“Jihad is now a duty!”
by Florian Flade
German Salafists now have a favorite issue: Syria. They collect donations, curse the dictator Assad as an “enemy of Allah”. The security forces are alarmed: Syria could become a new travel destination for jihadists.
The bloodbath in Syria seems to have no end. President Bashar al Assad has allegedly committed a number of massacres against the civil population. The pictures and accounts from eyewitnesses about executions of women and children spread around the globe and cause horror. While the international community increases the political pressure on the Syrian regime, German Islamists see the arrival of the time for “holy war” against the dictator Assad. Radical preachers call for jihad through video messages.
The German security forces are alarmed. They are afraid that Islamists from the Federal Republic could see the conflict in Syria as an occasion to take part in the fight against the Assad regime. According to security reports, radical Islamists have still not been registered leaving for Syria. But this could change soon. “Syria could turn into a destination for jihadists from abroad,” the investigator said to the newspaper Die Welt. “The country could possibly turn into an attractive destination for German Islamists in order to engage in armed jihad.”
In recent years German Islamists traveled in successive waves to Iraq, to the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan (Waziristan), and to Somalia in order to undergo training in terrorist camps. Up to that point Syria was not an attractive destination for belligerent extremists. Since the country descended into a bloody uprising of the opposition against the dictator from Damascus, Syria has turned into a hotbed for Islamic fighters. Meanwhile there’s a growing number of reports about jihadists from Iraq, the Gulf States, North Africa and Pakistan, which join the groups of fighters from the opposition.
At the same time, in addition to calls from the German Salafist circles to support their Syrian brothers-in-faith with donations and other material help, German security forces also register straightforward calls for jihad. Just as in 1990 and subsequent years in Bosnia, now they are recruiting Islamist volunteers for jihad. The Austrian Islamist Mohammed M. a.k.a. “Abu Usama al-Gharib”, for example, in a recent sermon unashamedly called his followers to an armed struggle against Assad.
“Jihad is now a duty!” says M. in his sermon, which Welt Online made available, “Whoever can go to Syria to wage jihad, he is under obligation to do it! […] If you have no money, get some! If you know no path, become informed! Move with your brothers and sisters and fight for these oppressed ones. Let’s fight for them!” According to the Islamist M., whoever wants to go to Jihad in Syria, needs neither the permission of his parents nor the legal opinion of an Islamic scholar. And he also says: “It’s a duty for everyone, just like prayer!”
M. left Germany in May after the interior ministry of Hesse announced that it would deport the preacher after his calls for jihad. M. lives now with his German wife in Egypt, from where he continues to distribute audio and video sermons, which he specifically addresses to his followers in Germany and Austria.
Besides Mohamed M., this weekend the ex-rapper Denis C. (ex Deso Dogg) from Berlin, according to information in Welt Online, made public an Islamic war song, or Nasheed, in which he calls on for Jihad in Syria. “Where do we want to go? Where do we have to go? We want to go to Jihad on the path of Allah!” C. sings in the music video, which was made public on the internet. According to C., Assad, the ruler of Syria, must be annihilated, and the Syrian people must be liberated.
Meanwhile, Salafist circles have organized a new help campaign in order to collect donations to provide relief for Syria — without calling for jihad. The project “An-Nusrah” proposes to deliver humanitarian aid for Syria. Up until now more than €21,000 have supposedly been collected.