AQIM targets beach resort in Ivory Coast

Ivorian troops responding to the attack. (Photo: Abidjan.net)

Ivorian troops responding to the attack. (Photo: Abidjan.net)

Long War Journal, by Caleb Weiss, March 13, 2016:

Gunmen from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) targeted a popular beach resort in southern Ivory Coast today, killing at least 14 civilians and two soldiers according to local media. The beach resort, which is in the city of Grand Bassam, is located only 25 miles east of Ivory Coast’s largest city of Abidjan.

According to the AFP, the gunmen “roamed the beach firing shots” before targeting the L’Etoile du Sud and two other nearby hotels. Local media has reported that the three hotels are popular with Westerners and other expatriates, which is likely why the hotels were attacked. The Ivorian government responded to the assault by deploying military personnel to the resort and quickly “neutralized” the gunmen, which is usually a euphemism for killed. Graphic photos from the scene appear to show several bodies strewn across the beach, as well as weapons recovered by the military, but are too graphic to be published at The Long War Journal.

The government’s statement says that “six terrorists” were killed, however, in AQIM’s short claim of responsibility released online, the jihadist group states only three of its fighters were involved in the assault.  “Three heroes from the knights of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were able to break into the tourist resort city of Grand Bassam,” the jihadists said indicating a larger statement will be released soon. The Mauritanian news site Al Akhbar has reported that sources within AQIM told the site that its Sahara Emirate and its Katibat al Murabitoon, which is led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, were behind the offensive. Al Qaeda has yet to release a larger statement confirming this.

However, these two al Qaeda groups have been responsible for other similar hotel attacks in the region. In January, the Katibat al Murabitoon killed 20 after assaulting the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou with two car bombs before breaching the perimeter and entering the hotel. In addition to hitting the hotel, a nearby restaurant was also targeted. Over 30 hostages were freed before the situation was contained. (See Threat Matrix report, Al Qaeda attacks hotel in Burkina Faso.)

Before that, the Sahara Emirate and Al Murabitoon attacked Mali’s capital of Bamako in November. In that offensive, the jihadists stormed the Radisson Blue in Bamako, killing 22 civilians and taking more than 100 people hostage before being killed in a joint raid led by Malian forces. Al Murabitoon said it was responsible in conjunction with the “Sahara Emirate” of AQIM, according to a statement sent to Al Jazeera. In August, Al Murabitoon attacked a hotel in the central Malian town of Sevare, killing 12. (SeeLWJ report, Al Qaeda group claims credit for attack on hotel in Mali’s capital.)

The Bamako assault heralded the reintigration of Al Murabitoon into AQIM. On Dec. 4, AQIM’s Al Andalus Media released an audio statement from Abdelmalek Droukdel, the emir of AQIM, announcing the merger of Al Murabitoon into its ranks. The same statement also said that the Bamako raid was the first joint assault carried out by the two.

Al Murabitoon is led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a veteran African jihadist who is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri and has denounced the Islamic State. Belmokhtar was originally a commander in AQIM before splitting with the group over personal disagreements with Droukdel and other leaders. Belmokhtar and his followers have been behind several spectacular attacks in West Africa over the past several years, including the January 2013 suicide assault on the In Amenas gas facility in southeastern Algeria, and the May 2013 suicide assaults in Niger which targeted a military barracks and uranium mine.

The Sahara Emirate of AQIM is led by Yahya Abu Hammam, who is listed by the US as a specially designated global terrorist for playing a “key role in the group’s ongoing terrorist activities in North Africa and Mali.” It is based in northern Mali, but is able to strike in far reaching places within the Sahel. The reintegration of Al Murabitoon further strengthens its abilities in the region.

Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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Also see:

Jihadists storm Radisson hotel in Malian capital

map lwj

Long War Journal, by Caleb Weiss, Nov. 20, 2015:

Jihadist stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Bamako in the early morning today, killing at least three people and taking more than 170 hostage. Malian commandos have assaulted the hotel in an effort to end the siege. The counterattack is still underway.

