Written by Student Rights on 1 May 2013 at 7pm

Abdullah Azzam's ideas shared by London Met ISOC

The promotion of violent terrorists is relatively uncommon on the UK’s campuses, though it occurs with great enough frequency to be of concern.

This week, Student Rights has uncovered a Facebook post made by the Islamic Society at London Metropolitan University on 22nd April which suggests that these ideas certainly have some support.

A picture of Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian militant seen as one of the most influential figures in jihadist ideology, the post includes a caption suggesting that any time not spent fighting is wasted.

It reads: "I feel that I am nine years old: seven-and-a-half years in the Afghan Jihad, one-and-a-half years in the Jihad in Palestine, and the rest of the years have no value".

Inextricably tied to Islamist terrorism through his theorising on jihad and his military experience in Afghanistan, Azzam’s writings can be found on many extremist websites.


It is likely that he first met a young Osama Bin Laden when lecturing in Saudi Arabia, and together they set up the Office of Services in 1984, running guest houses for militants fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Seen as a mentor to Bin Laden, his creation of a base of operations for jihad was extremely influential on Bin Laden’s formation of Al-Qaeda, though the two disagreed by 1986 over Bin Laden’s changing views on attacking Western targets.

Azzam’s rhetorical influence can also be seen in the sermons given by the Al-Qaeda facilitator Anwar Al-Awlaki, particularly his view that time spent fighting on the battlefield was worth far more than time spent at home praying.

In ‘Join the Caravan’, Azzam twice quotes a Hadith which states “standing for an hour in the ranks of battle in the Path of Allah is better than standing in prayer for sixty years".

This has since been echoed by Awlaki, who in a speech which Student Rights found on a YouTube channel shared with the University of Sheffield Islamic Circle states that:

...there is nothing that compares to jihad. The Messenger of Allah says ‘Standing in the ranks of the army in the battlefield is greater than worshipping Allah among your family for 70 years”.

Awlaki’s ideas about jihad were cited by the former King’s College London student Roshonara Choudhry as a key part of her radicalisation before she attacked the MP Stephen Timms.

That quotes from the man who helped inspire both Bin Laden and Awlaki are being shared by a student Islamic Society is therefore deeply concerning, as is the fact that the post was ‘liked’ by 27 people.

Here at Student Rights we would urge London Metropolitan University to investigate this incident immediately, and to ensure that the administrators of the Islamic Society Facebook page are aware of the seriousness of this incident.