance in a terrorist act” came as a result of Khazaal’s publication of a 110 page Arabic-language terrorism manual, Provisions on the Rules of Jihad – Short Judicial Rulings and Organizational Instructions for Fighters and Mujahidin Against Infidels. Khazaal published the work in 2003 under the name Abu Mohamed Attawheedy and posted it to the website. No verdict was reached on a second charge of urging others to commit a terrorist act.

KhazaalBelal Sadallah Khazaal

The police investigation began with a series of interviews by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) in April 2004, followed by a search of Khazaal’s home in May and his arrest in June 2004. An AFP case officer testified that Khazaal attempted to take the publication down from the website following the search of his house (, August 25).

Defense claims that the book was simply a collation of articles dealing with terrorism were damaged by the explicit lists of individuals and countries targeted for assassination or terrorist attacks. The latter list included Khazaal’s home country of Australia. While the first half of the book focused on religious rulings concerning jihad, the second half described methods of assassination, kidnapping, sniping, setting booby-traps, poisoning, ambushing vehicles and shooting down planes (The Australian, September 11). Among several bizarre methods of assassination cited was a suggestion that “cake-throwing” could be made fatal by using adhesives instead of sweets, thus blinding and asphyxiating the victim. Another method called for sealing an abducted victim in a strong plastic bag, which would leave no marks on the body and could leave the impression it was suicide (Melbourne Herald Sun, August 15). The defense argued that the methods described were only “very, very general” (Sydney Morning Herald, August 21).

Khazaal’s attorney, George Thomas, suggested Khazaal was not responsible for the content of the book as he had plagiarized all of it from other sources with the exception of three paragraphs. Prosecutors argued that Khazaal had given the content his personal endorsement by publishing it under his own name (Sydney Morning Herald, September 11; The Australian, September 11). The defense also suggested Khazaal was acting in a professional capacity as a journalist, producing an expired membership card for the New South Wales branch of the Australian Journalists Association (, August 25). Another witness testified that Khazaal was the author of two Arabic-language books and involved in the publication of a Sydney magazine called Nida’ul Islam (The Call of Islam) (Melbourne Herald Sun, August 26).

A number of groups claiming to represent Australia’s 280,000 Muslims have attacked the conviction and the Terrorism Act. A spokesman for the Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations suggested: “These terror laws have specifically made every Muslim a potential target for arrest by police” (Reuters, September 11).

A member of the Muslim Community Reference Group (a contact group created by the Australian government to improve relations with the Muslim community) was asked to spend two days examining Khazaal’s library of 3,000 books, 2,600 audiotapes, 600 videos and 40,000 pages of material downloaded from the internet. The material was described as being mostly “of a general nature on Islamic jurisprudence: on marriage, fasting, prayers, divorce” (The Australian, August 27).

Khazaal is facing a possible 15 years in prison on the conviction and may be retried on the second charge.

This article first appeared in the September 18, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor

Deobandis Define and Reject Terrorism in New Fatwa

Andrew McGregor

June 4, 2008

An important Islamic seminary once blamed for inspiring the militancy of Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan has issued an important new fatwa (Islamic ruling) on the illegitimacy of terrorism. The 152-year-old Darul Uloom Deoband seminary is located in the town of Deoband, in India’s Uttar Pradesh province. The new fatwa was issued in the name of the seminary’s Grand Mufti, Habibur Rehman, who told a meeting of thousands of Islamic scholars and students: “Islam rejects all kinds of unjust violence, breach of peace, bloodshed, murder and plunder and does not allow it in any form” (Independent, June 2).

dar usoolDarul Uloom Deoband Seminary

The announcement of the fatwa came in New Delhi during the Anti-Terrorism and Global Peace Conference. Based on a re-examination of relevant Islamic texts, the fatwa stated: “It is proved from clear guidelines provided in the Holy Quran that allegations of terrorism against a religion which preaches and guarantees world peace is nothing but a lie. The religion of Islam has come to wipe out all kinds of terrorism and to spread the message of global peace” (Times of India, June 1). The ruling was ratified by a host of other Muslim organizations and a mass “oath of allegiance” to the fatwa was given at the gathering. India’s 140 million Muslims, 13 percent of the population, comprise the world’s third-largest national community of Muslims.

