Al-Qaeda Publishes New Call For Killing Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa, Previously Threatened By ISIS Supporters, Qatari Sociologist Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Khazraj Al-Ansari — Clips Of Eissa’s Calls For Reform From The MEMRI TV Archives

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July 22, 2022

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. 

On July 16, 2022, As-Sahab, Al-Qaeda's official media outlet, published a 16-page essay by a cleric known as Abu Awwab Al-Hasani.[1] The first instalment in a series titled "Restraining the Vile People of the Media," the essay is titled "Loyalty and Defense of 'Allah's Drawn Sword,' Abu Sulayman Khalid bin Al-Walid, From the Slander of the Fool of the Alhurra Channel, Ibrahim Eissa."

This is not the first death threat made against Eissa, who is a longtime critic of the Muslim Brotherhood and of Islamist and jihadi views. Earlier this year, on March 1, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet released a poster calling on Egyptian Muslims to behead Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Eissa, describing him as an "atheist heretic" who has "harmed Allah and the Prophet."[2] He has received numerous death threats, not only by Salafi-jihadis such as supporters of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, but also by Islamists such as Qatari sociologist Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Khazraj Al-Ansari.[3]

The Al-Qaeda piece is a reaction to a February 2022 episode of the weekly show Debatable, hosted by Egyptian TV personality Eissa on the U.S. government-funded Alhurra satellite network, and titled "Khalid Bin Al-Walid: Commander or Murderer?"[4] In this episode, Eissa, a harsh critic of fundamentalist Islam, questions the veneration by modern Muslims of Khalid bin Al-Walid, one of the Prophet Muhammad's most prominent generals who spearheaded many of the early Islamic conquests.


The pro-ISIS poster calling for the killing of Ibrahim Eissa, March 1, 2022

The following report describes the July 16 essay published by Al-Qaeda's official media outlet, which included a call to kill Eissa and a response to his criticism of Khalid bin Al-Walid, as well as 11 clips of Ibrahim Eissa's calls for reform, published by MEMRI TV since 2015.

Al-Qaeda Essay Responds To Accusations Against Khalid Bin Al-Walid By Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa, Calls For His Killing

The essay published by As-Sahab, Al-Qaeda's official media outlet, authored by a cleric known as Abu Awwab Al-Hasani, was titled "Loyalty and Defense of 'Allah's Drawn Sword,' Abu Sulayman Khalid bin Al-Walid, From the Slander of the Fool of the Alhurra Channel, Ibrahim Eissa." The piece is a reaction to a February 2022 episode of the weekly show Debatable, hosted by Egyptian TV personality Eissa on the U.S. government-funded Alhurra satellite network, in which he questions the veneration by modern Muslims of Khalid bin Al-Walid, one of the Prophet Muhammad's most prominent generals who spearheaded many of the early Islamic conquests.

The As-Sahab essay defends Khalid bin Al-Walid against Eissa's accusations, praising him as one of Muhammad's greatest Companions and being among the greatest Muslims to ever live, while accusing Eissa and Alhurra of being part of a U.S. conspiracy against Islam and calling for the TV presenter's killing.

Anti-Islamic Media Seeks To Discredit Islamic Heroes Like Khalid To Prevent Their Removal By Jihadis

Noting that "the freethinking media personalities" and "liars of modern atheism" are not the first to slander the "iconic figures of our Islamic ummah [nation]," the Al-Qaeda essay accuses "the sinful liar Ibrahim Eissa" of being the most recent to "ridicule" Islamic heroes with his episode denouncing Khalid bin Al-Walid. Al-Hasani praises the commander for having "dragged nations into the bliss of Paradise with chains and brought the sweetness of faith into hearts by force and willingly" with his conquests of Iraq and the Levant, declaring that "two billion Muslims, who experience the joy of Islam thanks to his conquests, efforts, and jihad" owe him a debt that can only be repaid by praying for him and defending his honor against "the freethinkers, heretics, and atheists" who insult him in the media. Al-Hasani notes that the Prophet Muhammad himself is said to have acclaimed Khalid as "one of Allah's swords drawn against the unbelievers and hypocrites."

