Islamism,  PVE,  Terrorism,  Your View

Kensington Welcomes Jihadi Preacher

This is a cross-post from Yossarian of The Spittoon

Anwal al-Awlaki is an American extremist based in Yemen. This is his website. Note the picture of a man with an AK47 which, very appropriately, Awlaki uses to represent his website. It also distributes a video of British and American troops suffering in Afghanistan, suffering which is celebrated.

On his website, Awlaki publishes a leaflet called 44 Ways of Supporting Jihad. Awlaki tells his readers that, in the current day and age, it is compulsory for them to get arms training then to go and fight jihad. And, before any apologists pop up to say I’m misrepresenting the concept of jihad in Islam, no, he is not talking about jihad al-nafs. If it entails arms training then what Awlaki is talking about is religiously justified warfare.

This is a point Awlaki makes clear when he tells readers of his website to fight against government armies in the Muslim world.

They stand against those who want to establish Islam through Jihad and they even stand in front of those who seek to reach government through peaceful means as what happened in Algeria in the past.

In other words, there can be no Islam with the presence of these armies. The Islamic rule states that whatever is needed to establish an obligation becomes an obligation. Establishing Islamic sharia is an obligation, and fighting in the cause of Allah is an obligation, and if that cannot be achieved except by fighting against these armies then that becomes an obligation.


These armies are the number one enemy of the ummah. They are the worst of creation. Blessed are those who fight against them and blessed are those shuhada who are killed by them.

It’s not just Muslim majority countries that Awlaki wants Muslims to fight, it’s also America.

In this recording Awlaki suggests that America is at war with Islam and therefore all Muslims should fight against America. What Awlaki says here is no different to al-Qaeda’s ideology.

Which probably explains why Awlaki is such a fan of the al-Qaeda linked Somali Islamists al-Shabab connected to recent terrorism arrests in Australia. In December 2008, Awlaki sent salutations to al-Shabab of Somalia.

We are following your recent news and it fills our hearts with immense joy. We would like to congratulate you for your victories and achievements.

Al-Shabab not only have succeeded in expanding the areas that fall under their rule but they have succeeded in implementing the sharia and giving us a living example of how we as Muslims should proceed to change our situation. The ballot has failed us but the bullet has not.

al-Shabab who are with limited resources in an impoverished country are a manifestation of what tawakul on Allah means. We see in them the meaning of “And whoever has taqwa, Allah will make a way out for him. And will provide for him from where he does not expect.” [al-Talaaq 2-3]

Heart warming stuff. And it gets sweeter, al-Shabab sent him a response.

Reply to the Greeting and Advice of Sheikh Anwar

O beloved Sheikh Anwar,

We ask Allah to reward you for your encouragement and words of advice. Your words have reached us and, by the will of Allah, we will benefit from your recommendations […]

Sheikh, we look to you as one of the very few scholars who stand firm upon the truth and defend the honor of the Mujahideen

It seems that Awlaki is so keen on al-Shabab that he has even been acting as their recruitment sergeant. In America, young Somali Americans began disappearing off to Somalia to fight with al-Shabab – it turned out that they had been watching lectures recorded by Awlaki and distributed online.

He even says that Muslims must not side with non-Muslims against perpetrators of terrorist attacks.

The ones who are behind bombings in the West that kill civilians. This is an issue that cannot go beyond the boundaries of fiqh. Whether the author agrees with such operations or doesn’t this issue can never be an issue of aqeedah. So even if he believes that the perpetrators of such acts are wrong and have no basis in sharia, the most he can say about them is that they have followed an invalid ijtihad. But under no circumstances is he allowed to side with the disbelievers against these Muslims. If a Muslim kills each and every civilian disbeliever on the face of the earth he is still a Muslim and we cannot side with the disbelievers against him.

Which makes it all the more disturbing when you discover that Cageprisoners has invited Awlaki to deliver a video message at Kensington Town Hall in West London on 30th August.


At first I thought this was just a horrendous mistake, an oversight which would swiftly be corrected. But then I read this report in Counter Terrorism News.

CTN spoke to the Community Safety Officer at Kensington and Chelsea Council who confirmed that the Home Office’s Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) and the Metropolitan Police had given their approval for this event to go ahead without any changes to the advertised speakers.

How can Kensington and Chelsea Council reconcile providing a platform for a preacher of violent extremism with its own Crime and Community Safety Plan’s (pdf) commitment of “working to minimise opportunities for radicalisation to flourish”. It is astounding that the local council, Metropolitan police and the Home Office all fail to appreciate that when Kensington Town Hall (a council run venue) hosts a man whose personal ideology differs little from al-Qaeda’s then this provides an appallingly convenient opportunity for radicalisation of the very worst kind.

Will they only realise the danger of such speakers when, like their American peers, groups of young British Somalis – with Awlaki’s pro-Shabab rhetoric ringing in their ears – start signing up to fight in Somalia?