The Deobandi scholars also issued a definition of terrorism to support the fatwa: “Any action that targets innocents, whether by an individual or by any government or by a private organization anywhere in the world constitutes, according to Islam, an act of terrorism” (Hindustan Times, June 1).

Speakers from the Deoband seminary still took the opportunity to condemn the United States and its support for Israel. Deputy Rector Hazrat Maulana Qari Sayed Muhammad Usman told the crowd: “Whenever Christian and American interests are hurt in any part of the world, they take prompt action to set things right even at the cost of human lives. They maintain silence though when Muslims are the victims” (Times of India, June 1).

India’s opposition Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), which has adopted a strong anti-terrorism stance, welcomed the ruling. Party leader Rajnath Singh declared: “Deoband is seeking to dissociate Muslims from terrorism. But the central government wants to equate Muslims with terrorism and on this very basis is rejecting an anti-terrorism law” (Times of India, June 2). The party is critical of the government’s decision to repeal India’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (The Hindu, June 1).

While the Deobandi movement has spread across the world, the latest fatwa will be of particular interest to Britain, which now hosts 17 Deobandi seminaries providing 80 percent of Britain’s domestically-trained imams (Independent, June 2).

Following the Deobandi ruling, another of India’s major Muslim organizations, the Jamiat Ulema-e Hind, issued its own anti-terrorism fatwa (Calcutta Telegraph, June 1). It remains to be seen if the Deobandi fatwa inspires Muslim groups in other parts of the Islamic world to do likewise.

This article first appeared in the June 4 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

Leeds Man Convicted of Possessing Terrorism Manual Published by U.S. Department of Justice


Andrew McGregor

March 25, 2008

34-year-old Khalid Khaliq, a resident of Beeston, Leeds (UK), confessed in court to owning a copy of I’alan al-Jihad ‘ala al-Tawaghit al-Bilad (Declaration of Jihad against the Country’s Tyrants), a 180-page training manual copied to CD format. The document was seized in a 2005 raid on the suspect’s home. Khaliq was charged under the Terrorism Act of 2000 with possessing “a document or record containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism” (Daily Telegraph, March 16). Khaliq indicated the document had been downloaded from an internet website, but claimed it had been brought into his house by an unnamed friend and that he had not looked at it (Daily Mail, March 11; Independent, March 11). After conviction, Khaliq, an associate of London’s “7/7” bombers, was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

The handwritten Arabic language manual was first seized in an MI5 raid on an abandoned flat in Manchester in 2000. MI5 translated the document and supplied a copy to U.S. officials for use in a terrorism-related trial in 2001. After being used in evidence the manual was declassified and released to the public by the New York Southern District Court under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (Daily Mail, March 15).

The document contains information on weapons, assassination methods, torture techniques, the use of safe houses, security measures, behavior in prison, communications, transportation, poisons, counter-interrogation techniques, use of counterfeit currency and forged documents, and overt and covert methods of information-gathering. Only the chapter on bomb-making was withheld from publication on the Department of Justice website. Some of the manual’s information appears to have been clipped from American militia movement publications.

According to the manual’s preamble: “The confrontation that we are calling for with the apostate regimes does not know Socratic debates, Platonic ideals, nor Aristotelian diplomacy. But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing, and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine-gun.” ( ).

Judge James Stewart of the Leeds court declared the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to publish the document on the internet “extraordinary” and “not something that would be done in this country” (Daily Mail, March 11).

