“Abu Sayfillaah” is a British Twitter personality and pro-ISIS propagandist. Sayfillaah also operates a YouTube channel on which he touts the benefits of sharia (Islamic law), and warns against the evils of nationalism, democracy, and interfaith dialogue. Abu Sayfillaah, “Nationalism is a disease,” YouTube video, 21:37, September 6, 2015.
Sayfillaah is an ardent supporter of Anjem Choudary, a U.K.-based Islamist cleric, preacher, and lawyer who was convicted of inviting support for ISIS in June 2016.Nick Gutteridge, “WATCH: British Muslim's heartwarming put-down to hateful Islamist behind poppy ban edict ,” Express (London), November 5, 2015, http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/616942/British-Muslim-Haseeb-Ahmed-video-poppy-ban-Abu-Sayfillah;
“Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman convicted of inviting support for Daesh,” Crown Prosecution Service, August 16, 2016, http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/anjem_choudary_and_mohammed_rahman_convicted_of_inviting_support_for_daesh/. Following Choudary’s arrest in September 2014, Sayfillaah tweeted multiple messages of support for Choudary, insinuating that he was innocent and should be freed.Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, August 14, 2015, 11:34 a.m., https://twitter.com/AbuSayfillaah/status/632213615001665536.
Sayfillaah has tweeted that there should be an “Anjem Choudary in every city of the UK.”Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, July 8, 2015, 7:32 a.m., https://twitter.com/AbuSayfillaah/status/618789776586592256.
In addition to voicing support for Choudary, Sayfillaah associated with members of Choudary’s banned al-Muhajiroun network. U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 released a documentary in January 2016 called “The Jihadis Next Door,” which featured several members of the group. The Daily Mail revealed in July 2019 that one of the al-Muhajiroun members featured with an ISIS flag in the documentary was in fact Sayfillah. The paper identified him in the video as “Abdul Muquith.” His face was blurred in the original documentary because of a reported pending police investigation. The documentary also featured Islamist propagandist Abu Haleema and future London Bridge attacker Khuram Shazad Butt.Abul Taher and Michael Powell, “Identified for the first time... the jihadis next door: The eight men who stood in prayer behind ISIS flag in London,” Daily Mail (London), June 15, 2019, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7145929/Identified-time-jihadis-door-men-stood-prayer-ISIS-flag.html.
The U.K. government banned al-Muhajiroun in 2006 over the group’s links to terrorism.“Proscribed Terrorist Organizations,” U.K. Home Office, accessed July 31, 2019, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/538297/20160715-Proscription-website-update.pdf. British authorities released Choudary from prison on parole in October 2018. Since then, British sources report that elements of al-Muhajiroun have sought to reorganize.Ceylan Yeginsu, “One of U.K.’s Most Prolific Extremist Cells Is Regrouping,” New York Times, May 18, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/18/world/europe/uk-extremist-cell-anjem-choudary.html.
Abu Sayfillaah supports ISIS, and has touted the self-proclaimed caliphate as a symbol of Muslim strength and unity.Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, July 20, 2015, 4:41 a.m., https://twitter.com/AbuSayfillaah/status/623095379400200192.
While Sayfillaah does not overtly advocate violence by posting photos of weaponry or scenes of violence, he insinuates that fellow Muslims should not be afraid of being labeled “radical” or “extremist,” because it would make it more difficult for them to be “sincere to Allah.”
His tweets include anti-Western sentiments and allure to pro-ISIS mentality. He accuses the British government of islamophobia,Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, July 20, 2015, 4:41 a.m., https://twitter.com/AbuSayfillaah/status/628962630242316288. and accuses the “kufr” (“kuffar,” or nonbelievers) of waging a war on Islam and polluting the Muslim youth with their ideas.Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, June 12, 2015, 1:47 a.m., https://twitter.com/AbuSayfillaah/status/609280948014829568.
Some of Sayfillaah’s tweets attempt to normalize ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate. He wrote that he couldn’t understand why people hated Muslims who “just want to expel foreign occupiers and implement shar’iah law,”Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, June 8, 2015, 2:46 p.m., https://twitter.com/AbuSayfillaah/status/608027255198130177. and that Islam (and sharia) is superior to any form of government.Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, May 28, 2015, 3:53 p.m., https://twitter.com/AbuSayfillaah/status/603876731255181312.
Sayfillaah states that only kuffar would consider sharia “barbaric.”Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, May 24, 2015, 7:35 a.m., https://twitter.com/AbuSayfillaah/status/602483040888168448.
After the ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, Sayfillaah took to Twitter to “remind” his followers to “look into the history of France,” and see that it is “full of bloodshed of their crusades in Muslim lands.” In another tweet posted three days after the attacks, Sayfillaah wrote, “The bully bullies people and when his victims hit one back, he starts crying to the whole world ‘look what they did to me’.”Abu Sayfillaah, Twitter post, November 16, 2015, 3:19 p.m.
- Extremist entity
- Type(s) of Organization:
- Insurgent, territory-controlling, religious, terrorist, violent
- Ideologies and Affiliations:
- Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Salafist, takfiri
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.
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.