Jewish News One (JN1) has a disturbing report about Ahmad Al Baghdadi Al Hassani, a supposed jihadi leader who has some less-than-favorable views about Christians. In a recent Egyptian television appearance, he purportedly dismissed believers as polytheists and supporters of Israel, noting that they must choose between "Islam or death."
It is reported that Baghdadi Al Hassani lives in Syria and that he is supporting the opposition there. Because there are a limited number of Christians in the war-torn area, JN1 reports that the impact of his words may not reverberate. That said, the network notes that the comments showcase a "growing trend of anti-Christian sentiment in the Muslim world."
Watch the JN1 video report, below:
AsiaNews.it corroborates these claims and has more about the religious leader's statements and the way in which they will likely be processed in the region:
In an interview last December 13 on Egyptian television Al Baghdadia, the Shiite ayatollah Ahmad Al Hassani Al Baghdadi issued a fatwa against Christians in Iraq. Labeling them as "polytheists" and "friends of the Zionists", the extremist leader stressed that they must choose "or Islam or death," while "their women and girls may legitimately be regarded wives of Muslims." Al Baghdadi is known for his "jihad" positions and for attacking Americans in the past during their presence in the country, and today he lives in Syria, supporting the armed opposition.
Catholic sources in the capital tell AsiaNews that it is "a very serious fatwa," but "it is unlikely that people will be upset too much." The government pays "attention" to these proclamations by extremists, however it is possible that such words could "create panic in some areas of the capital," where there are now "very few" Christians.
This is one of the latest examples of purported extremist rhetoric to come from Middle Eastern faith leaders. The television interview can be found below (not in English):
(H/T: YNet News)