Tag Archives: Hilary Clinton

The Islamic State’s Threats to Voters in ’16 US Elections

7 Nov

Sherifa Zuhur

I was asked to give my comments on ‘Caliph’ al-Baghdadi’s recent audiotape and also ISIS’ statement on U.S. elections. I’ll start with the second, much easier task.

ISIS oppose elections in the U.S. and more importantly it opposes democracy in any Islamic society and the idealized Islamic state – the Caliphate.  Their latest document provides the doctrinal reasons for doing so.  While there might be political rationale for changing positions on this question (as did the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas), the Islamic State will pursue, to the bitter end, the religious justifications for arguing against a democratic, populist form of government (one which would unseat authoritarian modes of government, such as their own).

Their argument against voters participation in the U.S. election is firstly:

that both sides – GOP and Democrats – are inimical to the interests of Islam and Muslims.

Here is a translation of the document.  Walking through it provides little novelty to those familiar with the group, but there might be some surprises for those who don’t read texts.


IS  directs their argument in these initial arguments to/about Muslims by calling such elections an ‘apostate’ vote.  Thus the Gore-Bush election and that of Obama were also acts of apostasy.  They are especially bitter to former mujahid/neosalafi Safar Hawali who has spoken out against jihadism on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government (you can look him up in works on extremism in Saudi Arabia).  But also towards Muslims who voted for Bush in Florida

Similarly “murtaddin” (renouncers of Islam and thus apostates) are the MuslimBrotherhood and “sister sects” who support participation in the U.S. elections and have done so for other elections, such as in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Palestine.

ISIS say the only difference between Hilary Clinton and Trump is that the former is more skilled in political correctness.

ISIS is fiercely opposed to feminism (it would not acknowledge being anti-woman) and opposes Hilary as a “female feminist” & cites the well-known hadith “Never shall a people who give their leadership to a woman be successful.” (incidentally, this was a reference to the daughter of a Sassanian ruler).

#ISIS states that both Trump & HRC “committed themselves to the Jewish state” – meaning Israel, as indeed, have nearly all U.S. candidates, not only for president, but other positions.

The group condemns the outcome of elections by commenting on President Obama’s actions in the Muslim world – his invasion of Iraq & Sham, interference in Libya, his drone strikes Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia.

The Islamic State regards  HRC  as the more dangerous candidate — she is  able to lead more Muslims astray (into apostasy) by exploiting the notion of a liberal Islam or moderate Muslims.  To this they contrast Trump’s (or his advisors) definition of radical Islam as being distinct from Islam.  They write that he needs to understand that their proposals ARE Islam itself (which is ironically, the attack of right-wing analysts on all Muslims).

The group shows its intentions of not only attacking the legitimacy of elections but the rhetorical and  ‘false divisions’ of Muslims that have been created by Western (and also some Muslim) politicians, media and analysis.

If anything, this document shows that the Islamic state and all its ilk, whether al-Qa’ida offshoots or the #Jihad 3.0 variant of ISIS that may emerge in a few years, will always oppose Western-style democracy & its imposition or growth in Islamic lands.

The next doctrinally-based argument is to decry all that which is not based on Shari’ah; and all who accept  human-made legislation, judges, rulers who impose it – as tawaghit.

ISIS underscores its uncompromising view of tawhid — the single and sole authority of Allah —  in this document and aims to associate the Western or democratic vision of Islamic world with sin and apostasy.

The document goes on to condemn those who are affiliates or associates in apostasy; and who fail to act against it, as apostates.  Thereby it condemns ideal of popular legislation and voter participation as ‘ar-rida bi-kufr, kufr’;  silent consent in apostasy is apostasy.

It condemns those who ‘fight’ for the supporters of apostate democracy (which could mean the Sunni soldiers of the Iraqi Defense Forces) or any supporters of the U.S. and all those allies of Christians & Jews — a much widern net.