One of the marks of the "cold apostasy" prevalent today, according to the pro-Al-Qaeda cleric, is the efforts of the "insolent media" to "cast doubt on the fundamentals of Islam" and to spread heresy, atheism, and depravity among Muslims. This "cold apostasy" can be dispelled by "the heat of a drawn jihadi sword" like the one brandished by Khalid, and the media's attempts to minimize his stature and prevent him from being seen as a hero by modern Muslims are motivated by fear that they will be inspired to jihadism.

Al-Hasani notes that Eissa and his guests on the program questioned the sincerity of Khalid's conversion to Islam, going so far as to "make takfir" on him by declaring him a non-Muslim who only feigned Islam to retain his "political and military privileges" following Muhammad's growing success. Noting that the Alhurra presenter also accused Khalid of "war crimes," Al-Hasani sarcastically writes that Eissa believes the commander should be "tried in absentia in the Hague" for his "gross violations of human rights."

Khalid Was An Islamic Hero, Eissa's Accusations Against Him Motivated By Hatred Of Islam

The essay defends Khalid against these accusations, describing him as "one of the glorious leaders of jihad and seekers of martyrdom." Quoting from hadiths and early Islamic literature, Al-Hasani writes that Khalid was so preoccupied with the progression of Muslim jihad and conquests that he suffered severe insomnia and almost lost his mind. Upon hearing of his victories, the Caliph Abu Bakr exclaimed: "Have the women become barren from giving birth to someone like Khalid?!" The man who washed Khalid's corpse reported that his body was completely covered with scars of wounds from swords, spears, and arrows.

Claiming that Khalid's strong faith was responsible for his victories and noting that according to Islamic tradition, Khalid never lost a battle and killed more unbelievers than any of Muhammad's other Companions, Al-Hasani writes that only "enmity to Allah's religion and His Messenger's Sunnah" could bring Eissa and his guests to describe the Islamic conquests as a "barbaric occupation."

Acknowledging that Khalid once mistakenly killed a group of potential converts after thinking they had declared their apostasy from Islam, Al-Hasani insists that the commander "was not a deviant, criminal, terrorist, or a bloody savage who loved shedding blood," noting that although Muhammad criticized Khalid for his haste, he did not dismiss him from his position and continued to assign him missions. The cleric further defends Khalid for his admitted lack of familiarity with the Quran, quoting 14th-century Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyah, who wrote that Khalid bin Al-Walid was "Allah's drawn sword," and a sword's function is warfare. Al-Hasani insists that Khalid was distinguished by his zeal for Islam and military prowess despite having been late to embrace Islam and lacking religious knowledge and asceticism, and should therefore not be considered "merely an ignorant military personage."

The essay further criticizes Eissa for condemning Khalid's role in the Wars of Apostasy, in which Khalid vanquished Arab tribes which rebelled against Abu Bakr. In response to Eissa's claim that the tribes had not apostatized from Islam but merely rejected Abu Bakr's authority, "according to the principles of democracy," while noting that the consensus of early Muslims was that the tribes had abandoned Islam, Al-Hasani accuses Eissa of "anger, resentment, and hatred" of Khalid for returning his ancestors to Islam.

In Al-Hasani's view, the "most vile accusation" Eissa makes against Khalid is that he murdered one of his fellow Companions and raped his wife. Al-Hasani charges Eissa with cherry-picking only the unreliable traditions that serve his aim of defaming the commander, explaining that the man in question had apostatized from Islam, making it legitimate to kill him and take his wife as a slave.

