„Join the caravan of Jihad!“ – Video message by a German jihadist in Syria

As the civil war in Syria rages on, more and more militant Islamists from around the world are gathering mainly in the northern parts of the country to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad. German intelligence agencies estimate the number of German jihadists in Syria around 200, at least ten of whom died in their fight against the government forces.


German Jihadist Philip B. calling himself „Abu Usama“

By the end of November 2013 a video message allegedly released by sources near to one of the most dangerous jihadist groups, the so called “Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria” (ISIS) appeared on social media websites. It featured a young German speaking man armed with an AK-47 on his shoulder, who called upon German Muslims to “join the caravan of Jihad”. In the video he describes his own way from his conversion to Islam four years ago, to his emigration to Syria in order to “make the word of God the highest”, that is to fight the government of al-Assad and to establish a state based on the Sharia. The identity of the young German calling himself “Abu Usama” in reference to notorious terrorist Usama bin Ladin, was revealed a few days later. According to the German newspaper „Die Welt“ the young jihadist is 26 year old Philip B. from Dinslaken, a town in North Rhein-Westphalia. The former pizza delivery driver and some fellow Islamists which he knew from school traveled to Syria by car and joined ISIS. In the following I’d like to highlight some parts of the German jihadist’s video statement.

„Abu Usama“ starts his message in Arabic with praising God and his messenger Muhammad. He then explains the reasons for his conversion to Islam, describing how he questioned himself about the meaning of life, etc.

My name is Abu Usama. I come from Germany and I became a Muslim about four years ago. I always questioned myself: why do we live? Do we live only to get born? Do we live only to eat, to drink, to die? This can’t be all. We are no animals. Allah gave us an intellect and because of that we have to think about the meaning of life. And we have to think about who created us. Allah is the creator of all things and he created this universe without any mistakes. Just think about how complicated the structure of your DNA is, and your brain and how the human body is designed. This can’t be a coincidence. You don’t believe that a watch (shows his wrist watch) emerged by coincidence, but you think mankind did. This can’t be a coincidence. And because of that, I accepted Islam. Because Islam is the religion of all prophets. Every prophet demanded that one has to submit oneself before God. And Islam means to devote oneself to the only God. And a Muslim is someone who has submit himself to God. I am a Muslim, a German Muslim. Not only Arabs can be Muslims.

Thereafter he switches the topic as to why he traveled to Syria and subsequently explains his motives for joining Jihad:

Regarding the next point I’d like to say that I emigrated to Syria to make the words of my creator the highest, because man made laws are unjust. We can see this on earth. The better part of natural resources are located in Africa, thus why are the Africans the poorest people on earth?
You have to bear in mind that the politicians in their suits are devils, which make own rules and don’t want the satisfaction of God. They don’t believe in God. And they do their stuff on earth, to make profit. But we want justice. And because of that we fight the leaders of disbelief and the people who follow them. For that justice and Gods rule will come to earth. Allah created this earth and he is the king of kings and we have to live according to his laws. And who knows better than God who created us and what is good for us. And, thank God, I joined the caravan of Jihad to make Gods word the highest. And we won’t quit until we have achieved this. And if you kill us, others will come after us to continue our work. Because Allah promised that this will come true.

In the following part „Abu Usama“ mentions infamous ISIS-leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for the first time. He explains that Islam in form of the Ottoman Empire was ruling large parts of the world only hundred years ago. Nowadays ISIS leader al-Baghdadi would do „the same as Muhammad“, that is to call for an Islamic state. He then again stresses the necessity for his fellow Muslims to come to Syria and to join Jihad there

One hundred years ago Islam still ruled in the Ottoman Empire and even if it was weak it was not long ago. And now our Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi from the State of Islam came to make the same as Muhmmad, praise be upon him. He calls on the people to get under the Sharia of Allah. If you are Muslims wake up and join the caravan, because God doesn’t need you (sic)! Oh Muslim, are you satisfied with living in Germany, going to night clubs, having a girl friend? What’s the use of it? Get married! God has allowed you to get married, you don’t have to commit adultery. Marry a woman! You can even marry four of them! Glory be to Allah!

Oh sister, make the Hijra (emigration) into Jihad. Make Hijra into Jihad because Jihad is „fard al-‚ayn“, the duty of every individual Muslim. Take part in Jihad! Support the Muslims! Donate! Speak well of us! Don’t say we are terrorists! Who are the terrorists? The Americans are terrorists. The Americans are terrorists. (He repeats himself)

It is quite interesting that „Abu Usama“ doesn’t really describe his enemies. In his words they are just „the enemy“ or „the kuffar“ (i.e. unbelievers). Nowhere in his message he is mentioning Syrian president Bashar al-Assad or his (mostly) Alawite and Shiite supporters. But as it became clear in the above cited part of his speech, there are also a couple of anti-American remarks in his message.

Why did I named myself Abu Usama? Everyone has a Kunya in Jihad. Because I love Usama bin Ladin. Why? Because he dealt a blow into the heads of injustice. By terrorizing them as they have terrorized us. As long as you don’t stop, we have to do the same to you. We crashed into the World Trade Centers (sic) for what? Because you are doing the same with us. Therefore stop it and watch out what you are doing! Because God is almighty and you can’t defeat us. You will never defeat us. More than 50 nations invaded Afghanistan and now after 12 years they pull out. They have no chance to win. Allah will help us. Allah says: if you help me, I will help you.

Whereas the main aim of other Islamist groups in Syria is to get rid of the Assad regime, the primary goal of ISIS is to establish a Sharia-based state as soon as possible. Hence ISIS is trying to develop state-like structures especially in the north of Syria. But a state needs citizens and in the case of the would-be Islamic state this means pious Muslim citizens. Therefore, in the next part of his message „Abu Usama“ tries to play down the hazards of living in the war zones of Syria. He even goes as far as to call Syria a place of safety. With remarks on supposedly calm border areas in the north and soon-to-be-built schools he clearly aims to attract whole families from Germany to relocate to the war-torn country.

I swear it! This land in Syria is „baraka“ (blessing). We have enough to eat and to drink, even more/better than in Germany. And even as we thought that we have to sleep on the bare ground, Allah made it easy for us. Because of all this, my brothers and sisters: set out for Syria. Al-Sham (i.e. Greater Syria) is a place of safety. The situation is different from what you are thinking. There is not war everywhere. There are border regions where you can live safely with your families. There soon will be schools for the children. You can live well here and you can practice Islam freely. Sister, you can wear the Niqab (a veil which covers the face) here. Brother, here you can walk freely without being stared at. Therefore, let’s fight in Gods way with all we have! With our property, with our soul. Allah has promised to forgive us and grant us paradise if we die fighting for his cause. The Mujahid is the best of all men.

The last part of the video message is dedicated to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi. „Abu Usama“ is praising him for his „work“ in Syria and Iraq.

I have a message to my Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. I hope this message reaches you. We are very pleased with your work. We are happy that you don’t fear the critic of the criticizer. And we are happy that you proclaim the Islamic state in spite of all enemies. 

He then ends his message with some comments on how the „Muslim community (Umma) is one body“.

The Muslim community is like one body. If a part of this body is suffering, we’re all suffering. If we quit our love for the world (dunia) and start loving death, we will succeed.

The video closes with footage of an attack against what is described as a police headquarter in the Iraqi district of Kirkuk.


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