(Tamimi News Agency: Some random dormitory in Brasenose College, Oxford).
In the latest bizarre twist in the Syrian civil war, the al-Qa'ida affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) is reportedly losing hundreds of fighters from its ranks, according to defectors from ISIS.
The defectors expressed their growing disillusionment with ISIS' direction, in particular Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's disgustingly liberal mores that contravened Shari'a and his attempts to counter Western media portrayals of the group as a puritanical, psychopathic organization of kamikazis with scant regard for locals in their territory.
"My dream of a Khilafa under ISIS has collapsed like a house of cards," laments an anonymous ex-ISIS commander from Idlib who refused to reveal his face in a Skype interview. "The fact is, I loved the portrait of us in Reuters, the Washington Post, and New York Times as a bunch of mad fanatics who enjoyed killing innocent civilians for the sake of establishing Allah's law on Earth, incapable of outreach and changing our tactics."
"Then the horrifying truth of our deviation from the true, immutable path dictated to us by the Western mushrikeen became apparent when I found out we had to distribute toys to children for Eid. I discovered that these were toys from the Satanic West! Spiderman, Barney? Talk about imitating the kuffar which our Prophet had forbidden! Worst of all, I learned that Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had permitted the distribution of the gay purple Teletubbie. Promoting homosexuality? Surely haraam beyond belief! I became convinced that Baghdadi was nothing more than a munafiq secularist"
Another fighter- identifying himself only as Mu'awiya- told Tamimi News Agency via e-mail that his disillusionment came about after ISIS began holding da'wah meetings in Aleppo. "All the pundits writing for Foreign Policy and all those other hip Western publications said we never learn and just impose Shari'a to the letter straight away. This firmness in adhering to principle inspired me to leave my decadent life in Dubai of picking up Russian prostitutes and daily shopping sprees to go fight jihad in Bilad ash-Sham.
"Then- my Allah!- I saw we were allowing young girls without a hijab to take the microphone. I vomited with disgust when I learnt the order for this had come from an amir after whose name I would always say 'may Allah protect him'! To think of the risk of impure thoughts poisoning my chaste mind! Where was the burka when you needed it?!"
Though we did not bother to verify or corroborate any further with ISIS sources, the two men assured us they had broken off from ISIS to form a new splinter group: the Lions of Takfir in Iraq and ash-Sham Brigade, dedicated to exact replication of al-Qa'ida's original tactics that sparked the beginnings of the Ṣaḥwa movement in Iraq.
For their part, loyal ISIS commanders- bolstered by their cooperation with FSA and other battalions in Latakia and Mannagh airbase- expressed their determination to form a new Ṣaḥwa movement against the takfiri splinter. "We are going to wipe the floor with them," explained an anonymous ISIS commander by phone, who asked for his name t remain anonymous. "But first we need Martin Chulov to come and promote our cause with a couple of Guardian articles. I've got a Torah in one pocket and want to get a Rig Veda for the other to give to him. We have to confront them at some point, just as Reuters said Jabhat al-Nusra had to do when ISIS was the unchanging bogeyman of the kuffar's nightmares."
Other rebels expressed similar thoughts, accusing the new takfiri splinter of being an Iranian and Assad proxy and agent.