The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) is urging its followers to kill identified Muslim figures in the West, saying they are “obligatory” targets unless they “openly repent from kufr [disbelief] before they are apprehended.”
The threats are contained in the 14th and latest edition of the terrorist group’s online propaganda publication, Dabiq.
The edition’s main theme appears to be an attempt to label Muslim leaders, individuals and organizations across the world that do not actively support ISIS as infidels and apostates.
The cover story focuses on the “murtadd” (apostate) Muslim Brotherhood, while another article, illustrated with a grisly photo of a blood-covered knife, is entitled, “Kill the imams of kufr in the West.”
Among those in the United States listed in that article and described as “politically-active apostates” are Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of two Muslims in the House of Representatives; Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin; and Rashad Hussain, former U.S. envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Others are Mohamed Elibiary, a former member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer; and Arif Alikhan, who has served in various public and private sector law enforcement and homeland security posts.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) national executive director Nihad Awad, while not named, appears prominently in a photo collage that also features a gunsight target image.
Ellison responded to the threat from ISIS – which he calls by the Arabic acronym Daesh – with a short but hard-hitting statement.
“As millions of faithful Muslims flee Daesh’s imposed nightmare they call a ‘caliphate,’ Daesh takes the time to threaten Muslim public servants in the West, like myself and my friend Huma Abedin,” he said.
“Daesh is a collection of liars, murderers, torturers, and rapists. No Muslim I know recognizes what they preach as Al-Islam,” Ellison added. “The fact that I’m on Daesh’s bad side means I am fighting for things like justice, tolerance, and a more inclusive world.”
The Dabiq article, laden with references from the Qur’an and the Hadiths, cites ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as saying that apostates who repent and “surrender themselves to the Islamic State” will receive amnesty.
“But those who are caught before they repent, then there is no amnesty for them and theirs shall be a painful – and fatal – punishment,” it says.
The article names other individuals in the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia – among them scholars, politicians, imams, Sufi leaders and others, including figures associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Influential U.S. Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf, draws ire for having praised the U.S. Constitution and American exceptionalism – possibly a reference to comments he was quoted as making at an interfaith vigil in California late last year after the San Bernardino terror attack.
“It is not surprising then that he was invited to the White House after the September 11th attacks, becoming an advisor to Bush on the war against Muslims, thus becoming a crusader himself,” the article says of Yusuf.
CAIR’s Awad said his organization has been in touch with appropriate government agencies in response to the threats.
“It is incumbent on state and federal law enforcement authorities to provide protection to American Muslim leaders who seek to counter ISIS’s message of hate,” he said.
Awad linked the threat to what he called “the outstanding work CAIR does in opposing the anti-Islamic message and brutal actions of ISIS and other terror groups.”
“The best response to such threats is to continue challenging extremism, whether it is espoused by organizations like ISIS or by Islamophobes who seek to demonize Islam based on that group’s brutality,” he said.
The latest copy of Dabiq also lauds those involved in the Brussels terror attack last month, describing the perpetrators as “an Islamic State security unit [that] set out to target crusader Belgium.”
“Flames ignited years ago in Iraq have now scorched the battleground of Belgium, soon to spread to the rest of crusader Europe and the West,” it says.
Alluding to the deadly ISIS-claimed attacks in the French capital last November, it continues, “Paris was a warning. Brussels was a reminder. What is yet to come will be more devastating and more bitter by the permission of Allah …”