Al-Qaeda Releases Article Urging Islamic Scholars To Deem Jihad Against Israel As A Muslim Obligation, Praises Egypt's Al-Azhar 'Call On Muslims To Follow Footsteps Of Mujahideen'

November 2, 2023

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On November 3, 2023, Al-Sahab, the media arm of Al-Qaeda Central Command, released an article addressing Islamic scholars and urging them to issue a ruling (fatwa) to incite Muslims to join the fighting against Israel, following that country's military incursion in Gaza.

In the past few days, the same media outlets released several articles calling for lone-wolf attacks in support of Gaza.[1]

Titled, "O Muslim Scholars – Join The Caravan," author Assim Al-Mughrabi cited prominent figures such as the Palestinian Abdullah Azzam, jihadi leader and ideologue who deemed jihad to restore "Palestine and Andalusia" as a religious obligation that falls on every Muslim.

The article further claimed that recent statements issued by Cairo-based Al-Azhar Fatwa Center echoed the same sentiment.

Praising Clerics Who Deemed Jihad Against Israel A Muslim Obligation

The article welcomed statements made by some Muslim clerics around the world who called the fight against Israel and in support of Hamas's operation, codenamed "Al-Aqsa Flood," as a duty upon Muslims. The article praised fatwas issued by Islamic scholars in Tunisia's Al-Zaytona University, and others in Morocco, Mauritania, Pakistani "subcontinent" and east Asia.

Nod To Egypt's Al-Azahr

The piece also praised a statement from Egypt's Al-Azhar Fatwa Center, issued on October 18, in which the Center stated that its considered the Hamas attack on October 7 on Israeli civilian a justified attack, saying Israeli civilians are "occupiers."[2]

The Cairo-based Al-Azhar, a leading center of religious learning and the supreme source of religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world, has issued a statement congratulating Hamas and the other Gazan factions on their October 7 attack, in which hundreds of armed militants raided Israeli territory, murdered 1,400 people, kidnapped over 100, and wounded over 2,000.[3]

The article also claimed that the Al-Azhar statement urged the Islamic nation to re-assess its relations with the "arrogant" western powers, Europe, and the U.S., and to follow the footsteps of the mujahideen in Somalia and Afghanistan:

"We also praise the statement of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, which summed up the call of this jihadi caravan that set out to confront the tyrants of the East and West forty years ago. Al-Azhar Al-Sharif urged the Islamic nation to make a radical review of its relationship with the West, the arrogant Euro-American, and confront them, repel their attack and to follow the model of the Mujahideen in Somalia and Afghanistan," said the article.

'Join The Carvan'

It continued: "Catching up with the jihad convoy in Palestine and every Muslim frontline is the destiny of this enlightened nation, and for this reason, the one [who] gets the divine honor to join this caravan should call upon his nation with wisdom and good action and pray for their success and guidance."

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The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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