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September 10, 2014 1

Former Revolution Muslim Imam Encourages Support for ISIS

Imam Abdul­lah Al-Faisal, for­mer spir­i­tual leader of the now-defunct Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim (RM)orga­ni­za­tion, con­tin­ues to actively preach hatred and extrem­ism online in Eng­lish and now actively encour­ages his fol­low­ers to sup­port the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Ad for the Authen­tic Tauheed con­fer­ence sup­port­ing ISIS

In an online con­fer­ence this week­end, Al-Faisal and three other extrem­ist, English-speaking cler­ics spoke for a col­lec­tive 200 min­utes on the theme of sup­port for ISIS and its self-proclaimed Caliphate.

Two of the cler­ics who spoke in addi­tion to Al-Faisal have also been known to incite extrem­ism. One, Atila Ahmed from Lon­don (also known as Abu Abdul­lah) was report­edly sen­tenced to nearly seven years in prison in 2008 on charges of solic­it­ing mur­der. The sec­ond, Miza­nur Rah­man from Lon­don (also known as Abu Baraa), was con­victed of hate speech and solic­i­ta­tion to mur­der in 2006.

Remarks dur­ing the con­fer­ence ranged from endorse­ment of ISIS to anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT state­ments, including:

  • “Who are those that reject the Dawla (ISIS)?…The peo­ple that claim that the sharia is not impor­tant, don’t think about the sharia, think about them­selves.” (Al-Faisal)
  • “When you see that the Dawla cut off the heads of Shi’as you will think that’s extreme, these peo­ple are crazy…first of all, the clas­si­cal schol­ars did not con­sider Shi’as as Muslims…you don’t know what the Shi’as believe and you don’t know why the Dawla is so harsh against the Shi’as.” (Al-Faisal)
  • “All the other groups espe­cially in Iraq don’t have as strong a com­mit­ment to imple­ment­ing Sharia as the Dawla and…Dawla is con­quer­ing town after town.” (Abu Ruqayyah)
  • “What about our­selves sit­ting on our back­sides eat­ing cakes and bis­cuits at home while they’re [ISIS fight­ers] strug­gling to bring honor to the com­mu­nity of Islam?”
  • “All you Mus­lims that vote, you have the blood of Mus­lims that are killed by the West on your hands… by giv­ing your alle­giance to kuf­far (apos­tates) and the man-made laws…” (Abu Abdullah)
  •  “Did you know that they say Abu Bakr al Bagh­dadi is a Jew? When they accuse Abu bakr al Bagh­dadi of being a Jew, what are they? They are noth­ing but the bark­ing dogs of jah­hanam (hell).” (Al-Faisal)
  • “If you say some­thing against the Zion­ist Jews or the Jews that died in the wars at the hands of Hitler and you don’t accept it, they could put you into prison. This is the free­dom that the Mus­lims are vot­ing for.” (Abu Abdullah)
  • “So by these they [homo­sex­u­als] are prey­ing on our chil­dren in schools. They say the inte­gra­tion, the accep­tance of democ­racy is brain­wash­ing our chil­dren into accept­ing homo­sex­u­al­ity. They’re try­ing to make our chil­dren like them [gay]. As you see if they’re pump­ing it day and night on the news on these shows all full of homo­sex­u­als and les­bians.” (Abu Abdullah)

These remarks are con­sis­tent with state­ments that Al-Faisal has been mak­ing via his Authen­tic Tauheed web­site and on his per­sonal Twit­ter account for months.

In July, Al-Faisal copied the offi­cial ISIS ver­sion of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s biog­ra­phy in Eng­lish onto his web­site and pre­sented a lec­ture encour­ag­ing stu­dents to learn from and about Bagh­dadi and ISIS.  Sim­i­larly, in a July lec­ture posted on his site, he stated, “There is no doubt that he (Bag­dadhi) is the legit­i­mate caliph and it is incum­bent upon you to give your be’ah (alle­giance),” later adding, “So take up arms, take up arms, O sol­diers of the Islamic State! And fight, fight!”

