A video by a supposed reformed-Jihadi encouraging Muslims not to join ISIS has been circulating on YouTube.
Abu Muntasir, described as a ‘founding father of Western Jihad’, who ‘opened the door to ISIS by recruiting thousands of Muslims to take up Jihad. He now claims to be a reformed Imam. Still at large, still preaching.
Superficially, the idea of Muslims speaking out against terrorism appears to be helpful and generally should be welcomed. People like Maajid Nawaz have been, and are crucial to, the anti-Jihadist cause.
Yet, the narrative of this four minute video (which often appears as one of YouTube’s sponsored ads) gives credence to Islamist myths and ends up being an act of proselytisation.
Just 10 seconds in, Muntasir gives the standard obscurantist line that “the ethos of Islam is one of modesty and humility”. One look at the religion’s boastful prophet shows this statement to be misleading at best.
After 20 seconds, Muntasir attempts to contextualise his reasons for taking up Jihad by saying; “It didn’t take long to understand the suffering of the Muslim people in Afghanistan”. Putting aside debates over the righteousness of the Afghan war, we already see an attempt to justify his actions by setting Western foreign policy as a pretext for his radicalisation. Effectively, it was someone else’s fault – our fault. Nothing to do with Islam, of course.
Muntasir only became angered when Muslims were suffering at the hands of Non-Muslims. Saudi or Iranian oppression of fellow Muslims? No problem for Muntasir. No need to go there and fight the oppressors. No need to mention it. Instead, he went to join the Islamist oppressors and also act as a recruiter.
In the video Muntasir perpetuates the Islamist myth of Muslim victimhood – without a thought of Islamic violence against the Infidel across the world.
At no point does Muntasir attempt to say his anger was misplaced either. He leaves the viewer with the impression that his anger at the West still exists – which doesn’t strike me as an ideal way to convince a potential terrorist that their cause is unjustified.
His forked-tongued rationale for turning his back on Jihad confirms this.
He only realised he was doing wrong when it become clear to him that he was engaged in “In-fighting” with other Islamist factions. He complains: “It was essentially Muslims killing Muslims”.
What are we to take from that?
Call me cynical, but it seems to me that if there had have been a combined Islamist offensive against Western forces – or more crudely, if it had have been Muslims killing Infidels (British) – he might have felt his actions to be justified.
Don’t join these organisations because they aren’t killing the right people. Is that his message to would-be terrorists?
Then he goes on to give the standard rubbish about ISIS. He “condemns” them by saying, “Nowhere in the Koran and Sunnah do you find examples of the barbarity, the cruelty and the violence that is being perpetrated by ISIS justified”.
Now, at this point, he either doesn’t know what he’s talking about – which, I find hard to believe from someone who went to fight for the “glory of Allah” – or, he’s outright lying.
And here’s where he loses the full point of the video. Any Islamist worth their salt would simply point to the numerous verses where the Koran does justify barbarous violence. A verse like (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”
Or this little beauty (8:12) – “(Remember) when your Lord inspired the angels… “I will cast ***terror*** into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”.
ISIS do this all the time, it’s their thing – they use scripture to justify their actions. Muntasir knows this.
He then gives some apologist version of Jihad and says; “It is not Jihad to increase the suffering of other Muslims“. Square that with the above verses and his aforementioned rationale for quitting Jihad.
The video descends into a tearful propagation of Islam, by saying Jihadists “undermine the noble teachings of the prophet”. Yes, the same prophet who revealed the above-mentioned verses and who ruthlessly acted upon them – we don’t need to go into detail here.
He finishes ironically by praising the intellect of the Islamist. Ironic because he spent a four minute video insulting everyone’s intellect. His tactic is essentially to pretend these endorsements to barbaric violence don’t exist, and then hope that budding terrorists don’t ever notice them – as if it’s possible they haven’t already.
Arguably this sob story will do more to convince Islamists. When they come across the ‘noble’ verses coupled with his tears over oppressed Muslims and anti-western sentiment, they’ll probably be inspired to fight.
Should we should praise his courage for coming forward and telling us about his terrorist activities, while he completely lies about the contents of scripture and absolves it of any blame whatsoever? Yet this is seen as a legitimate attempt to tackle Islamists.
It’s more of a slap in the face, to be honest.
We can only defeat this menace when we stop lying to ourselves about where it comes from. After we accept that it comes from scripture and the example of the prophet, we counter it with a robust defence of Western values.
If people like Muntasir are the answer, then we may already be lost.