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The Michigan Jihad By: Evan Kohlmann
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 23, 2003


On September 9, FBI agents stormed into the Dearborn home of Ahmad Musa Jibril and his father Musa Abdallah Jibril, literally with guns drawn.  The sudden raid stemmed from a 20-count federal indictment filed against the two men that alleged various criminal activities ranging from identity fraud to money laundering.  Ahmad Jibril and his father are also reportedly being investigated for potential links to terrorist groups—and in a search warrant filed in U.S. District Court, the FBI listed several relevant items seized as evidence from their home, including a poster for the Palestinian terror organization Hamas.  Agents additionally confiscated firearms, computers, cell phones, and blank passports; nevertheless, the two men were eventually released on a $10,000 bond pending trial. 

Considering the past activities of the Jibril family, the indictment and subsequent arrests come as no surprise.  Over the last decade, the Jibrils have consistently endorsed violence and extremism in lectures to Muslim student groups here in the U.S. and likewise on their self-fashioned Internet mouthpiece, AlSalafyoon.com.

Ahmad Musa Jibril, who also goes by the nickname “Abu Khaled,” is a prominent local spokesman in Michigan for the radical Salafi Islamic trend—a fundamentalist ideology that is akin to Wahhabism for non-Saudis.  Jibril was born in the United States, but spent part of his childhood in Saudi Arabia while his father was a student at the Islamic University of Medina.  After returning to the United States and graduating from high school in 1989, Ahmad resumed his studies abroad in Saudi Arabia, eventually receiving a degree in Islamic Sharia (Religious Law).  Currently in America, he “is actively engaged in holding [religious] classes,” at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan in Detroit, among others.[1]

As the result of his Saudi indoctrination, Ahmad Jibril became a disciple and strong supporter of militant Islamic clerics from the Arabian Gulf, including Shaykh Salman Al-Awdah, who Jibril has referred to as a “Great Imam & Scholar… [who] boldly confronted the American presence in [Saudi Arabia]… may Allah reward him the peak of heaven!”  In an interview with journalist Peter Arnett, Osama Bin Laden lauded Al-Awdah as a personal hero and cited him as a direct inspiration for taking up “my duty of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.”[2] 

Ahmad Jibril was in direct contact with Al-Awdah and forwarded the latter’s contact information over the Internet to other likeminded zealots inside America.  Moreover, Jibril actively encouraged his Muslim colleagues to travel abroad to Yemen and join local madrassas (religious schools): “[T]hey are like universities[,] you can go to them and live there and study… I recommend anyone who can take some time out of his life to go there, so he will come back to us a fierce sword.[3]  American Taliban John Walker Lindh studied at exactly such an institution in Yemen—just prior to enlisting to fight against the U.S. in Afghanistan.

In the late 1990s, from their Michigan home, Ahmad Jibril and his father created a now-notorious Islamic Internet website known as AlSalafyoon.com.  Among other items, the site featured a remarkable library of fanatic sermons, including speeches on the subject of jihad by Shaykh Abdullah Azzam (the late co-founder of Al-Qaeda and spiritual mentor to Osama Bin Laden) and by Abdelrahman Al-Dosari (a.k.a. Abu Abdel Aziz “Barbaros”, deemed by the U.S. government to be a senior member of Al-Qaeda).

Since its inception, AlSalafyoon.com has also offered web visitors a number of English-language Islamic booklets, pamphlets, and poems dealing with the subject of jihad.  One file, titled “Jihad And Expedition in the Quran,” bluntly urged sympathetic readers to “[w]age a holy war.”[4]  Another posting, a poem labeled simply “AL-JIHAD,” cautioned:

 

Yes, you’re neither Sheikh Osama [Bin Laden] nor Mullah Umar, but, don’t forget you’re a[n] Ummat of fighter Apostle.  Why are you waiting go and thrust in the lines of enemies and have them crushed.  Hit them on the neck and send them to hell… Give them a knife and a bulletful of gun… Fight, Fight & Fight, it must be our aim.”[5]

 

Ahmad Jibril frequently posted messages and updates—many of which were explicitly signed by Jibril himself—on AlSalafyoon’s public forum under the Administrator login account “Alsalaf.”  In July 2000, an individual using the Administrator account (presumably Ahmad Jibril), posted a new discussion titled, “WE MUST HATE KAFERS [infidels]![6] The message read:

 

“You[r] heart must contain nothing but HATE to all kafers [infidels]...Not just plain hate it must be the peak of hate...Even if the kafer never did anything personal to us…even if he is a mere couch potate[sic] who reads the paper and sleeps and works, he is kafer alone makes him an enemy to us and we must hate him for thatThe answer is clear yes Islam was spread by the sword.”[7]

 

Several months later, in response to the then-ongoing presidential election campaign, another message was posted to Al-Salafyoon’s forum using the same Administrator account, titled “Those for Voting in USA have no honor!”  It admonished, “JIHAD IN THE KORAN MEANS TO KILL THE KAFERS... WHEN JIHAD IS MENTIONED ALONE IN THE KORAN OR SUNNAH IT MEANS ONE HONORABLE THING - TO KILL THE KUFFAR.”[8]

 

As federal investigators pore over what was seized in the Dearborn raid, they are almost certain to find more evidence of Ahmad Jibril’s fiery and unapologetic exhortations to violence.  Yet, whether there was a relationship between the Jibril clan and designated foreign terrorist organizations (such as Al-Qaeda or Hamas) remains to be seen.  In the meantime, as Jibril and his father remain free on bail, the danger remains that such fanatics will follow through on their persistent threats and “wage a holy war” against their “infidel” enemies—perhaps even directly in the heartland of America.

 
ENDNOTES:

[2] “CNN/Time Impact: Holy Terror?”  Transcript of Osama Bin Ladin interview with Peter Arnett.  CNN.  March 1997.

[3] Alsalaf (Administrator).  “Phone numbers of Salafy Scholars in YEMEN.”  http://pub4.ezboard.com/balsalafyoon29198.   September 14, 2000.

[4] “Jihad And Expedition (Kitab Al-Jihad Wal-Siyar).”  http://www.ummah.net/alsalafyoon/EnglishPosts/jihad1.html.  November 1999.

[5] “AL-JIHAD.”  http://www.ummah.net/alsalafyoon/EnglishPosts/poem2.html.  November 1999.

[6] Alsalaf (Administrator).  “New Topic to Discuss: WE MUST HATE KAFERS!”  http://pub4.ezboard.com/balsalafyoon29198.   July 7, 2000.

[7] Alsalaf (Administrator).  “New Topic to Discuss: WE MUST HATE KAFERS!”  http://pub4.ezboard.com/balsalafyoon29198.   July 9, 2000.

[8] Alsalaf (Administrator).  “Those for Voting in USA Have no honor!”  http://pub4.ezboard.com/balsalafyoon29198.   October 26, 2000.


Evan Kohlmann is a Senior Terrorism Consultant for the Washington, D.C.-based Investigative Project and author of the upcoming book, Al-Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe: the Afghano-Bosniak Network, to be released by Berg Publishers later this year.


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