On his Twit­ter account, where this weekend’s con­fer­ence was adver­tised, Al-Faisal’s tweets have included:

  • “The #Islam­ic­state has no bor­ders because we are meant to be #mujahideen sans fron­tiers #ISIS” (August 20)
  • “Why should #Jews com­mit geno­cide and then play the race card to defend them­selves. To me, #Hitler was right.”(September 2)

    abdullah-al-faisal-twitter-isis

    Via Abdul­lah Al-Faisal’s Twit­ter feed

  • “Our females make us proud by join­ing IS (The Islamic State, or ISIS).” (Sep­tem­ber 9)
  • “Any Mujahid [reli­gious fighter] who doesn’t give his bayah (alle­giance) to Dawla (ISIS) is a fake Jihadi and his death will b in vain. So please b warned.” (Sep­tem­ber 9)

Al-Faisal has also used Twit­ter con­ver­sa­tions to encour­age oth­ers to fol­low his views. In com­ments to one of his posts writ­ten on Sep­tem­ber 4, al-Faisal was asked whether the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion was a “good resource to under­stand the zionist’s [sic] and their plan.” Al-Faisal responded, “I was taught the pro­to­cols of zion [sic] in Univ. Hence I would rec­om­mend it as an excel­lent source of knowledge.”

In the same con­ver­sa­tion, Al-Faisal was asked, “Shaikh I recently became Mus­lim but am still in High School how do you rec­om­mend I seek knowl­edge?” Al-Faisal directed the asker to the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion and also to a link on the Authen­tic Tauheed site that, in sum­ma­riz­ing prin­ci­ples of Islam, states, “There is a Quranic verse where Allah (SWT) pro­nounced Jews and Chris­tians as Kuf­far (apos­tates) even before the huj­jah (in this con­text, pun­ish­ment for not fol­low­ing Islam) was estab­lished against them.”

Prior to his sup­port for ISIS, al-Faisal was a known sup­porter of al Qaeda, and once con­demned Anwar al Awlaki, who after­ward went on to become al Qaeda’s chief English-language pro­pa­gan­dist, for not being rad­i­cal enough.

Al-Faisal has pre­vi­ously been jailed for his vio­lent preach­ing. In 2003, al-Faisal was sen­tenced in a court in Lon­don to nine years for incit­ing racial hatred and mur­der. The sen­tence was later reduced to seven years and in May 2007 he was paroled and deported to Jamaica.

In his UK ser­mons prior to his arrest, Al-Faisal encour­aged Mus­lims who are 15 and older to get weapon train­ing dur­ing school vaca­tions and to assume a “jihad men­tal­ity.” In his speeches he said that non-Muslims, includ­ing Hin­dus and Jews, should be killed like “cock­roaches.” In one lec­ture he said that the “filthy Jews [were] evil to the core.” In a recorded speech that was car­ried shortly after the Sep­tem­ber 11 attack and pre­sented as evi­dence at the trial, Al-Faisal, argued that it is “per­mis­si­ble to drop bombs on a kuf­far (apos­tate) nation” and that women and chil­dren who may be hurt are “col­lat­eral dam­age” and Mus­lims will “become martyrs.”

Al-Faisal’s Authen­tic Tauheed site, on which this weekend’s con­fer­ence took place and where he reg­u­larly posts his lec­tures, is hosted on the PalTalk web­site, which bills itself as a “free videochat com­mu­nity.” It also main­tains two Twit­ter feeds dis­tinct from al-Faisal’s feed. Al-Faisal has been using the ser­vice since at least 2008. The word tauheed (some­times spelled tawhid) is an Islamic term refer­ring to monotheism.

Al-Faisal was per­haps best known as the spir­i­tual guide for RM, a fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence for many years. RM dis­trib­uted al-Faisal’s CDs and posts videos of his lec­tures and his writ­ings to its Web site, and dona­tions to RM were believed to pos­si­bly sup­port Faisal financially.

He is also believed to have played a role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber” and Jer­maine Lind­say, one of the bombers behind the July 7, 2005 attacks on London’s tran­sit system.

Abdul­lah Ibrahim Al-Faisal (also spelled El-Faisal) was born Trevor For­rest in Jamaica. He con­verted to Islam when he was 16 and moved to Britain as a young man. In 1992, after sev­eral years of study­ing reli­gion in Saudi Ara­bia, he returned to Britain and became a preacher at the Brix­ton Mosque in Lon­don, where he deliv­ered very rad­i­cal speeches to crowds of up to 500 worshipers.

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July 28, 2014 1

Anti-Semitic Incidents at Anti-Israel Demonstrations Continue in Europe

Over the past days, anti-Semitic inci­dents con­tinue to plague Euro­pean Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties, often in con­nec­tion with anti-Israel demonstrations.

Just one hour after an anti-Israel demon­stra­tion in Toulouse, France, on Sat­ur­day, Molo­tov cock­tails were thrown at a Jew­ish com­mu­nity cen­ter and at the police guard­ing the center.

French media reported on an anti-Israel march on Sat­ur­day in Paris, where they heard peo­ple say­ing “We’re ruled by the Zion­ists” and oth­ers respond­ing, “They’re the worst race.”