“Fear of deportation and abuse” is not an excuse for association with kufr  (apostasy) or Christians or Jews (This could be seen as a reference to Trump’s campaign and the urging of U.S. Muslim organizations to get out and vote against a candidate who threatens their presence in the United States.

ISIS writes that although one could argue this is coercion, the proper response to coercion is hijrah or flight (to an Islamic state) but not association with apostasy or its support.

The document makes many allusions to the early Muslims who betrayed the Muslims; and states that when angels seize sinners’ souls, they will ask didn’t they have the opportunity to emigrate (wasn’t the world sufficiently broad for them to take another alternative) instead of committing apostasy.

ISIS warns that even those with good intentions — for example to defend Muslims — who commit shirk, will be punished.

The document then states that given all of these preceding proofs, it is licit, and indeed obligatory to kill all those participating in the US apostate elections, for they are renegade apostates or Crusaders.

The language here is clearly directed at the popular electoral process:  “Say O Disbelievers, we do not worship the people”.

The Islamic State makes it clear that it is threatening threat  “Crusader” voters as well including women, who aren’t merely married and subjugated to their husband’s vote, they are voting on their own.  This may seem a bit of an obscure reference, but it pertains to the waging of violence on women.

The document concludes by asking Allah to wreak calamity on US election day like none other in American’s “pathetic history.” So does this mean that ISIS has planned violent actions?  It may have, and it would be foolish to assume that any intended by “lone wolves” might not be connected to IS Western-targeted planning departments.

In sum, this document illustrates the Islamic State’s uncompromising insistence that its Caliphate represents true Muslims – as compared to nation states & democratization even in the face of the group’s assured defeat in  Mosul and following that in Raqqa.


Syria Update, November 20, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

21 Nov

Syria Update, November 20, 2012. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 108 persons including 40 civilians.

Revised death toll for Monday: 134 killed.

The UK has agreed to recognize the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Aleppo province: The bodies of 6 civilians who had been summarily executed by the Syrian military were found in Tariq al-Bab. The Syrian military killed one man in shelling on Salahaddin. Shelling of Manah injured several persons. A sniper killed a woman in Jami`yat al-Zahra. The Liwa al-Tawhid Brigade, the Aleppo Military Council and the Transitional Military Council announced their allegiance to the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-VB95oTJdS8
Yesterday, base 46 of the Syrian military was taken by the Syrian opposition and today, reporters of Associated Press saw the bodies of 7 Syrian troops there.

The Syria military shelled the village of Hoor killing one child. Two opposition fighters were killed in clashes near the air defense base in Shaykh Sleiman.

Damascus province: Heavy shelling destroyed buildings and killed 10 civilians in Daraya today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdlOnIqD_SM&feature=youtu.be
Shelling on Hajar al-Aswad killed 4 civilians today. A body was found in al-Jobar and a body discovered in al-Qadam. 2 mortar shells were launched into the Syrian Ministry of Information building in central Damascus. 3 dead bodies showing the marks of torture were found in Mu’adamiyyat al-Sham. A mortar shell fell on my former neighborhood of Abu Rumaneh in Damascus (I used to live underneath the perennially unscheduled Constitutional Court) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aI-8hyQcPzM

Shelling on al-Shifoniya killed one civilian. Three men’s bodies were found in Harasta, and a sniper killed one in Harasta. In Harasta,and Irbeen 4 opposition fighters were killed by Syrian troops. Opposition fighters killed one man in Yabrub, presumably for sectarian reasons. One opposition fighter was killed in gunfire at a checkpoint in the city of Dumeir. A sniper killed a civilian from the village of Qalat al-Faki in the town of Sehnaya today.

Dara`a province: Heavy clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition were reported near Dara`a’s highway today.

Deir az-Zur province: 3 Syrian troops were killed here today. Ahmad Amir Abboud al-Hajr was killed today as well. ttp://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=449531371748691&set=a.193299227371908.37088.193044387397392&type=1&relevant_count=1
Syrian military air strikes on al-Mayadden killed Ammar Ibrahim Al Shlash, a child.

and Khalifah Ahmad Abdulfattah.

