Interview with Sheikh Abu Abdullah Ash Shaami


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Presenter: In the name of Allah the most gracious, the most merciful. All praise is due to Allah and the prayers and peace of Allah be upon the Messenger of Allah and upon his family and companions, and whoever allies with him.

To Proceed:

The fighters of Jabhat un Nusrah have withdrawn from their guard posts against the Khawarij in the region of Northern Aleppo in the background of the Turkish intervention project in the North. And this withdrawal has been preceded by attacks on the Division 30 which Jabhat un Nusrah considered to be the new arm of America in the region, and that resulted in the arrest of its leader and a number of its members and the killing of others.

And ridiculously, David Patraeus offered a suggestion to the American administration to interact with the moderate circles within Jabhat un Nusrah to fight against ISIS. While Jabhat un Nusrah has previously clarified its position regarding some of these issues, there are however a number of questions which are being circulated in the media.

To answer these and other points, Al Manaarathul Baydhaa hosts Sheikh Abu Abdullah aShaami, a member of the Shura council of Jabhat un Nusrah and a member of the General Religious Committee.

In the beginning, we would like to welcome Sheikh Abu Abdullah – May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you, may Allah lengthen your life, our generous Sheikh!

Sheikh : And may peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you. May Allah lengthen the lives of all of you!

Presenter : Let us begin along with you, our Sheikh with the most important subject which has stirred up a lot of controversy in the recent period in which Turkey has announced its intention to intervene in the region of Northern Aleppo to confront ISIS and PKK, and has announced the formation of a coalition with a number of other countries to carry out that campaign, at which some of the factions declared their participation in this campaign. But Jabhat un Nusrah issued a statement in which they announced their withdrawal from the guard posts against the Khawarij in the region of Northern Aleppo, giving a number of reasons for that. So what is the reality of the stance of Jabhat un Nusrah towards this intervention? And why did you withdraw from the guard posts against the Khawarij?

Sheikh : In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists. And the best of prayers and the perfect peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and his family and his companions. As for what follows,

Before speaking about the stance of Jabhat un Nusrah towards this Turkish intervention and the reasons for our withdrawal from the guard posts against the Khawarij, we must speak on how the situation was before the intervention. And the reality of the situation of Aleppo, and specifically Northern Aleppo, before the Turkish intervention in it, is as the following: We have a number of enemies, and there are the PKK who are trying to reach the area between Tell Abyad and Afrin, and there are the Nusayris who are attempting striving to reach Nubal and Zahra, to encircle the city of Aleppo and to separate between the north and the west, and so as a consequence, the crossing of Bab u Salaam would fall.

And there are the Khawarij who are trying to expand towards the area of Northern Aleppo where there is a front between us and them – I mean by them, the factions with Jabhat un Nusrah against ISIS. There is a front for guarding that extends for around fourty to fifty kilometers, and Jabhat un Nusrah was guarding around five to seven kilometers.

When the international coalition began to strike us and ISIS, we took an internal decision to not advance towards the area of Northern Aleppo and to try to restrict ourselves to only repel the transgression of ISIS in case they advance towards us.

And we remained in this condition for a long period guarding these regions and with these guard posts, and we did not enter into any operation’s room with the factions which are being supported by MOC or others. But we secured the guard posts to defend against the transgressions and attacks of ISIS on us and on the rest of the Muslims.

What happened recently was that Turkey is in fear of the expansion of PKK towards its southern borders which will bring about the establishment of a Kurdish state on the southern border of Turkey. And this is the real reason for the intervention of Turkey.

And from what we see of Turkey is that they aren’t serious in attacking the group ISIS, at least not at this stage.

Presenter : But why do you see it as so?

Sheikh : We can see the reasons for that by observing the relations between Turkey and ISIS, and that becomes evident within a number of points, amongst them is the fact that Turkey benefits economically from ISIS and vice versa.

Presenter: How is that?

Sheikh : That is through the smuggling of oil. Since the prices of fuel in Turkey are very high, this oil is sold and smuggled through the borders which brings in benefits for ISIS in the form of a strong economy, and similarly it brings in benefits for the Turkish economy. And this exists and it cannot be denied.

And amongst them is the Turkish consulate. And that is when Mosul was captured, a number of diplomats in the Turkish consulate fell as captives into the hands of ISIS. And then prisoner exchange was carried out in a clearly smooth manner.