Last night, swastikas were spray-painted in a heav­ily Jew­ish area of Lon­don and also in Rome’s his­toric Jew­ish quar­ter.

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A poster was also plas­tered on walls in Rome. Fea­tur­ing a white-power Celtic cross, it equates – pos­i­tively – Ital­ian fas­cists and Pales­tini­ans and says they have a com­mon enemy, unstated but obvi­ously, the Jews.

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The good news is that the gov­ern­ments in France, Ger­many, and Italy, the three coun­tries where the major­ity of inci­dents have occurred, have responded well.  French Pres­i­dent Hol­lande and Prime Min­is­ter Valls, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Merkel, and the for­eign min­is­ters of France, Ger­many, and Italy col­lec­tively, have made clear state­ments that such attacks on their Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties are intol­er­a­ble, and they have matched those words with strong law enforcement.

At a demon­stra­tion in Berlin on Fri­day, there were almost as many police as demon­stra­tors.  CRIF, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive orga­ni­za­tion of the French Jew­ish com­mu­nity, thanked the Paris police today for pre­vent­ing attempts by anti-Israel demon­stra­tors on Sat­ur­day from going to the Marais his­toric Jew­ish quar­ter or the syn­a­gogues near Place de la Republique, where 5,000 peo­ple had assem­bled despite a ban on the demonstration.

On Fri­day, Germany’s largest cir­cu­la­tion paper, Bild, fea­tured state­ments against anti-Semitism from politi­cians, busi­ness lead­ers, civic lead­ers, media per­son­al­i­ties, and celebri­ties with “Never Again Jew Hatred” on the front page.

Impor­tantly, both the French and Ger­man lead­ers have said these attacks are not just against Jews, but attacks against the state and against the con­sti­tu­tional order.  They are not play­ing ref­eree between pro-Palestinian pro­test­ers and Jews, but are rightly say­ing this fight is between vio­lent anti-Semites and the rest of society.

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February 27, 2014 1

Major Arab Newspaper Publishes “Anti-Jewish Slogans Are Not Islamic”

The deci­sion to re-publish a cri­tique of anti-Semitism by Al Quds Al Arabi, the third largest cir­cu­lated off­shore pan-Arab news­pa­per accord­ing to the Carnegie Endow­ment for Inter­na­tional Peace, could sig­nal a move toward greater plu­ral­ism and diver­sity of views in the Arab press, which is often dom­i­nated by anti-Jewish and anti-Israel narratives.al-quds-al-arabi-sinem-tezyaparin-jew

Arab jour­nal­ism has been a major plat­form for impor­tant debate and dis­cus­sion about the ques­tion of reli­gious intol­er­ance in con­nec­tion with dis­crim­i­na­tion against Mus­lims and the defama­tion of Islam. So far, how­ever, it has been ret­i­cent to address the prob­lem of reli­gious intol­er­ance more broadly, includ­ing anti-Semitism.

The arti­cle, writ­ten by Turk­ish jour­nal­ist Sinem Tezya­par in Sep­tem­ber 2013 and titled “Anti-Jewish Slo­gans Are Not Islamic,” appeared on the London-based Arabic-language Al Quds Al Arabi web­site on Feb­ru­ary 24.

Al Quds Al Arabi, pre­vi­ously known for its hos­tile posi­tions toward Israel, report­edly changed its own­er­ship last year and replaced its edi­tor. These changes may explain the deci­sion to repub­lish the article.

In her arti­cle, Tezya­par argues that anti-Jewish nar­ra­tives con­tra­dict Qur’anic teach­ings and that Mus­lims are obliged to take a stronger posi­tion against anti-Jewish state­ments. “Jews are the descen­dants of Prophets like Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon (peace be upon them all),” she writes. “A Mus­lim can­not be silent in the face of those who try to anni­hi­late the descen­dants of Prophets.”

The arti­cle rejects attempts to mis­use some Qur’anic verses to pro­mote anti-Jewish nar­ra­tives and expresses clear sup­port for, “The Jew­ish right to live in the Holy Land,” indi­cat­ing that such a right “is granted in the Qur’an by God. God says; ‘And there­after We said to the Chil­dren of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land.’”

“It is against the right con­science, and more impor­tantly, it is against the Qur’an to tell Jews to go some­where else,” she writes. In verse after verse, Tezya­par pro­motes a pos­i­tive mes­sage to con­vey that “Mus­lims and Jews can live side by side in peace.”

Hope­fully the deci­sion by Al Quds Al Arabi to pub­lish Tezyapar’s arti­cle is a sign that Arab media will find more oppor­tu­ni­ties to fea­ture coura­geous and hon­est voices against all forms of reli­gious hatred, includ­ing anti-Semitism.

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