Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Islamist-Nationalist Anasheed: An Example from Lebanon's Hizbullah

I have written briefly previously about anasheed (singular: nasheed; religious/political-themed songs) used by Muslim political movements, particularly transnational jihadi groups such as Al-Qa'ida Central (AQC). They have also long been used by Islamist-nationalist (religious-nationalist) groups such as Lebanon's Twelver Shi'i Hizbullah ("God's party") and Palestinian secular nationalist and Islamist-nationalist groups such as HAMAS and Fatah. Embedded above is an example of a popular Hizbullah (Hezbollah, Hizballah) nasheed video, the type that frequently airs on its satellite TV channel, Al-Manar (The Beacon).

Entitled, "al-Maut li'Israel" (Death to Israel), the video reminds the viewer of some of the party's origins in the radical revolutionary ideology of Iran's Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Ruhollah Khumayni and his acolytes. It was in Lebanon that Iran's revolutionary Twelver Shi'i 'ulama were most successful in exporting Khumayni's doctrine of wilayat al-faqih (guardianship/authority of the jurisconsult). Iranian officials, such as its then-ambassador to Syria, Hujjat al-Islam (literally "proof of God"; mid-level Twelver scholar) 'Ali-Akbar Mohtashamipour, were key supporters of the coalition of Lebanese Shi'i militias that coalesced between 1982 and 1985 into a single party, Hizbullah.

Although it has transformed into a thoroughly pragmatic socio-political movement, Hizbullah has retained an element of its revolutionary nature from the days of its founding (exactly how much is debated by scholars and pundits, with some arguing it is and always has been an "Iranian proxy" while others argue that it is at its heart a Lebanese movement with ties to its patrons, Iran and Syria, in the same way, say, the United States provides tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid but does not "control" the countries it goes to, such as Israel, Egypt, and Jordan). On the issue of Jerusalem, one of Islam's holy shrine cities, Hizbullah and other Islamist-nationalist movements, it can be argued, maintain an element of transnationalism or cross-border solidarity with this particular symbol and cause.

Hizbullah has become particularly pragmatic, following the disastrous summer 2006 war with Israel, vis-a-vis the "Zionist entity," as it says. Its ideological stance vis-a-vis Israel, however, is often uncompromising, as exemplified in the lyrics to this nasheed. Israel, here, is referred to as the "usurping, occupying, terrorist-ic, cancerous" entity. It has "no legal right" to exist, the lyrics say. The footage is of the lengthy war between Hizbullah and the Israeli military, which occupied a large swath of southern Lebanon from 1982-late May 2000. Footage from the al-Aqsa (Second) Intifada (revolt) by the Palestinians against continued Israeli military occupation is also woven in. The singers vow to recover all of pre-partition Palestine including the "usurped" lands of Jerusalem (al-Quds), and they reference the 1930s Arab leader 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam, who was killed in 1935 fighting the British. The Palestinian HAMAS movement named its military wing after him, Kata'ib al-Shahid 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam (Brigades of the Martyr, 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam).

On the Internet, anasheed are often put together with visual montages to create nasheed videos. See the representative posts listed below:

*"AFPAK" anasheed in Urdu and Pashtu

*Arabic nasheed dedicated to Fort Hood murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan

*Persian-language jihadi anasheed

*Nasheed video dedicated to the "CIA Destroyer" Dr. Hamam al-Balawi, "Abu Dunajah al-Khurasani"

*Commemorative video featuring clips of many jihadi anasheed dedicated to Americans who have traveled to Somalia and been killed fighting for the jihadi-takfiri insurgent group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (Movement of Warrior-Youth).

*Nasheed video dedicated to Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement in Pakistan) leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

*Two anasheed videos, one about the corrupt Arab regimes and the other bemoaning Muslim apathy about the suffering of their fellow Muslims.

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