NOTE: As with all guest posts, the opinions expressed below are those of the guest author and they do not necessarily represent the views of this blogs administrator and does not at all represent his employer at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Jihadology.net aims to not only provide primary sources for researchers and occasional analysis of them, but also to allow other young and upcoming students as well as established academics or policy wonks to contribute original analysis on issues related to jihadism. If you would like to contribute a piece, please email your idea/post to azelin [at] jihadology [dot] net.

Click here to see an archive of all guest posts.

Dutch Foreign Fighters – Some Testimonials from the Syrian Front (Part III)

By Pieter Van Ostaeyen

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As in two former posts (part 1 and part 2) on Dutch foreign fighters this story is about another Dutch fighter who got killed in Syria. There are a lot of other stories on this group of foreign Mujāhidīn in Syria; yet this one might be considered as breaking.

The man who’s death was announced; was the spokesman of the group. He gave an extensive and exclusive interview to a Dutch newspaper a few months ago. All former communications by the Dutch Mujāhidīn in Syria via Facebook and a few WordPress blogs were authored by him. Most importantly he was co-author of the Dutch Islamist 150 page pamphlet ‘De Banier’ (The Banner), a highly interesting piece on several aspects of Islam and Jihād.

This is the communication by De Ware Religie on the martyrdom of Abū Jandal:

Zevende Nederlandse mujahied in Syrië verkrijgt martelaarschap

De zevende Nederlandse mujahied heeft het martelaarschap in Syrië verkregen. Dat vertellen bronnen rondom de familie aan DeWareReligie.nl. Het gaat om de 26-jarige Abu Jandal uit Delft. Abu Jandal, ook bekend onder de naam Abu Fidaa, was een van de broeders die nauw betrokken was met het interview in de Volkskrant. Hij is ook de (mede-) auteur van het boek De Banier. Twee weken geleden raakte Abu Jandal zwaargewond, daarna is hij aan zijn verwondingen overleden. 

Abu Jandal woonde in Delft en was een succesvolle zakenman, maar besloot ongeveer een jaar  terug de oproep van de islamitische gemeenschap in Syrië niet langer te negeren. Hij vertrok samen met Abu Walae, die eerder ook het martelaarschap verkreeg. Abu Jandal had nooit het plan om terug te keren naar Nederland. Hij wilde ofwel helpen met de implementatie van de sharia in Syrië, dan wel op het pad van Allah sterven.

“Je gaat toch een keer dood, dus dan zou het geweldig zijn als je voor een nobel doel sterft,” aldus Abu Jandal in het interview. “Wij weten ook uit de overleveringen dat alle zonden worden gewist bij de eerste druppel bloed die je laat vallen op het slagveld als Martelaar, dus je kijkt zelfs uit naar deze druppel.” Deze woorden bracht hij in praktijk toen hij zwaargewond raakte bij een slag. Ondanks de pijn die hij had, was hij tevreden met de wil van Allah. Deze tevredenheid steeg toen hij in zijn dromen de blijde tijdingen kreeg.

Abu Jandal is de zevende Nederlandse martelaar. Mourad Abu Baseer, Yasine Abu Lien, Chukrie Abu Walaae, Saddik Abu Adam, Ibrahiem Abu Khaalid en Soufian Abu Abderrahmaan gingen hem voor.

Translation: 

Seventh Dutch Mujāhid martyred in Syria

The seventh Dutch Mujāhid was martyred in Syria. Sources close to the family told DeWareReligie.nl. [The martyr] is 26 year old Abū Jandal from Delft. Abū Jandal, also known as Abū Fidā, was one of the brothers interviewed by De Volkskrant. He also co-authored the book The Banner. Two weeks ago, Abū Jandal was heavily wounded in battle, he succumbed to his wounds shortly after.

Abū Jandal lived in Delft and was a successful businessman, about a year ago he decided to follow the call of the Islamic community in Syria. He left together with Abū Walae, martyred earlier [this year]. Abū Jandal never planned on coming back to Holland. His aim was helping to implement Sharī’a in Syria or to die fī sabīl Allah. 