Hassake province: Renewed fighting in Ra’s al-`Ain resulted in the deaths of 4 members of the Kurdish defense units (of the DUP). 14 opposition fighters from the Nusra Front and the Ghuraba al-Sham brigade were killed in clashes with the Kurdish fighters.

al-Homs province: The Syrian military shelled the city of al-Qseir killing 1 civilian. Pro-regime shabiha killed one civilian today. 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on the city of al-Qseir. 1 civilian was killed after he was kidnapped by pro-regime gunmen. 11 Syrian troops were killed today in Homs province.

Idlib province: The Syrian military killed one opposition fighter in Ma`arat al-Nu`man and shelled that town today. 5 Syrian troops were killed in the province today. A Syria fighter jet blasted the town of Taftaz. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFvjqoI7o64&feature=player_embedded

Latakia province: The Syrian military shelled Jabal al-Turkman. 2 opposition fighters were killed in clashes with the Syrian military in the Latakia countryside. 5 Syrian troops were killed in this province today.

Al-Raqqah province: 1 Syrian soldier was killed today.


The UK has agreed to recognize the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324352004578130834104211440.html

NATO member states agreed to supply Turkey with Patriot missiles to defend its borders against Syrian attacks. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/20/us-syria-crisis-turkey-idUSBRE8AJ0FE20121120

The head of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party rejected the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition today. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/20/us-syria-kurds-opposition-idUSBRE8AJ1FV20121120

The Friends of Syria group which supports the Syrian opposition is set to convene in Marrakesh, Morocco on December 12th and Hilary Clinton, currently, US Secretary of State, is to attend along with more than 100 delegations.
Iran has started building a $10 million natural gas pipeline to Syria which is to pass through Iraq. http://www.arabnews.com/iran-starts-building-gas-pipeline-syria

Among Syria’s Creative Figures:

Muhammad al-Maghut, poet, noted for his free verse (1934 -2006) born in Salamiyya to an Isma’ili family.

Nizar al-Qabbani, 1923-1998, born in Damascus. His sister, ten years his senior, committed suicide rather than marry a man she did not love and the theme of women’s oppression entered his work as a poet, whose work sharply criticized Arab society and politics of his time. He was also a diplomat and a publisher.

Zakariyya Tamir, born in 1931 in Damascus, famed for short stories, for adults and children. He supports the Syrian revolution and hopes that Syria will be liberated from “tyranny and horror.” http://freesyriantranslators.net/2012/07/22/a-dialogue-with-zakaria-tamer-2/

Ali Farzat, born in 1951 in Hama, a cartoonist. He was attacked by thugs who broke his hands. He is on Facebook and his cartoons of “Highlander” comment on Syria.

Duraid Lahham born in 1934 in Damascus. A comedian and director known for his character, “Ghawwar al-Toushe.” He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999 and is considered to be a supporter of Bashar al-Assad and not of the opposition.

Farid al-Atrash, 1910 – 1974 was born in Suwayda to a Druze family associated with the independence struggle against the French. He became a composer, master oudist, singer and film star in Egypt, starring in 31 movies and recording more than 500 songs.

Asmahan. (Amal al-Atrash) 1912 (or 1915) – 1944 was born at sea as her family traveled from Turkey to Beirut. Sister of Farid al-Atrash, she became a renowned singer of Arabic compositions and an actress in Egypt and challenged conservative attitudes about women with her artistic life-style. Her musical talent was considered to rival that of Umm Kulthum and she sang the compositions of al-Qasabji, Riyadh al-Sunbati, her brother, Farid al-Atrash and others.

