Michigan imam’s praise for jihad latest example of rising danger of extremism: expert

A Michigan Islamic scholar posted a video on social media calling on Muslims in the West and U.S. to embrace jihad, continuing a trend that threatens to spread extremism in the United States.

“You have pretty radicalizing, extreme content happening,” Alberto Fernandez, vice president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), told Fox News Digital. “This is stuff they uploaded on social media. It’s there for everybody to see.”

Fernandez’s comments come after MEMRI uploaded a video featuring Ahmad Musa Jibril, an Islamic scholar from Michigan who encouraged Muslims in America to celebrate and aspire to jihad.

“Yes, there is holy war in Islam. It is jihad,” Jibril says in the video, which was uploaded to X. “This may be a surprise to many who grew up in the West, especially those who were born or grew up post 9/11, because of the growing number of hypocrites who are spreading the American-Zionist Islam. And it has nothing to do with Islam, that version of Islam is and Islam that suits the enemies.”

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Jibril took aim at many in the West who he claims pushed a fake version of Islam since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, shying away from the celebration of jihad while pushing a version of “slam that suits the enemies.”

“The Muslims in the West, especially the youth in the West, especially the youth in America, need to wake up,” Jibril said. “The current events are a wake-up call for Muslims to start normalizing mentioning jihad’s proper meaning and putting it back into their vocabulary. Jihad must be a common, normal term on your tongues, on your social media and in the mosques and elsewhere.”

The scholar also lashed out at the U.S. and President Biden, calling him “a terrorist” while blaming the U.S. for “the genocide in Palestine.”

“It is about time that the Muslims — especially the youth — in the West. It is time for them to understand what should already be known, that the infidel West, particularly the U.S., are the enemies of Muslims,” Jibril said. “If you can’t raise your child telling him you want him to be mujahid and martyr, then you are the root of the problem.”

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Less than a week after Jibril’s video was published, MEMRI shared another video featuring a Delaware imam who warned Muslims living in the West the day will come for Allah to turn “America into Palestine,” something Muslims enjoying first world luxury should be prepared for.

“Allah hasn’t turned America into Palestine yet. That time is coming, we’ve enjoyed a lot,” the imam, Shadeed Muhammad, says in the video. “This is stolen land, make no mistake about that. Every breath that we take on this land right here, this is blood money. Blood money taken from the natives right here … and you think that we want to just stay here, live here, enjoy all of our lives, and die, and the time is not going to come?”

According to Fernandez, the two videos are the latest in a growing trend of extremist content being posted to mainstream social media, an indication dangerous ideas might become pervasive.

“If that’s the stuff that they’re saying openly, what are they saying that is not open?” Fernandez said.

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Such content, Fernandez warned, is especially dangerous when seen by impressionable young people who may not be fully knowledgeable on religion.

“This also happened after 9/11,” Fernandez said, noting that reactions to the terrorist attacks ranged from anger from some to curiosity about the “bad guys'” point of view from others.

“In some cases, of course, it was kind of just curiosity. In other cases, there was a conversion to Islam, and, in other cases, people were actually radicalized and actually carried out acts of terrorism,” Fernandez said.

“The challenge now is, are we going to have the same kind of series: People that are curious, some people who may convert and that’s the end of it and then some people who will maybe, instead of politics or instead of antisemitic demonstrations, go into violent action. That’s the challenge, that’s the concern.”

Fernandez noted that Jibril in particular became “notorious” during the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq in Syria, becoming known for radicalizing Western Muslims and encouraging them to join the terrorist group. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas risks being a similar “accelerant” to push extremist ideas.

“It accelerates something which is already happening, which is a kind of ideological war which is occurring. So, it drives interest, and it drives people becoming more extreme,” Fernandez said. “They’ll use whatever is happening to promote their message.”

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