The attack began when gunmen penetrated a security barrier outside the hotel. Quoting a witness, the BBC reports that “They [the jihadists] were in car with a diplomatic license plate. They were masked. At the gate of the hotel, the guard stopped them and they start firing.”

The jihadists then shot their way into the hotel. Once inside, the gunmen reportedly made their way through the hotel “floor by floor, room by room” according to Reuters. The attackers were heard yelling “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is greatest,” in Arabic while fanning out through the hotel.

An estimated 80 hostages were freed after they were able to correctly recite verses of the Koran. The tactic of separating Muslims from other hostages is one that is often used by al Qaeda to avoid killing Muslims.

Malian special forces are reported to have assaulted the building after cordoning off the area. Additionally, the French GIGN, the elite counterterrorism unit of the National Gendarmerie, are being deployed to Bamako to assist Mali in the hostage crisis. US Special Forces are reported to have rescued six US citizens.

The exact number of gunmen involved in the attack on the Radisson Blu is unclear, with reports varying between two and 13 fighters.

The Radisson Blu Hotel, which is US-owned, is popular with foreign nationals, including French tourists and businessmen. A number of French, Chinese, and Indian citizens were staying at the hotel when the attack began.

Al Murabitoon, an al Qaeda group led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, claimed credit for the attack and demanded the release of jihadist prisoners as well as an end to French intervention in northern Mali. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda group claims credit for attack on hotel in Mali’s capital.]

The hostage crisis is the second to occur in Mali this year. The previous hostage crisis was executed in August, when jihadists from Al Murabitoon, stormed a hotel in the central Malian town of Sevare. The siege left at least 12 people dead. Al Murabitoon also targeted a nightclub in Bamako earlier this year.

Today’s attack took place just weeks after , the leader of Ansar Dine, released an audio statement calling for attacks on the French and their interests in Mali. Ghaly called for the increased targeting of French interests to avenge French intervention in the country.

“May your explosive belts respond to them, and your directed devices, and your loud car bombs,” he said. He ends his statement by saying that the Muslims must expel the “Crusaders” to “take revenge for honor of our noble Prophet.”

Ansar Dine, a front for al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has also claimed several attacks in southern Mali this year, including two near the border with the Ivory Coast. One of the those attacks targeted a police station near the border, which left at least one Malian police officer dead. Additionally, the Macina Liberation Movement, which a front for Ansar Dine, has also been behind several attacks in southern and central Mali this year. [See map above for more information.]

Assaulting hotels is a common tactic of al Qaeda, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and other jihadist groups. Many of the hotels targeted by jihadists are frequented by Western tourists, Western government officials, or are host to local government figures.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda’s official branch in North Africa, has a history of kidnapping Westerners, many from Malian hotels. This includes the Swede Johan Gustofsson, South African Stephen McGowan, and the Dutchman Sjaak Rijke. The three, along with a German national, were kidnapped from a hotel in Timbuktu. Rijke has since been released, but Gustofsson and McGowan are still being held.

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Al Qaeda group claims credit for attack on hotel in Mali’s capital by Bill Roggio

Al Murabitoon, an al Qaeda group that operates in West Africa, has claimed responsibility for this morning’s suicide assault on a luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali. Al Murabitoon claimed it executed the hotel siege in conjunction with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda’s official branch in North Africa.

The al Qaeda group claimed the Bamako attack in a statement that was sent to Al Jazeera. According to Al Murabitoon, the operation was carried “in coordination with the Sahara Emirate of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”

Al Murabitoon said its fighters would release hostages held at the hotel for “the liberation of the mujahideen in Bamako’s prisons.” Additionally, Al Murabitoon demanded that Malian and French forces stop “the oppression of the people of northern Mali.” The jihadists threatened to execute the hostages if its demands are not met and said it would release a complete statement on the attack at a later time.