“You will die one day,” he said in the interview, “so it would be wonderful dying for a noble cause.”  “We know from Qur’ān and Hadīth that all sins will be erased, with the first drop of blood spilled on the field of battle, and so, you look forward to this moment.” And these words became true when he was heavily wounded in battle. Although he suffered heavily, he was pleased with the will of Allah. (…)

Abū Jandal is the seventh Dutch Martyr. These guys predecessed:  Mourad Abu Baseer, Yasine Abu Lien, Chukrie Abu Walaae, Saddiq Abu Adam, Ibrahim Abu Khalid and Soufyan Abu Abderrahmaan

Aftermath: 

The announcement of Abū Jandal’s death is a major strike for this small, cohesive group of Dutch fighters in Syria. He will be replaced however, the force base in Northern Europe is still growing … His death will inspire.

NOTE: As with all guest posts, the opinions expressed below are those of the guest author and they do not necessarily represent the views of this blogs administrator and does not at all represent his employer at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Jihadology.net aims to not only provide primary sources for researchers and occasional analysis of them, but also to allow other young and upcoming students as well as established academics or policy wonks to contribute original analysis on issues related to jihadism. If you would like to contribute a piece, please email your idea/post to azelin [at] jihadology [dot] net.

Click here to see an archive of all guest posts.

Dutch Foreign Fighters – Some Testimonials from the Syrian Front: The Story of 28 year old Chokri Massali – Abu Walae

By Pieter Van Ostaeyen

Died on Sunday July 28th

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In an earlier post I presented you the story of Abu Baseer, who died in the Battle of Khan Touman. Here is the story of one of his older brothers, who died only a few months later.

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Abu Walae and two other brothers from the Netherlands were waiting for Iftaar in their base camp, when via the radio they heard that a group of Mujahideen was surrounded by al-Assad’s troops in a village nearby. The brothers quickly prepared for battle and left camp. When they arrived on the scene they were immediately fired upon by snipers. Nonetheless the war party breached the enemy ranks; after heavy fighting Abu Walae and ten other brothers were ordered to control the left flank of the occupied village.

It was a pitch dark night; they only had limited sight on the frontline. After a little while they stumbled upon Bashar’s troops and opened fire. Abu Walae turned his weapon on automatic and stormed forward; he almost immediately took a bullet through the head. This action, led by Abu Walae, resulted in the death of all 22 enemy soldiers. On our side only Abu Walae got killed, another brother got shot in his leg. Abu Walae never feard the Kufar, he was a brave man …

A man asked: “Who is the superior Martyr?” The Prophet answered: “Those who stand in the line of battle and do not turn their heads until they die. They will dwell in highest region of Paradise, their Lord will smile at them. And when Allah smiles at one, there will be no reckoning on Judgement Day.” [at-Targheeb wa’t-Tarheeb]

Earlier this week, in the wonderful battle of Khan Asal in which the life of our Belgian brother Abu Mujahid was taken, several brothers witnessed Abu Walae killing six or seven soldiers all by himself. In the end we took over the town, killing about 250 Kufar.

When the Mujahideen captured soldiers of Bashar’s army on the battle field of Khan Asal, Abu Walae offered one of the captives some of his soft drink; laughing “They don’t even realize they’ll get a one way ticket to hell.” He told another soldier “hey, I know you ! Aren’t you one of the Mujahideen from our group ?” The soldier thought he found a way to escape death and replied “yes, that’s right ! I was in your group but they captured me at the checkpoint and made me fight you guys.” Abu Walae turned to one of the brothers: “Put your weapon on automatic and shoot this guy …”

Abu Walae prayed to God frequently, asking Him to kill lots of enemies before dying as a martyr himself. He dreamt of being united in Paradise with his younger brother Abu Baseer. And Insha’allah his prayers have been answered in this Holy month of Ramadan. May these two martyred brothers be offered the favors of the Shuhadaa. What an honor for this family to have two of their sons martyred.

For a Mujahid it is very important to be tolerant towards others, for in this Jihad you will be meeting people from different nations, with different habits and cultures. Furthermore you are in a completely different country, far away from life as you knew it. You have to adapt to the situation and the variety of people you will deal with. If you do not have an open heart and are impatient then you will probably not persevere this Jihad. It is during Jihad that you will truly get to know your comrades; it is here your true friends will be revealed.

One may believe the only thing you will deal with in Jihad are bullets and shelling. A Mujahid however must also stand hunger, pain, insomnia. He must be patient with the people he meets and has to adapt to a whole new situation. Sometimes you will have to stay put for weeks, enduring hunger, cold, rain … This asks for endurance and patience.