And amongst them is the issue of the grave of Sulayman Shah which existed in the region that ISIS controlled, where the Turkish soldiers were moving to and fro successively and guarding it under the shade of ISIS presence until the Turkish government came forward using military force and took away this grave to a place where it sees to be suitable for it.

Add to that the issue of Ayn Al Arab “Kobani”, where the battle that took place between ISIS on one side and PKK with support from the international coalition on the other side, was bringing in benefits for the interests of Turkey and it was neither benefiting the interests of ISIS nor PKK as hundreds were killed within ISIS, and on the other hand hundreds were also killed within the Kurdistan Worker’s Party.

The point is that, all this means that Turkey does not want to lose these relations with the Khawarij, and it does not want this military force which confronts PKK to be lost, and it means as a result that Turkey is in fear of its national security from PKK and not from the Khawarij. And so it does not want this power which is attacking PKK to be struck with force. This is our analysis of the situation of Turkey as per our observations on it during the past period.

The new incident which happened recently is that Turkey’s fear over its national security from the establishment of a Kurdish state on its southern borders has pushed Turkey to intervene by taking the form and the name of ‘safe zone’ or ‘demilitarized buffer zone’ or name it whatever you like as is being spread in the media. So Turkey convinced some of the factions, that it will make a safe zone that extends from Jarablus till Azaz and that it will cover the air space for these factions that join with them while they (the factions) advance on the land.

And the reality of the matter is that since the time Turkey has made this announcement until today, it has not attacked ISIS with the same ferocity by which it has attacked PKK. And it is using this as a cover for its attack on PKK, because its real interest is in striking PKK.

And based on this, regarding what is taking place in the northern region, our initial position towards the factions and towards the intervention was that we sat with whomever we could sit from those factions and clarified to them the Islamic position, some views of which we can mention after a little while, and we also clarified to them the political position apart from what is the religious position for that. In fact Turkey is not serious, i.e. we clarified to them that they depending on Turkey will not bring them any benefit. And if we wanted to come a little in the religious position, then Jabhat un Nusrah has clarified in its official statement the impermissibility of joining the Turks in an alliance like this.

Presenter: Yes, but the statement was a short summary. You have mentioned the impermissibility of joining. Are there details for the judgment on joining an alliance like this?

Sheikh: We can explain that in a little detail, and we say by seeking the help of Allah:

The one who looks at what is happening in the north and the statement of the people of knowledge about it will find that some of them have spoken about it considering it as seeking help (Istianah), while others see it as alliance (Tawalli) or giving support (to disbelievers). But in any case, we have never seen any of the scholars even those who have described it to be giving support (to the disbelievers) or as alliance (Tawalli) or giving victory (Muzaahara) – they have NOT made Takfeer on any of these categories but rather, they have excused them with a number of excuses.

And if we look into the issue considering it as Istiaanah (seeking help), then the scholars from the four Madhabs (schools of jurisprudence) and others are divided into two categories regarding the matter of seeking help. Amongst the scholars are those who prohibit it absolutely and do not permit it, and they use as evidence the Hadith of the Prophet (saw) “Go back, for I do not seek help from a Mushrik”.

And there are scholars who see it as permissible but with strict conditions.

And we see that these conditions, if we take the sayings of those who permit seeking help (Istianah), we see that these conditions have not been fulfilled in the case of the northern region. And this does not mean that we see that what is happening is “seeking help” but rather the reality of what is taking place in the northern region is that Turkey convinced these factions to join with them. So the matter in reality is not that of seeking help even if some of the factions see it like that, which means that the factions that have joined Turkey for that are interpreting it as seeking help from Turkey or they are interpreting that the banner will be their banner. What is meant is that, during our discussions with them, they told us that “the banner is ours and we are the ones who are on the land and Turkey will not be able to do anything if we do not accept it”. So they are interpreting that the banner is theirs, and they are interpreting the matter to be that of joint interests, and they are interpreting this to be under the category of seeking help.

In all cases, the summary of these interpretations, even if we say that this is Tawalli (ie. allying with the Kuffar), this person who is confused, is excused due to the existence of these kinds of interpretations and doubts in this situation.

As for us, our beliefs in regards to the matter which is taking place in the north is that it is not seeking of help in the same form that we study in the books of our four Fuqaha (jurists) and of others, because the matter is more than that of seeking help, as Turkey and others have declared more than once that they intend to establish a safe zone or demilitarized zone or name it what you like, and it is possible that it includes the interim (temporary) government, interim government of the coalition at any moment and by the national army protecting it. This means even if we say that this is seeking of help, as long as they have declared this intention, then saying this to be seeking of help will be impermissible for those who say that seeking help is permissible. This is on the one hand.