Today’s attack began when jihadists, purportedly driving a vehicle with diplomatic plates, penetrated the Radisson Blu’s security perimeter and then shot their way into the hotel. Once inside, the gunmen are sad to have searched the hotel “floor by floor, room by room” according to Reuters. The attackers were heard yelling “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is greatest,” in Arabic while fanning out through the hotel.

The jihadists are said to have taken 170 hostages, including number of American, French, Chinese, and Indian citizens. An estimated 80 hostages were freed after they were able to correctly recite verses of the Koran. The tactic of separating Muslims from other hostages is one that is often used by al Qaeda to avoid killing Muslims.

Malian special forces as well as US Special forces are said to have assaulted the hotel in an effort to free the hostages. Six Americans are said to have been freed by US Special Forces.

Al Murabitoon is led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a veteran African jihadist who is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri and has denounced the Islamic State. Belmokhtar and Al Murabitoon have been behind several spectacular attacks in West Africa over the past several years, including the January 2013 suicide assault on the In Amenas gas facility in southeastern Algeria, and the May 2013 suicide assaults in Niger that targeted a military barracks and a uranium mine. Scores of people were killed in these attacks.

Belmokhtar and his unit are listed by the US as a specially designated global terrorist and a Foreign Terrorist Organization, respectively.

The Sahara branch of AQIM is led by Yahya Abu Hammam, who is listed by the US as a specially designated global terrorist for playing a “key role in the group’s ongoing terrorist activities in North Africa and Mali.”

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

The Global Jihad

3682902893By Olivier Guitta:

“Islamic extremism is a Middle East problem but it is quickly becoming the world’s problem too.  It is a transnational challenge, the most destabilizing and dangerous global force since fascism. For certain, the United States and the West have a big interest in this battle.  Now is the time to act.

Any action must begin with a clear plan for direct intervention against ISIS but must address the other dangerous extremist groups in the region.  It is also critical to tackle the support networks, the entire militant ideological and financial complex that is the lifeblood of extremism.”

Who uttered these words? President Obama, PM Cameron or President Hollande? Actually, none of them; it was the UAE Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba, speaking in September 2014.

From 2001 and a time when Al-Qaeda (AQ) was perceived as our main enemy, the jihadist movement has grown in strength and in numbers. The violent jihad groups we now face include the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, Ansar al Sharia, al Murabitun, Ansar al Dine and AQ itself, which has expanded significantly with franchises in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), East Asia, and now the new Indian franchise as well.

Nor is the threat limited to Sunni groups but includes Shia terror outfits such as Hezbollah that, under Iranian sponsorship, are still very much active on an international scale and will stop at nothing to strike terror against the West. Geographically, the threat has grown from an Afghanistan-centered one to one that spans the globe, with a jihadist presence on nearly every continent.

The Global Jihad should be viewed from two different, but related perspectives: first, the most obvious is the doctrinally-mandated conquest of physical territory in all theaters of war; second, and just as important, is the conquest of our societies from within by way of the civilizational jihad challenges that we face. Therefore, it’s not enough to merely look at terrorist groups, because the role of intellectuals, propaganda operatives, and recruiters is actually at the root of the problem. Jihad groups should be viewed and approached through that prism.

Fighting against the global jihad cannot be effective if focused only on the “armies” but must also confront the “brains” behind them: let’s not forget that inciting terrorism has a multiplying effect.

The Islamic State

Surging to power across national borders in 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has become a household name and supplanted al-Qaeda (AQ) as the vanguard of the global jihadist movement. ISIS announced in June 2014 the establishment of a new Caliphate in Syria and Iraq and changed its name to the “Islamic State (IS)” to signify its global ambitions, claim the allegiance of Muslims everywhere, and emphasize its non-recognition of Western-drawn political boundaries. It also seeks allegiance from jihadist group worldwide and rapidly is winning support from Muslim followers and recruits from over 80 countries around the world.