The essay takes issue with Eissa's further claims that Khalid was "the founder of the sect of the Kharijites and the creator of the Daesh [a pejorative term for the Islamic State] riffraff," and that he was responsible for the defeat of the Muslim army at the Battle of Uhud and the death of Muhammad's uncle, Hamzah bin 'Abd Al-Muttallib, calling these claims "unjust, barren defamations that do not convince anyone with a bit of understanding and minimal investigation of history and politics." Eissa additionally claims that Khalid is not a "symbol of bravery and Islamic conquests"; compares his slaughter of apostates and Christians to "the Daesh riffraff's actions against Muslims who wage jihad for the sake of Allah"; and asserts that Caliph 'Umar dismissed Khalid to die a broken man. Al-Hasani rejects these accusations as "reports fabricated in the factories of lies and houses of falsehood (the Alhurra channel)," insisting that 'Umar dismissed Khalid from heading the Muslim army but allowed him to continue waging jihad, out of fear that the troops would ascribe their victories to his leadership, rather than to Allah. Al-Hasani quotes reports from Islamic tradition according to which 'Umar regretted dismissing Khalid and even said that he would have made him his successor had he outlived him.

Eissa wraps up the episode by encouraging viewers to emulate famous Islamic philosophers, scientists, and historians, but not Khalid and his ilk: "Be Ibn Sina, Ibn Al-Haytham, or Ibn Khaldun if you like, but do not be like Khalid bin Al-Walid." Al-Hasani writes that by accusing Khalid of the cardinal sins of murder and fornication, Eissa has condemned the Prophet Muhammad, who appointed Khalid to lead the Muslim army; Abu Bakr and 'Umar, who turned a blind eye to his alleged crimes; and the entire Islamic ummah, which did not insist on punishing Khalid for his actions. Al-Hasani adds that accepting the conclusions of the episode makes it impossible for Muslims to trust their Prophet.

Alhurra Is An American Channel Created To Combat Islam

Al-Hasani notes that Alhurra is an American television channel which "represents Washington's voice directed to the Arab world" and was created in 2004 – shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq – as part of America's "war on Islam and its principles." According to the essay, the content of the channel's talk shows is intended to "wage war on Islamic ideology, understanding, men, creed, and movements," and those with "concealed resentment and hidden grudges against Islam and its defenders" were chosen to host its programs. Such people, according to Al-Hasani, naturally hate Khalid and others like him, because they feel an affinity to the non-Muslims whom he fought. Al-Hasani adds that people such as Eissa view Khalid as a "criminal murderer" for his wars against the enemies of Islam, while "every Muslim born on land conquered by the venerated Companion" sees him as a "great symbol of strength, valor, conquests, courage, and firmness" for working to spread Islam.

Describing Khalid as a symbol of obedience, discipline, and professionalism for accepting his dismissal and public humiliation by 'Umar and continuing to wage jihad as a common soldier for the next four years, Al-Hasani writes: "O Allah, You are our witness that we love Khalid and draw close to You by loving him and defending him."

Call For Written Responses To Media Attacks On Islam And Killing of Eissa

The pro-Al-Qaeda cleric concludes his essay with the hope that additional scholars and preachers will take up the task of responding to programs such as Eissa's, which were created "to spread atheism, heresy, licentiousness, and vice in the entire world." He "calls their pens to arms" to defend Islam and urges his fellow Muslims and jihadis to defend Islam against such attacks in writing, noting that Islamic institutions such as Egypt's Al-Azhar and Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Scholars and Muslim World League have refrained from speaking out against this "blatant attack on God and Muhammad" and from "protecting people's religion and minds from the streaming torrent of specious claims." Describing efforts to defend Islam by writing refutations of accusations against the religion and its seminal figures as a form of jihad, Al-Hasani explains that such an action can help "restrain the vile people of the media" and combat the "war on Islam in the media arena."

The final page of the essay contains a cartoon showing an outline of Eissa with a bullet striking his chest, accompanied by the caption: "Who will go after this filthy one for me?"

