Intro and Analysis
The Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen [more fully, Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen in the Environs of Bayt al-Maqdis], a Gaza-Sinai jihadi group and opponent of the Hamas government in Gaza, had previously come out in support of the Islamic State's [IS] predecessor ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and ash-Sham) in February of this year, defending ISIS' supposed right to 'self-defence' in the face of fighting with rebel groups in Syria. This reflected a wider trend ofsympathy for ISIS in the Gaza-Sinai area, which now features an IS network in the form of Jamaat Ansar al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Bayt al-Maqdis.
However, such sympathy/support [nusra in Arabic] needs to be distinguished from an actual pledge of allegiance [bay'ah] that is now an essential part of IS' identity. That is, for IS, there are in reality no compromise positions when it comes to alignment with the group's Caliphate agenda: one must declare bay'ah and subsume oneself under IS. Yet the Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen has not declared allegiance to IS and- like Ansar al-Shari'a Tunisia and Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis- is aiming for an ultimately incoherent 'third way': that is, showing sympathy for IS while not subsuming itself under IS' formal demand for recognition of its supposed supremacy and authority over Muslims worldwide and eventually the entire world.
Those within the global jihadi community trying to uphold this 'third way' are doing so on anti-fitna grounds: namely, the notion that since all jihadis have the same end goal of a worldwide Caliphate, they should put aside differences and unite ranks as 'brothers' in creed and manhaj ('program'), while confronting the common enemies. Indeed, this latest Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen concludes with just such a call to unity in light of the U.S.-led coalition against IS, and invokes the targeting of Jabhat al-Nusra as evidence of a wider war on Islam.
It should be noted though that some others who were to be noted for an anti-fitna position during the period when IS was just ISIS have now declared bay'ah to IS, with the most recent case-in-point being Ansar al-Tawheed in Bilad al-Hind [India], which had released a message in May appealing for help from both Aymenn al-Zawahiri of al-Qa'ida and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of ISIS. This month, the group declared allegiance to IS.
Below is my translation of the Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen statement.
Support for the Islamic State in the face of the Crusader attack
In these days the mill of a new Crusader war is turning against the Ummah of Islam, through a Crusader alliance led by America and standing with it the creeds of disbelief and organizations of apostasy despite their differences, in an attempt to stop the Islamic expansion embodied in the Islamic State's conquests and their expansion over wide portions of terrain of Iraq and al-Sham, and in light of those developments we say good luck by God.
Indeed the rapid victories of the mujahideen of the Islamic State and their huge successes on the ground, with the defeat of herds of the Rafidites [Shi'a], driving away the remnants of the Peshmerga, and resisting the Sahwa gangs: all this can only be from the preference of God Almighty for our brothers after years of preparation, jihad, spending and giving. For it was not a coincidence or mere spur of the moment, but rather God's victory that comes down on his faithful, enduring and steadfast worshippers waging jihad. And those victories have made rough the beds of the forces of tyrannical idolatry of the Arabs and non-Arabs.
So they have stood perplexed and baffled before this growing Islamic expansion, which also bears for them in its fold emerging signs of the danger of the beginning of a new historical stage in which the supremacy and leadership of the Ummah of Islam will return, the men of Tawheed and the people of jihad in the path of God will take up the reins of affairs. Further, they have intimated to each other thus: "Come forward to destroy these people [IS] before their soles trample on the thresholds of our capitals and the palms of their hands knock on the doors of our forts!" And they have held their determination to wage war on the Islamic State, have made promises to some of them, and blessed themselves with victory. God Almighty says: "The oppressors have only promised each other delusion" [Qur'an 35:40].
With the growing seriousness of that Crusader alliance (rendered helpless by God's permission), responsibility and faithfulness on the shoulder of the Muslims in every place as regards what is happening are growing greater and more serious: thus support for the Islamic State is obligatory on every Muslim with any means he has, for God only entrusts to a soul what it is capable of, and it is not necessary for differences here and there to act as an obstacle to the fulfilment of the obligation of support, help and all forms of good will, which is being steadfast in our religion for all who have approached Islam. How can we delay in supporting the Islamic State when the nations of disbelief have gathered against it? God Almighty says: "Those who have disbelieved are helpers of each other: if you do not take action, there will be fitna and great corruption on the earth" [Qur'an 8:73]. And it has come in interpretation of this verse: "Those who have disbelieved are helpers of each other, and if you, oh believers, are not helpers of each other, there will be for the believers in the land strife from God's religion, and widespread corruption deviating from God's path and the strengthening of the pillars of disbelief."