On the other hand, America and Turkey has recently made a full arrangement in which Turkey will enter under the shade of the standing international coalition basically before Turkey intervenes in the north, whereas Turkey has handed over the Incirlik base and the bases for drones and others as such.

So whoever looks at the matter from the angle of only that of seeking help and not seeking help must look at the complete picture. Through that, we say that what is happening here is not Istianah (seeking help)-not for us to make Takfeer on the factions or to remove them from the religion of Islam and such. No, not for that! It is only for us to cause them to fear Allah, glory be to Him Most High, so that they may be intimidated and be deterred and come back from what they were upon, because this is a matter that is not permitted in the religion, and neither does it serve in terms of benefits and politics. It is not permissible in the religion and is not beneficial politically or militarily.

And that which will prove to you that the matter is not Istianah (seeking help) as seen by some of the factions, is that its timing came at a time which is not in the benefit of the factions, nor in the benefit of the revolution and those who speak about the benefits of the people of Shaam and so on. So what is to be done basically is that we and the factions sit and lay down the priorities and then we look after that as to what is our priority and we move on. And mobilizing towards the northern region was not a priority in regards to the factions except until Turkey convinced them for it.

We say this, because we see that what is taking place in the northern region is a diversion of the military strategy over which the factions had agreed upon while Jayshul Fatheh was advancing towards the forests and the mountains of the Nusayris and towards Hama and the villages of the Nusayris, and also the advancements in the south on the one hand and the dangerous reconciliations with the Nusayri regime on the other hand. So this diversion of the military compass for the factions will cause a breach in the military preferences, and it does not benefit the people of Shaam nor their revolution, even if some of them make it appear to be so based on this.

Presenter: Yes, but despite you presenting the religious point of view, you have towards the end handed over the guard posts to some of those groups who have announced their joining of the coalition or their participation in this coalition!! And many of those who are looking at this matter consider that to be coordination with them and cooperation with them, and perhaps that may also be considered as joining the coalition in one form or the other.

Sheikh: Before we get into the discussion as to whether it is withdrawal or handing over, I would like to mention something: That this matter, when the intervention happened, we sat and made consultation and laid down a number of solutions, amongst which was to withdraw. I mean, we told them that we may withdraw at any moment.

As for the initial decision which we issued in that meeting, it was that we will protect our guard posts against the Khawarij and we will not coordinate with any faction that joins Turkey, and if the Khawarij advances towards us then we will resist their attacks and we will not join.

But because of the incidents speeding up quickly in Aleppo, it presented the brothers in Aleppo with two options: That they either join this group or withdraw, and we were very keen in not joining i.e. to stay without joining. And when this thing became impossible for us, then the brothers began to withdraw. And at the time of withdrawing, they did not inform us about it. But in general, our choice was to withdraw in case of any emergency happening and it did indeed happen. I mean, the brothers believed that what makes it obligatory for us to withdraw had taken place and so they withdrew.

The issue of this withdrawal.., of course, the brothers abandoned their guard posts and instead of them, others came forward who filled these posts. And we seek refuge in Allah from leaving these posts for the Khawarij, because if we give these posts to the Khawarij, they will bring destruction upon properties and lives and blood and honour of the Muslims by violating them because they consider us and the factions as apostates. Moreover, it is also possible that they carry out a number of operations against the Muslim public claiming that they are a shield since in their view we are apostates and we are using the common Muslims as shields, similar to how they are doing now in Marea and elsewhere.

And that primarily, my dear brother, it is a withdrawal. I mean we have withdrawn. And whoever speaks on the matter as to whether it is a withdrawal or handing over, and handing over to Jabhat Ash Shaamiya, (The Levant Front) or to others etc., or those who are by signals making Takfeer on Jabhat un Nusrah because it has handed over to those who are coordinating with Turkey, and Turkey is with the coalition and so on, then it is more possible that they make Takfeer on us if we stay there (without withdrawing), and so they will come and say, “You are staying in a region that is under the coverage of the coalition and you are advancing and guarding on the land”. So in either ways, the one who does that will do that (accuse us) and it does not concern us.

