ISIS Weekly: Attack Israel And Jews Worldwide, Only ISIS Will Liberate Jerusalem, Palestine Is Not A Greater Priority Than Other Struggles Against Unbelievers

May 21, 2021

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

Issue 287 of the Islamic State (ISIS) weekly magazine Al-Naba', which was published on May 20, 2021, includes an editorial discussing the current violence between Israel and the Palestinians.[1] Although clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protestors have been ongoing since the beginning of Ramadan in the second week of April and militant groups in Gaza began to fire rockets at Israel on May 10,[2]  ISIS has refrained from commenting on the situation in Al-Naba' until now. This is in sharp contrast to Al-Qaeda's Central Command and its affiliates, most of which have issued statements expressing solidarity with Palestinians, praising the rocket attacks on Israel, and calling for jihad against Israel and Jews since Palestinian groups first began to fire rockets at Israel.[3]

The recent Al-Naba' editorial, titled "The Road to Jerusalem," affirms ISIS' support for Palestinian Muslims' struggle against Israel while clarifying that ISIS does not view the Palestinian cause as unique or even as a greater priority than other struggles between Muslims and unbelievers in other parts of the world. The editorial asserts that the only way to liberate Jerusalem is through a jihad for the sake of Allah that categorically rejects democracy, nationalism, and other un-Islamic ideologies. Al-Naba' lashes out at rival Islamist militant groups, such as Hamas and other Palestinian factions, declaring that their acceptance of democracy and alliance with Shi'ite Iran, which is not considered Muslim by Salafi-jihadis, makes their jihad insincere and doomed to failure, asserting that ISIS, which fights against Shi'ites in Iraq and other countries, does more for Palestinian Muslims than Hamas, which collaborates with Iran.

The editorial begins by quoting the saying "all roads lead to Rome," saying that in fact, "only one road leads to Rome," referring to the predicted conquest of Rome by jihadis. The editorial continues that this road is the same road that leads to Mecca, Al-Andalus, and Jerusalem, as well as to "Baghdad, Damascus, and other captured, stolen capitals and citadels of the Muslims."

Acknowledging that "people are waiting for us to speak about Jerusalem in a statement, speech, magazine, or book," the magazine states that "if we considered that the bar of [support for] Jerusalem, we would have drowned the world with statements and speeches." However, the editorial declares that ISIS considers the issue of Jerusalem a question of "religion which we defend, a debt which we pay, and a promise which we will fulfill – Allah willing – whether this takes a long or short time."

Al-Naba' declares that "Islam has drawn for us the road to Jerusalem with full precision and clarity," and that this is the same road taken by the Prophet Muhammad and all prophets – jihad for the sake of Allah. The editorial asserts that jihad for the sake of Allah is completely different from the "resistance" practiced by Palestinian faction and Iran-backed groups and that the difference between the two is like "the difference between truth and falsehood." Al-Naba' characterizes "resistance" as the method of secularists such as Che Guevara, Yasser Arafat, and Vladimir Lenin or of Shi'ites such as Qasem Soleimani and Ali Khamenei, contrasting their methods with those of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.

Lashing out at Hamas, the ISIS editorial boldly declares: "We think that the mujahid who lies in ambush for the Rafidites [a pejorative term for Shi'ites] in Iraq is closer to Jerusalem than one who allies with the Rafidites, improves their image, puts them at the front of the scene in Palestine, and opens the market wide for them to traffic in Jerusalem and [in] its holy sites." The editorial further asserts that ISIS mujahideen in such far away places as Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mozambique are "closer to Jerusalem" than those who claim to support Jerusalem but do not wage jihad.

Based on the Salafi belief that Shi'ites are heretics for their negative view of the Prophet Muhammad's wife, 'A'ishah, the editorial declares that "no one will liberate Jerusalem or breathe in its air who allies with those who curse the mothers of the Muslims." Asserting that Palestine is no different from other Muslim countries ruled by un-Islamic governments, the editorial adds that "no one will liberate Jerusalem who differentiates between it and Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Khorasan, or who differentiates between it and Chechnya," nor will those who "abandoned the Muslims in Mosul, Raqqa, Aleppo, and Baghouz" liberate Jerusalem.

The magazine further asserts that the Jewish State of Israel is not a greater enemy of Muslims than Shi'ite Iran, which it alleges also wants to seize control over Jerusalem and other Sunni countries, claiming that "if the Jews dream of a state from the Nile to the Euphrates, the Rafidites dream of a state from Tehran to Beirut."

Quoting the well-known hadith "You shall fight the Jews and you shall kill them, and the trees and the rocks shall say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the gharqad tree, for it is one of the trees of the Jews," the editorial asserts that the Arab regimes of neighboring countries currently protect Israel and only after eliminating those regimes through jihad, as ISIS endeavors to do, will Muslims reconquer Jerusalem. The editorial declares that "no one will liberate Jerusalem who differentiates between fighting the Jews and fighting their guards, the Arab taghouts [literally false deities, a reference to governments that rule by manmade law] such as [Qatar's Emir] Tamim and [Turkish President] Erdoğan, and even Aal Saloul [a derogatory term for the Saudi royal family] and [the UAE's] Al Nahyan," interpreting the hadith to mean that Palestine will be conquered by Muslims, not nationalists or Iranian proxies. Al-Naba' continues its exegesis, predicting that all the "apostate armies and governments will fall," leaving Israel with no protectors, whereupon ISIS fighters will invade Israel and the Jews will find no one to protect them but the gharqad tree.

The editorial accuses "all the parties, movements, and groups" of having "lost their way to Jerusalem, forgotten Rome, sold Al-Andalus, mocked Dabiq [the battlefield in northern Syria where a hadith predicts an apocalyptic battle between the Muslims and Christians] and denied the conquest of Constantinople," claiming that only ISIS is focused on reconquering all the above places. Al-Naba' asserts that all battles that ISIS fights anywhere in the world are "stations on the road to Jerusalem, Mecca, Al-Andalus, Baghdad, Damascus, and other captured Muslim countries." Quoting a speech of the first ISIS spokesman, Abu Muhammad Al-'Adnani, in which he asserted that ISIS fighters' "bodies are in Iraq while their spirits are in captured Mecca, their hearts are in Jerusalem, and their eyes are on Rome," the editorial asserts that ISIS has focused on Jerusalem since the beginning. However, the editorial asserts, "the Caliphate soldiers have never exaggerated the Palestinian issue or made it exceptional among Muslim issues," declaring that ISIS has unsentimentally related to the suffering of Muslims in Palestine exactly as it relates to the suffering of Muslims anywhere, as "sentimental people do not defend the truth or repel falsehood."

The editorial concludes by urging mujahideen everywhere to do their utmost to "defend their brothers in Palestine," declaring this a religious obligation. Declaring that "what cannot be achieved completely should not have most of it abandoned," Al-Naba' urges: "Whoever is unable to wage war on the Jews in Palestine should fight them outside of it. Together with them, let him wage war against the Jews' allies and confederates – the Arab and non-Arab taghouts – how many are they!"


[1] Al-Tamkin News, May 21, 2021.

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