Former Saudi chant singer ‘joins’ ISIS militants

Shwaib is currently in Iraq leading prayers as an imam after he had participated in the celebrations of pledging allegiance to ISIS’ leader

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After spending five years working as an Islamic chant singer and later a mosque imam in Riyadh, Maher Mishal Al-Shwaib, 25, joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last April, al-Hayat newspaper reported this week.

Al-Shwaib traveled to Syria last April and joined Syrians fighting the regime and later ISIS.

Although his friend, Raed Fahad, who is also an Islamic chant singer and whom he met in Syria, left ISIS after realizing the group was a terrorist organization, Al-Shwaib continues to perform as an Islamic chant singer and has called on Syrian men and children to join ISIS.

Al-Shwaib is currently in Iraq leading prayers at Al-Noor Mosque as an imam. He participated in the celebrations of pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. On his Twitter account, he encouraged Saudi youth to join ISIS.

Yousif Al-Rameeh, criminology and terrorism professor and security adviser in Al-Qassim, called on senior scholars to issue a religious decree decrying terrorist organizations, especially ISIS, that spread deviant ideas and brainwash young men.

Al-Rameeh blames families, mosques and schools for failing to play their role in society and raise public awareness about deviant thoughts.

“Our society exaggerates behavior problems caused by drug addiction and attaches great importance to such problems while at the same time forgetting about deviant thoughts,” Al-Rameeh said.

“ISIS has a big influence on young men because society’s institutions are not playing their role well. Families are not keeping a close eye on their sons and they do not know what type of friends they have or what kinds of websites they browse. Mosques and schools are not educating young men about the biggest danger: terrorist organizations. Mosques, in particular, do not talk about the danger posed by the ISIS,” he added.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Sunday July 20, 2014

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