And before asking about the judgment on Jabhat Ash Shaamiya (The Levant Front) and of other factions that have joined Turkey, and before asking about the judgment over this action itself, I mean before we ask as to what is the verdict on Shaamiya and what is the verdict on the action that Shaamiya has done, we ask “Is the difference amongst the present day scholars regarding the scene that is taking place in the north as to whether it is a permissible type of seeking help, or a forbidden one, or whether it is Tawalli (alliance with the Kuffar), or that they are excused or not excused, this difference, is it a difference of Aqeeda that is related to Imaan and Kufr and Al Walaa wal Baraa, or is it a difference in Fiqh? I mean that specifying the type that is taking place, it is a difference in Fiqh between the people of knowledge. There may come one who says that this is a forbidden way of seeking help and hence he does not declare the one who does that to be a Kaafir. And there may come one who says that this is a permissible way of seeking of help. And there may come one and say this is Tawalli (alliance with the Kuffar) and so on and so forth.

So what is meant is that the basis of the difference amongst the people of knowledge in specifying as to what type it is, is a difference of Fiqh over which the one who disagrees is not declared a Kaafir. This is on the one hand.

On the other hand, we have clarified and continue to clarify that these factions whatever may be our judgment over the action, our judgment on these factions is that they are Muslims, and still are Muslims, those factions who joined Turkey. But in reality they are in a great danger because they have joined Turkey considering it to be a Turkish intervention. And Turkey has made arrangements with America and America is with the international crusader coalition fighting against us day and night, even if it did not fight Jabhat un Nusrah, so joining the international coalition is a very big issue.

And hence we advise these factions on the necessity of returning back to the internal rows of the Mujahideen and let our decisions be made internally by the Mujahideen, and let us look at the real benefits of the people of Shaam which we agree upon away from the interventions of the west and the east and the foreign countries, because this is not permissible in the Shareeah and is not useful from political and military perspective. And Allah knows best.

And those from the group ISIS or others who declare us to be disbelievers for the matter that we have handed over or withdrawn from the guard posts and that we have become as per their description as they say – Sahawaat and so on, then we tell them: “You have done a number of actions which are even more clear in the scales of the Shareeah than that which you are accusing us of. And you are declaring Jabhat Ash Shaamiya to be disbelievers and after that you are declaring us to be disbelievers if we hand over these posts. And we and you agree that the Nusayris are disbelievers. This is something that no two will disagree upon. And you have several times withdrawn from some of the posts and the Nusayri army advanced towards it without you being compelled to do that. And that was only to put pressure on us and on the factions as had happened in Tha’ana and in Sheikh Zayaath in Aleppo, and as had happened in Sheikh Najjar where the main reason for the fall of the industrial city of Sheikh Najjar into the hands of the Nusayri government was because of the Khawarij permitting the Nusayri government to pass through the area from where they would besiege us. And when they besieged us, it compelled the brothers to withdraw and Sheikh Najjar fell.

And similar to that is what happened in Deir Zour where the Mujahideen from Jabhat un Nusra and other factions who were almost a thousand in number were present inside the city of Deir Zour and they only had one single supply line which was called “Jisr As Siyaasiya” through which ammunition and food and drinks would enter, and through which the injured would be transported and medical care would come in, that is, it was their only artery, and the remaining areas were completely besieged by the Nusayri regime. And they did not have any supply line other than this. And then these Khawarij came and cut off this line, which means that they completed the siege with the Nusayris. And this condition remained for more than two or three months until the brothers were compelled to withdraw and thus many were killed, some of them at the hands of these Khawarij, and some of them got arrested, and some of them such and such and so on. And amongst them was the leader of Jabhat un Nusra in the city of Deir Zour at that time Abu Hazem Al Balad, may Allah have mercy on him.

So what is meant is that the Khawarij group did a number of things even before declaring Jabhat un Nusrah to be disbelievers and they would call it as “joint benefits”.

Presenter : May Allah reward you well, our Sheikh for these details.
Sheikh : And you too.

Presenter : Since a few days, the media have circulated the suggestion of David Patreaus, the ex-director of the American intelligence agency, which he presented to the American administration regarding seeking assistance from the moderate movements inside Jabhat un Nusrah in the fight against the group ISIS. So what is your comment on that? And are there any channels of communication between you and the American administration?

