52 Saudi clerics, scholars call to battle Russian forces in Syria

A man rides a motrobike past a site hit overnight by what activists aid were airstrikes carried out by Russian air force near a camp for displaced people on the outskirts of al-Ghadfa town in the southern countryside of Idlib, Syria. (File: Reuters)

Fifty two Saudi inciters, both academics and clerics, have called on the public to “hurry” to Syria where they should be fighting Russian forces.

The clerics, some of which are members of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, called on “all those who are able, and outside of Saudi Arabia, to answer the calls of jihad” and to fight alongside one of the extremist groups facing Russian forces.

According to experts, by issuing this statement, inciters seek to implicate Saudi, Gulf, and Muslim youths in the fight against Russian forces, mirroring Al-Qaeda’s and the Taliban’s recruitment of young fighters during the Afghan-Soviet war.

The statement also called for Syrian opposition fighters to “unify their front” and urged those with capabilities to fight and expertise to remain in Syria and not leave.

The statement comes after the Saudi Ministry of Interior raided a house where its residents manufactures bombs in a residential area in Riyadh. The house was run by a Syrian man with the help of a Filipina woman who prepared and sowed explosive belts.

The statement also comes days after authorities found and detained Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) cells, mostly comprised of militants who returned from areas of conflict.

The invitation to join the conflict conflicts with a Saudi decree announced in March 2014 which listed ISIS and the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudi Hezbollah, the Houthi group, AQIP, and Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Iraq.

The decree also criminalizes taking part in combat outside of Saudi Arabia, or belonging to extremist groups or groups designated as such by the regional or international arena.

Some of the clerics who signed the statement previously issued fatwas on the events in Syria and providing guidance to fighters under extremist groups in the embattled country.

A relationship with the son of Abdullah Azam

The direct relationship between a number of the signatories to the statement without Abdullah al-Azam, who is the son of Palestinian Abdullah al-Azam living now in Jordan, was also noticeable.

Al-Hazifa did not hesitate to show its direct relationships with the fighting factions in Syria and its attempts of making reconciliation between them. He even interfered to release the mother of one of the female broadcasters in an Arab channel in rural Damascus after it was arrested by the Army of Islam. He said: “If there was in any way a bypass from the Army of Islam’s side, I am ready to fix it and would provide any other service you might require from the Army.”

Through the follow-up of one of the signatories, Dr. Mohammed Musa al-Sherriff, the size of the special relationship he has with one of the heirs of Abdullah Azam who was the professor al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appears too.

On the other side, the International Union of Muslim Scholars released a similar statement calling for “the support of the fighting in Syria and providing it with money and any other means of cooperation each according to his abilities and jihad spirit as support can be provided too with money and prayers.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:56 - GMT 10:56
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