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News 15 Jan 14

Albanian Jihadists Recruit Fighters for Syria on Facebook

Groups and individuals fighting in Syria are using Facebook and YouTube to recruit fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group.

Besar Likmeta BIRN Tirana

A Facebook page, Krenaria Islame (Islamic Pride), which has more 2,400 followers, is posting pictures and propaganda on behalf of Albanians reported to be fighting for the ISIS in Syria.

One picture posted on the page, seen by Balkan Insight, shows about a dozen armed man, wearing black masks, with the title, "Albanian mujahedeen of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, with their battalion leader, Lavderim Muhaxheri".

In a video message shot in Syria and posted on YouTube, Muhaxheri calls on Muslims to join the fight to establish an Islamic state based on Sharia law.

“Brothers, I advise you to not stay one moment more in your homes, but prepare and journey toward jihad,” he says.

“We thank Allah for allowing us to join these lions from all over the world to protect here the honour of our Muslim sisters,” he adds.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, was founded in the early years of the Iraq war. It pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2004, becoming known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The group, made up of a number of insurgent groups, aimed to establish a Sunni caliphate in Iraq but has since expanded its goals to include Syria.  

The Islamic Pride page also features jihadist videos translated into Albanian, praise for mujahedeen of Albanian descent who have died fighting in Syria and videos attacking democracy as incompatible with Islam.

One video, which appears to have been shot in a Western country, shows bearded men calling on Muslims to boycott elections, arguing that true Muslims may not vote.  

In other posts and pictures, Islamic Pride attacks moderate Islamic leaders in Albania and Kosovo, denounces inter-faith dialogue, and condemns US President Barack Obama as well as former president Bill Clinton.

The page also offers praise for the late terrorist leader, Osama Bin Laden, and the former head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Ebu Musab Al-Zarkawi.

“Allah should have more men like this…O Allah, we ask for a death like Osama’s,” one post reads.

A picture of Bin Laden, with the burning World Trade Center towers after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the background, has attached to it one of the terrorist leader’s quotes:

“Even if I die, hundreds like me will be born every day.”

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