A new recruitment video of a Jihadist group fighting in Syria and Iraq features young English-speaking British and Australian citizens calling on other Muslims to leave their Western homes and come fight for Allah.
The video, made by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), features several men seated against a lush green backdrop of trees and bushes. Backed by chanting in Arabic, the men call on their “brothers” in the West to join their holy war.
“What gives you life is Jihad,” claims one such jihadist, identified as Abu Muthanna al-Yemeni. ““We understand no borders… We have participated in battles in Sham (Syria) and we will go to Iraq in a few days and will fight there.”
ISIL has been behind the recent conquests of the Iraqi insurgency, with Sunni militants carving out a large swath of territory astride the Iraqi-Syrian border and seizing Iraq’s second largest city Mosul earlier this month.
“Fighting the enemies of Allah, you see no one who does it like us,” Muthanna adds.
The young man has been identified on ITV news as Nasser Muthanna, 20, from Cardiff. His father told the TV network that his son had recently been accepted to study medicine at four different universities but had instead run away to fight in the Middle East, along with his 17-year-old brother.
Ahmed Muthanna said watching the footage made him cry, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“I wish I could hold him, hold his hand, ask him to come back,” Mr. Muthanna said.
Another man in the video identified as Abu Bara al-Hindi urges his brothers to heal their depression, caused by life in the West, by joining the ranks of ISIL.
“The cure for the depression is Jihad,” al-Hindi says. “You feel like you have no honor…Oh my brothers come to jihad and feel the honor we are feeling. Feel the happiness that we are feeling.”
A third young man named Dujana al-Hindi says fear of death should not deter potential enlistees, as in the end all shall face Allah “naked” and answer for their actions, good or bad.
“You have to ask yourself what prevents you from…joining the ranks of the mujahedeen,” he says. “Look around you while you sit in comfort and ask yourself is this how you want to die?”
“If it’s your wealth,” he says, “when death reaches you, and it’s a certainty, your wealth won’t be able to delay that. If you fear death and that’s what prevents you — death will reach you anyway.”
Al-Hindi claimed martyrs “do not feel death except like the sting of an insect.”
The British government on Thursday banned ISIL, adding it to a list of proscribed organizations along with four other groups linked to the Syrian conflict.
Security Minister James Brokenshire told lawmakers that terrorism related to the civil war in Syria “will pose a threat to the UK for the foreseeable future”, and said banning the group sent a “strong message.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he fears that British nationals joining in the fighting in Iraq and Syria pose a threat to Britain’s security.
He insisted “everything that can be done is being done” to stop Britons being radicalized in Iraq and Syria.
UK police have made 65 Syria-related arrests since January 2013, Cameron’s office has said, 40 of them in the first 3 months of 2014 alone.
“The work of the security intelligence and policing services is very much now being focused on to this area and has been for some time,” he said. “We will continue to take all and every step we can to stop people travelling to Syria to prevent them coming back if they have been radicalized and to keep the country safe.”
Known for its ruthless tactics and suicide bombers, ISIL has already controlled the Iraqi city of Fallujah for five months, and is also arguably the most capable force fighting President Bashar Assad inside Syria.
Its takeover of Mosul prompted the United States to voice deep concern about the “extremely serious” situation and warn the jihadist Sunni group poses “a threat to the entire region”.
ISIL is led by the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and backed by thousands of Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq, many of them Westerners, and it appears to be surpassing al-Qaeda as the world’s most dangerous jihadist group.
Western governments fear it could eventually emulate al-Qaeda and strike overseas, but their biggest worry for now is likely the eventual return home of foreign fighters attracted by ISIL and Baghdadi.
Among them are men like Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old Frenchman who allegedly carried out a deadly shooting on a Jewish museum in Belgium last month after spending a year fighting with ISIL in Syria.
AFP contributed to this report.