Sunday, December 6, 2009

Palestinian Mujahideen Found New Media Outlet, Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'l Jihad in Bayt al-Maqdis Releases Rockets Video

In order to "aid" the ongoing "media war" between the forces of belief and unbelief in the occupied Palestinian Territories, "mujahideen" ["warriors of faith"] and their supporters there have founded a new jihadi-Salafi media outlet, the Mu'assasat al-Rayyat al-'Ilamiyyah, which translates approximately to the "Foundation of the Media Banner." It's logo is pictured above, with the Arabic word for banner (al-Rayyah) dominant with a flag emblazoned with the Muslim testament of faith (shahada) attached to the end. The shahada states, "There is no god but [the One] God, and Muhammad is His Messenger."

The statement announcing the new media outlet's founding says that it will assist the "mujahideen" in countering the "tyrants" and illegitimate rulers in the Muslim world, which presumably include both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian governmental structure in the West Bank and the HAMAS government in Gaza. The full statement can be read HERE.

One of the several small Palestinian jihadi*-Salafi groups operating in the Gaza Strip is Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'l Jihad fi Bayt al-Maqdis, literally the Movement of Absolute Monotheism and Struggle in the Holy House. "Bayt al-Maqdis" is an Arabic term used for Jerusalem's Muslim shrines, some of the holiest to all Muslims. The Jama'at released a short video, "Border Guards," on November 2, followed by its ideological manifesto, "'Aqidatuna" ["Our Creed"] in mid November. On November 26, the group released a message to mark the first day of 'Eid al-Adha, the multi-day holiday that ends the Hajj pilgrimage season and commemorates the prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son on God's command.

The Jama'at released a new video on December 3, showing several of its members building homemade rockets and launch pads as well as setting up five rockets to fire into Israel.

*NOTE: The term "jihadi" is a much-contested and often problematic one. "To struggle" (ja-ha-da) in Arabic has several connotations, and can refer to both physical and spiritual struggle. It can also have a militaristic meaning, which is how I use it on Occident. After much consideration I have decided to use the term, despite its potential problems. I have done so because the movements, such as al-Qa'ida Central and its affiliates, use the term to describe themselves.

For example, the Arabic-speaking groups self-describe as "Harakat Jihadiyyah" or "Tayyar Jihadi" (Jihadi Movement) and "Quwat Jihadiyyah" (Jihadi Force). "Jihad" is a word that has entered other Islamicate languages from Arabic.

There are, of course, some important linguistic differences in language use by Arabic-speaking groups. For example, they do not use "jihadi" as a noun, and instead use the noun form of the Arabic root, "mujahid" and the PLURAL(S): "mujahideen, mujahidun," which translates approximately to "those who struggle [for faith]". Given my use of "jihadi" primarily in its militaristic sense, I translate "mujahideen" as meaning, approximately "warriors of faith."

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