It should be noted that Eissa has long been known for his controversial positions and outspoken condemnation of political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Salafism.[4] He has received numerous death threats, not only by Salafi-jihadis such as supporters of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, but also by Islamists such as Qatari sociologist Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Khazraj Al-Ansari.[5]

MEMRI TV Clips Of Egyptian Journalist Ibrahim Eissa

Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa: Liberal European Journalists, Politicians Accept The Muslim Brotherhood And Accuse Its Critics Of Islamophobia; Liberal Logic Ignores The Fact That They Are Murderers — The World Has Gone Crazy!, March 22, 2022

Egyptian TV host Ibrahim Eissa said in a June 3, 2022 show on Al-Kahera Wal-Nas TV (Egypt) that the Muslim Brotherhood controls all the groups in Europe that represent Muslims and that as a result, liberal journalists and politicians in the West believe that this is what Islam is and accept Islamic extremism because they want to respect different cultures. He said that on the other hand, they say that people who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood are Islamophobic, elaborating: "But the Muslim Brotherhood members and Islamists with their 'Westophobia' and who talk about a global Crusader conspiracy – that's all fine and dandy!... The world has gone crazy."

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa: The Taliban Is The Essence And Culmination Of All Islamic Ideas; Given The Opportunity, The Muslim Brotherhood Would Implement The Same Version Of Islam As Afghanistan, September 1, 2021

Egyptian TV host Ibrahim Eissa said that given the opportunity, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamists would implement the same version of Islam as the Taliban, because this is the culmination and essence of "all the Islamic ideas." He made his remarks on his show that aired on Al-Kahera Wal-Nas TV (Egypt) on September 1, 2021. Eissa said that all attempts by Qatar, Turkey and others to present the Taliban as though they have changed are meaningless, because if the Taliban had changed, they would no longer be the Taliban. He also said that the claim that "terrorism has no religion" is false, because when a terrorist says that he wants to implement the shari'a, he does so on the basis of the Quran and hadiths. Eissa went on to say that the Muslim Brotherhood is in fact the Taliban, but under another name.

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa: Our Kids Should Be Taught That Science Is Heroism, Innovation Is Victory, Rather Than Indoctrination For Jihad, Conquest, The Spreading Of Islam By Sword, December 16, 2020

Egyptian TV host Ibrahim Eissa said in a December 16, 2020 show on Al-Kahera Wal-Nas TV (Egypt) that children in Egypt are being taught to idolize men of war as heroes, and that Jihad, conquest, and spreading Islam are ideals. Expressing criticism, he said that religion has been turned into nothing but Jihad and that history has been turned into nothing but confrontation with colonialists. Eissa argued that instead, children should be taught that science and innovation are forms of victory.

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa: We Say That The West Is Our Enemy, But We Wait For It To Send Us The COVID-19 Vaccines, December 9, 2020

Egyptian TV host Ibrahim Eissa said in a December 9, 2020 show on Al-Kahera Wal-Nas TV (Egypt) that it was the West, and not the Arab world, that has been developing vaccines for COVID-19. He said that this means that the Islamic world must ask itself some hard questions about its place in civilization and the world. Saying that the Arabs should stop hating the West, he added: "[We say that] the West [is] our enemy, [but] we sit and wait for the West to send us the vaccine."

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa: Christianity and Judaism Are Just as Valid as Islam, March 10, 2020

Egyptian TV host Ibrahim Eissa said in the opening monologue of an episode of his show on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that aired on February 10, 2020 that Islam is a religion that is appropriate for every time and place. He added that Christianity and Judaism are similarly appropriate for every time and place, and that a change in time or location only changes one's understanding of religion.

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa: Wahhabi Revival of Salafi Islam Has Put Western Muslims in "Ghetto" of Seeing Conspiracy Theories as Quranic Doctrine, June 3, 2019

Egyptian TV host Ibrahim Eissa said in a June 3, 2019 show on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that the rapid growth of Islam likely makes Salafi Muslims very "happy" and "proud," but he criticized the "mental, psychological or physical ghetto" that he said many of the Muslims in the West are in today. In order to illustrate his point, Eissa showed a segment from a TV interview in which Salafi Sheikh Muhammad Hassan said that conspiracy theories about everlasting war between Muslims and non-Muslims – namely Jews and Christians – are a "Quranic doctrine." Eissa claimed that most Muslims agree with Sheikh Hassan because the Salafis have had control over Muslims' minds since what he called the "Wahhabi revival." Eissa added that this "revival," which he said has "flooded" humanity, was funded and exported by petrodollars.

