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Inside isis training camps

Ci-dessous des extraits d'un article publié par The Guardian dans son édition du 25/01/2015. Je n'ai pas eu le courage de faire la traduction, mais il n'y a pas de difficultés majeures dans sa compréhension.



“People say al-dawla excommunicates Muslims,” said Abu Moussa, using the term “al-dawla”, or State, in reference to Isis. “We don’t do that. Yes, we have no tolerance for anybody who opposes our message. Why do we fight the Free Syrian Army? We spread our message by proselytisation and sword. Ibn Taymiyyah said ‘the foundation of this religion is a book that guides and a sword that brings victory’. We guide and the sword brings victory. If someone opposes the message of the prophet, he faces nothing but the sword. As the prophet spread the message across the Earth, we are doing the same. When al-dawla first fought the Free Syrian Army, it was a problem for many. They did not believe the accusations. But later, one thing after another began to unfold and people started to accept them.”


Another member echoed Abu Moussa’s reasoning. “The prophet said: ‘I have been given victory by means of terror.’ As for slaughter, beheading and crucifixion, this is in the Qu’ran and Sunna [oral sayings attributed to prophet Muhammad]. In the videos we produce, you see the sentence ‘deal with them in a way that strikes fear in those behind them’, and that verse speaks for itself. One more thing: the prophet told the people of Quraish, ‘with slaughter I came to you’.”


In terms of indoctrination, Isis generally steers clear of exposing new members to teachings that are not derived from sharia texts. New members are almost exclusively exposed to religious books, while established members or commanders can study manuals such as Management of Savagery, a jihad book written by an Abu Bakr Naji, who said that you should distinguish between jihad and other religious tenets in that jihad is not about mercy but about extreme retaliatory violence to deter enemies. The restriction of religious training to religious texts is in line with the group’s rhetoric that it is an extension of authentic Islam rather than a new group with its own set of teachings.


Indeed, one of the fascinating insights we found is that Isis presents the “mainstream” Islam practised by Muslims today as one that was “invented” over the past few decades. To unravel this so-called invented Islam, Isis deliberately digs deep into Islamic sharia and history to find arcane teaching and then magnify it. It does so to shock its potential recruits and demonstrate it is preaching a pure and true Islam obscured by the mainstream. Take, for example, the group’s punishment for individuals accused of homosexuality. In a series of incidents in recent weeks, Isis has thrown individuals accused of being gay from the highest buildings. This method as a sharia punishment is unheard of, even in countries where sharia brute justice is openly practised, such as Saudi Arabia.


Unlike previous incidents of stoning adulterers and crucifixion, throwing people from high buildings did not even inspire criticism of sharia in the Middle East because many did not realise it was a sharia penalty in the first place. But it is the obscurity of the punishment that makes it particularly valuable for Isis. The purpose is not to increase the volume of violence but also to raise eyebrows and trigger questions about such practices, which Isis is more capable of answering than mainstream clerics, who prefer to conceal teachings that propound such punishments. Many Isis members were eager to emphasise they were impressed by such obscure teachings, and were drawn to the group by the way Isis presents Islam with absolute lucidity.


Isis depends heavily on what Muslim clerics consider isolated incidents described in sacred texts that it believes should not be followed as rules. The function of such incidents is not necessarily to argue a doctrinal idea. Isis sometimes uses them to help members who struggle with beheading, for example, to justify what they have done. When these stories are weaved into the overall ideology of Isis, new members find it easier to accept them.


The argument that these acts are not Islamic often ignores how such stories are told. For instance, Isis tells the story of Muhammad’s commander-in-chief, Khaled bin al-Walid, who killed hundreds of captives after the 7th-century battle of Ullais in Iraq, seemingly contrary to Islamic teachings, because he had made a pledge to God that he would make a river of blood from the Persian army if he overran it. When he could not find enough people to make a river out of their blood after he defeated them, he killed the captives and opened a dam into their bleeding bodies. Isis uses the story to say this is the man described by the prophet as the Unleashed Sword of God and who was praised for his victory in that battle by the first Muslim caliph, Abu Bakr. When Isis kills its captives, a Muslim cleric can dismiss the act as un-Islamic, but Isis can simply cite the example of al-Walid.


Because Isis bases its teachings on religious texts that mainstream Muslim clerics do not want to deal with head on, new recruits leave the camp feeling that they have stumbled on the true message of Islam. 

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