Al-Qaeda’s Leader Focuses on East Africa

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 18 March 2018

Al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, gave a speech on 18 March 2018, “East Africa Is The Trench of Southern Islam”, which is the tenth in the “Islamic Spring” series. An English translation of al-Zawahiri’s speech was released by an al-Qaeda channel on Telegram and is reproduced below.


In the name of Allah, and praise be to Allah and prayers and peace be upon the messenger of Allah and upon his companions and those who follow him.

Oh Muslim brothers everywhere, may Allah’s peace and mercy and blessings be upon you.


This is the tenth episode from the “Islamic Spring” episodes series, which began to preach the succession of the manhaj [methodology] of the prophet, and an escape from the injustice and corruption, I travel through it with my dear brothers from the lands of Islam, to bring glad tidings to them that the true spring is a forthcoming and inevitable victorious Islamic spring, Allah permitting.

I have spoken in the first five episodes about the unavoidable position the Crusader campaign faces regarding Iraq and al-Sham [Syria], and about the American-Pakistani crimes against Waziristan. And I spoke about the alleged caliphate, which was claimed by Ibrahim al-Badri and who was with him, and also I stressed the necessity to unite the mujahideen, and an initiative was provided in this regard, and showed the seriousness of the explosion of the dispute in the jihadist rank.

In the sixth episode I spoke about the Safavid [Iranian] danger. In the seventh [episode] I spoke about the dangerous events taking place in Yemen. In the eighth, I spoke about the Muslims in East Asia. In the ninth, I spoke about the Muslims in Eastern Turkistan [Xinjiang, China].

In this episode, I would like to speak about the Muslims in Eastern Africa.


Perhaps it may be useful that this episode is presented with a brief historical glimpse of the steadfastness of the Islamic trench in East Africa, which has been associated with Islam since the mission of the prophet, may Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him. A group of the first generation of al-sahaba [the companions] emigrated—may Allah be pleased with them—to Habasha, and the Negus handed over their king to him, may prayer be upon the prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, after his death.

After the Arabs were guided to the light of Islam, the merchants among them left to East Africa, and spread Islam. The people [in East Africa] entered the religion of Allah in crowds, but this guidance of the religion of Allah, glorified is He, annoyed the Crusaders in East Africa, represented in al-Habasha, which realized—just as the Christians had realized in the North—that if the people were left to communicate with the Muslims, then the call of the Muslims would prevail. Then the Christians in al-Habasha kingdom began its attacks on the Muslims, just as it is today, and like the case of its mother church in Egypt, which threatens the circles the Muslims, and supports every tyrannical tyrant who attacks the Muslims.

One of the manifestations of this hostility was the attack of al-Ahbash on the city of Massawa, and they killed the Muslims and their representation for them, then encouraged the Ahbash—a group of pirates—to attack the city of Jedda [on the west coast of Saudi Arabia] in the year of 83 Hijri [702 AD]. They killed and looted and destroyed the anchored ships, to lighten the pressure on the Northern Front with the Romans, but the [Umayyad] Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan was decisive, sent a campaign to take control of the islands of Dahlak, took from it a base to monitor the movements of al-Ahbash, and to launch toward the African coast. Security prevailed and Islam spread with da’wa [proselytism] and trade and the calmness of the souls and it is a religion of instinct. The Habashah church was devoured, and the Muslims established the city of Harar [in what is now Ethiopia] in the first Hijri century, and remained independent of the Habasha until its invasion by the Menelik army of the Habashah king in the year 1316 Hijri, corresponding to the year 1899 Miladi [or Gregorian]. The East African coast separated from the Habashah in creed and politically, and the East African Muslim was subjected—including the Muslim part of al-Habashah—to the authority of the successive successor states.

Fierce conflicts have revolved for centuries between Islam and the Christians and especially the Habashah church, but Islam continued in its spread, until the majority of the population in East Africa became Muslims, and most of the Ethiopian population entered Islam. Present-day Ethiopia is 60 percent Muslim in terms of its population.

With the weakness of the Islamic countries, the Europeans began to occupy East Africa, and the Portuguese came then were displaced, and the Habashah allied with them against the Muslims.

