Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Abu Qatada directs fierce criticism against ISIS - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page
Abu Qatada returns to his north London home after being freed on bail in England, on November 13, 2012. (EPA/Andy Rain)

Abu Qatada returns to his north London home after being freed on bail in England, on November 13, 2012. (EPA/Andy Rain)

Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat—Radical Islamist cleric Omar Mahmoud Othman, better known as Abu Qatada, has launched a barrage of criticism at the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, calling its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, a “liar,” and his followers “ignorant.”

Responding to a question from militants affiliated with Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria, about whether they should sympathize with ISIS, Abu Qatada said: “Baghdadi’s group and his followers are not brothers for us.”

The statement that Abu Qatada posted on Facebook and Twitter under the title “Pieces of advice to the mujahedeen in the Levant in general and Al-Ghouta in particular,” referred to Baghdadi as “misguided” and his followers as “fanatics.”

This is not the first time the Jordan-based cleric has criticized the notorious group. While on trial on terrorism charges in Jordan, Abu Qatada told the judge ISIS was Khawarij, using the Arabic word for those who rebel against Islamic doctrine. The Palestinian-Jordanian cleric was later cleared of all charges that were brought against him after he was deported from the UK to Jordan last year.

Abu Qatada criticized the group’s “bad manners, extremist discourse and [sense of] superiority,” questioning whether they represented Sunni Muslim traits.

The statement admitted that the group’s “declaration of a Caliphate and observation of Islamic Shari’a laws” have “lured” some of the simple-minded, but it argued that this should not distract wise Muslims from its frequent attacks on Muslims.

“Keep them away from you and beware of acquainting them with your affairs of jihad and if you can, evict them,” the statement told Al-Nusra Front fighters.