Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Sacred Islamist Ideology of Jihad

"I'm not even sure they have a political agenda. They like to think they do but, I mean, they don't have a very clear stated political goal."
"I don't think they would know a Koran if it fell from the sky and hit them in the head. I really do think that they are a very opportunistic kidnap-for-ransom gang that is constantly able to forge connections with other groups."
"I certainly think it's done [exploiting the ISIL brand] to increase the psychological pressure on the captives, their families and their government. They've only pulled out the IS imagery when they've kidnapped Westerners, never any of the Asians or Filipinos."
"They've done this many times before [beheading of unransomed captives], this is not the first time."
Zachary Abuza, terrorism scholar in Southeast Asia, professor, Naval War College, Washington
Canadian Robert Hall, left, is still being held captive. Here he is seen in a still from a Abu Sayyaf militant video alongside John Ridsdel.
Canadian Robert Hall, left, is still being held captive. Here he is seen in a still from a Abu Sayyaf militant video alongside John Ridsdel.

At no time is the expression of faith more fitting to the mouth and ear of the jihadist of, "Allahu Akbar!" than when they are executing their obligation to Islam through jihad. The world of the Islamist terrorists is awash with Kalashnikovs, but it is the symbolic sword that is reserved for use when dispatching enemies of Islam. And since any living human who has not exclaimed "There is no god but Allah and Mohamed is his messenger", is ipso facto an enemy, there are plenty of heads to roll.

The latest of which was a 68-year-old Canadian journalist and oil executive who had retired to the Philippines and who had the misfortune to come to the aid of others who were in the throes of being abducted by the Islamist jihadist group in the Philippines who have named themselves "Bearers of the Sword", Abu Sayyaf. This group specializes in kidnapping foreigners in particular, then placing a hefty price on their heads before release.

Their spokespeople warn Western governments that if a stated deadline is not honoured by an offer to pay the demanded ransom heads will roll. And in the city of Jolo one head did roll when John Ridsdel, 68, heard the fateful cry of "Allahu Akbar!" before he was decapitated and could no longer ever again hear or see anything.

Founded in 1991 by a Filipino by the name of Abdurajak Janjalani who had been involved with the international Islamist brigade fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, the group agitates for an Islamic state in the Muslim-majority southern Philippines. The group is held to be comprised of between 200 and 400 fighters, formerly stating allegiance to al-Qaeda, but more latterly to Islamic State.

Financed by a Saudi businessman, kidnapping for ransom became their preferred modus operandi.

"Ostensibly, the group's goal is the establishment of an Islamic state government by sharia law. In practice, however, the ASG primarily uses terrorism for profit", states the website of Public Safety Canada. A Canadian intermediary had been in contact with the group to negotiate for the release of the four hostages taken from the Holiday Ocean View marina; two Canadian men, a Filipino woman, and the Norwegian operator of the marina.

But it seems a disagreement over the required $8-million ransom scuppered negotiations because Abu Sayyaf refused to reduce the amount they planned to extract for the release of John Ridsdel, Robert Hall, Marites Flor and Kjartan Sekkingstad. And John Ridsdel's life became immediately redundant. Whether the other three have somehow survived the lethal wrath of the jihadists whose price-mongering had been spurned is not yet clear.

As for Mr. Abuza's take on whether the group is motivated by fanatical Islam, is that really relevant as a perception? After all, they are Islamists, and they are fanatical, whether or not they are minutely familiar with all the passages of the Koran. There are the key and most important passages and the duties of the faithful associated with them, and they are clear enough; that jihad is integral to belief and that every Muslim has a mission to fulfill.

Abu sayyaf is simply fulfilling their mission on behalf of Islam.

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