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September 7, 2014 10:59 am

Islamic State Wins Support From Jordanian Pol, Shocks Saudis

avatar by Steven Emerson

ISIS captor with David Haines Photo: SITE Intel screenshot

ISIS captor with David Haines. Photo: SITE Intel screenshot.

Ruthless violence from the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) is dividing people in the Muslim world, as shown by two recent clips from Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In Jordan, politician Muhammad Bayoudh Al-Tamimi, a Palestinian, vigorously defended the group during a television appearance posted online on August 31. Islamic State ideology “stems from the Quran and the Sunna,” he said, according to MEMRI’s translation.”The Quran and the Sunna constitute their ideology, doctrine, and conduct…there is no such thing as ‘ISIS ideology’ – its Islam.”

The Islamic State has divided the world into two camps – those who stand with the West, including the United States – and those who stand with ISIS. A recent ISIS slaughter of Syrian troops was justified, Al-Tamimi said, because, “They had killed tens of thousands of Muslims… If these Muslims are terrorists – I salute those terrorists! I salute the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria! Blessed be your hands! March on!”

For Saudi Arabia, however, news that a 25-year-old Saudi doctor, Faisal bin Shaman Al-‘Anzi, carried out a suicide car-bomb attack for ISIS in northern Iraq in July, killing and inuring approximately 30 people, sent shockwaves through the country’s press, a separate MEMRI report shows.

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Columnists questioned how someone tasked with saving lives could join a terrorist group like ISIS. Some also emphasized that the roots of the radicalization are based in the institutions of Saudi society, including the education system. Some even suggested re-evaluating the overall ideological origins of the Saudi state.

For instance, liberal Saudi columnist Halima Muzaffa called for reform of the Saudi education system and social institutions, in an article in the daily Al-Watan.

“The phenomenon [of joining ISIS] doubtlessly indicates that our education [system] is unable to improve [the students’] awareness, which means that we must reassess [the issue of] increasing the level of their awareness. However, the responsibility for this does not lie solely with the education [system], but with all the social institutions that are party to shaping [people’s] awareness. Therefore, we must rebuild the ideological-moral system in all the institutions, on the religious, educational, medical and media levels,” writes Muzaffa.

In the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, columnist Mishari Al-Zaidi compared Al-‘Anzi to other doctors in history who participated in brutal activities, such as Nazi doctor Aribert Heim and Serbian doctor Radovan Karadzic. He noted that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri also is a doctor.

The ISIS ideology is “a malady that kills off the conscience and emotions,” Al-Zaidi wrote. He called on Saudi education and health professionals “to open their eyes and wake up in order to notice any sign, even the most minute, of any civil servant’s [attraction to the ideas of] ISIS – which could become a cup of poison that will end up causing bitterness and death. This epidemic means that [we must declare] a state of emergency – from the home through the office to the street.”

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism ( where this article first appeared.

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