In the latest propaganda video coming out of Syria, a French jihadi wrapped in a red keffiyah headscarf urges other Frenchmen to follow his example and embrace Islam, including the President of France Francois Hollande.
The video in which a man who calls himself Abu 'Abd Al-Rahman was posted online on Tuesday and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
In the video - produced by Al-Furqan, the official media wing of the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (Syria) – the bearded, fair-haired man says that both his mother and father are atheists who “do not subscribe to any religion.”
“Praise be to Allah who guided me. I converted to Islam almost three years ago,” he says, adding, “Allah made me love his religion. Before that I used to love everything that is prohibited.”
He says he now wants to “encourage my brothers to come to this blessed land.”
To French President Francois Hollande he says [emphasis added], “Oh, Francois Hollande, convert to Islam. It will save your soul from the Hellfire. Distance yourself from your Jewish and American allies. Withdraw the troops from Mali. Stop fighting Islam and the Muslims. Do you wish to combat Allah? Allah is the greatest and you are very small.”
France deployed troops to Mali in January to help the government there fight Islamic militants.
“Oh, my Muslim brothers in France, in Europe, and in the whole world, the jihad in Syria is obligatory,” Abu 'Abd Al-Rahman says.
He says, “The prophet Mohammed told us that the nation is like a single human body – when one organ suffers, all the other organs come to the rescue. It is our duty to come to the rescue of our brothers who have found themselves in a very difficult situation. It is also our duty to strive to restore the caliphates so that the word of Allah will reign supreme. Those who refrain from doing that are sinners, I’m sad to say.”
Appealing to Muslims who haven’t yet joined the fight, he says, “What will you say to Allah on Judgement Day when the testimony against you comes from women who were raped, from children who have been killed, and from the brothers who were tortured in the prisons of these dogs?”
In the second part of the video, the man is shown outside wearing fatigues and a black headscarf. He points to the young man next to him who he says is his brother, who converted to Islam a year after him.
“Praise be to Allah for planting the love of Jihad and the mujahideen in our hearts,” he says.
Referring to the people of France, he says, “How can you live among people who fight your brothers with airplanes and money? These are the allies of Satan.”
It’s unknown exactly how many westerners have traveled to Syria to join militants from the Middle East seeking to oust President Bashar Assad from power and establish a Sunni, sharia-based government.
A study published last month by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy reported that 280 foreign fighters were killed between July 2012 and May 2013. Among those, Nicole Lynn Mansfield, a 33-year-old Muslim convert from Flint, Michigan was killed in May while fighting in Syria.
The study estimated that between 2,500 and 7,000 foreign Sunni jihadis have joined the fight – that estimate not including Shiite Hezbollah militants who are fighting to defend Assad.
According to the report, the vast majority of the foreign fighters being killed are allied with Jabhat al-Nusra, the Al-Qaeda linked Al Nusra Front.
Here is the video, subtitled by MEMRI: