A Tale of 2 Jihadists: One Learns Proper Technique of Beheading, Another Opts To Become A Scholar
By Vittorio Hernandez | September 4, 2014 10:00 AM EST
An Egyptian who has undergone training with the Islamic State (IS) revealed that among the things he has learned from the militant organization is how to behead properly. The disclosure came a day after the IS released a video on Wednesday indicating that it had beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff.
Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014. Picture taken June 11, 2014.
Other jihad techniques that Younes learned from the IS were how to snipe and use heavy weapons, Reuters reported. He trained in Syria under an Egyptian commander.
According to the report, there are about 1,000 Egyptians with IS, but Egyptian authorities estimate the number of its citizens who are overseas fighting with militant organisations has reached 8,000, including those with al Qaeda.
Younes said that even inside Egypt, there are jihadi camps, citing the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, made up of mujahideens, as an example. The group seeks to apply Islamic Law on his country, Younes said.
He shared that their aim is to oust the Egyptian government which they perceive is backed by the US government and extend the caliphate to their homeland. However, the report noted that their chances to succeed in their mission is slim since the government had crushed other militant groups one after another.
Anticipating the trouble these jihadists could bring, the Egyptian government is closely monitoring its citizens like Younes who have joined militant organisations and placed their names of a watchlist whose members would be arrested upon arrival in Egypt.
Younes, though may return with a new identity to evade arrest since he has destroyed his passport, which is considered a display of his loyalty to the IS. Younes vowed, "I will stay here in Syria until we conquer it and will come to Egypt to conquer it, God willing."
However, some would-be jihadist have decided to fight the holy war by being scholars instead of bearing arms and beheading hostages.
In Islamabad where Knight eventually lived, he met conservative and West-friendly reformers who convinced him that "I could achieve more good in the world as a scholar than as a soldier, and that I should strive to be more than a body in a ditch."
He said that the advice of the traditionalist was a reminder of the prophet Muhammad's statement "that the ink of scholars was holier than the blood of martyrs."
One realisation he eventually made was that the desire to fly to another land and fight their war was actually an American thing. Knight explained, "The American kid who wants to intervene in another nation's civil war owes his worldview as much to American exceptionalism as to jihadists interpretation of scripture."
He added that growing up in the US where military sacrifice is glorified had made him feel "entitled to rebuild other societies according to its own vision." Knight pointed out that "Before I even now what a Muslim was, let alone concepts such as 'jihad' or an 'Islamic state,' my American life had taught me that's what brave men do."
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