This article first appeared in the March 25, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

Fatwa in Tribal Pakistan Declares Taliban “Out of Islam”

Andrew McGregor

March 25, 2008

A new fatwa (religious ruling) issued in the Pashtun Darra Adam Khel region of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province declares the Taliban to be “out of Islam” as a result of their violence, failure to follow Islamic teachings and takfiri ideology (the latter referring to the Salafist-jihadi practice of declaring fellow Muslims “infidels” if they oppose jihadist dogma). According to the fatwa’s author, Mufti Zainul Abidin, “The Taliban leaders consider themselves and their directives as superior to true Islamic principles and directives as ordained by Almighty Allah” (The Nation [Islamabad], March 23). The Mufti invites other members of the ulama (scholars of Shari’a law) to denounce the “inhuman and immoral” acts of the Taliban.

GunsmithsGunsmiths of Darra Adam Khel

 The fatwa singled out the pronouncements of Mufti Khalid Shah, a Taliban religious leader of dubious credentials who has attacked established Islamic scholars in a series of Taliban-issued CDs. Khalid Shah issued a statement in December 2006 urging attacks on local NGOs “promoting the agenda of the Jews and Christians” (Dawn [Karachi], December 23, 2006). This was followed by an Urdu language fatwa pasted at night on the walls of Darra Adam Khel declaring a jihad against the Pakistan government (Daily Times [Lahore], May 3, 2007). Darra Adam Khel is notorious for its thriving arms bazaar and was the scene of heavy fighting between Taliban militants and the Pakistan military earlier this year.

Islamic scholars in the region have been reluctant to oppose the Taliban publicly since the still unsolved assassination of Maulana Hassan Jan in 2007 after he declared the practice of suicide-bombing “un-Islamic” (The News [Karachi], September 16, 2007; PakTribune, September 15, 2007).

This article first appeared in the March 25, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan Urges Professionals to Join Mujahideen

Andrew McGregor

March 18, 2008

In a 47-minute video statement, the commander of al-Qaeda’s forces in Afghanistan issued an appeal for professionals such as physicians and engineers to join the jihad against Coalition forces in that country (Al-Sahab Media Production Organization, March 6). Mustafa Ahmad Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian jihadist leader and close associate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, called for much-needed professionals to join the mujahideen. Abu al-Yazid, already under an Egyptian in absentia death sentence for terrorist activities in that country, spent two years in Iraq before being appointed as the leader of al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan last year (Al-Jazeera, May 24, 2007).

Abu al-Yazid 3Abu al-Yazid

The appeal comes on the heels of a similar call for professionals to join the ranks of the mujahideen in Iraq, suggesting al-Qaeda operations are suffering from an inability to recruit professionals to their cause. Abu al-Yazid is himself a skilled financial operator, believed to have arranged financing for multiple terrorist attacks.

Abu al-Yazid repeatedly condemns the introduction of nationalism and “patriotic bias” to the Muslim world, suggesting that such notions are the result of Western design and influence. The al-Qaeda commander also attacks the generation of Arab nationalist leaders that took power in the post-war Middle East: “These rulers were greater transgressors against Islam and the Muslims than their masters, the Christians and the Jews. Their names were Muslim, but their hearts were Christian.” There are extensive quotes from Ibn al-Tamiyya, the 13th century Islamic scholar and advocate of jihad—controversial and oft-imprisoned in his own time—a popular source of legitimization for today’s jihadis.

Four situations are identified in which jihad becomes obligatory for Muslims, including defense of a Muslim nation, being close to the scene of conflict, the liberation of Muslim prisoners and the case of an imam issuing a call for jihad. In what may be a reference to a similar shortage of religious scholars willing to advocate al-Qaeda’s cause, al-Yazid takes the unusual step of advising would-be jihadists: “Do not let yourselves be deceived by the fraudulent claim that no jihad is permitted without the sanction of an imam.”

