Thursday, May 19, 2005

Fatwa via SMS 

A bad news and good news:
A young Saudi who went to Iraq to fight with Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi but changed his mind and returned home has warned there are hundreds more Saudi recruits like him in Iraq. "The reality, when it comes to the recruitment of young Saudis to the Jihad, is much more serious than they think. From just the Saudi region of Qasim, 300 young men have left for Iraq," the repentant recruit, named only as S.F.R., has told the Saudi newspaper al-Watan.

"There are activists in Saudi Arabia for the Jihad cause who recruit the young men," said the former recruit. "They only seek to convert those between 21 and 25 years old," he added. "They said that Jihad was a religious obligation and that our brothers in Iraq needed help. Their speeches were also backed up by the media, who showed us the seiges of Fallujah and Ramadi and the attacks on Muslims."

The aspiring mujahideen, whose three friends also came back from Iraq with him, offers some hope, however, revealing that the jihadi recruitment phenomenon has been limited by the fatwa issued by the Mufti al-Sheikh, who banned Saudis from leaving for Iraq to fight. "Many young men left and then came back after the issuing of the fatwa, which only allowed Iraqis to take part in the Jihad," the young man told al-Watan. "We did the same. We were already in Syria inside a vehicle, not far from the Iraqi border, when we receieved an SMS which talked of this fatwa. That convinced us that it was better to go back home."

A few days ago the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat interviewed two young Saudis who refused to blow themselves up in a car bomb attack in Iraq. The two were already in the country but were discouraged by al-Qaeda's new method of running the Jihad, which is based solely on the use of suicide car bombers. Once in Iraq they learned from one of their group's leaders that the only contribution they could make to the Jihad was to board one of the many vehicles ready to be used as a car bomb and launched at a target, and no other form of fighting was planned.
Another reminder that Saudi Arabia remains the most important front in the war on terror.


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