IS victories in Syria and its spectacular advances in Iraq from Mosul to the fringes of Baghdad, and even advancing to the Saudi and Jordanian borders, have made IS the new “kid on the block”. In mid-September 2014, its Chechen members threatened to march on Amman, Jordan’s capital, while Saudi’s military forces are on high alert for advances toward Mecca and Medina.

By calling itself the Islamic State with no mention of countries, IS leader al-Baghdadi is seeking to bring to his fold all groups that view al-Zawahiri’s brand as passé and see al-Baghdadi as the true inheritor of Osama Bin Laden’s global vision. This is why in the past months, thousands of jihadists around the world announced they were switching allegiances to the Islamic State. The Islamic State’s fighters are young, fluent on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and, unlike al-Qaeda, they are actually setting up the Caliphate and governing captured territory.

Read more at Center for Security Policy

Olivier Guitta is a security and geopolitical risk consultant to corporations and governments. He tweets@OlivierGuitta.

The Ideology Problem in Timbuktu Is Not al-Qaeda’s Making — It Is Classical Islam

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy:

Andrew’s post describing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Mali is essential, if excruciating, reading. Beyond the monstrously cruel but all too usual punishments being imposed, I’m struck by two things, which really show how willful blindness leads inexorably to spring fever: The Guardian attributes the atrocious penalties to the “menace of al-Qaida”; it also notes, however, that the “ban [on music] comes in the context of a horrifically literal and gratuitous application of Sharia law in all aspects of daily life.”

Much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, al Qaeda did not make up sharia law. Islam did. And in the West, it is a key tenet of due process that law is imposed literally — ambiguous laws violate the principle that people of ordinary intelligence must be on fair notice of what is prohibited. There’s nothing “gratuitous” about applying as it is written.

16044762We can keep our heads tucked snug in the sand, or we can recognize the source of the problem. As I detail in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, the literalist construction of sharia that al Qaeda’s local franchise is enforcing in Mali is “literal” because it comes from Islamic scripture, not from some purportedly “extremist” fabrication of Islam. Moreover, while it seems only militant jihadists proudly urge this construction in practice, it is enthusiastically endorsed in principle by two of the most influential institutions in the Islamic Middle East: al Azhar University and the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Don’t just take my word for it. Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law is not some al Qaeda pamphlet. It is a renowned explication of sharia’s reliance (1)provisions and their undeniable roots in Muslim scripture. In the English translation, before you get to chapter and verse, there are formal endorsements from the International Institute of Islamic Thought — a U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood think-tank begun in the early eighties (and to which American administrations of both parties have resorted as an exemplar of “moderation”) — and from the Islamic Research Academy at al Azhar University, the ancient seat of Sunni learning to which President Obama famously turned to co-sponsor his cloyingly deceptive 2009 speech on relations between Islam and the West (“We certify,” the famed scholars wrote, that the “translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community…. There is no objection to printing it and circulating it…. May Allah give you success in serving Sacred Knowledge and the religion.” There could be no more coveted stamp of scholarly approval in Islam.).

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Reliance is also endorsed by Islamic authorities in Jordan (leading influences on a largely Palestinian population that may well overthrow the pro-Western monarchy) and Syria (leading influences on the “rebels” on whose side interventionists — including both presidential candidates — would have us jump to abet the Muslim Brotherhood’s ongoing campaign to oust the minority Alawite Assad regime).

Here, as I summarize in Spring Fever – quoted verbatim and supported by citations — is what Reliance has to say about the arts:

It is forbidden to make pictures of “animate life,” for doing so “imitates the creative act of Allah Most High”; “Whoever makes a picture, Allah shall torture him with it on the Day of Judgment until he can breathe life into it, and he will never be able to.” (Reliance w50.0 & ff.)

“Musical instruments of all types are unlawful.” Singing is generally prohibited (for “song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage), and “[o]n the Day of Resurrection Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.” However, if unaccompanied by musical instruments, song and poetry drawn from Islamic scripture and encouraging obedience to Allah are permissible. Ironically, although music is generally forbidden, dancing is permissible “unless it is languid, like the movements of the effeminate.” (Reliance r40.0 &ff.)

