Posted by Joshua on Thursday, March 27th, 2014
Sham al-Islam: Its Project and Promise in Healing the Wounded Lands of the Levant
Translated by Daniel Abdullah @Daniel_Abdullah
For Syria Comment, March 27, 2014
Here is the recent statement of the Emir of Sham al-Islam, Brahim Benchekroune (a.k.a. Abu Ahmad al-Muhajir and sometimes called Abu Ahmad al-Maghrabi) a veteran Moroccan jihadist and former Guantanamo inmate. Sham al-Islam was formed during the August 2013 campaign into the coastal region of Syria around Salma. In a foundation statement published on Youtube on August 18, 2013 Benchekroune stated: “We consider democracy to be kufr against God Almighty and a doctrine that is in contradiction to God’s sharia,” Sham al-Islam has played a significant role in the Anfal campaign around Kassab of March 2014. The Sham al-Islam movement has a large North African contingent. [written by Joshua Landis]
[Addendum March 28] The following video was published by Sham al-Islam after this posted. It is a well produced documentary, explaining how Sham al-Islam has been planning the Anfal campaign around Kassab ever since the al-Salma campaign of August 2013. They believe that Assad is preparing an ethnic enclave along the coast in fulfillment of the French plan, devised during the Mandate period, to build an Alawite state. His military campaigns to destroy Alawite power along the coast are designed to thwart this effort, which would lead to the emergence of another minority state separating the coastal region from its Islamic and Arab heartland, much as has already occurred with the establishment of Israel and Lebanon. Abu Ahmed the Moroccan speaks to us in this video about two-thirds of the way through.
The following video depicts Sham al-Islam fighters (many foreign) near Kassab. The leader, Abu Ahmed the Moroccan, is narrating. “Today we have become men.” He adds: Our enemies are the “rus, hundus wa majous”. It rhymes: “Russians, Hindus, and Majii (Iranians, which includes Alawis).
Sham al-Islam Youtube Statement Posted March 27, 2014
The following video has been translated below by Daniel Abdullah
Thanks to Allah, who helps the people who have been wronged and made weak, who is able to prevail over the lawless and unjust, and who supports those who attempt to reform what has been distorted by the enemies of religion. May peace, grace and blessings be upon the one who was sent as mercy to the world with a book that guides toward what is right and a sword that brings victory. May the same be upon his family, his companions and all those who have followed them well – in speech, deed and in manners – all the way through to the Day of Judgement.
Our Islamic Umma has suffered from long decades of injustice and tyranny. It has been led astray by incorrect interpretations, on the one hand, and by a despicable adherence to Zionist-Masonic powers of oppression, on the other. It has been ruled by the iron fist of traitorous agents [of the West], who have pledged their lives to serve the interests of the enemies of our religion and Umma. It follows that the oppressed masses who have been misled and have had to pay the price as a result of successive campaigns of ignorance, dispossession and unprecedented injustice. Only a select few managed to escape from these campaigns. They formed the first line of resistance and gladly offered their hearts and blood and their time and thoughts in defence of the honour of the Umma – each according to their position and to what Allah made them aware of. Among these pioneers are preachers, reformers, scholars and scientists. We believe that those who have worked sincerely will be compensated. They will be granted in proportion to what they have offered or will be granted the double.
Among those who have worked for the religion of Allah has been a group dedicated to fight for Him, a group that has waged Jihad with both their lives and money. They have fought the enemy who roamed freely in their lands. They wasted no effort in explaining and advising. With their efforts, Allah has saved the lives, (ard) honor and financial means of many people; He has brought out what is right. Consequently, people were made aware of the betrayal of their leaders and of the lowness of the schemes spun against them.
The righteous dawn has arrived, the beginnings of the Umma regaining its freedom from the shackles of tyrants and the bonds of slavery are quivering on the horizon, the contrived gap between the Jihadi front and the rest of the Umma is being bridged; all this by virtue of the uprisings of our people against the regime of injustice and tyranny. The people have broken the wall of fear and have announced the beginning of a new era on the way to ultimate victory.
In this important historical context, the movement of Sham al-Islam has arisen from the lands of the wounded Levant – currently undergoing a blessed revolution against the criminal Nusayri regime, which has debased both worldly and religious pursuits and was unjust towards Muslim possessions and lives.
Our movement was established to strengthen those who are right and the knights of Jihad. It is a breath of fresh air in the sail of Jihad, meant to empower and develop Jihad. It will enable this blessed revolution such that it does not allow it to be lost to the snares of Jahiliya that strive to entrap it under the roof of international legitimacy and within the borders of Sykes-Picot.
Sham al-Islam strives to eliminate all that stands between the Umma and the Jihadi Front. No matter the source: people, terminology, groups or factional politics, we will work to thwart it. Sham al-Islam calls for a commitment to unity on Allah’s righteous terms that leads to the rule of His fair Sharia and that ensures access to a happy life on earth and paradise in the afterlife.
We strive to fight off the injustice that has been inflicted on our wronged people in Syria. We are prepared to sacrifice our lives and all that we possess to achieve this goal. We are bent on unity according to Allah’s laws, and on strengthening them by a totalitarian approach that addresses all the requirements of our current stage of development, such as Jihad, preaching, and tackling public needs. In all this we intend to follow the example of the mercy sent from Allah, may peace be upon him.
We ask Allah the Almighty and Exalted to grant us honesty and dedication, to show us the ways of righteousness, and to make us a building block for the approaching Caliphate that is built upon the example of the Prophet.
 Jahiliya – جاهليّة refers to the “Age of Ignorance” that preceded the revelation of the Qur’an, when Arabs were pagans. In this context, Abu Hamza is, presumably, referring to democracy and the acceptance “man-made” laws, which Salafists consider, en bloc, a central antithesis to Islam.
 Umma – أمّة is used to denote the wider Islamic society.
 Here, Abu Hamza is referring to an Islamic principle of divine compensation. If a Muslim studies a situation for which there is no precedent and reaches the correct conclusion and acts upon it, he has a double reward. If, however, his conclusion is wrong – according to the religious values of absolute right and wrong – but his effort was honest, he receives a single reward.
 Ard – عرض is an Arabic word that refers to worldly possessions عرض الدنيا or to a man’s lineage and his family. In colloquial Arabic, it refers to his female relatives who are seen as part of the honour he is bound to defend.
 Nusayri – نصيري is pejorative reference to Alawites. It originates from the name of the founder of their religion, Mouhammad bin Nusayr, and is used to suggest that they follow a man made religion. For the same reason, Muslims prefer not to be called Muhammadans because they do not believe that Muhammad is the founder of Islam.
The Arabic transcription of the video follows
الحمد لله ناصر المستضعفين وقاهر الجبابرة المارقين ومعين المصلحين لما خرّبه أعداء الدين، والصلاة والسلام على المبعوث رحمة للعالمين بكتاب يهدي وسيف ينصر، وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين، ومن تبعهم قولا وعملا وخلقا بإحسان إلى يوم الدين، أما بعد: