Whenever I write about culturally enriched Europeans who travel to Syria to join the jihad, I generally refer to them (using quotation marks) as “Britons”, “Swedes”, “Danes”, “Germans”, etc., to emphasize the spuriousness of their designated ethnicity.
However, the mujahid pictured above and described below really is a German. Or was until recently, when he became a Soldier of Allah.
Many thanks to JLH for translating this article that was published on December 1 by Die Welt:
An Al Qaeda Fanatic
“My Name Is Abu Osama. I Am From Germany”
by Florian Flade
For the first time, there is evidence of a German advertising for Al Qaeda terrorists. In a video, “Abu Osama” calls Muslims to the battle against Syria’s Assad regime, and to a martyr’s death.
It was only a question of time before a video like this turned up. A German Islamist calls on his co-religionists to come to Syria and become part of the so-called Holy War. The man calls himself “Abu Osama” and is a convert to Islam. He is sitting with his Kalashnikov in front of the ruins of a house somewhere in Syria and touting the fight against Assad and a martyr’s death for Al Qaeda.
Die Welt is able to view the Islamist propaganda video with “Abu Osama.” The terror group, Islamic State, published it on its own internet sites in Iraq and the Levant.
“My name is Abu Osama. I am from Germany and I became a Muslim about four years ago,” says the Islamist fanatic. “I came to Syria to make the supreme effort for the word of my Creator….I have joined the caravan of jihad.”
“Don’t Call Us Terrorists”
As of this writing the video from the Syrian civil war is being examined by experts for the security forces. Their primary goals are to authenticate the recording and to determine the identity of the jihadist.
If the convert should actually be fighting for Syrian Al Qaeda, the video would be the first evidence of a German in the ranks of that terror organization. The convert goes on to declare that it is the duty of Muslims in Germany to emigrate and take part in jihad. “Brother and Sister, make the journey to jihad. Jihad is a duty. Be part of jihad.” says Abu Osama. “Do not call us terrorists. Who are the terrorists? The Americans are the terrorists!”
Then the self-designated jihadist also explains his choice of a nom de guerre. “Why did I choose Abu Osama? Because I love Osama bin Laden. Why? He struck a blow at the heads of injustice.”
Authorities Warn of Strikes In Germany
As early as the beginning of this year, security forces were warning regularly of a growing stream of radical Islamists from Germany traveling to Syria to join the fight against the Assad regime. “Far more than the 210 people we are acquainted with have gone to Syria. There are unknowns,” said Hans-Georg Maaßen, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (security/intelligence) in October.
About 60% of the departed Islamists were German citizens, several of them supposedly underage. In individual cases, the security forces were able to prevent travel to the Syrian civil war by especially dangerous Islamists. But the majority of the traveling jihadists had no problem reaching the war zone by way of Turkey.
The security forces worry that the time in Syria could severely radicalize many Islamists. It is almost impossible to determine who joined what group and who received training in weapons and explosives. “We know that many German Islamists would give anything to be accepted into Al Qaeda,” says one investigator. “And we also know that the terrorist groups are very suspicious of fighters from the West.”
Investigators warn that those returning from the Syrian war are a risk that should not be underestimated. “It is not out of the question that these people intend to carry out attacks in Germany.” That is why those who come back are closely watched.
“From The Schoolyard Directly To Jihad”
Security authorities estimate that at least 8 Islamists from Germany have been killed in Syria. In some cases there is sufficient evidence. For instance, Burak Karan, a former professional soccer player from Wuppertal. The 26-year-old German-Turk had played on the U-17 national team with Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sami Khedira.
After his career was ended by injury, he turned more strongly to Islam. He found his way into Islamist circles in North Rhine-Westphalia and became increasingly radicalized. Finally, around the beginning of the year, he traveled to Syria with his wife and two sons. To help the distressed people, says his brother. “He is with his Lord. May Allah accept him,” says the video.
The ex-soccer pro is now being celebrated by Islamists as a martyr in an internet video. Burak Karan, alias “Abu Abdullah al-Turki” died on October 11th in an attack on the Syrian air force near the city of Azaz.
The deaths of Burak Karan and other jihadists seem to have had no deterrent effect on young jihadists in the Federal Republic. Even in recent weeks, people are said to have traveled to Syria. Some were underage and reportedly radicalized in a few weeks. A security officer characterizes it: “With some it is effectively from the schoolyard directly into jihad.”