Sadeq Jalal al-Azm, philosopher and scholar was born in Damascus in 1934 and earned a Ph.D. in 1961 from Yale. His 1969 book, Naqd al-Fikr al-Dini in which he criticized the misuse of religion and caused his imprisonment in Lebanon. He wrote at least six books and many articles since, including a critique of ‘Orientalism.’ http://en.qantara.de/wcsite.php?wc_c=15850

Assala Nasri, born in 1969 in Damascus as the daughter of a Syrian composer, Mostafa Nasri. She has produced 23 albums and many singles including “Ah, law ha-l kursi bye7ki” and has a dramatic and powerful singing style. She supports the Syrian revolution.

Sabah Fakhri, born in 1933 in Aleppo is perhaps the greatest traditional-style singer of the Eastern Arab world, of muwashahhat and qudud Halabiyya. He did not follow the typical musical path of pursuing a singing career in Egypt, preferring to remain in Syria.

Mayada al-Hinnawi, born in 1957 in Aleppo. A great singer whose popularity peaked in the 1980s. She sang the compositions of Baligh Hamdi, Riyadg Sunbati, Mohammad Sultan, Hilmy Baker and others.

Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said), a poet, born in 1930 in al-Qassabin, Latakia to a farming family. After being imprisoned for a year, he left Syria in 1956 for Beirut. He has published many collections of poetry in which he experimented with various modernist forms and received numerous awards for his poetry. He lives in Paris. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9297

Yasin al-Hajj Saleh, born in 1961, an author jailed when he was in his 20’s in 1980 until 1996. He began writing in prison in 1988. He published With Salvation O’Youth: 16 Years in Syrian Prison (al-Saqi, 2012).

Hanna Mina, novelist, born in 1924 in Iskenderun and raised in Latakia, he would later be an exile in China. He described his education as the “university of dark poverty.” He wrote 40 novels including the autobiographical, The Swamp. http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/5584

Mohammad Malas, filmmaker, born in 1945 in Quneitra and studied cinema in Moscow. He won awards for his many films including Ahlam al-Madina, al-Layl and Bab al-Maqam.

Selwa al-Neimi, poet and author, was born in Damascus and left for Paris in the mid-70s. She has published three volumes of poetry, a collection of short stories and is best known for her erotic novel, The Proof of Honey.

Nihad Sirees, novelist, author of The Silence and the Roar. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/7006/writing-revolution-and-change-in-syria_an-intervie

Saadallah Wannous, 1941 – 1997, a playwright, born in Hussein al-Bahr near Tartus. His writing career began in the early 1960s. He introduced a “theater of politicization,” helped to found the Arab Festival for Theater Arts and the Higher Institute for Theater Arts (where he taught).

Issa Touma is a photographer, curator and director of Le Pont Organization, who supports the revolution. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/5/25/38262/Arts–Culture/Visual-Art/Art-sees-light-within-the-Syrian-Revolution.aspx

George Wassouf, born in Kafroun, Tartus in 1961, is a popular singer of Arabic music with more than 30 albums released. He has supported Bashar al-Assad and has been criticized for praising the Syrian army.

Samir Zikra, filmmaker, born in Beirut in 1945 and raised in Aleppo. His films include al-Sakran Yanfi (based on a Naguib Mahfouz novel) al-Matar Saba`in, Lan Nansa, al-Shuhud, `Anha, Hadithat al-Nusf Metr, Waqa`ih al-`Amm al-Muqbel. He coauthored a script for Baqaya Suwar (based on a Hanna Mina novel), coauthored the script for Mohammad Malas’ Ahlam al-Madina, and directed Turab al-Ghuraba (about Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi) in 1998 and `Alaqat `Ammah in 2005.
Some of the Syrian visual artists whose works include protest: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/14/152496317/even-under-threat-syrian-artists-paint-in-protest

Syria Update August 12, 2012 (IMEISS … by Sherifa Zuhur)

12 Aug

Syria Update, August 12, 2012 (IMEISS …. by Sherifa Zuhur)

The current Sunday death toll is 90.

Death toll on Saturday was 148.