The Muslims did not surrender but rather resisted intensely, and multiple mujahid movements started, among them the jihad of the Justice Sultanate, which had its back strengthened with the entry of the Ottomans into Egypt in the year of 923 Hijri [1517 AD], and it took control of the Red Sea, and established a fleet in it, and it made its base the city of Zila, and that strengthened the determination of the Muslims. They attacked the Christians of Ahbash, and expanded the Justice Sultanate, and included in it Somalia and parts of al-Habashah, and a number of its people from its regions submitted. The Orthodox Habashah Church in Europe appealed for aid in general and Portugal specifically, and proposed that the Orthodox Church be a part of the Catholic Church while preserving its doctrine in the year 942 Hijri, and the Portuguese army came and descended upon Massawa in the year 949, but the Muslims defeated it with a wicked defeat, and the Justice Sultanate of Imam Muhammad bin Ibrahim was able to open a commercial province in the middle of al-Habashah between the years of 945 and 947, then came the Portuguese power over Habashah in the year 950, and a battle between it and the forces of Imam Muhammad bin Ibrahim to protect the middle of the Habashah country revolved near Lake Tana, and the Imam was killed and his army defeated.

The modern Crusader campaigns began, and the Christians of the Habashah Kingdom cooperated with it and with the English takeover of Egypt—in the year 1299 Hijri, corresponding to 1882 Miladi—they took over the regions which were belonging to Khedive of Egypt on behalf of the Ottoman State in East Africa, and it was based in Harar, and three provinces followed it: Tagoura, Zila, and Berbera, and Britain ordered Egyptian forces to abandon its places in East Africa to create a political and military vacuum which would enable the occupying West to divide East Africa with the Christians of Ahbash.

The ruler of Egypt was then the Khadive Tawfiq, who was nothing except an English agent, and he was sentenced by three of the senior Al-Azhar shaykhs—Shaykh Muhammad Alush, Shaykh Hassan al-Adwi, and Shaykh al-Khalfawi—for deserting to alignment with the army fighting his country.

His prime minister was the Armenian Christian Nubar Basha, and he issued and ordered him to evacuate Harar and the ports of Somalia, although the governor told him that the process of evacuation is very difficult, because the soldiers and the Egyptian citizens are integrated with the people of the region, especially through marriage and that chaos would prevail after the evacuation. He [Basha] removed him, and appointed another ruler, and put him under the supervision of the English officer Brigadier [Archibald] Hunter, who authorised him to stop the salary of any employee of officer who delays in the evacuation. The Egyptian soldiers refused to evacuate Harar, and formed with the people a single block to confront the foreign invaders. And so Nubar published and issued his orders to the governor of Zali to evacuate it.

This incident clarifies the malignant role, which the apostate agent governments played in support the Crusader enemy and his supporters with occupying the lands of the Muslims, and it is a role which it continues to practice until today by the apostate agent governments in East Africa and the rest of the Islamic world.

This incident reveals that the Muslims in Egypt and East Africa were considered themselves one Ummah in confronting the Crusader enemy, and they were condemned for its loyalty to the Ottoman State and it was considered a symbol of the remaining Caliphate, despite all the corruption from which it suffered in it.

This incident and the likes of it are not found in Arabic history textbooks, there is also nothing found about the battle of Anwal and nothing about the jihad of the Caucasus nor Eastern Turkistan.

These incidents call to us to stop to consider why we have overcome the infidel occupation of Eastern Turkistan and Central Asia and even the coasts of the Atlantic, and from the Caucasus to Central Africa

The disbelieving enemy has defeated us for two main reasons:

The first: his superiority over us in weapons.

The second: the political corruption, which corrupted the lives of Muslims.

As for his superiority over us in weaponry: it is because it preceded us greatly in the natural sciences, which we left behind, because Muslims over the course of centuries filled their minds with the follies of the science of words and the slips of mystic Sufism, and they turned away from what their religion ordered them to think about in the creatures of Allah and the architecture of the Earth, and they were preoccupied with what they were arguing about and thinking about what they were not created for.

Suffice it only to look at the book of the classes of the predecessors of [Sufi preacher] Abdul Wahhab al-Sha’rani—who was among the greatest scholars of his time—to see to what extent the deviant mysticism descended on the minds of Muslims.

In this book, and so forth in other books, al-Sha’rani calls—frankly—to believe the mandate of a group of crazy people and homosexuals and pornographers and even … and calls for non-objection to his shaykh no matter what he saw from him that took him outside of religion and reason …

From the masqueraded satire, which he explained about told about Abdallah al-Mahdoub, who he described as being of the established ones and was very revealing, and his work was a dish of hashish, and he sold it, and he promised from his dignity that whoever buys the hashish from him will repent from it and will not return to him, and he continued the hashish trade from among the priority actions, and he did not mention why the seller and buyer did not repent before the transaction, and is it obligatory for the guardian to take forbidden money, and the repentant of the hashish is drunk first, until the pillars of repentance are fulfilled?

