Michigan-Based Pro-ISIS Cleric Calls On Muslims In America, West To 'Normalize' The Use Of Jihad In Their Terminology; Promotes Donations To Gaza

November 28, 2023

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On November 26, 2023, Michigan-based pro-Islamic State (ISIS) preacher Ahmed Musa Jibril released an eight-minute video titled: "No Holy War in Islam?!"[1] Countering the claim that there is no holy war in Islam, the video calls on youth everywhere, and especially in the West and in the United States, to learn the true meaning of jihad and teach it to others, whether online or via the educational system.

The release came less than a week after Jibril promoted a fundraising campaign aimed at sending ambulances to Gaza amid renewed fighting between Israel and Hamas.

"Jihad Means Participating In Battles"

Jibril's video begins with a one-minute section in which an unidentified scholar refutes assertions that jihad in Islam primarily describes a holy, armed, and just conflict in which Muslims participate.

After inviting the viewer in with this introduction, Jibril then fields a question regarding the authenticity of a hadith cited by many Muslim scholars, describing armed jihad as a "lesser" struggle and the internal struggle against a Muslim's baser instincts as "greater."

His answer is blunt: "It's not authentic." Citing work by Islamic scholars and companions of the Prophet Muhammad, including Fayruz Al-Daylami, Imam Al-Bayhaqi, Jalal Al-Din Al-Suyuti, and Ibn Taymiya, a favorite scholar of many jihadists, Jibril describes the hadith, or saying of the prophet, as munkar, meaning it is contradicted by another hadith.

In addition to being false, Jibril describes this particular hadith as "dangerous." He explains that it has been used deceptively "by promoters of the American-Zionist Islam" to "cancel out jihad, or to alter the meaning of jihad, or to diminish its importance."

Citing examples in the Quran in which Muhammad participated in battles against non-Muslims, Jibril concludes that "there is holy war in the Quran: it's jihad."

The preacher attributes other understandings of jihad to munafiqin, or hypocrites, who spread "American-Zionist Islam," which has nothing to do with Islam, states Jibril, and serves U.S. and Western interests.

Refuting an unnamed preacher who supports an opposing definition of jihad, Jibril accuses him of spreading heresy amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He also accuses the unnamed cleric of blessing the U.S. war in Iraq in 2003, suggesting that the unnamed scholar supports holy war only against Muslims.

"Normalizing Jihad Terminology"

With the ongoing war in Gaza, Jibril calls on Muslims everywhere, particularly in the West, to start discussing violent jihad openly:

"Now with the current ongoing events that exposed…all the Muslims in the West, especially the youth in the West, especially the youth in America, need to wake up. The current events are a wake-up call for Muslims to start normalizing mentioning jihad's proper meaning and putting it back into their vocabulary. Jihad must be a common, normal term on the tongues, and on your social media, and in the masajid[2] and elsewhere."

He also calls on Muslims to refer to works by Islamic jurists to learn about the history and luster of armed jihad:

"It's time to learn the glory and honor of jihad."

This education should extend to children, he says.

"It's time for mothers to nurse their infants with the love of jihad and the ambition of wanting to become a mujahid and a shaheed[3]."

Jibril says that if jihad is from Allah, then it is nothing to hide. Any accommodation requested by moderates or Western leaders, he says, is merely cover to entice Muslims away from Islam.

"Never be ashamed of teachings that come from Allah almighty, whatever they are. Never compromise so that the kuffar will think that your religion is cute, or so that they will like you or Islam, because they'll never be pleased unless you join their faith."

"Islam Cannot Be Stripped From Jihad"

Jibril also argues that deaths of Muslims in Gaza disprove the idea that any accommodation or moderation can benefit Muslims.

"If making a suitable Islam for the West, for the kafir[4] West, is the solution, then why are they massacring the Muslims in Gaza after and elsewhere after most of the shuyukh[5] gave them the Islam that they wanted."

He closes by reemphasizing the centrality of violent jihad to Islam and to Muslim identity.

"Islam can never be stripped from jihad, the highest point of Islam, as the Jews of the Qibla, and the liberals, and the modernists want."

Fundraising For Gaza

The speech came less than a week after a Telegram channel closely linked with Jibril's work shared a fundraising campaign for Gaza.

On November 20, the English-language "Invite To Islam" Telegram channel published a link to a fundraising campaign on the Givebrite platform.[6] According to that page, the U.K.-based campaign aims to raise at least £5,000 pounds to acquire ambulances, which will "be driven from Manchester to Gaza." The page also describes the ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas as "not a war but an ethnic cleansing based upon apartheid and genocide!!"

Commenting on the campaign, "Invite to Islam" wrote: "Alhamdulillah, our journey begins."

In a November 22 post, the channel updated the readers, writing that the convoy of ambulances was leaving Frankfurt, Germany, en route to Gaza.[7] An accompanying video shows a man with an English accent congratulating people on their fundraising for the people of "Gaza and Sham," a term used to refer to areas in Syria.

He adds that Muslims should celebrate the tenacity of Gazans. He criticizes the hypocrisy of Muslim leaders who support Palestinians rhetorically but do not do enough, in his view, to support the Palestinian cause.

"The people of Gaza will be the first [to enter paradise in the afterlife]. They are heroes of today! We know about the sahaba[8] but today they [Gazans] are the ones who travel in their footpaths! And remember brothers: even the donkeys of Gaza are more useful than the leaders of our countries who talk, but they do not walk the walk. So walk the walk!"

Two days later, the channel wrote that the convoy and its team, dubbed MiN, had "reached Turkey with ALL ambulances destined for Gaza."[9] In the accompanying photo, 27 men sit on the steps of a building, their faces all digitally blurred.

[1] Telegram, November 26, 2023.

[2] Mosques.

[3] Martyr.

[4] Infidel.

[5] Religious scholars.

[6] Telegram, November 20, 2023.

[7] Telegram, November 22, 2023.

[8] Companions of the Prophet Muhammad.

[9] Telegram, November 24, 2023.

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