CST Blog

Jihadist measures to fool the police

31 July 2009

The Jamestown Foundation has an interesting report today, about an article from the online Jihadist magazine Sada al-Jihad (Echo of Jihad), which offers advice to its readers on "security precautions" to fool the police and security forces. The article discusses several examples of "un-Islamic" behaviour which jihadis, so the author says, are allowed to practice in pursuit of their activities. These include, according to the report:

• Shaving the beard. Unmistakable security necessity lifts the religious taboo on shaving the beard but this must not become a habit. This measure would throw off secret services only in cases where they are acting on an unconfirmed tip and/or have a wide range of suspects.

• The training recommends chewing gum and wearing gold jewelry (both forbidden for men in Islam) at border checkpoints or in any high risk security environment. In some underdeveloped countries, police patrols very often stop and screen people traveling after midnight. There are cases when the highway patrols’ suspicions led to the arrest of very dangerous terrorists, such as the case of three Hezbollah operatives caught in possession of Katyusha rockets in Jordan (Al Sharq al-Awsat, March 9, 2002). Bearded men usually attract the attention of regular police in countries hit by jihadi terror attacks.

• Holding a cigarette without lighting it or possessing a pornographic magazine without looking at it is also enough to disguise the jihadi’s religious identity, though the training urges jihadis to get rid of these items immediately after achieving the intended purpose.

• If the jihadi has to take alcohol, he must be careful not to drink too much. In this case, even the smallest amount of alcohol could expose the jihadi because jihadis have a very low tolerance for alcohol.

• Cursing religious figures or Islamic practices is allowed.  

• Preaching (da’wa) is not mandatory in Islam as long as others do it. It becomes religiously mandatory if no other Muslims are taking up the task, but in high risk security environments, jihadis are allowed to drop that religious duty.

• When in an internet café, the jihadis should listen to music while communicating through the internet for jihadi purposes (Salafi-Jihadis are often opposed to the playing of musical instruments).  

• It is prohibited to change a person’s God-given features using plastic surgery or wearing a wig unless it is necessary to escape capture.

• When communicating through email, jihadis must refrain from using Islamic greetings such as “Assalam Aleikum.” Instead, jihadis should open the emails with “Good day,” or “Hi.” At the same time, two email addresses should be used, one for sending emails and the other for receiving.

• Before leaving for jihad, the jihadi must leave behind fake love letters to mislead any investigation regarding his destination.

• To avoid physical torture in the prisons, jihadis are allowed to bribe the prison guards, but if bribing the guards with cigarettes does the job they should not give the guards a bottle of wine; meaning jihadis should commit the lesser sin when they can.  

Throughout this security training, the author reminds jihadis not to commit the sin of lying unless absolutely necessary (such as in cover stories), but security services have long known that jihadis follow a fatwa (religious ruling) that allows them to commit perjury under oath.

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