Verily, an umma [Islamic nation] which sanctifies the hashish trade must be defeated, the Almighty, glorified is He, says: “And if you turn away [from Islam and obedience to God], He will replace you with another people; then they will not be like you” [Muhammad (47): 38].

He forbade disobedience to the philosophers and scorned them, and denied those who defamed them, and he says: “These are the wise.”

Thus, the combination of the two deviations: maximizing the science of speech, superstitions and deviant mysticism.

These two deviations preoccupied the minds of Muslims to think about the creatures of Allah, the Almighty, glorified is He, says: “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation, then Allah will produce the final creation. Verily Allah is competent over all things” [Ankabut (29): 20]. And He says: “Do they not look into the heavens and the Earth and everything that Allah has created”. The knowledge of speech—based on the rules of Greek philosophy which modern science destroyed—exhausted the minds of scientists and does not produce a bullet, and does not produce a cannon, and doesn’t guide a ship, and the deviant mysticism is absent from the world, and prevented them from denying the evil, and adorned them with the mandate of infidels and sinners, and forbade them from maximizing the commands and the prohibitions, and to judge by shari’a, and the mandate of the believers and innocence of the disbelievers.

Therefore, it is easier for those who are involved in the deviant Sufism to accept the ruling of the corrupt and apostate rulers, alternative to shari’a as long as the shaykhs are pleased with him, and perhaps some of the guardians of Allah, as the poet al-Sha’rani narrated from his master Muhammad al-Hadhari, that it is a “Friday sermon” and said: “I bear witness that there is no God for you except the devil may prayer and peace be upon him.”

And it makes it easier for him also to please those who cooperate with the infidels to occupy the homes of Muslims, as long as the shaykhs are pleased with him, and he also accepts to leave the appointed jihad against the invading disbelievers invading Dar al-Islam [the house of Islam], because the shaykhs and the false guardians will take care of that, and they spend the needs of the people, but their dogs spend their needs as narrated by al-Sha’rani and others on the father of good dogs.

Also the American have declared the demand to support the deviant Sufi sects, and the RAND Institute confirmed that, as brought forth in a book [in 2007], “Building Moderate Islamic Networks”: the potential partners of the United States and the West fall into three categories: secular, moderate-liberal, and traditional Muslims, including the Sufis.

Modernists consider the book, “Civil Democratic Islam”,  [by RAND in 2005,] which shows who they like to support and whose positions they like to strengthen.

This is evident in the support of the Americans and the West and the Ethiopians to the Sufi groups in Somalia, who fight the mujahideen in the ranks of the Crusader alliance. The American-Zionist alliance … [has] confirmed the need to support the Sufi currents in Somalia in confronting [Harkat] al-Shabab al-Mujahideen.

At the time when the minds of Muslim scholars were immersed in the controversy of the exaggerations of speech and the slander of mystical Sufism, Europe was beginning to wake up, and preparing to fight the Muslims, and it began to get rid of the theology of the philosophical church, and was launched to discover the secrets of nature, and began the geographical disclosures hoping for wealth in order to defeat the Muslims.

One of the pioneers of these revelations was the King of Portugal, Henry the Navigator, who was full of Crusader hatred against the Muslims, and who was blessed by Pope Nicholas V before the birth of al-Sha’rani. Nearly forty years earlier in a message, he wrote: “It is my great pleasure to know that our dear son Henry of Portugal has followed his father King John as a Christian soldier capable of destroying the enemies of God [and protecting Him] from the disbelieving Muslims.”

Henry took part with his father, John the First, in the conquest of Ceuta from the Muslims about 80 years before the birth of al-Sha’rani, then established—which followed the King—the first academy for navigational sciences in Europe, including a group of leading navigational scholars, and also established an observatory, and worked on collecting information from ships returning from the outside the coasts of Africa, he also worked to improve the construction of ships, until the ship’s cargo arrived at that time to an amount between 80 and 100 tonnes.

He sent campaigns to West Africa, and then after that the Portuguese crossed the equator line, and arrived at Cape of Good Hope before the birth of al-Sha’rani by five years, then arrived in India five years after his birth.

The King Henry the Navigator had aimed to establish a Portuguese-Christian empire in Africa spreading Christianity in it, and extending up to the country of Ghana, to reach the King of Habashah, St. John, to draw from it the military and spiritual help to expel the Muslims or baptize them as Nasrani [Christians; the other Arabic word for Christians is Masihi].