I knew Abu Walae for years, he was my best friend. I knew him for years at home and I got to know him better, thousands of kilometers away from home, fighting on the Syrian battle field. It was an honor to get to know him better whilst fighting together. He was a great man, he became even more exalted in Jihad. The same goes for all the other brothers I knew back home and here, both in good as in harder times. Me and Abu Walae were friends, for five years we shared everything. We left for Syria together, we followed each other from basecamp to basecamp, we fought side by side on the battle field. We shared everything, every day with him was a pleasure. We spent many hours at nights sitting together drinking tea or coffee, talking with other brothers. Daily we talked about Martyrdom and how it would be like to die like a Shaheed. He always stated firmly “if that bullet comes, so be it.”

Abu Walae was a well-informed brother, his Arabic was excellent and both at home as in Syria he was very involved with Dawah. He offered help to other brothers translating Arabic for them. If the brothers had any questions, he patiently took his time to explain everything in length. He did this in a humble way, never humiliating them with his knowledge. Other wise people could learn from Abu Walae. He was straightforward in his words yet easily forgiving.

Jihad without patience is impossible and our brother Abu Walae was a very patient man. Here you have to cope by yourself; there is no loving mother here cooking and washing for you. Here you learn to be independent. Jihad is a school of life; it’s not only fighting, you learn to be obedient and disciplined. If you fail to be patient, if you do not have these virtues, you will fail in Jihad. In a way your Jihad starts before you leave for the battle field. You will have to fight your own will, your doubts and fears. You will be in two minds, thinking about your family, you will worry. You have to be strong to overcome these feelings and to take the next step.

Abu Walae enjoyed Jihad even despite the hardship and sacrifices. Those who didn’t wage Jihad will hardly understand but for Muslims here’s a comparison. The Holy Month of Ramadan means fasting during the day and praying at night time. Both the fasting and praying are hard to endure, yet we see Ramadan as a time of joy, time flies by because of this. The same stands for Jihad; as in Ramadan, we are surrounded with brothers and close friends, you feel close to Allah.

It is quite evident why Abu Walae enjoyed Jihad. Jihad bestows the Ummah with life and nobleness, it is a source of victories for the Muslims. As we witnessed, leaving Jihad means indignation and dismay. Although at times you will have no food, no shelter, sleeping under trees or on a concrete floor, the Mujahid feels joy and satisfaction. Compare this with living in the West, where, despite having all they need, people live in sorrow and depression.

About a month ago, a brother had a dream about Abu Walae. He saw him drinking and asked what it was. Abu Walae said he was drinking the wine of Paradise. This brother saw this dream as a prediction of his Martyrdom. He later talked Abu Walae about this dream and Abu Walae answered that there was no worth in this life, that he wanted to be with Allah. Indeed a few weeks later Abu Walae was martyred.

Abu Walae’s mother had a similar dream. She saw her son entering the living room wearing his qamis, his gun over his left shoulder. He approached his mother and embraced her firmly. “My son, did you return?” “No,” he said, “I came to see you and will go back.” This dream was like a confirmation for his family that Abu Walae would die as a Martyr.

My family told me about the faith and perseverance the family of Abu Walae shows. This mother sacrificed two of her sons and when Allah will ask her what she did in her life she can tell Him she raised two sons whom she sacrificed for Allah’s cause. How many are there who can claim that these days ? Is there a greater sacrifice any mother can make ? May Allah protect her and unite her with her two martyred sons in Paradise.

If parents in the Netherlands love their children, they shouldn’t stand between them and Paradise. Indeed, they should give their children the example by first sending in the fathers to fight Jihad. Abu Walae cared deeply for his mother, he understood why for Islam it is so important to take good care of your mother. If he heard about one of the brothers not calling home for a long time, he would reprimand them. He would talk to the brother and convince him to call home. He was one of the brothers who took good care for the younger brothers from The Netherlands.

We ask Allah to accept our brother as a Martyr and to reunite us all in Paradise. Oh Allah, favor us with martyrdom and take our blood, our possessions, our effort and our sacrifices until it favors you.

Your Brothers from Bilad as-Sham

NOTE: As with all guest posts, the opinions expressed below are those of the guest author and they do not necessarily represent the views of this blogs administrator and does not at all represent his employer at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Jihadology.net aims to not only provide primary sources for researchers and occasional analysis of them, but also to allow other young and upcoming students as well as established academics or policy wonks to contribute original analysis on issues related to jihadism. If you would like to contribute a piece, please email your idea/post to azelin [at] jihadology [dot] net.