The one looking at the Crusader alliance today finds that it gathers among its components nations fighting each other and peoples hating each other, particularly from countries of the West that modern history witnessed as participants in conflicts and world wars among them during which states were destroyed in their entirety, and in which they spilled each other's blood by the hundreds of thousands. But they have pretended to have forgotten their upheavals and they have glossed over their differences, and they have gathered their affairs under the banner of the Hubal of the age- America- for the sake of waging war on Islam and Muslims. For the cowardly air-raids that have targeted the bases of a number of fighting factions- among them Jabhat al-Nusra- bear in their interior clear messages that the attack will not be limited to the Islamic State, and that there will be targeting of all who bear arms and call for the application of Shari'a whatever their name or appearance, including and even if they are from among the adversaries of the Dawla itself [IS]! [...]
In the shadow of this war, how can we content ourselves with a land that is not the land in which God and His Messenger would like to see us? A land of support for the believers and irritation of the disbelievers, a land of the unity of the Muslims and their solidarity as the single edifice, and their summoning of each other towards the wound of their brothers like the single body, as there is no place to sit on the fence and embrace silence [...].
And it was from God's preference that the new Crusader attack- and the last by God's permission- revealed many of the dark faces that have been made to drink hypocrisy for some time, and the day has come on which the veil will be removed from in front of the disbelievers and their hatred for Islam and its people. By that we mean without the turban of the age of the sheikhs of the authorities and the scholars of the Marines who are not ashamed to express frankly their hostility to the Islamic State and publicly support the Crusader attack on it, showing no regard for the fact that supporting the disbelievers over the believers constitutes recalcitrant apostasy…They have persisted in their transgression even after many women, children and elderly from the Muslims fell on account of coalition bombing. And God willed to expose all the conspirators and participants- even in word- in this project to fight the Islamic State. So there has appeared for us the malignant nature of their consciences as well as the corruption of their creeds, so that what is happening today is an ample opportunity that must be seized to warn the general populace of Muslims about these snake-oil salesmen in religion who pick a quarrel with knowledge: religion and knowledge have nothing to do with them.
As for the organizations of apostasy and collaboration- particularly in the Arabian Peninsula- the striking hand for the Crusaders has remained, and it will make most of those besides it aware that the light of Islam has begun to emit rays and become visible for everyone who sees, so they have mobilized with the incentive of submissiveness to the supremacy of the disbelievers, and with incentives to preserve their thrones and flimsy power-bases.
And it is amazing that they with the rest of the states of the alliance are standing today- from where they have not taken into account- in a land of defence, not attack, for this one defends its chair, that one its interests, and another the stability of its land after their corners were shaken by the victories of the Islamic State- whose mujahideen have continued to take up the reins of initiative, attack the dens of the forces of idolatrous tyranny, and expose their edifice, in parallel with the efforts of their brothers who are carrying the banner and striving towards the goal in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya, Somalia, the Islamic Maghreb, the environs of Bayt al-Maqdis [Jerusalem], the Arabian Peninsula and India. We ask God Almighty to gather the word of the mujahideen on righteousness, unite their ranks, remove the shackle from their chests and raise the banner of Islam on their hands [...]
Finally we say to our brothers in the Islamic State: Be patient, endure, remain steadfast, and be aware of God: perhaps you will prosper, and know that this is a new cycle from the cycles of tribulation that God promised His worshippers when he said: "We will surely test you with an element of fear, hunger, and loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give good tidings to those who endure" [Qur'an 2:155]. So accept the escort of God, His protection and His fortified victory. Know that your enemy is an alliance of people quarrelsome with each other whom God is on the verge of confounding to failure and turning their strategy on them to destroy them by the Almighty's permission [...]
Oh God, give victory to Islam, strengthen the Muslims, and preserve the God-fearing mujahideen…oh God, defeat America, and whoever has allied, cooperated with or supported it.
Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen
Environs of Bayt al-Maqdis
Wednesday, 7 Dhu al-Hijjah 1435 AH, corresponding to 1 October 2014.