All this and the minds of Muslims and their scholars are in a coma of the jurisprudence of speech, which the modern world destroyed, and superstitions and deviant mysticism, which sanctifies the insane, the savages, the traders of hashish, and the heretics.

As for the second factor which led to our defeat: is the political corruption, and the snapping monarch, which led to the decline of jihad and the preoccupation with internal fighting and the accumulation of haram [illegal] wealth, which led to luxury, which is one of his mental luxury supplies, and the abandonment of the theology assigned to the jihad.

Many of the Muslims have overlooked the danger of political corruption with the warning of the prophet, may prayer and peace be upon him—and his rightly guided companions—may Allah be pleased with them—from him.

The prophet, may Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, said: “To overturn the folds of Islam, buckle over buckle, the people become more taboo, and cling to the next one to veto the ruling, and they are delayed in prayer.”

Umar bin Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Whoever sells a man without advice from the Muslims, then he will not pledge allegiance to him and is not one he is tempted to kill.”

The caliphate has collapsed from the caliphate upon the prophetic methodology [al-manhaj al-nabi] to one of a stubborn king, which is based on the denial of the rights to Muslims in the Shura and injustice and transgressing the sanctities and prohibiting what is good and licensing evil.

I did not mention the correct Sunni evidence that shura [consultation] is an authentic part of the rightly guided caliphate, [but IS’s failure to execute the rules around shura properly] shows the extent of the corruption of the Badri regime, which has set as an intensely bad example of the stubborn king associated with opportunistic declarations of disbelief, replying to one of them: That the late Shafi’i who authorized the succession to forty people.

I offer the correct evidence of the most correct books of the Sunna and the work of the rightly-guided caliphs, and it comes with words that can’t justify the king’s stubbornness contrary to what is said by the greatest of scholars. Words written in the era of decadence, in which the Mamelukes of Egypt removed a caliph and appointed another, and before them the Turkish soldiers in Baghdad were running the caliph from his chair and throwing him to the ground, and some of the caliphs ended up being beggars and some of them were struck with blindness and some of them were blindfolded. To the last of the reigns of the stubborn rule, which led us to these catastrophic defeats before the Crusader West.

The meaning of his words: If a man—his sons and forty grandsons—are in a village in a valley on the outskirts of Muslims countries, he is permitted to announce himself a successor via their allegiance to him.

From all these violations of the manhaj of the rightly-guided caliphs, through the fanaticism and deception by Ibrahim al-Badri’s organisation, we seek refuge in Allah.

We were also defeated because the politically corrupt led to our division, and the khilafa [caliphal] state because states tore us apart.

Today comes those who seek to destroy what the pioneers—such as Shaykh Usama [bin Ladin], may Allah have mercy on him and his companions—sought to build by uniting the Muslims and the mujahideen, by splitting the ranks and violatng bay’a [oaths of allegiance], which is condemned by religion, and declaring himself a Caliph without consensus and ability, and his spokesman [Taha Falaha (Abu Muhammad al-Adnani] announcing war on anyone who did not pledge their allegiance [to the Islamic State], and [claiming that] all who fight them are apostates, even if they are seeking to apply shari’a.

When America began the air campaign on Syria and Iraq, we offered them [ISIS] an initiative to cooperate in repelling them, and we received insult and claims of being disbelievers and threats of shame and arrogance, and when we repeated the question to them a number of times: what is your official statement about the evidence of our disbelief, and they are among those who held—what they called a caliph—to Ibrahim al-Badri and did not utter a letter, unlike the torrent of their tongues with claiming disbelief and insult, and they failed and were cut off, so they entered into the saying of the Almighty, glorified is He: “Since they have not produced witnesses, verily, they are liars in the sight of Allah” [Al-Nur (24): 13].

And we—by the grace of Allah—our call is still to call for unity of Muslims and mujahideen around the word of tawhid [monotheism], and to appeal to every Muslim and mujahid: Come to agree and unite and cooperate and establish a Caliphate of the prophecy and establish shari’a and liberate the lands of Muslims, come and disperse the gangs and the nationalities and the groups and do not allow the noise of America and its hubris to destroy you; it neither creates nor receives blessings nor lives nor dies. Have you not been told? Bear witness.

I am satisfied with this, and I will continue in the forthcoming episode—Allah willing—discussing the Muslims in East Africa.

Our last prayer is praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds, and Allah’s prayer and peace be upon our master Muhammad and upon his companions and his family. And may Allah’s prayer and peace and blessings be upon you.

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