Abu Hamza al-Qurashi was the spokesman for ISIS. He began serving as spokesman in October 2019, making major announcements for the terror group.Rukmini Callimachi and Eric Schmitt, “Isis Names New Leader as It Confirms Al-Bagdadi’s death,” New York Times, October 31, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/world/middleeast/isis-al-baghdadi-dead.html; “Islamic State names its new leader as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi,” BBC News, October 31, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50254785. On March 10, 2022, ISIS released an audio recording confirming the death of Qurashi.“IS Names New Leader, Confirms Death Of Abu Ibrahim Al-Qurashi,” Agence France Presse, March 10, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/news/is-names-new-leader-confirms-death-of-abu-ibrahim-al-qurashi-01646930407?tesla=y.
Qurashi replaced former ISIS spokesman Abu Hasan al-Muhajir, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in late October 2019 in Syria shortly after the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister, “Baghdadi’s successor likely to be Iraqi religious scholar,” CNN, October 29, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/28/politics/isis-leadership-contender-al-mawla/index.html; Isabel Coles, Nazih Osseiran, and Jessica Donati, “Islamic State Spokesman Killed in U.S. Airstrike,” Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-state-spokesman-targeted-in-u-s-airstrike-say-kurds-11572268364; “Islamic State group names its new leader as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi,” BBC News, October 31, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50254785. On October 31, 2019, Qurashi announced Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi—a.k.a. Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla—as the new leader of ISIS. He declared that ISIS’s shura council had met quickly after Baghdadi’s death to select his replacement and called on Muslims to pledge allegiance to the new leader.Rukmini Callimachi and Eric Schmitt, “Isis Names New Leader as It Confirms Al-Bagdadi’s death,” New York Times, October 31, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/world/middleeast/isis-al-baghdadi-dead.html; “Islamic State names its new leader as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi,” BBC News, October 31, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50254785.
On January 27, 2020, Qurashi delivered an audio speech, distributed by ISIS’s al-Furqan Media, calling for ISIS’s followers around the world to travel to the nearest ISIS province and join a training camp. Qurashi called for the slaughter of “the Jews inside Palestine and outside of Palestine” and wherever they can be found. Qurashi further called on followers to increase strikes against ISIS’s enemies using snipers, IEDs, silencers, and boobytraps.“ISIS Spokesman Dismisses Trump’s Declarations Of Annihilating ISIS, Declares War On Israel: 'Oh Soldiers Of The Caliphate Everywhere... Go For The Israeli Settlements And Marketplaces; Turn Them Into Lands For Testing Your Weapons... Attack The Jews And Slaughter Them,’” MEMRI, January 27, 2020, https://www.memri.org/reports/isis-spokesman-dismisses-trumps-declarations-annihilating-isis-declares-war-israel-oh.
On May 28, 2020, Qurashi released a message extending greetings from Mawla and calling for ISIS’s followers to continue their war of attrition.Hassan Hassan, Twitter post, May 28, 2020, 11:38 a.m., https://twitter.com/hxhassan/status/1266031106253565958. Qurashi referred to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 as a divine punishment for the “crusaders” who are now facing the same misery ISIS has faced through lockdowns and bodies in the streets. Qurashi said the virus has distanced ISIS’s enemies and kept them occupied and promised “big changes in the region that’ll offer greater opportunities than” ISIS “previously had in the past decade.”Hassan Hassan, Twitter post, May 28, 2019, 10:54 a.m., https://twitter.com/hxhassan/status/1266019995659702273; Hassan Hassan, Twitter post, May 28, 2019, 11:01 a.m., https://twitter.com/hxhassan/status/1266021717169917959; Hassan Hassan, Twitter post, May 28, 2019, 11: 34 a.m., https://twitter.com/hxhassan/status/1266030188934115333.
Qurashi released an audio recording on October 18, 2020, through ISIS’s official Telegram channel calling for the overthrow of “tyrannical” Arab rulers. The statement was released in the midst of normalization agreements between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain with Israel. The move by the UAE and Bahrain promises complete normalization of diplomatic, commercial, security, and other relations with Israel in exchange for Jerusalem suspending annexation of occupied West Bank territory. Qurashi further called on ISIS operatives and supporters in Saudi Arabia and Africa to attack Western citizens and interests.“Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 15-21, 2020),” The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, October 22, 2020, https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/spotlight-on-global-jihad-october-15-21-2020/; “In response to normalization … ISIS calls for attacks in the...,” Al Khaleej Today, October 19, 2020, https://alkhaleejtoday.co/saudi-arabia/5139962/In-response-to-normalization-%E2%80%A6-ISIS-calls-for-attacks-in-the.html; Jonathan Hoffman, “Why Gulf nations are normalizing ties with Israel,” Washington Post, September 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/09/24/why-gulf-nations-are-normalizing-ties-with-israel/; Peter Baker, Isabel Kershner, David D. Kirkpatrick and Ronen Bergman, “Israel and United Arab Emirates Strike Major Diplomatic Agreement,” August 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/13/us/politics/trump-israel-united-arab-emirates-uae.html.
On June 22, 2021, ISIS released an audio message attributed to Qurashi. In the message, ISIS renewed its threats against Sunni tribal fighters aligned with the Iraqi government saying Sunni fighters should “not deceive yourselves that you are safe and that our swords can’t reach you, but we are delaying raiding your houses in the hope you repent.”Sinan Mahmoud, “ISIS issues warning to Iraqi Sunnis but struggles to regroup,” The National, June 23, 2021, https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/isis-issues-warning-to-iraqi-sunnis-but-struggles-to-regroup-1.1247357. Qurashi also hailed militants in central and northern Iraq and called for the release of “prisoners of atheists and apostates.”Sinan Mahmoud, “ISIS issues warning to Iraqi Sunnis but struggles to regroup,” The National, June 23, 2021, https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/isis-issues-warning-to-iraqi-sunnis-but-struggles-to-regroup-1.1247357.
Arabic-speaking observers suspected Qurashi was Iraqi based on his dialect.Hassan Hassan, Twitter post, May 28, 2020, 2:03 p.m., https://twitter.com/hxhassan/status/1266067678642536449.
On March 10, 2022, ISIS released an audio recording confirming the death of Qurashi as well as leader Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla. According to the statement, the two were “killed in recent days.”“IS Names New Leader, Confirms Death Of Abu Ibrahim Al-Qurashi,” Agence France Presse, March 10, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/news/is-names-new-leader-confirms-death-of-abu-ibrahim-al-qurashi-01646930407?tesla=y.
- Extremist entity
- Type(s) of Organization:
- Insurgent, territory-controlling, religious, terrorist, violent
- Ideologies and Affiliations:
- Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Salafist, takfiri
- Spokesman - deceased
ISIS is a violent jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. The group has declared wilayas (provinces) in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.