Saturday, December 11, 2004

But, Joking Aside, Jihad is Just for the Dupes

The son of one of the Saudi clerics who signed a statement urging youth to join the insurgency in Iraq was reportedly arrested for trying to do just that.

"To heaven, God willing. I am going to Iraq to carry out jihad."


Sheikh Salman Bin-Fahd al-Awdah notified the authorities on 17 November, after his son left him a note saying he was off to "participate" in the "jihad" in Iraq. The Muslim scholar's son, Mu'adh, had left a note saying: "To heaven, God willing. I am going to Iraq to carry out jihad."

Sheikh al-Awdah responded to the note by informing the government's senior officials to find his son and bring him back. He reportedly remained worried and tense until the security services were able to arrest the son in the city of Jubbah, 100 km to the north of al-Awdah's home in Ha'il, the very same day.

The report of the incident appeared in an English translation on BBC Monitoring International Reports ("Youth Said Heading for Iraq 'Jihad' After Cleric Father Signs Pro-Jihad Memo," November 20, 2004 [no publicly accessible link available]) and was based on a story in the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan web site reported on 19 November.

The elopement of al-Awdah's son was rich in irony, inasmuch as Sheikh al-Awdah had just signed on November 5 an open letter calling on the Iraqi people to wage jihad against the U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq.

The story has one more twist. Apparently, the son was no more serious about personal sacrifice for the sake of jihad than the father. Mu'adh told the investigators that he never planned to leave for Iraq to participate in jihad, but was just joking with his father on the occasion of the Muslim feast of 'Id Al-Fitr.

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|| headland, 12:01 AM

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