A British jihadist well-known for writing missives about rude Arabs and bossy Chechens in the Islamic State warns would-be jihadis that it’s “catastrophic” to let on one’s intentions too early out of love for one’s parents.
Omar Hussain, a 27-year-old former grocery store security guard from southern England, goes by Abu Sa’eed Al-Britani since running off to join ISIS. He frequently writes PR, including an appeal for doctors to come to the Islamic State, and also answers Q&A.
One segment from his “Message of a Mujahid” video has been circulating anew on social media this month: how to tell one’s family that you’ve run off to jihad.
It comes as ISIS recruitment efforts are trying to bulk up numbers in the Islamic State, including fighters, civil servants, jihadi wives and kids trained as ISIS “cubs.”
“One thing which every Muhājir will eventually face will be informing one’s parents about one’s hijrah,” Hussain said. “Depending on how close you are with your parents will affect how hard this will be, both for you and for them. Generally speaking the father-daughter relationship is the strongest bond as every father sees his daughter as his little angel, so sisters need to pay heed to how to go about in informing their parents of their whereabouts.”
“No doubt when you break the news to your parents, it will shatter their hearts, especially since it will be a shock for them. You may have had the time to get over it as you knew you would part from them since the day you made your intention to move out, however the initial impact it will have upon one’s parents will not be the same.”
Hussain stresses that ISIS recruits need to be careful not to let the cat out of the bag until they’ve arrived in their new home.
“The only exception to this rule will be to those who you fully trust and will be helping you out either financially or any other way,” he said. “Prior to leaving the house, you will have your last look at your parents’ face, so cherish that moment as you will always remember this once you are here.”
Jihadi can break the news to parents either after they’ve arrived or when they’re on the Turkish border, about to cross, Hussain advised, adding, “Both have their pros and cons, and one can decide for himself when they wish to tell their parents.”
“However, at no cost should one’s love for one’s parents lead them to get overly emotional and spill their intentions to them while still in Dār Al-Kufr [land of the non-believers],” he warned. “The consequences are catastrophic.”
And how should that “ran off to jihad” conversation with the folks go?
“Once you inform your parents of your whereabouts, they may criticise you for your choice, they may admonish and curse you, they may even use emotional blackmail in an attempt to bring you back,” he said. “Emotions have no role to play when it comes to making a decision, the Laws of Islām have been revealed and that is what we live by…. Your parents will insist that you return and may even give you false promises, however these are all weightless arguments to abandon hijrah and return to Dār Al-Kufr.”
Giving Quranic examples of parent-children conversations, Hussain stresses that “besides revealing one’s location, one should attempt to convince one’s parents that this is the right choice.”
“For example, one can ask them questions regarding the practical benefit of living in an Islamic State vis-à-vis living in a disbelieving state.”
If parents get upset that their kids ran off to join a beheading cult, the British jihadi tells youths “that this illogical and aggressive speech is just a result of being incapable to respond to arguments and/or being overly emotional.”
“If a person is cornered and is proven wrong and cannot defend his stance, they usually respond by aggression and illogical stances,” he says of parents who understandably get angry at that call.
“Your parents may be telling you bad things which they do not really mean. They are just saying things as your hijrah was a shock for them. Believe me, your mother still loves you, she’s just upset at you leaving and it is a bit hard for her to come to her senses. So swallow your sadness (and/or anger!) and realise that they don’t mean what they are saying to you. Instead, give it some time and I guarantee that your parents will apologise for what they said. Believe me. We’ve all been through it, the only difference is that sisters being emotional, it affects you more,” Hussain said.
He said jihadists should keep calling home to their mums. “As time goes on, parents will eventually come over the fact that you are here to stay; however, how long this takes is unpredictable.”
And if parents don’t become ISIS supporters, Hussain adds, “sometimes the closest of people to you will never be guided, nor will they be pleased with you.”
Hussain, though, may not be the best choice to encourage Islamic State recruitment considering his gripes about the culture there.
He’s complained that jihadists bogart each other’s cell phone chargers, that the Arabs walk off with other guys’ shoes, and the Syrians in his midst keep the kitchen “appalling” and waste food. He also complained that the administration of the Islamic State suffers due to Arabs who are “the laziest and unfit for their jobs” and heaped scorn on bad drivers in the Islamic State, beggars he found annoying, and shopkeepers who stare at you.
In September, the United Nations levied sanctions against Hussain and three other Brits on the request of Prime Minister David Cameron’s government for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of,” “recruiting for” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” ISIS.
Cameron’s office said the move “underlines the government’s determination that those who go and fight for ISIL and threaten Britain will face consequences for their actions.”