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Analysts: ISIS’s extremist ideology stems from four Egyptian men

The sources told the newspaper that four Egyptian men shaped ‘the “core” of the group’s ideological leadership’

Published: Updated:

The hardline religious beliefs adopted by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are thought to be inspired by four Egyptian radicals with extremist backgrounds, analysts told UK-based pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

While many ISIS militants come from the West, the report suggests that its leaders are of Arab origin.

The sources told the newspaper that four Egyptian men shaped “the ‘core’ of the group’s ideological leadership,” in spite of their lack of “education in mainstream Islamic scholarship.”

The report provided background information about the ISIS strategists and said they witnessed attempts by the militant group to “administer its own brand of Islamic justice in areas under its control.”

Among the four men is Helmi Hashim, an Egyptian man regarded as ISIS’s jurisprudential authority. He is the author of a The People of Cessation between Doubt and Certainty, in which he argued that countries that are “not truly Islamic” are perceived as “legitimate targets for armed violence.”

Voicing support

In the book, he also voiced support for takfirist ideology, which regards disbelievers as infidels, and justifies acts of violence and terrorism against them.

An expert on fundamentalist movements said that Hashim is thought to be the mastermind behind ISIS’s religious ideology, the newspaper added.

Yassir al-Sirri told Asharq al-Awsat “Hashim had been a police officer in Egypt who became radicalized after being removed from duty and jailed over links with individuals themselves linked to the murder of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.”

The second man is Abu Muslim al-Masri, ISIS’s chief shariah (Islamic law) judge. Experts believe that Masri initiated the ISIS’s act of beheading victims.

The third ISIS man bearing the same name is believed to have been the militant group-appointed sharia judge in Syria’s second city of Aleppo, but is believed to have been killed. The fourth man is Aboul Harith al-Masri.