When Ashraf threatened the West by saying, “We come to you with slaughter,” he was merely quoting Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, who told the pagan Quraysh: “I swear by Him in Whose Hand lies the soul of Muhammad! Verily, I have come to you with slaughter!” Given Muhammad’s central role in Islam as the uswa hasana, or excellent example of conduct (Qur’an 33:21), it is extremely difficult for peaceful Muslims to refute the jihadist contention that they represent true and pure Islam. It might be more effective for them to acknowledge that such elements of Islamic tradition exist, and to deny definitively that such elements should be implemented now or ever again.
Meanwhile, non-Muslim analysts will continue to insist as a prerequisite to being admitted into polite society that such people as Ashraf represent a twisting of the original peaceful Islam. That is a comforting notion, but a false one. Not only is it false; it actually cuts the ground out from under actual Muslim reformists, by denying that they have any legitimate reason to question and reevaluate Islamic texts and teachings.
“‘We Came To You With Slaughter’: Quebec Terror Suspect; Berated Muslims online for not fighting jihad,” by Stewart Bell And Graeme Hamilton for the National Post (thanks to Alex):
MONTREAL – On the Internet, he was known as Ashraf. It means noble in Arabic.
But the hundreds of incendiary messages he posted to pro-al-Qaeda Web sites were anything but.
From his computer in Quebec, Ashraf disseminated articles that berated Muslims for not fighting jihad; called for war until “religion will be for Allah alone”; and bluntly advised the West that, “We came to you with slaughter.”
Yesterday, Said Namouh, 34, a landed immigrant from Quebec, appeared briefly in a Montreal courtroom, accused of working with an Austrian extremist to plot a truck bombing in Europe.
The RCMP said Mr. Namouh used the alias Ashraf, and a U.S. terrorism research group said Mr. Namouh and the on-line Ashraf who appears regularly on jihadist Internet forums are one and the same.
“It’s definitely him,” said Rita Katz, Director of the SITE Institute, a terrorism research company that monitors the “on-line jihadist community” for government and corporate clients.
“I am confident that the member by the name Ashraf that SITE found as a member of Global Islamic Media Front is the same Ashraf who was arrested by the Canadians.”
She said Ashraf was “a prominent and senior” member of the GIMF, an international network of al-Qaeda sympathizers who translate, repackage and disseminate the propaganda of Islamist terrorist groups.
Through the GIMF’s on-line forum, Ashraf communicated with Mohammed Mahmoud, the alleged leader of the group’s German branch who was arrested in Vienna on Wednesday along with two other suspects. The RCMP accuses Ashraf of conspiring with Mr. Mahmoud to detonate a bomb.
On other jihadist message boards, Ashraf switched to different aliases. But while he has been charged with planning an attack, what he mostly did was spread propaganda.
He distributed links to videos by al-Qaeda deputy Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Azzam the American. In one posting, he reacted to a suicide bombing in Iraq with the message: “May God defeat the crusaders and the Shia.” Said Ms. Katz, “A lot of what he was doing on-line was in support of the Islamic State of Iraq.”…