One reason Moazzam Begg’s transformation from failed jihadi to poster boy for Amnesty International (what else do you call a man whom Amnesty UK have even promoted in a poetry reading) is so remarkable is that Begg has a long history of extremism.
Let’s turn back to 2000, when he was arrested at Maktabah al Ansar (“Bookstore of the Helpers”, a reference to Medinans who helped Mohammed) in Birmingham. Here’s his father’s account:
“He was a partner of the shop, or something, and had all sorts of books. He was accused of making a rifle in a shop. They [MI5] went to his shop and the house,” said Azmat Begg. “‘They suspected him because they all had beards. It was circumstantial – there was so much suspicion of him and then they started doing things to him.”
He added, however, that the investigations into his son came to nothing, saying: “They couldn’t do anything. They didn’t find anything. He was arrested. They thought that he was doing something funny.”
“They knew he had a computer and thought what he was doing was stored in the computer so they took it away. He was laughing. They tried to get him to reveal the code on his computer. They took him to court and the judge said he could not compel him to reveal it.”
Well he might have laughed, for Begg was released without charge and his bookstore was indeed doing “something funny”.
Like publishing “The Army of Madinah in Kashmir”, for example. It is a cross between jihadi adventure tale and training manual for future mujahideen hoping to sneak in and slaughter Indians more effectively in Kashmir.
Here is the publisher’s note, which is an ode to the author, with a requisite bow to Abdullah Azzam, a leader in the Afghan jihad against the Soviets and a mentor to Osama bin Laden:
Indeed all Praise is for Allah Alone, Master of the Day of Judgment and peace and blessings be upon the Noblestof Prophets, the Imaarn of the pious, the commander of the Mujahideen, our Messenger Muhammed and all those who follow in good until the Day of Reckoning.
Oh Allah nothing is easy except what you make easy an you make the difficult easy if you wish.
With great enthusiasm and pleasure we at Maktabah Al Ansaar have taken on the task of publishing this work, which we believe will offer insight of the reality of Jihad in the cause of Allah in the land of Kashmir. It is, we believe a compelling book in its essence and will leave the reader with a feeling of picturing events in the occupied vale as if one witnessed’ the events himself.
What is most unusual about this book is the author himself. It is so rare for people in our age to take on the struggle for the sake of Allah. So imagine someone who comes from a non-Muslim background, struggling first against himself, then those around him from friends and family and then to take on the most noble of duties in Allah’s cause – only to face an onslaught from Muslims themselves!
However, in the word of As Shaykh As Shaheed ‘Abdullah ‘Azzam “It is the few that carry the burden of carrying Islam to mankind, then a few from amongst them offer their wealth and their lives in the path of Allah, and it is a few from amongst a few from amongst a few who sacrifice their lives for Islam”.
The struggle for the Muslims to regain their honour is a hard one, but indeed difficulties of the worst kind is the way of the prophets, the righteous, the truthful and the martyrs – in return for which there is nothing less than earning the pleasure of the Merciful.
We ask Allah to make this work a source to increasing the balance of good deeds on the Day of Judgement for all who took part in its production, and a source of clarification of the reality in the battlefields of Kashmir.
You can read “The Army of Madinah in Kashmir” here (pdf).
It includes this note at the the end – a celebration of the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight 814 in 1999:
December 1999 witnessed a great landmark in the Kashmiri Jihad, one that resounded internationaly when revoloutionary members of the Pakistan based Harkat-ul-Mujahideen group successfully co-ordinated a hijacking of an Indian airlines plane in the Katmandu region in Nepal, managing to eventully steer it successfully to Khandahar in Afghanistan.
In a daring fete that seemed to be a throw back to the heydays of the sixties and seventies when professional revolutionaries such as Illich Ramirez Navas, aka Carlos the Jackal, had waged war on the Capitalist world, the HUM members rewound the tape and pulled off the seemingly impossible in a day and age of a new world which considers itself to be fully conversant in handling hostage situations. Point in case, the last hi-jacking attempt was the equally daring one of 1994 when Algerian Mujahideen members managed to overrun aRoyal Jordanian airlines aircraft on Algerian soil.
India has been dealt a severe blow and by its own admission feels that this will only serve to fuel mass resistance through militancy throughout the Occupied Territories. In the aftermath of this milestone only three Mujahideen clerics have been liberated. Therefore in the same breath, we cannot allow ourselves to be consummed by jubilation. There still remain enumerable Mujahideen locked up around India and Kashmir in the filthy dungeons as indeed they are the world round.
One of the passengers, Rupin Kaytal, was stabbed to death during the hijacking. He was 25.
Flight 814 in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan
One of the three men India released was Omar Sheikh. He went on to join the band that kidnapped and decapitated American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death in 2002.
And who was the author of “The Army of Madinah in Kashmir”? Esa al-Hindi, AKA Dhiren Barot. He was jailed for life in 2006 for plotting mass murder in London and New York in the name of al Qaeda.
This is one of his sinister surveillance videos, recorded when he was “on holiday” in America in 2000.
This was Begg’s world in the run-up to 9/11.
Shame on Amnesty International. Not for defending Begg’s rights, but for turning him into a symbol of justice.
He is nothing but a symbol of jihadi hatred.