Sheikh : In fact, as you have mentioned in the beginning, that this statement is ridiculous. And if we wanted to look at this statement and in what context it comes, then the one who observes the manner of America’s dealing with the field of Shaam from the beginning until now will find that it is characterized by confusion. And this statement is no more than a proof for this general characteristic. Since after America prepared several of its projects for which it spent long months and a lot of Dollars, Allah glory be to Him Most High enabled Jabhat un Nusrah to attack them within a few days. So America may have gone mad and thus David Patreaus went and stated these declarations saying that they will bring out from Jabhat un Nusrah “moderates” and fight alongside them against the Khawarij groupt ISIS as if we are not their enemies!

In any case, this is a proof for the ruin and failure and confusion of the American administration in their administration of the battle that is taking place in Shaam and also for the vision being blurred.

The second issue : Perhaps what is aimed at by this statement is not the Khawarij, not the group ISIS. And it is only an attempt to cause problems inside Jabhat un Nusrah. So then it could be aimed inside Jabhat un Nusrah and not towards the Khawarij group basically.

The third issue : Who are the moderate ones for America? The moderate one for America in our dictionary is one who is a traitor to his religion and his nation. So there is no one moderate in Jabhat un Nusrah as per the meaning intended by America.

Presenter : So does that mean that you are now denying the presence of movements within Jabhat un Nusrah? I mean we always hear about there existing a movement that calls for Jabhat un Nusrah to break up from Al Qaida group, and there is a movement that is inclined to harshness and the ideology of the Khawarij. I mean do you deny the presence of these movements inside Jabhat un Nusrah?

Sheikh : My noble brother, there are no movements inside Jabhat un Nusrah. Jabhat un Nusrah is one group, its path (Manhaj) is one, it has a political and methodological and religious vision which is one. This statement that we hear from some analysts and the statements that we hear from here and there, it is a shame that they appear in some of the media. This indicates a very very poor reading on the reality of Jabhat un Nusrah, and it is centred around some of the internet users and some who tweet, and they try to pick from them some random information blindly, and after that they come and build their long and broad analysis.

As for it being inside Jabhat un Nusrah, then it does not know of such a thing, even though there are in it some of the brothers from Jabhat un Nusrah who may put up some tweets which everyone knows do not represent Jabhat un Nusrah nor our path. And they are merely the behaviour of individuals which does not go up to represent a movement. So the sole movement of Jabhat un Nusrah which is the sole group, is known, and there does not exist inside Jabhat un Nusrah a movement that inclines towards harshness and a movement that inclines towards appeasement, a movement that wants to make treaties with the countries surrounding the region, a nationalistic movement, a movement that wants nationalism and regional borders, a movement that deals directly or indirectly with Qatar and Turkey reaching all the way to the Americans. All of this does not exist.

Presenter : But what about the intention to split from Tanzeem ul Qaida? There are individuals who are linked to the group Jabhat un Nusrah who have spoken on this issue.

Sheikh : We as regards to our relations with the group Tanzeem Qaidathul Jihad, it is that of a religious Bay’ah (pledge) on our necks for doing Jihad in the path of Allah glory be to Him Most High to this group. This is something that we consider to be part of our Jihad in the path of Allah Most High under the umbrella of a single group and before us hearing about all of that. And that in our Ijtihad (opinion) by which we obey Allah Most High, will accomplish religious benefits and political benefits for us and for the people of Shaam and the Muslims in general as Allah glory be to Him Most High has urged us towards unity. And if our enemies are fighting us globally, then we must also at least have connections with the rest of our brothers who are waging Jihad in the other lands as the enemy is one.

Iran is fighting us in Yemen and is fighting us in Iraq and is fighting us in Lebanon and in Shaam. And similar to that is America. So our enemies cannot be restricted to Bashar and his gang.

And we have said several times that Tanzeem Qaidathul Jihad is a group and we are under it. And we have said more than once and before that it was said by Sheikh Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri, may Allah preserve him, that when the people of Shaam in their revolution reach a stage of establishing an Islamic state or an Islamic government, then our group will not go out of this general scheme in the shade of what the people of Shaam agree upon by establishing an Islamic state and an Islamic government which calls for judging by the Shareeah, and is based on consultation (Shura) and spreads justice etc. This has been stated by us repeatedly several times.

