The al-Qaeda offshoot group in East Africa al-Shabaab released a propaganda video in the first days of Ramadan condemning the United States as the “Satan of our time.”
The video urges Islamic extremists to “fulfill the obligation of jihad” and expel the “global coalition of disbelievers” that includes America and other Western countries from Muslim lands.
U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the American military to escalate airstrikes against the Somalia-based terrorist group.
Al-Shabaab jihadists, in response, vowed to intensify deadly attacks as part of a “doubled response” to President Trump’s approval of expanded U.S. military efforts against it, recently revealed the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites.
In the 55-minute video titled, “They Are Not Welcome — They Shall Burn In Their Fire,” al-Shabaab stresses its adherence to global jihadist principles, noting that “defending Muslim lands is from the most important of individual obligations,” reports the Long War Journal (LWJ).
The video’s narrator argues that America is the “devil,” a sentiment that is consistent with a message disseminated by various al-Qaeda leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, that the United States is “evil” and corrupt.
Al-Shabaab’s narrator says:
And thus the blood of the Muslims is mercilessly spilled, their honor violated, children orphaned, and lands invaded. What we are witnessing today is a total war against Islam, spearheaded by none other than the Satan of our time: the United States of America.
So let the Muslims know that the objective of this global crusade is nothing but to extinguish the shining light of Islam, plunder the wealth of the Muslim ummah [worldwide community of Muslims], and spread immorality and all sorts of moral vices within the Muslim population.
As a “solution,” al-Shabaab calls on its followers and sympathizers to “fulfill the obligation of jihad and repel the aggressive onslaught spearheaded by the enemies of Islam.”
The U.S. military has been backing the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), equipping and training local troops.
“Our advise, assist, and accompany efforts, paired with our deliberate targeting of top-level al-Shabaab leadership, have had a significant impact in degrading al-Shabaab’s effectiveness in East Africa, but those two efforts are not enduring solutions to Somalia’s problems,” American Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the top U.S. commander in the region, told lawmakers in March.
Somalia, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, and Ethiopia also contribute troops to AMISOM.
Echoing the Afghan Taliban’s Ramadan message, which emphasizes that jihad during the holy month is “obligatory,” al-Shabaab mentions that it is incumbent on Islamists to wage jihad against occupiers of Muslim lands.
Explaining when jihad becomes mandatory, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman purportedly states in the video:
The scholars, both past and present, are of the consensus that if a hand span of Muslim territory is occupied, then jihad becomes obligatory and a binding duty upon every Muslim, whether he is old or young, rich or poor, youthful or elderly and whether he is trained or not.
The Muslim lands that have been occupied are not merely a hand span or even a thousand hand spans, but rather it is millions of hand spans. Entire countries have been forcefully taken from the lands of the Muslims and as such, jihad has become an individual obligation upon every Muslim.
Specifically, al-Shabaab jihadist believe their enemy has “occupied” Somalia and neighboring Kenya and “defensive” jihad is required to the liberate the East African countries.
Furthermore, Sheikh Abu Ubaidah Ahmad Umar, the current emir of al-Shabaab, proclaims in the video, “Know that our jihad is a global one and not restricted to geographical boundaries.”
The al-Qaeda affiliate identifies its enemy as a “global coalition of disbelievers” allegedly waging their own jihad against all adherents of Islam.
Among the coalition, allegedly united in their disdain towards Islam, is the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, Russia, Iran, the United States, and other Western nations.
“Al Qaeda’s leaders first marketed the idea that Muslims are confronted by a worldwide, anti-Islamic campaign,” notes LWJ.
Islamic extremists encourage and especially value martyrdom and jihad during Ramadan. Some Muslims believe “those who gain martyrdom during the month of Ramadan are doubly rewarded in Paradise,” points out MEMRI.
There is usually a spike in Islamic terrorist attacks during the month when most Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, having sex, and other physical needs each day, starting from before the break of dawn until sunset.