Those sharia provisions are complemented by these — again, endorsed by al-Azhar, the Muslim Brotherhood, and our “moderate” “allies” in the region:

Apostasy from Islam is “the ugliest form of unbelief” for which the penalty is death (“When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed”). (Reliance o8.0 & ff.)

Apostasy occurs not only when a Muslim renounces Islam but also, among other things, when a Muslim appears to worship an idol, when he is heard “to speak words that imply unbelief,” when he makes statements that appear to deny or revile Allah or the prophet Mohammed, when he is heard “to deny the obligatory character of something which by consensus of Muslims is part of Islam,” and when he is heard “to be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law.” (Reliance o8.7; see also p9.0 & ff.)

[Note: These latter prohibitions against denying or reviling any aspect of Islam, Allah or the prophet are the basis for imposing death for blasphemy. The call to kill apostates for such offenses obviously applies with equal or greater force to non-Muslims, who are pervasively treated worse than Muslims by sharia (see, e.g., Sura 9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden which had been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the people of the book [i.e., Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya [the poll tax imposed on non-believers for the privilege of living in the Islamic state] and feel themselves subdued.”)]

“Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.” (Reliance o9.0.)

It is an annual requirement to donate a portion of one’s income to the betterment of the ummah (an obligation called zakat, which is usually, and inaccurately, translated as “charity” –zakat can only be given to Muslims and is designed strictly to fortify the Muslim community, not benefit the less fortunate generally); of this annual donation, one-eighth must be given to “those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster…. They are given enough to suffice them for the operation even if they are affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing and expenses.” (Reliance, h8.1-17.)

Non-Muslims are permitted to live in an Islamic state only if they follow the rules of Islam, pay the non-Muslim poll tax, and comply with various adhesive conditions designed to remind them that they have been subdued, such as wearing distinctive clothing, keeping to one side of the street, not being greeted with “Peace be with you” (“as-Salamu alaykum”), not being permitted to build as high as or higher than Muslims, and being forbidden to build new churches, recite prayers aloud, “or make public displays of their funerals or feast-days.” (Reliance o11.0 & ff.)

Offenses committed against Muslims, including murder, are more serious than offenses committed against non-Muslims. (Reliance o1.0 & ff; p2.0-1.)

The penalty for spying against Muslims is death. (Reliancep50.0 & ff; p.74.0& ff.)

The penalty for fornication is to be stoned to death, unless one is without the “capacity to remain chaste,” in which case the penalty is “being scourged one hundred stripes and banished to a distance of at least 81 km./50mi. for one year.” (Relianceo12.0 & ff.)

The penalty for homosexual activity (“sodomy and lesbianism”) is death. (Reliance p17.0 & ff.)

A Muslim woman may only marry a Muslim man; a Muslim man may marry up to four women, who may be Muslim, Christian, or Jewish (but no apostates from Islam). (Reliance m6.0 & ff. – Marriage.)

A woman is required to be obedient to her husband and is prohibited from leaving the marital home without permission; if permitted to go out, she must conceal her figure or alter it “to a form unlikely to draw looks from men or attract them.” (Reliancep42.0 & ff.)

A non-Muslim may not be awarded custody of a Muslim child. (Reliance m13.2-3.)

A woman has no right of custody of her child from a previous marriage when she remarries “because married life will occupy her with fulfilling the rights of her husband and prevent her from tending to the child.” (Reliance m13.4.)

The penalty for theft is amputation of the right hand. (Relianceo14.0.)

The penalty for drinking alcohol is “to be scourged forty stripes.” (Reliance o16.3; p.14.2.)

The penalty for accepting interest (“usurious gain”) is death (i.e., to be considered in a state of war against Allah). (Reliancep7.0 & ff.)

The testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. (Relianceo24.7.)

