Written by Student Rights on 11 July 2014 at 6am

Cleric inspiring Syrian foreign fighters shared with students

Ahmad Musa Jibril isnot a conventional cleric”. A convicted fraudster, he promotes the benefits of amputation as a punishment for theft, and has referred to Shia Muslims as pigs and hogs.

Jailed in 2004 on charges including bank fraud, money laundering, and possession of firearms, he ran a website containing “a library of fanatically anti-American sermons by militant Islamic clerics”.

He bizarrely faxed CNN claiming responsibility for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, while a local worshipper in Michigan claimed he had been expelled from a mosque after his lectures:

“...turned into angry rants about western crimes against Muslims...he peppered his talk with invectives against Shi’a Muslims and called on God to turn Jewish children into orphans

In September 2013 Jibril prayed for the release of Abu Nusaybah (Ibrahim Hassan) and Abu Muwahhid (Shah Jalal Hussain), both of whom were later convicted and jailed for terror-related offences.

He was named by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) in April 2014 as one of the “most prominent” of the “new spiritual authorities who foreign fighters in Syria look to for inspiration and guidance”. 

Describing him as a “cheerleader” for the conflict in Syria, ICSR highlights how Jibril offers “support, encouragement, justification, and – particularly given his status as a religious leader – legitimacy” for young men planning to travel to fight.

This includes claiming militants are “proving themselves to be real men” and that the 'Rafida' and 'Nusairi' (derogatory sectarian terms for Shia and Alawites) are “committing genocide against your brothers”.

As such, Student Rights has been disturbed to find links to material featuring Jibril being shared with students via social media in the past two weeks.

The University of South Wales Islamic Society posted an article by Jibril on Facebook on 7th July, while a video of one of his speeches was shared with students at the University of Sheffield on 29 June.

Given Jibril’s history of espousing and endorsing extremism Student Rights considers any promotion of his material to students to be of significant concern.

When this is compounded by the size of his online following, his alleged influence on those who have travelled to Syria, and his potential to radicalise young adults, it is essential that universities take this risk seriously.