The audiotape of ISIS Spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qurashi, entitled “You are the sublime ones if you believe” (Telegram, June 22, 2021)
- On June 21, 2021, ISIS’s Al-Furqan Media Foundation released an audiotape of ISIS Spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qurashi. The tape, which lasts about 38 minutes, is entitled “You are the sublime ones if you believe.” It mainly contains words of encouragement to ISIS’s fighters around the world, calls on them to intensify their activity and asks them to choose more substantial targets for their attacks (Telegram, June 22, 2021).
- On the audiotape, Qurashi addresses each and every province of ISIS. He turns to the province operatives and mentions their activity, revealing knowledge on what goes on in each of the provinces. Judging on the basis of the events he mentions, it seems that his speech was recorded recently, since he mentions events and incidents from the past two weeks, such as ISIS operatives’ attack in Libya against Haftar’s forces and the killing of Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader in Nigeria. He also refers to Operation Guardian of the Walls in the Gaza Strip (May 10-21, 2021) and the incidents in Jerusalem.
- Since his appointment in October 2019, Abu Hamza al-Qurashi has not spoken in public very often. This is merely his fourth audiotape. It is the third audiotape in which he addresses the Palestinian issue, an issue which has hardly ever been addressed by ISIS’s spokesmen. It should be noted that Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, ISIS’s leader, has never issued any audiotape since his appointment and has kept a low media profile.
- The previous audiotape was disseminated on October 18, 2020, with the normalization agreements between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel in the background. In that audiotape, among other things, he called for attacking Western citizens in Saudi Arabia, which was perceived as the broker of the normalization agreements, and hit Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure, for example, by setting fire to oil pipes and plants. In the audiotape that preceded it, released on January 27, 2020, he called on Muslims around the world to thwart President Trump’s Deal of the Century. In that audiotape, he called on ISIS operatives in the Sinai Peninsula and Syria to attack Israeli communities and use Israel’s territory as a proving ground for ISIS’s weapons and rockets. He also called on Muslims in Palestine and throughout the world to spearhead the campaign to foil the Deal of the Century.
- It is possible that Al-Qurashi is interested in the Palestinian issue more than its predecessors, and yet, from the current audiotape, it is evident that his main interests lie with Iraq and Syria, and the threat posed to ISIS by Iran and its proxies. On the Palestinian issue, ISIS settles with calling on the residents to return to religion and embrace jihad, while criticizing Hamas, which it perceives as an Iranian proxy.
Main points made by Al-Qurashi
- The tape begins with Abu Hamza al-Qurashi praising ISIS’s operatives for their determination to adopt the path of jihad, noting that Allah promises them victory. Addressing the West (the “Crusaders”), he says that the Islamic State continues to exist in spite of them. He also calls on ISIS’s operatives, with an emphasis on Iraq and Syria, to work to break down the prison walls and liberate its imprisoned operatives. In addition, he calls on them to target judges and lawyers working against ISIS operatives. Addressing the imprisoned ISIS operatives, he stresses that liberating them is imperative according to Sharia. He also calls on ISIS operatives throughout the world not to succumb to persecution by the “infidels” and carry on in the path of jihad and the faith in Allah.
- He then congratulates ISIS operatives on their activity in various provinces: Iraq, Syria, Sinai, Khorasan (Afghanistan), Somalia, Libya, Pakistan and India, and especially stresses the activity in Iraq. Following are his comments on each province:
- The West and Central Africa provinces: Abu Hamza al-Qurashi praises their activity and informs them that ISIS’s leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, is calling on them to continue on their path. He praises them for the defeat of the “extremist group” (alluding to the killing of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau by ISIS operatives) and the fact that Boko Haram operatives have joined ISIS, and calls on them to continue on this path and adhere to the faith in Allah and jihad against their enemies. He also calls on Muslims in these provinces to join and support ISIS’s jihad fighters.
- Iraq: He emphasizes ISIS’s activity in Iraq and threatens the Iraqi government and the forces supporting it (the Popular Mobilization and Tribal Mobilization forces), saying that they will suffer a severe blow at the hands of ISIS.
- Syria: He praises ISIS operatives in Syria, who have succeeded to wear down the Syrian army (al-Nussairi, i.e., the Alawite) and the Russian and Iranian forces supporting it, to the extent that its soldiers do not dare to move around without the escort of fighter jets or tanks. He also praises ISIS operatives for their fighting against the “infidels” and the local militias. He calls on the operatives to continue attacking the clerics and tribal leaders loyal to the Syrian regime and also the Kurdish forces.
- Sinai Province: He praises the operatives of ISIS’s’ Sinai Province for wearing down the Egyptian army and for their steadfastness, since, as he claims, “the Army of Egypt’s Pharaoh” is no better than the “army of the objectors” [a derogatory name for the Shiites] in Iraq. He calls on ISIS operatives in Sinai to expand their activity to the cities and kill officers and intelligence operatives. He notes that they must display patience since this is an ongoing process that cannot yield immediate results.
- Afghanistan: He calls on ISIS operatives to attack “objectors” [meaning mainly the Hazara, the Shiite minority in Afghanistan] and Taliban operatives, noting that they must choose to act against bigger and more significant targets, such as leaders heading the “tyrannical cabinet” and government officials.
- Libya: He congratulates ISIS’s operatives in Libya on their latest operation (the suicide bombing attack at a roadblock set up by General Haftar’s fighters about two weeks ago) and expresses the hope that this attack will be the “first spark” that will lead to the expansion of ISIS’s activity in Libya.
- The Palestinians and the recent campaign in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem: He criticizes the Arab and Islamic leaders who did not help the Palestinians in the latest round of fighting in Gaza (Operation Guardian of the Walls) and during the clashes in Jerusalem. He calls Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi the Pharaoh of Egypt, and Abdullah the King of Jordan the Jordanian dictator, claiming that they serve as a line of defense for Israel against the jihad fighters. He also criticizes the policy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (“the Antichrist”) on the Palestinian issue, noting that when ISIS ruled the city of Aleppo, the Turks were quick to attack the region with their fighter jets. He adds that the “infidels” (the Arab regimes, led by Egypt, Jordan and Syria) delayed the advance of ISIS’s’ forces in their fight against the Jews, and constituted an obstacle on the way to Palestine, only to defend the Jews from the soldiers of the caliphate. He calls on the residents of Palestine to wake up, noting that the truth is not achieved through peace, but rather through “jihad and bloodshed.”
- Hamas: ISIS’s spokesman Al-Qurashi criticizes Hamas for its ties with Iran and calls members of Hamas “the brothers of the devil.” He notes that only yesterday, Hamas members criticized normalization between the Gulf countries and Israel, and today, with the utmost impudence, they create normalization with Iran of the Magi (i.e., of the Zoroastrian religion). Addressing the Palestinians, he says that a Hamas victory should not be expected. He tells them not to be mistaken when it comes to Hamas’s rockets, since they were launched not in response to the suffering of the Palestinians or in order to liberate them from oppression, but rather in response to a call by “their Iranian masters.”
- Iran: He ends by calling on all Muslims to carry out jihad and fight against Iran’s proxies.
 See the ITIC's publication from October 29, 2020, “Analysis of the new statement of ISIS spokesman following the normalization agreements between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain” ↑