The appeal addresses the difficulty experienced professionals would endure in abandoning their families and homes to take up jihad: “We direct a special call to specialized people like doctors and electronic engineers, due to their urgent need by the mujahideen… We call on the fathers and mothers not to become a barrier between their children and paradise and to present their children for the sake of God… we say to the Muslim wives do not be a barrier between your husbands and paradise; the righteous woman who loves her husband is the one that desires for him to get into paradise and to be saved from Hell, but she is the one who says to him when she knows that Islam is calling him: ‘Take my gold and money and conduct jihad for the sake of God and we will meet in paradise, God willing.’”

This article first appeared in the March 18, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

President Obama’s Outreach to the Muslim World (II) – Jihadi Analyst Dissects U.S. President’s Praise of Turkish Secularism

Andrew McGregor

June 12, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama’s continuing outreach to the global Islamic community has brought a harsh response from Jihadi-Salafist ideologues. Typical of this reaction is an article entitled “ObamaTurk: The Secular Phenomenon” by a jihadi analyst using the name “al-Janubi.” The article, based on President Obama’s visit to Turkey and his April 6 address to the Turkish parliament, appeared in issue two of the magazine Jihad Recollections, published in May by al-Fursan Media Productions.

Obama Egypt 1

(Washington Times)

Al-Janubi claims Obama’s speech “championed a version of Islam that advocated secularism, nationalism and democracy in place of the Islam revealed 1400 years ago.” Particularly offensive was his praise of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, “who single-handedly dismantled the greatest nation Allah ever let exist on the face of the earth” (i.e. the Ottoman Empire). Ataturk’s creation of a secular nationalist democracy in place of the Istanbul-centered Caliphate (dismantled by Ataturk in 1924) may be his legacy, but this does not make it a good legacy; “Obama forgot that Islam has no room for secularism.”

Al-Janubi cites a Quranic verse, Surah Baqarah, verse 120: “Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you unless you follow their way.” Secularism, says al-Janubi, is the way of the Jews and Christians, though if the Muslims were to follow them in this way they would be respected even less than they are now. Addressing Obama’s statement of U.S. support for Turkish accession to the European Union (EU), al-Janubi points to the futility of Turkey’s attempts to join the EU as proof of the truth of this Surah.

While Obama praised Turkey’s choice of a new path (the creation of a secular democracy) rather than allowing partition by the Great Powers or attempting to restore the Ottoman Empire, al-Janubi maintains Turkish nationalism was nothing less than another form of “European hegemony,” as proved by Ataturk’s preference for the Latin, European alphabet and European dress rather than “neutral, non-European” modes. President Obama “lied when he said that the Turkish republic commanded the respect of the United States and the world. By imitating those who will not accept them except as alternative to the ‘radical Muslims,’ they are begging for the respect of the U.S. and the world, not demanding it.”

The author calls Obama a hypocrite for stating “There is no excuse for terror against any nation,” after having already pledged his support for Israel during the electoral campaign. “He has already promised to aid one nation, Israel, which has no right to exist, in its terrorizing of a neighboring nation of which Israel should be a jizyah-paying dependency [jizyah is a tax on non-Muslims]. He means one thing and says another, and according to a Muslim or a non-Muslim, that is the definition of a hypocrite!”

Finally, al-Janubi responds to President Obama’s assertion that “The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam.” According to al-Janubi, “To not be at war with Islam, he would have to withdraw troops from all Muslim lands, allow the Shari’a to be implemented by whom everyone else calls the ‘radicals’ and the ‘extremists,’ stop supporting any anti-Shari’a movements in the Muslim lands, and then withdraw all support from Israel so they may be easily overrun and absorbed by the Islamic caliphate to pay jizyah or be driven into the ocean.” Had Obama been sincere in his stated intention to deal fairly with the Islamic community, according to al-Janubi, he would have withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan and admitted that America had started the current conflict with the support of the one nuclear power in the Middle East, “the real terrorist, Israel.” He would also have cut off aid and support for dictators in Muslim lands, such as Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King ‘Abdullah of Jordan. Al-Janubi concludes by asking whether Muslims will withdraw their support of Obama or support an enemy of Islam “and thereby become our own enemies in the process.”

This article first appeared in the June 12, 2009 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor