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Islamic rappers’ message of terror

The Observer, UK
Feb. 8, 2004
Antony Barnett
politics.guardian.co.uk

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Monday February 9, 2004

It’s rap, jihad-style. A music video with blood-curdling images, fronted by a young British Muslim rapper brandishing a gun and a Koran is the latest hit in radical Islamic circles.

The rap song is called ‘Dirty Kuffar’ – Arabic for dirty non-believer – and it praises Osama bin Laden and the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.

The video has recently been posted on the British website run by the Islamic extremist Mohammed al-Massari, the UK-based Saudi Arabian dissident who has lived in Britain since 1994. Al-Massari claims that the video has been selling in large quantities at mosques to the younger generation and is in heavy demand overseas.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

The rapper fronting the video calls himself Sheikh Terra and the Soul Salah Crew – a take on the rap group So Solid Crew. ‘Salah’ is Arabic for faith.

The video might at first be mistaken for an Ali G spoof, but the violent images quickly reveal it is no joke.

The song starts with images of US marines in Iraq cheering as one of them shoots a wounded Iraqi lying on the floor. At the end of the video, it features shots of the hijacked planes flying into the Twin Towers with sounds of the rappers laughing. There is then a list of 56 countries they claim have been the ‘victims of American aggression’ since 1945.

The four-minute rap is essentially a repeated diatribe against the ‘dirty non-believers’ Tony Blair and George Bush, urging listeners to ‘throw them on the fire’.

One of the most brutal images shows a jihadist fighter in Chechnya riddling a captured Russian soldier with a Kalashnikov. Another image labels Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf a traitor and shows photographs of Colin Powell and Condeleezza Rice with the words ‘still slaves’ superimposed across their bodies.

Labour MP Andrew Dismore said he was ‘disgusted’ by the video and is to refer it to the Home Office and ask the police to investigate if any offence has been committed.

Dismore said: ‘These extremist are using music and video to prey on young and impressionable Muslim boys in order to attract them to their brand of lunacy and entice them to commit acts of terror. It is inexcusable.’

The website on which the video was originally posted is run by the Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights in Saudi Arabia, a group run by al-Massari who came to Britain in 1994 after being imprisoned by the Saudi regime.

He said: ‘A boy came to me and showed me the video and I thought the content was good, although I am no expert on rap. I thought it was an excellent attempt to use modern methods to get a message across.’

Al-Massari did not see a problem in using Western music and MTV-like images to sell a message of jihad. He said that it was an effective way of attracting young Muslims who had been put off by other Islamic sects such as the Taliban, which banned music and dancing. ‘I do not know of any young Muslim who has not either seen or got this video. It is selling everywhere. Everyone I meet at the mosque is asking for it.’

Al-Massari denied that the messages in the video incited Muslims to take part in terrorist attacks against the West.

He said: ‘I believe the lyrics are only metaphorical. It is not like this is a fatwa.’

In November 2002, al-Massari circulated a 4,000-word message allegedly from Osama bin Laden. In 2001, al-Massari was granted permanent residence in Britain, five years after Michael Howard, then Conservative Home Secretary, tried to deport him.

Excerpt from ‘Dirty Kuffar’

Peace to Hamas and the Hizbollah

OBL [bin-Laden] pulled me like a shiny star

Like the way we destroyed them two towers ha-ha

The minister Tony Blair, there my dirty Kuffar

The one Mr Bush, there my dirty Kuffar…

Throw them on the fire

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