Some may have understood us as that when we reach this stage and this group called as Jabhat un Nusrah is dissolved into this state, this then is the calling of now for breaking of ties. And this is a stage that we have not yet reached. We have also told to some of the factions who insist a lot over this issue that we do no see any religious benefit of breaking of ties from the group Qaidathul Jihad in this stage, and our relation with them is not an opportunist pragmatic relation just like how some are describing us to be, rather it is a relation based on religion. I mean we feel that it is an obligation on our necks to fulfill this Bay’ah (pledge) which we have pledged. And we also do not see that our Bay’ah to Tanzeem Qaidathul Jihad conflicts at all with the interests of the people of Shaam and the revolution of the people of Shaam and of the Muslims in Shaam and outside Shaam.

Let us suppose that we have broken our connection with Tanzeem Al Qaida. Will America change its stance towards us? That will never happen, “And never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you until you follow their religion”. (Quran 2:120)

Mursi was not AlQaida and offered all the compromises and despite that they set up a plot against him and deposed him.

Similarly Saddam Hussein was not Al Qaida and despite that when he opposed the plans which America aimed for, they fabricated some things and overthrew him.

What is meant by that is that, our connections with the group Qaidathul Jihad is that of a religious Bay’ah which is obligatory on our necks. When we reach the stage of establishing a state or an Islamic government, then at that point naturally all the groups will dissolve into that which is greater than it, as stated by Sheikh Usama may Allah have mercy on him, “The interest of the state takes precedence over the interest of the group (Jama’ah), and the interest of the Ummah takes precedence over the interest of the state”. And all the groups that have requested from us this matter, we have discussed with them at length that we do not see any religious benefit at this stage by breaking connections with the group Qaidathul Jihad.

And then why all this noise about the issue of Al Qaida and breaking of connections with Al Qaida? We are Tanzeem Al Qaida. Jabhat un Nusrah is Tanzeem Al Qaida. It is one the branches of the global Tanzeem Qaidathul Jihad. And we from the time of our beginning, by the grace of Allah glory be to Him Most High, we believe that we have not been negligent in defending our people, the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’ah in Shaam. And Jabhat un Nusrah by the grace of Allah glory be to Him Most High, is a strong military arm of the Ahlu Sunnah in Shaam and offers for the Ahlu Sunnah as much as it can in line with the conditions of war, services related to water, electricity, flour and so on.

We offer the people what we can in terms of security through courts and the judiciary.

We deal with a lot of the groups for military and service and so on. And this thing that we do in Shaam is the path (Manhaj) of the group AlQaida in general. So why all this insistence for us to break connections with Tanzeem Qaidathul Jihad? We will not change whether we break our ties or don’t break. This is what we are.

Then we say to some of these groups that have ties with Turkey and Qatar with support and ammunition and so forth, and it increased recently to join a coalition: Why do you disapprove of us and blame us for our ties with Tanzeem Qaidathul Jihad which is a tie that makes us feel honoured, while you have ties with countries that send to you intelligence agencies to meet with you? And you know who are those intelligence that meet with you. So why do you blame us while you do not look at yourselves?

Presenter : Coming back to the suggestion of Patreaus, aren’t you and America and some other countries united based on a common enmity towards the Khawarij or against ISIS?

Sheikh : The reality is, the term “common enmity” or “joint enemy”, is a term that needs to be paused upon. If you intend to mean like how Rome was a joint enemy to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and to Persia for example, then yes. But if you intend as intended by some of the media that are speaking on the subject saying that there is Jabhat un Nusrah that has an enemy called ISIS and America has an enemy called ISIS, then the matter is different. We reject this term as we are enemies to America from every point of view. I mean the enmity between us and America is the enmity between faith and disbelief. It is a complete disassociation, and we disassociate from America because they are the enemies of Allah and His messenger and of the believers, and no relation can unite us with them. They are Kuffar (disbelievers) and we are Muslims. So the enmity based on faith, politics and military are all present, on top of the enmity based on faith due to them being disbelievers and we Muslims. So America is a direct enemy that is carrying out attacks against us morning and evening by their planes and drones. This is on the one hand.

As for the Khawarij, they are our enemies, true. But our enmity towards the Khawarij is due to their them exiting and abandoning – I don’t say the whole of the religion as we do not see them to be disbelievers, but they got misled by a great deviance which is the deviance of the Khawarij. So we fight against them for this reason, which means that they are still in the general sphere of Islam. And hence, we do not consider it permissible for us or for others, to the extent that we do not even think, just think, of seeking help from America or to coordinate with them or declare or allude to cooperate with them in attacking ISIS, since ISIS is still in the general sphere of Islam despite the severe differences between us and them and the severe enmity between us and them, but it has not reached to the level where we consider them to be Kuffar.