Click here to see an archive of all guest posts.

Dutch Foreign Fighters – Some Testimonials from the Syrian Front

By Pieter Van Ostaeyen 

Introduction: 

A while ago I documented Belgian Jihadi’s in Syria quite meticulously, even though source material is rather limited. Especially on social media the Belgian fighters seem to be keeping a rather low profile. Exactly the opposite stands for their “colleagues” from The Netherlands. It didn’t take too much trouble to stumble upon quite lengthy posts on all kinds of social media platforms. As opposed to my earlier work on the Belgians, I will not give an overview of who left, got killed or returned home; in these posts I will present some personal stories of the Dutch foreign fighters. This will be the first part in a series of posts on the topic.

Their Armor:

The armor of the Dutch Mujahideen:

  • A Kalashnikov AK46 and 6 extra magazines
  • A Makarov pistol
  • Two handgrenades: one defensive, one offensive
  • A sharp knife
  • A Casio watch

This photo was taken an hour before a battle in the larger Homs area. The operation counted 150 fighters against about 400 regime forces.

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Perhaps the most important belonging of a Dutch fighter is a translation of the Qur’an.

(This one is the translation by Fred Leemhuis (ISBN 90 269 4078 5), without any doubt the best translation of the Qur’an in Dutch)

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The story of Mujahid Mourad Massali – Abu Baseer

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It was at the end of 2012 when we in Holland said goodbye to Abu Baseer. We were going training that evening but Abu Baseer came with the intention of saying farewell to the brothers. At first Abu Baseer didn’t want to participate in the training but after some brothers insisted he joined in. After the training we said farewell, Abu Baseer embraced us and asked for forgiveness. We later found out that this was to be the last night Abu Baseer was amongst us.

Abu Baseer is a brother who inspired many in The Netherlands to take the path of Jihad. He always called for truth, whether at work, in the streets, in the Mosque and even from Syria. He called us from Syria and told us about the beauty of Jihad; we would be foolish not to come over.  This brother had everything he could wish for living in The Netherlands; he had a college degree, was married at the age of 20 and was soon to become father, he had a good job and lived with his wife in his own house. He was a lucky young man and yet he choose to sacrifice his life fighting for the cause of Allah.

It was not only the love for Allah that made Abu Baseer leave for Syria, but more importantly his love for the Ummah. For when a Muslim sees the suffering of the Syrian people, he sees them as if they were his own parents, his own children. It cannot be that the tears from our mothers in The Netherlands are more important than the tears of the hundreds of thousands Syrian mothers. These Syrian women lose husbands, children and family daily. These women get killed, raped or tortured. These women we see as our own mothers, we feel their grief as if it was our own. The same applies for the Syrian men and children who we see as our own kin.

If I would have to describe Abu Baseer in one word, I would use ‘Izz (honor). He was a man of honor and strength loyal to his Brothers. When he heard some Muslims were in hardship he always was the first to start collecting money to help them out. Whenever you were in trouble, Abu Baseer was there to help you out.

We arrived in Syria a month after him, we had to wait before meeting him because he was on a mission protecting the borders. Me and the Brothers were in the [military] training camp at that point. He was on his mission on the front for over 40 days. On missions like this you are at guard, facing the enemy constantly. Sometimes sleeping in your battle gear.

It was later that evening I saw Abu Baseer again. It had been about two months ago. We embraced; a moment not to forget. We spent hours with the brothers around a fire, talking about The Netherlands. And there we were in the blessed land of as-Sham al-Mujahideen. It was a dream to be participating in Jihad and Allah’s blessing to be in the company of an old group of friends.

Abu Baseer always had a prominent role on the battlefield. His courage and caring for wounded brothers are remembered. He was always the first on the frontline; even though he was younger, he engaged us all in Jihad.

The Battle of Khan Touman

We heard about a major battle coming up. It was directed against a major army base. That morning we left in several groups towards Khan Touman. Our orders were strict; no prisoners were to be taken and there was no such thing as retreat. We said goodbye to each other, we made some photos …

We divided into seven platoons. In total we were about 500 taking on about 2000 or more in open field. We were to attack after dusk. The platoon of Abu Baseer, led by Abu Baraa al-Homsi, was one of the first in battle. After initial silence, suddenly fire broke loose on Abu Baseer’s front. The group had overrun al-Assad’s troops and penetrated deep into enemy frontlines. Those who returned, told me bullets and bombs were all around but didn’t hit the brothers. One of the wonders they told about was that a mortar grenade landed in their middle and didn’t explode.

