Al-Qaeda Central Command Calls Muslims In Europe, Worldwide To Avenge Quran Burnings: Destroy Swedish, Danish Embassies; Target Their Monarchs, Officials, Army; Form Cells To Behead Quran Burners

August 14, 2023

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On August 13, 2023, Al-Sahab, the official media outlet of Al-Qaeda's Central Command, released a three-page statement regarding recent Quran-burnings in Europe.[1] Titled "A Statement Regarding the Assaults on the Quran and Duty of Fighting the Aggressors," the announcement calls on Muslims to carry out violent acts in Europe, including killing the perpetrators of Quran-burnings, torching and bombing Swedish and Danish Embassies all over the world, and targeting those countries' monarchs and diplomats.

The Quran has been desecrated in several successive demonstrations in Sweden and Denmark since late June 2023, which provoked global condemnation.

Burning The Quran Provokes All Muslims, Demonstrates "Crusader" Hatred Of Islam

The statement opens by condemning recent attacks on the Quran in Europe, ascribing them to "the enormity of the deep-rooted crusader hatred and loathing to the holiest of Muslim sanctities." This hatred stems from resentment for "the great victories achieved by the Quran, in its invasion of the Crusader countries of Europe... It has robbed them of their sons, and introduced them to the religion of Allah en masse."

It continues: "Dear ummah [Islamic nation], the attack on Islamic sanctities is an attack on all Muslims, who make up two billion people, a quarter of the earth's population." According to Al-Qaeda, burning the Quran is "among the most important Crusader practices performed against Muslims on a daily basis" and was one of the forms of torture which the Americans used in prisons such as Guantanamo Bay, Bagram in Afghanistan, and Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

According to the statement, Quran burnings are a "Zionist-Crusader" response to the victories of Islam: "After Islam has achieved victories over Crusaders in many places, the Zionist-Crusader decision makers felt the burden of the defeats inflicted on them... The attack on Islamic shrines has become a weapon they practice, believing that it would rob [Muslims] of [their] religious zeal and enthusiasm, torture the Islamic nation, and hurt its feelings."

Call For Revenge

In response, Al-Qaeda threatens: "We will take revenge that has no equal for the book of our Lord and our other sanctities. The youth of Islam will not be silent like the grave in the face of the criminal aggression against the sanctity of the noble Quran."

The statement maintains that Muslims' response must exceed mere condemnations and demonstrations: "We are facing today a test which is one of the most difficult tests to our worldly existence and religion .. The whole ummah is required to support the book of its Lord [...]" what is called for is "defense exceeding mere condemnations and demonstrations," as such actions have not deterred the "crusaders" from attacking the Quran.

"Sweden and Denmark are two abominable little countries, not more than two little dots on the world map," the statement continued, saying their population does not equal one percent of the number of Muslims in the world. Therefore, it said, Muslims' silence in face of these countries' insults to their religion is a disgrace to the entire ummah. The statement criticizes the worshippers at a Swedish mosque who took no action when the Quran was burned in front of the place of worship. It similarly calls for action against Saudi Arabia, which is the site of the Islamic holy city of Mecca, asking: "How can Muslims be satisfied when they turn to their occupied qiblah [the Islamic direction of prayer] in their prayer every day, without doing sincere jihad for Allah to liberate it from the collaborators of the Zionist occupiers?"

All Muslims Must Take Action By Killing Quran Burners, Attacking Swedish And Danish Embassies, Diplomats, Monarchs

In the next paragraph, the statement declares that every Muslim has a personal duty to punish the attackers: "[These attacks] obligate every Muslim to strive to severely punish the perpetrators, and every person who assisted or participated in the their execution ... because these are deliberate repeated attacks that receive constitutional protection and media coverage... as long as this is the situation, the truth is that every Muslim is obligated by a personal duty to mobilize all efforts to fight and punish these attackers."

Regarding the appropriate punishment, the statement details: "The Islamic response must be compatible with the severity of the crime... beginning with killing every person who participated in these ongoing attacks, burning and blowing up Swedish and Danish embassies all over the world, and harming their diplomats."

The statement emphasizes that Al-Qaeda appreciates the condemnations issued by various parties in the Muslim world, mentioning Egypt's Al-Azhar university as one of the condemners.

It continues: "We are facing today an enemy in preparation for battle," asserting that those supporting the burnings of the Quran are "the leaders of the Crusader campaign, with their militaries, equipment, governments, and peoples." Calling for attacks on the Swedish and Danish monarchs, it adds: "Foremost among them are the kings [sic] of Sweden and Denmark, who swagger in the lines, carrying on their heads a large cross, facing more than two billion Muslims, without a single knight among us going forth to fight them."

Muslims In The West Should Form Cells To Attack Insulters Of Islam, Follow Example Of Charlie Hebdo Attackers, Killer Of Theo Van Gogh

Calling on Muslims, particularly those in the West, to a "general mobilization" and to perpetrate jihadi operations with the slogan "Support for the Quran," the statement adds: "We call on the impassioned youth of our ummah to begin forming three-person cells, to work on disciplining every person who dared to harm our Islamic sanctities."

The statement continues: "It seems that Europe has yet to understand our message in Charlie Hebdo correctly," – alluding to the 2015 shooting in the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper, which was perpetrated by brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi in retaliation for the paper's publication of cartoons insulting the Prophet Muhammad – "and it seems that it has never been punished in the required and deterrent manner. Let the heroes of Islam fight those haters. Cut off the heads of those who went out to fight them, and make them taste from the same cup from which the Kouachi brothers made them taste in Charlie Hebdo." It also praises as a role model the "lion of Islam," Mohammed Bouyeri, who is serving a life sentence in the Netherlands for murdering Dutch film director Theo van Gogh, and asks Allah to release him soon from captivity.

Call For Muslim Boycott Of Countries Involved In Quran Burning

In a short paragraph, the statement calls on Muslims to conduct an economic boycott against those who defiled the Quran, calling that a "battle without bloodshed or difficulty" and a "silent killing" of the perpetrators.

Call For Mujahideen To Claim Attacks In Defense Of The Quran

The statement adds that Muslim should not rely on responses by the governments of Muslim-majority countries: "As to relying on cold responses by governments of our Islamic countries... besides them being a proof of their weakness and despicableness, they encourage [our] enemies to continue harming our sanctities."

Concluding, it said: "O protectors of Islam in Sweden and Denmark... Know that the reward of your Lord is according to the dimensions of your sacrifice. We send a special call to all to the heroes of Islam wherever they are, the mujahideen of the nation on all fronts, and especially the mujahideen of Al-Qaeda, to make the 'battle of the Quran' their main occupation and purpose."

Al-Qaeda's Central Command expresses hope that such attacks will "bring healing to the hearts of the Muslims and bring joy to millions of believers."

Since the June 28 burning of the Quran in Stockholm, several jihadi organizations, including the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda affiliates Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabab) have released statements condemning the insults to Islam and called for violent attacks in response.[2]

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