Al-Qaeda's chilling jihadist video of Mouin Abu Dahir

Al-Qaeda has released a video of suicide bomber Mouin Abu Dahir, the jihadist who blew up the Iranian embassy in Beirut

Diana Moukalled

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The video recently released by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades entitled “The Iranian Embassy Raid” may not be able to give us much information. It shows Lebanese suicide bomber Mouin Abu Dahir from Sidon, who was raised in a depressed, marginalized environment.

He later became a fighter in Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmad Al-Assir’s group, which led to his eventual death after he blew himself up in a suicide bomb, targeting the Iranian embassy in Beirut. The attack killed 23 people, mostly civilians.

The video follows the same format consistently used by al-Qaeda in introducing its youth before driving them to their deaths with sectarian discourse in place of reason.

This is the first Lebanese video and it has been late in coming out, months after the attack on the Iranian embassy.

Recruiting jihadists

In it, Abu Dahir threatens that more suicide attackers will target Hezbollah. The recording, which is embossed with the emblem of the Al-Awza’i Foundation—the Lebanese version of al-Qaeda’s media wing, Al-Sahab—looked like a Lebanese production.

The producers of the video were keen to highlight the atrocities committed by Iran in a section called “Iran’s crimes and its tools against Sunnis.” It showed pictures of murdered Syrian civilians who had been killed in the war torn country, accompanied by speeches by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vocalizing support for his party’s fight alongside the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

However, the most worrying part of the video is when Dahir addresses Sunni clerics: “I call on our scholars to urge our youth to commit to jihad, because it is a duty, and if you move, the youth will move with you.”

In fact, just as the video appeared, journalists in Amman following the trial of extremist religious cleric Abu Qatada reported his support for suicide attacks in Lebanon.

[The video] showed pictures of murdered Syrian civilians who had been killed in the war torn country, accompanied by speeches by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vocalizing support for his party’s fight alongside the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Diana Moukalled

When a journalist asked Abu Qatada about the civilians who were killed in the explosions, he said: “Hezbollah is responsible and the indisputable religious opinion is that they all met what they deserve, according to their intentions.”

Qatada issued a fatwa to kill in the 1990s, which terrorist groups in Algeria used to kill civilians, including children.
Some call on journalists to re-think the broadcasting of videos that call for sectarian killings and include statements by extremist clerics, saying they might increase the susceptibility of troubled youth such as Dahir and persuade them to join the on-going killing spree.

Fighting back

However, the ability of news, photographs and videos to reach people is greater than the attempts to control them, and doing so is not a deterrent to those actions in the first place.

Here, we must admit that attempts to contain extremist ideology do not work without the admission of the greater sin which was committed, and is still being committed, by Hezbollah in its participation in the fight alongside the Syrian regime and its contribution to intensifying sectarian tensions.

Attempts at fighting extremism or ‘takfir,’ a Muslim calling another a non-believer, must target both the internal and external causes of the phenomenon, represented on the inside by people like Qatada and his ‘takfirist’ ideology, and on the outside, by Hezbollah.

Anything less than this and we will continue to receive videos and statements while we live through daily explosions and deaths.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Feb. 18, 2014.


Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

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