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian Journalist Ibrahim Eissa: Islamic Terrorism Will End Only When Muslims Stop Trying To Restore Their Past, April 14, 2019

On April 14, 2019, Ibrahim Issa discussed Islamic terrorism in a monologue on his talk show, which is aired on the American Al-Hurra TV. Ibrahim Issa said that ISIS, Al-Qaeda, terrorism, and extremism will only come to an end if Muslims get rid of the "black triangle." This "black triangle," described by Issa, is comprised of three edges. The first edge is "the undisputed belief, held by Muslims in general, that their past was a dream come true, an age of angels and glory." The second edge is the belief held by "most Muslims" that this golden age must be restored. The third edge is the belief held by "some Muslims" that this past must be restored even at the price of "violence, coercion, cruelty, brutality, swords, and bombs." He concluded by saying that the only way to get rid of this triangle is for the Muslims to accept that the past was comprised of both good and bad and to make peace with the fact that "there is no need to restore that past. It is gone." "We must live our lives in our times and in our world, according to our renewed understanding of religion," he said.

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian Journalist and TV Host Ibrahim Eissa: Ibn Taymiyyah No Different than Hitler, September 2, 2018

Talking about conflicts between Arabs and non-Arabs in the history of Islam, Egyptian journalist and TV host Ibrahim Eissa said that Ibn Taymiyyah, with his "abominable fanaticism," had "destroyed all the values of equality." "If those who claim to be Sunnis, or Salafis, or Wahhabis, or Ibn Taymiyyah's followers believe that the Arabs are superior to all non-Arabs... how is this any different from the racism and Nazism of Hitler?" he asked. Eissa's address aired on Al-Hurra TV on September 2, 2018.

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian Journalist Ibrahim Eissa Blasts Conventional Concept of the Islamic Caliphate: The Ottomans Were Occupiers Who Oppressed Our Peoples, April 15, 2018

Egyptian journalist and TV host Ibrahim Eissa said that "the notion of the Caliphate is a commodity, which is shaped and sold by the merchants of illusion," such as Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and Turkish President Erdoğan. "Egypt and all the Arab countries and peoples were occupied, under the rule of a Caliphate, which was an occupier itself," he said. "The Ottoman Caliphate had occupied our countries and oppressed our peoples." Eissa made these remarks during his show on Al-Hurra TV on April 15.

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian Journalist and TV Host Ibrahim Eissa: The Palestinians Who Carried out the 1972 Olympics Massacre Were Terrorists, Not Fedayeen, January 11, 2018

Egyptian journalist and TV host Ibrahim Eissa said recently that the Palestinians who carried out the 1972 Munich Olympics attack on Israeli athletes were terrorists. "When people storm the Olympic games and the Olympic village, and kidnap athletes – even if they are Israelis – they cannot be called 'fedayeen,' in my view. They should be called 'terrorists,'" he said. Eissa made the comment while reviewing a book on his show on the Egyptian ON TV, in which he said that the use of terrorism was "the backbone of the wretched political exploitation of the Palestinian cause."

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Eissa Slams Salafi Ideology: Putrid Talk that Is Destroying Egyptian Society, November 3, 2015

In a recent address, Egyptian TV host Ibrahim Eissa warned that the diminishing clout of the Salafis seen in the first phase of Egyptian elections should not be viewed as a victory over Salafi ideology. Bringing footage of cleric Muhammad Hussein Yacoub, who claimed that the role of women was to "give comfort and have carnal relations," and ridiculing his claims as "insane and deranged nonsense," Eissa warned that "the problem is deep-rooted" and that this discourse is promoted by the state and "has been planted in people's brains for 40 years."

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

 

[1] July 16, 2022.

[2] Alhurra.com, February 13, 2022.

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