Tareq Al-Suwaidan is not a widely-recognized name among jihadis for most Americans, but he is certainly making a name for himself in Islamist circles.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) introduces the man:
Tareq Al-Suwaidan, 58, is a prominent Kuwaiti Islamist preacher and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait, as well as a popular Islamic motivational speaker and TV preacher; he earns more than $1 million a year from his talks and TV shows. His CD “Lives of the Prophets” has sold well over two million copies.
Al-Suwaidan has strong ties to the West, from attending high school and college and residing in the U.S. to preaching to large audiences in the U.K. and Canada, as well as in Australia – where he is visiting June 9-18, to speak in Melbourne and Sydney. He speaks to Western audiences at venues such as Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar; his followers and his audiences in the West range from groups of recent converts to Islam to fundraising events for major Muslim American organizations. He frequently supports Western and U.S. Muslim organizations. While Al-Suwaidan’s speeches and remarks in English are often moderate, in Arabic he often espouses extremist ideas.
An unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation, according to MEMRI, Suwaidan lived in the United States for 17 years. One of the things he took from the United States, apparently, is an affinity for social media.
The Middle East Media Research Institute continues:
According to Forbes magazine’s Arabic edition, Forbes Arabia, Al-Suwaidan ranks second in annual net income among Islamic motivational speakers in the Muslim world. While he has authored over 30 books, his popularity and reach can be credited to his social media activity – including accounts on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, the video-sharing website Vimeo, the presentation-sharing website Slideshare, and iTunes.
Hundreds of speeches by Al-Suwaidan can be found on YouTube, in Arabic and in English. Among them are excerpts from his appearances on Arab TV channels, as well as speeches delivered in the Middle East and in the West. Among the common themes in them are anti-Israel sentiment.
Al-Suwaidan also frequently speaks on the coming end of the West, promising that “Islam is coming” and explaining that the Arab Spring will eventually lead to the reestablishment of the Islamic Caliphate, in which the shari’a will rule.
In a YouTube video from March of this year, for example– pre-translated so that Muslims who don’t speak Arabic can follow his teachings– Suwaidan declares that the re-establishment of the caliphate will certainly follow the collapse of Middle Eastern governments in the Arab Spring.
Explaining that scripture has been accurate in describing the chronology of Middle Eastern history thus far, Suwaidan maintains that it will be correct in describing the next phase, as well.
Watch the video, below (relevant discussion begins around 3:30):
The man has even put up a slide show on SlideShare.com, according to MEMRI, illustrating four steps to the restoration of the caliphate. Labeled “Towards the New Islamic Civilization,” the plan is due to be complete by 2030.
“I’ve developed these ideas over a period of five years but really focused on the details during the last two,” he explains in the introduction. “I plan to publish a book in Arabic on this topic,” he continues and, at 135 slides, he’s almost there.
One of his ideas is apparently to “encourage young people to undertake electronic jihad.” Describing the January cyber attack on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El-Al Airlines– where the credit card information of thousands of Israelis was compromised– he stated: “Some of our youth are extremely clever. I hope that a group of hackers will get together, and will wage resistance over the Internet, targeting Israeli and Zionist sites and destroying them electronically.”
Eventually, however, “The entire [Islamic] nation, and especially the countries bordering with Israel, must provide direct support to the armed resistance, and not just pay it lip service…the Palestinian youth must realize that it has no alternative – and indeed, none of us have – other than armed resistance. That is the only solution for this nation.”
He is speaking in Australia between June 9-18 at the invitation of Human Appeal International-Australia, an organization that describes itself as having partnered with multiple UN initiatives.