The next day me, Abu Baseer’s brother and other brothers we knew from The Netherlands, were sent to reinforce another frontline. Abu Baseer was there, he welcomed us and we decided to fight side by side. A dream came true. Every Muslim caring for Jihad dreams about fighting side by side with his brothers. Fighting the enemies of the Ummah. Who would have known this when we were in The Netherlands ?

After the evening prayer the enemy had fallen back to its original positions. I would protect this outpost together with Abu Baseer and four other Ansar during nighttime. It was a cold night and we were hungry. We had almost no blankets and slept on a concrete floor. Some of us hadn’t slept in over 48 hours. And yet in turn we had to take guard and stay on the look-out for the enemy. It is in times like this you experience Jihad an-Nafs fully; the internal strife you’re going through is but a reflection of the external battle you experience. But if you lose your internal strife it will reflect on battle and vice versa.

After we prayed Fajr we were going to the front line and awaited the enemy. This time they returned with more heavy weapons, covered by tank fire and heavy artillery. At a certain point I lost track of Abu Baseer and went out looking for him at the front. After I didn’t find him there, I returned to the other Dutch brothers. It is at this time we ran into Abu Baseer; he was carrying a box of food and fruit. We never knew where he got it, but he by himself thus provided over twenty men with breakfast. This is how Abu Baseer always thought about his brothers first and why we loved him so deeply.

After we ate Abu Baseer told me it would be better if we would reinforce the right flank because fighting was heavier there. We asked the Amir for permission to go there. Once arrived we ran into some brothers with food and drinks. One of them offered us some energy drinks; Abu Baseer took one and put it in my vest saying “here, take this, you’ll need it.” When the brother offered Abu Baseer one, he decisively said: “no, no, not for me, today I will drink in Paradise.”

The fighting was heavy, it was the last outpost of the enemy. We were under heavy fire from tanks. Luckily the Mujahideen as well had tanks and anti-tank rockets. Our Amir Abu al-Baraa had a rocket launcher he wanted to use on one of the tanks that shelled us constantly. He asked for volunteers to approach the tank. Abu Baseer was the first one to volunteer, I went with him.

The three of us now had to cross an open field, with only some high grass as cover. One of the brothers helped us cutting the barbed wire and we ran into the open land. They fired upon us with all they had; machine guns and snipers. The tank didn’t spot us yet but we were under heavy fire. Abu al-Baraa and Abu Baseer were three feet in front of me, they were going to fire the rocket at the tank which was only fifty feet away. When the tank spotted us it fired at us with its heavy machine gun and soon the shelling started.

The rocket, although it was brand new, blocked. Abu al-Baraa ordered me to go back to the others and return with the brother specialized in using these rockets. So once again I had to run across the field while the enemy had us in sight. The last thing I heard was Abu Baseer advising me to keep to the right. This was to be the last time he spoke to me…

When I arrived back I explained the situation to the others, the brother was to prepare to return back with me. Suddenly we heard via the radio one of us was martyred at the right flank. Some rushed in to get the body of the martyr. When I saw Abu al-Baraa and the others returning with a body, I knew Abu Baseer got what he wanted; to die as a Shaheed. Abu Baseer had been shot in the neck. We buried our friend the same day, a smile on his face.

A few hours after Abu Baseer died we took over the enemy base, after only two days  of battle. We later destroyed the tank that caused Abu Baseer’s death. We captured 27 hidden bunkers stuffed with weapons and ammunition and two million liters of diesel. This was a marvelous victory, a glorious day to die as a Martyr. We later realized it was only because Allah wanted it we were victorious in this battle.

A month later I ran into Abu al-Baraa again; he told us he asked Abu Baseer moments before his death whether he was afraid. He answered: “Why should I be afraid when I will be in Paradise soon?”

We ask Allah to take care of Abu Baseer’s relatives and to accept him as true Martyr. We ask Allah to reunite us in Paradise, Oh Allah favor us with martyrdom, take our blood, our belongings and our endeavors untilled You are satisfied with us.

Your brother Abu Jandal

Pieter Van Ostaeyen

Master Medieval History 1999
Master Arabic & Islamic Studies 2003