Summary: The SAA is engaged with the opposition in multiple areas of Syria. The battle for Aleppo continues where telecommunication services have been cut off. The SAA claimed to have wiped out the opposition in Damascus. However, daily if not hourly reports continue of clashes, arrests, and continued action by the SAA in Damascus where the opposition remains active in some suburbs. A massive incursion into Homs follows two months of a serious siege there by government forces. If Turkey sets up refuges within Syria and no-fly zones as was suggested today, then safe corridors and areas for the opposition can be maintained under humanitarian principles. The link here may be overstating the current ‘plans’

The SAA shelled al-Shaar, Masken Hanano and Salahaddin in Aleppo where telecommunication services have been cut off.

The SAA launched a major invasion of al-Shamas in Homs where the opposition has been besieged for two months. The SAA forced 350 young men into the square of a mosque and executed at least 10 men. A minivan fleeing Shammas carrying children was fired on and 3 children were killed.

In al-Rastan, severe shelling has caused casualties and injuries.

Clashes took place in various towns in Idlib province on Saturday.

15 civilians were killed by SAA shelling in al-Tal (on the northern edge of Damascus) on Saturday including Yusuf al-Bushi, a defector from the SAA who has been working with news organizations as a citizen journalist. The SAA had been shelling and bombarding by helicopter for three days before launching a tank and ground assault into al-Tal.

There were clashes in al-Qadam in Damascus and house-to-house raids and arrests in Qabr Aatka.

The Syrian state news agency (SANA) announced that reporter Ali Abbas was assassinated Saturday night in his home in the Jdaidet Artouz area of Damascus.

The SAA is shelling the town of Tafas in Dara`.

Defections: The deputy policy commander for the province of Homs, Brigadier General Ibrahim al-Jabawi who hails from Dara`a has defected.

Joma` al-Aanzi who is the Director for Public Prosecutions for ar-Reqqah province announced his defection from the Assad government. He called for the opposition to unify/ He is reportedly in Saudi Arabia.

The Arab League delayed a meeting on Syria planned for today because the Saudi Arabian foreign minister, Sa`ud al-Faisal had to undergo a minor operation.

The German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle said that Bashar al-Assad should appear before the International Criminal Court but expressed his view that foreign military intervention would only complicate matters in Syria.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton has set up a working group in Turkey to explore worst-case scenarios in Syria, including the use of chemical weapons. Ms. Clinton and the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Syrian refugees in Istanbul. She also announced an addition $5.5 million in aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Both Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan said they support a continued U.N. (or flexible U.N.) presence in Syria.

Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Amr Rushdy said that more than 1300 Egyptian nationals have been evacuated from Syria in the last 3 weeks. The Egyptian government paid for the travel of 273 Egyptians.

In Lebanon on Saturday, a military court charged two Syrian officers – Brigadier General Ali Mamlouk and a Colonel Adnan with providing IEDs to Lebanese politician Michel Samaha. The three face charges of forming an armed group to spread sectarian violence through political and religious assassinations.

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with the Amir of Qatar, Shaykh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on Friday and they discussed Syria, expressing solidarity with the Syrian people and the need to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Basic Facts about Syria:

Population: 22,530,746
 Ethnicities: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7% Religious Groups: Sunni Muslim (74%, other Muslim (includes Alawite, Isma`iliyya, Druze) 16%, Christian 10%, Jewish (very small numbers).

GDP Growth Rate: -2% (2011) GDP: $64.7 billion 
 GDP Growth Rate: -2% (2011)
Unemployment: 8.3% Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): 19.1% (female unemployment in that age category is 49.1%

Internet Users: 4.469 million 
Exchange Rate: 46.456 Syrian pounds per US dollar

Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (2005)

Population Growth Rate: -0797.% (since the conflict) 

Population Age Structure: 0-14 years: 35.2%; 15-64 years: 61%; 65 years and over: 3.8%

Literacy: male 86% female 73.6%
 Syrian Arab Army (prior to the conflict) 220,000 regular and 280,000 reserves. Of the 200,000 career soldiers, 140,000 are Alawi.