Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, arguably the most influential living jihadi-Salafi religious scholar, has issued a statement celebrating the "martyrdom" of his son, 'Umar Abu 'Izz, in Iraq, reportedly in a gun battle in the northern city of Mosul last Saturday. Al-Maqdisi says that though he loved his son, he rejoiced when the latter decided to enter "the arena of jihad" against the American occupation of Iraq, working with the "Leader-Hero" Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. He asks that God accept his son as a martyr. News of his son's death reached him, al-Maqdisi says, on Friday.
Born 'Isam Muhammad Taher al-Barqawi, al-Maqdisi is a Palestinian by birth (he was born in 1958 in the city of Nablus in the northern part of the occupied Palestinian West Bank) and holds Jordanian citizenship. His family moved to Kuwait and he later studied at the University of Mosul in northern Iraq. Al-Maqdisi also traveled to Saudi Arabia and then to Pakistan and Afghanistan before returning to Jordan in 1992. There, he settled in the industrial city of al-Zarqa near the capital city of 'Amman and was jailed numerous times because he criticized the Hashemite monarchy.
While in prison during the 1990s, he met a number of other prominent Jordanian jihadi-takfiri ideologues, including the founder of Al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq (AQI), Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. Al-Maqdisi also developed relationships with the influential Palestinian-Jordanian shaykh Abu Qatada (currently imprisoned in Britain) and Abu Anas al-Shami, the religious guide to al-Zarqawi's original Iraq-based insurgent group, Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'l Jihad (Group of Absolute Monotheism & Struggle).
Al-Maqdisi earned the ire of some jihadi-takfiris for his public criticisms of al-Zarqawi, particularly the latter's campaign of violence against Iraqi Twelver Shi'is.
Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi's Son 'Umar Killed in Iraq
Statement about 'Umar Abu 'Izz al-Maqdisi's Martyrdom in Iraq