And even if we accept the saying of those who say that the Khawarij are Kuffar, we do not permit ourselves to seek help from America, the great open Kaafir enemy against these Khawarij. We do not permit this ever.

So the reason we are hostile to the Khawrij is not the same for which America is hostile to the Khawarij. And both these sides are completely different. And we do not meet with America over this point neither from far nor near.

And we at this point, don’t do the deeds which ISIS has done. I mean when the Division 30 came to our brothers and our soldiers who were guarding the fronts of fighting against the Khawarij in the Northern area, and they requested from them the guard posts of Jabhat un Nusrah against the Khawarij so that they may take their place, and told them that “we cannot fight Jabhat un Nusrah, and it is only to fight against the Khawarij”, the brothers in Jabhat un Nusrah refused there to hand over the guard posts. So then the American crusader planes came and bombed the guard posts in which we were guarding against the Khawarij group. This thing did not prevent the Khawarij group from advancing towards us. This is something that we will not do. I mean, if the American planes were to bomb the Khawarij in the Northern area, we will not exploit this to advance towards them. But they are doing this.

Presenter : As Division 30 has declared to you that they do not want to fight you and they only want to fight the Khawarij, why then did you fight against them and arrest their leaders and did what you have done?

Sheikh : With regards to Division 30 in short, the slogan is “attack the Khawarij” but we are the next target, if not the first one! I mean, we know that Division 30 is a distinct American project as they have been trained by trainers from America through the medium of some countries. And America states openly without stating indirectly, that this is their new project, after Allah glory be to Him Most High enabled us to subdue Hazem and Maroof. So they are building a project, but they have learnt from the previous experiences. They see that Jabhat un Nusrah has a popular support amongst the Muslims. As for the Khawarij group, it does not have that. So in the first stage, it would be to only strike the Khawarij.

We have in a nutshell attacked Division 30 as they represent the new arm of the American project in the North. And if we don’t cut it off in the beginning itself, it will expand and encroach upon beyond the North. So when Division 30 asked us for the guard posts against the Khawarij and we did not give that to them, the American planes came and bombed us. This is one issue.

The second issue is that it is not a secret which we are disclosing. This is in fact known to all that this Division which they call as “National Army” or a part of the national army is trained by the Americans, and they have been supervising their training from the beginning.

The third issue is that whether these soldiers carry out the wishes of America or they don’t, they are but at the end and on the whole, an American project. So we look at them and deal with them on this basis.

I am here not speaking about the issue of declaring a group or individuals to be disbelievers etc., but I am speaking on the basis that this is dangerous project which can attack us at any moment. And it is a distinct American project because America wants to make a political solution and a national army and a government and so forth. So this is a part of it. This is one issue.

The second issue is that when the brothers attacked Division 30, the American planes and drones bombed us and killed around seventeen brothers who we consider to be martyrs. We ask Allah glory be to Him Most High to accept them with Him. And this is a proof for the one who may doubt that.

If some people accuse us that we attacked Division 30 to please the Khawarij then why do we guard against the Khawarij for all the previous periods? Why do we fight against the Khawarij in the south? Why have we fought the Khawarij in the east and more than seven hundred brothers of ours became martyrs and gone up in fierce battles against the Khawarij in the east?

Why all these bidding against us a lot? If we wanted to defend these Khawarij then why don’t we fight the groups which are guarding against them in the north and the south? Why don’t we do that? We do not do that. We are not hired either for the sake of the Khawarij nor for the sake of America or for others. We have our independent identity, and we have our priorities based on which we move on, and we try as much as we can to be in agreement with the Muslim factions on the land of Shaam to achieve the goals of the people of Shaam through victory and empowerment, if Allah Almighty wills. We are not concerned by the Khawarij or other than the Khawarij. And it is not necessary that if America is an enemy of the Khawarij and the Khawarij the enemies of America, that we become lackeys following this or that. We are the enemies of America, and we are the enemies of the Khawarij, and we do not coordinate either with America or with the Khawarij.

Presenter : Sheikh Abu Abdullah Ash Shaami, may Allah reward you well for this interview. We ask Allah to facilitate for us more interviews in the coming times, by the permission of Allah Almighty.

Sheikh: If Allah wills. And may Allah reward you well, and bless you.

Presenter : We also say many thanks to our brothers everywhere who are listening. And may peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.

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