An imam? Someone who had dedicated his life to understanding Islam properly? How could such a person possibly turn to jihad terrorism? Doesn’t he know Islam is a religion of peace? Surely the imam Pope Francis and the imam H.R. McMaster are on their way to Mauritania now, so that they can explain to the imam Samer Shehadeh how he is misunderstanding his peaceful religion. Or perhaps the vast majority of peaceful Muslims are already taking it upon themselves to set Shehadeh straight. Aren’t they?
Prague, Jan 23 (CTK) – The Czech police have accused former Prague imam Samer Shehadeh, his brother Omar Shehadeh and the brother’s wife Fatima (formerly Kristyna Hudkova) of terrorism and the latter two of joining a terrorist group fighting in Syria, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Tuesday.
All the three suspects are Czech citizens, the two men are of Palestinian origin. They have been prosecuted as fugitives, the paper writes, citing the Czech National Centre for Organised Crime (NCOZ).
The former imam helped his brother and the brother’s wife travel abroad, join a terrorist group in Syria and he approved their actions, MfD writes.
Omar Shehadeh travelled to a war zone in Syria, via Jordan and Turkey, in October 2016 and joined the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group, a successor to Al Nusra, in Idlib. He was trained in fighting with arms and then chosen for training for committing terrorist attacks, the paper writes.
Before his departure, Omar lived in Mratin, a small village near Prague.
Samer Shebadeh fled the Czech Republic in October 2016 when the police showed interest in him over a message he sent through the WhatsApp application to Czech Muslims, warning them against taking part in a Christian religious service. He keeps hiding in Mauretania, the paper writes.
Muneeb Alrawi, head of the Czech Centre of Muslim Communities, distanced himself from Shehadeh if he had any possible links to terrorists, MfD writes.
Alrawi said he has not had any contact with Samer Shehadeh for at least two years.
He told the paper the Muslim community registered Shehadeh’s fundamentalist views in the past.
The accusation of Samer Shebadeh may have far-reaching consequences for the rather small Muslim community in the Czech Republic, Miroslav Mares, an expert in extremism, told MfD.
“He was a person with a high position in the Muslim community and with a considerable influence. The community has always been telling it is moderate. Now this image seems to crack. We should not ignore it and the secret services should monitor the situation, especially if these people returned to our territory,” Mares said.
Shehaded’s firm leases rooms in the centre of Prague and the Muslim community rented them from it and used it as a mosque, the paper writes…