AMU Homeland Security Intelligence Opinion Terrorism

New ISIS ‘Kill List’ Names American Muslim Leaders

By Monique M. Maldonado
Contributor, In Homeland Security

Three American Muslim leaders were named in the latest so-called ISIS kill list: Waleed Basyouni, Yasir Qadhi and Hamza Yusuf. It is unclear whether or not ISIS has previous history with the leaders, but all three have publicly expressed their discontent for the terrorist group’s Islamic extremism and violent attacks.

ISIS doesn’t like condemnation and publicly chose to instill fear in these American Muslim scholars and their families by including their names on the kill list. According to Allan Turner of the Houston Chronicle, “the death orders against Basyouni, imam at the Clear Lake Islamic Center; Qadhi, resident scholar at the Memphis Islamic Center; and Yusuf, American scholar and co-founder of Zaytuna College, were published online on April 13 in ISIS’s magazine, Dabiq.”

ISIS Kill List

The ISIS kill list named 21 Western Muslim leaders who they accuse of apostasy, or relinquishment of an ideology or political belief. ISIS was very matter of fact in condemning these 21 individuals, which include Basyouni, Qadhi and Yusuf.

ISIS overtly reviled the list of “traitors” that do not believe in their Islamic principles and called them out as blasphemous, ill-informed instructors of Islam. In addition, ISIS refutes any religion that does not believe in their ways of destruction and uses operatives who highly manipulate their recruitment process.

AMU adJonah Bennett, national security and foreign policy reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation, stated that ISIS “does not consider Muslim converts to Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity or other religions to be apostates, but applies the label of Kufr (nonbelievers of Islamic teachings) to anyone who is not of the religion of Allah.”

The history of apostasy rejection by ISIS dates back to the segregation principles between their beliefs and Westerners’ liberal and modern practices of Islam. The terrorist organization believes that Westerners’ exuberant worship of their methodological ways is not of Allah.

ISIS on Religion

In their statement in Dubiq magazine, ISIS said, “There are two religions: the religion of Allah, which is Islam, and then the religion of anything else, which is kufr.” ISIS will never accept any religion that is not of Allah, or isn’t of their Islamic worship and operatives.

[Related: Is the F-35 Ready to Defeat ISIS?]

The hatred for Westerners who do not follow such intemperate values ensures that certain Westerners make the ISIS kill list. Dr. Waleed Basyouni is the Vice President of AlMaghrib Institute and the Head of Aquidah an Adab Department in Houston, Texas. According to the institute’s website, Basyouni is also an “imam, a member of a number of Islamic organizations, and gives fatwa as a member of the American Muslim Jurists Association.”

Basyouni has publicly expressed his concern for fighting in Syria and believes those who fight in the name of Allah with ISIS should be persecuted. ISIS believes Basyouni’s statements against terrorism are sacrilege.  He contradicts what Allah permits, what is forbidden [haram], and what is expected.

Dr. Yasir Qadhi is also the Dean of Academic Affairs and a faculty member at the AlMaghrib Institute and a Rhodes College professor in Religious Studies. The institute dubs Qadhi as “one of the few people who has combined a traditional Eastern Islamic seminary education with a Western academic training of the study of Islam.”

ISIS denounces Qadhi because he vowed his allegiance to the United States. ISIS stated that Qadhi “emphasizes his love for the United States and his disavowal of anything and anyone who is against American ideals.” ISIS is not happy that Qadhi recognizes and accepts the United States’ segregation of religion and government, which contradicts that laws are not superior to Allah. He was put on the hit list to mitigate producing illegitimate, Western propaganda.

American Christian Turned Muslim

ISIS showed more discontent for Hamza Yusuf, an American Christian turned Muslim Shaykh. Their website, pushing their propaganda, had very strong words about Yusuf:

“…he established himself a following, filling heads with opinions based on half-truths and false interpretations and using semantic oratory more akin to sorcery through wordy eloquence than actual tradition education. Adopting a Southern inner-city accent sprinkled with thug life vocabulary and latest pop culture references when addressing young crowds, he is quick to switch to an ordinary voice when speaking to CNN and other media outlets. A clown in most senses of the word, he has surprisingly gathered a following and is seen by many crusader supporters as an important tool for taming Muslim youth in the West.”

ISIS is adamant about their threats. ISIS believes that Muslims who do not fully teach the ways of Islam are not true believers and should be killed. Such threats haven’t really affected those endangered.

Neither Basyouni or Yusuf has responded to the threats, but Qadhi made it clear that he’s not fazed, especially since this is his second time on the list. It’s obvious that these threats shouldn’t be taken lightly, but based on the background of the American Muslim leaders targeted, they’re determined to continue their callings. They will continue teaching the Islamic way of life without American sensationalism and Islamic extremism, and they won’t cower to constant threats from ISIS.

Allan Turner cited Yasir Qadhi’s response to the hit list: “These threats are not credible. They need to shore up their publicity. Our message is damaging to them. I wouldn’t go to those regions. But here in America, I just take reasonable precautions.”

Glynn Cosker is a Managing Editor at AMU Edge. In addition to his background in journalism, corporate writing, web and content development, Glynn served as Vice Consul in the Consular Section of the British Embassy located in Washington, D.C. Glynn is located in New England.

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