If a case involves an allegation of fornication (including rape), “then it requires four male witnesses.” (Reliance o24.9.)

The establishment of a caliphate is obligatory, and the caliph must be Muslim and male. “The Prophet … said, “Men are already destroyed when they obey women.” (Reliance o25.0 & ff; see also p28.0, on Mohammed’s condemnation of “masculine women and effeminate men.”)

This is not al Qaeda doctrine. This is sharia, authoritatively explained and endorsed. It is not the construction of Islam that many Muslims in the West wish to live under. But it is the mainstream supremacist Islam of the Middle East, which Islamic leaders — including those who come to the West to preach it — would not dream of discrediting, even if they are not as enthusiastic as al Qaeda where imposing it is concerned.

The State Department and the leading foreign policy voices of both major American political parties say sharia is perfectly compatible with “democracy” and the Western conception of human rights — of liberty and equality. Sure it is. And then you wonder why the Obama administration opens a consulate in Benghazi, one of the most perilous places in the world for Americans, refuses to safeguard it despite multiple pleas for beefed up security, and then fraudulently claims a pluperfectly predictable atrocity was caused by a video no one ever saw. If you’re going to live in a dreamworld, better get used to nightmare consequences.

Failing to Know Our Enemies

pic_giant_121913_SM_Failing-to-Know-Our-EnemeisBy Clifford D. May:

Less than a generation after World War II, in the midst of a cold war whose outcome was far from certain, John F. Kennedy famously proclaimed that Americans would “support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” More than half a century later, in an era fraught with conflict and tension, it may be time to ask: Is that still our credo?

In particular, are Americans still committed to liberty — a word that has come to sound old-fangled? Can our friends still rely upon our support — even when the going gets tough? Do foes still have reason to fear us — or have we become too war-weary to effectively oppose them? And those nations that profess friendship but seek to ingratiate themselves with our foes — what are we to do about them?

These questions, I suspect, will require a great deal more study, thought, and debate before they can be adequately answered. But 34 years after the Iranian Revolution, and twelve years after the attacks of 9/11, we at least should know our enemies. And we should have settled on a strategy aimed at defeating them. But we don’t. And we haven’t.

Many of us turn away from an uncomfortable truth: The ideologies most hostile to America and the West have arisen in what we have come to call the Muslim world. These ideologies are not just intolerant but supremacist — which is why, within the Muslim world, religious minorities face increasing oppression and, in many cases, “religious cleansing,” a trend Western governments, the U.N., and most of the media avoid discussing.

Most Muslims do not embrace these ideologies. But for a host of reasons — fear undoubtedly high among them — neither are most Muslims battling them or even denouncing them publicly and without equivocation.

There is this positive development: In the media, resistance to calling a spade a spade is, finally, breaking down. Take, for example, this recent New York Times headline: “Mali: French Troops Battle Islamists.” That’s accurate: The French have not intervened in Africa to battle “violent extremists.”

Read more at National Review

“Zimmerica…”

!cid_part2_02060003_08020209@earthlinkFacebook post by Walid Phares:

Egypt… Ikhwan invasion
Libya… Ansar in Benghazi
Tunisia..Nahda regime
Mali .. France battles Ansar el Dine
Gaza … Hamas gets weapons
Lebanon..Hezbollah prepares for Israel
Syria… 100,000 killed
Turkey AKP occupy Taqseem
Iran … Nuclear Bomb on its way
Nigeria..Churches burning
Britain .. Soldiers killed in neighborhood

United States…Zimmerman…

 

Egyptian Salafi Cleric Murgan Salem: Boston Bombing Was Meant To Deliver A Message; Similar Attacks Expected In France

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MEMRI:

Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian Salafi cleric Sheikh Murgan Salem, which aired on Tahrir TV on April 16, 2013:

Interviewer: “Today, we will be talking about the Boston bombings, which took place yesterday, during the marathon. There were casualties. People were wounded and killed. What is your analysis of what happened?”

Murgan Salem: “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Obviously, I do not know who carried out that operation, but if it was done by the mujahideen, it serves as a message to America and the West: We are still alive. Contrary to what you say, we have not died. The [Americans] wanted to send a message to the entire world that they had finished off the mujahideen – not just the mujahideen of Al-Qaeda, but the mujahideen all over the world. I do not know who carried out this attack, but if it was indeed the mujahideen, it was meant as a clear message to America and to the West.”

Interviewer: “But do you think that this could have been an Al-Qaeda operation?”

Murgan Salem: “No. this was not up to the standards of Al-Qeda. It was extremely amateurish. The standards of Al-Qaeda are much higher. By the way, I was not a member of the Al-Qaeda organization. But I knew all the people who belonged to it.”

Interviewer: “You were close to Sheik Osama and Dr. Ayman…”

Murgan Salem: “We were like one family. I am happy and proud to have been a friend of these brothers, but I cannot claim to have had the honor of being an Al-Qaeda member. The standards and techniques of Al-Qaeda are much higher. From what I saw on the news, this was the work of amateurs. I do not know who did it, but they have managed to get the message across: We can reach you whenever and wherever we want.

[…]

“Over the past 30 years, there has been a qualitative leap in the war with America. American is waging a war in our countries, and we are the ones who reap its fruits. Those courageous heroes have shifted the battle over to America’s own turf.

“I do not rule out the possibility that this was carried out by people born in the U.S. I do exclude the possibility that it was done by the Al-Qaeda organization. This is not the work of Osama Bin Laden or Ayman Al-Zawahiri. I think it was done by people resentful of the policy and arrogance of America and Europe. It is not just America.

“The Americans have passed their arrogance over to France. France, which led the first Crusade, is now leading the war against Islam and the Muslims. They must taste the bitter retribution for their deeds. This is not a threat, but a warning of what might happen to them.”

Interviewer: “To America and the West?”

Murgan Salem: “To France in particular, and to America and the entire West.”

Interviewer: “Why?”

Murgan Salem: “Because the [French] are leading the war against us. What brought France to Mali? Or America to Afghanistan and Iraq? Why don’t they let our nation be? Have we ever interfered in their affairs?

[…]

“France has accepted the banner of arrogance and enmity to Islam, so it will taste what it deserves. I cannot be held responsible for over one million [Muslims] in the West, who were harmed by French and American policy. More than one million [Muslims] were born in the West. I cannot be held responsible for them. I do not know what they may do. The [Westerners] are facing a deluge, and they will be destroyed.”

Interviewer: “Destroyed?”

Murgan Salem: “There is no doubt about it. The U.S. has completely collapsed, even if they are not hurrying to admit it. The American debt has reached how many trillions of dollars? They have a huge debt. Now poverty is spreading throughout America.

[…]

“We say to the Western peoples: Force your stupid governments to refrain from supporting the tyrants. France’s intervention in Mali will not go unanswered. I don’t think it will. I do not have any specific information, but I am sure it will not go unanswered – just like their intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan did not go unanswered. They will suffer catastrophes for this.

[…]

“With the utmost stupidity, France has accepted the banner of enmity [to Islam] – from the days of Sarkozy to Hollande. This stupidity will bring catastrophes upon them, just like it did upon America. Although I am not from Al-Qaeda, I can say, as someone who has known these people, that the path of Al-Qaeda is the path of the Koran, which calls upon [Muslims] to wage Jihad against infidels who attack them and intervene in their affairs. This is the path of Islam and the Koran, and not something invented by Osama Bin Laden.

“No, it was not invented by Osama or Ayman. It was sent down by Allah, and anyone who thinks he can defeat this path is delusional.”

[…]

Interviewer: “Who do you consider to be an infidel?”

Murgan Salem: “Anyone who does not accept Islam. They are either original infidels, like the Jews and Christians, or apostates, like the secularists, liberals, Communists, or socialists. Whoever does not accept Islam is an infidel. Allah said so, not me.”

Also see: