The 129th issue of Al-Naba, the Islamic State’s newsletter, contained an article on page 3 that made takfir (excommunication) against Tandheem Hurras al-Deen (The Organization for the Guardians of the Religion or the Religious Guardians’ Organization), al-Qaeda’s new, if unofficial, branch in Syria. A rough translation of the article is reproduced below.
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Until You Believe in God Alone
Many are the names of the organizations and factions that have emerged in Syria during these years, and many are the splits that have occurred, and mergers and alliances and fronts that have been formed, which are often no different a gathering from those factions that have disintegrated, with just the images and names changed, not the facts or [doctrinal] requirements [to join].
We saw how a group of murtadeen [apostates] broke away from Jabhat al-Jolani [“the Jolani Front”, i.e. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (The Body or Assembly to Liberate Syria)] after they shared in all the misdeeds of years past, dividing Muslims from Muslims, and then a demonstration for al-mushrikeen [the polytheists or idolaters] against al-muwahideen [the strict monotheists], refraining from establishing the religion and a government ruled without the law of the Lord of the Worlds. They formed a new faction calling themselves “Hurras al-Deen”, but they have not yet repented for their guardianship of shirk [polytheism, idolatry] and the mushrikeen. There is also a lot of evidence that proves they left the Jolani Clique so they could reveal their allegiance to the Taliban, who are still selling them to its emir, and its apostate members.
All these infractions were not required. These dissidents are well-known and did not have to obey a munafiqun [hypocrite]; they could have exposed the apostate al-Jolani and revealed that he was manipulating them and their chieftain, al-Zawahiri, as the little child plays with the ball. But their sick minds took on a love of fame and benefits, abandoning a keenness on wisdom, know-how, and steadfastness.
Those apostates thought that once they left a sect of apostasy they became Muslims, forgetting—[though] they claim [religious] learning—that the renunciation of the kufr [disbelieving] sect is evidence of the sincerity of those who claim repentance, which is the beginning of repentance, not its truth. The apostate must declare his repentance of all those he led away from the religion of Islam before he can announce his return to it.
In their case, they must accompany their departure from the sect of the “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham” by declaring themselves clear of its apostasy, its apostate members, and every kafir [heretic] associated with it, and refrain from entering any of the other apostate tawayif [communities], for example the “Harakat Taliban al-Wataniyat” [Nationalist Taliban Movement]. They can then announce the renewal of their Islam, after admitting their kufr. They can then be followers of the religion of Abraham, who said to the mushrikeen: “Verily, we are clear from you and all that you worship besides God. We have rejected you, and there has arisen between us and you hostility and hatred for ever, until you believe in Allah alone” [Al-Mumtahanah (60): 4]. This has not been done by these apostates.
Their departure from the apostate sect is of itself no different from the departure of some of the soldiers of the Nusayri army, who are apostates engaged in what they call “internal dissent” without repenting of the infidelity that they wear, [and as such] they remain in their original state [of kufr] until they repent to God of the disbelief in which they participated, and disown their Nusayri masters and return to belief in God Almighty.
As for those we describe as “Hurras al-Shirk” [The Guardians of Idolatry/Polytheism], it is a fixed fact about them that they increased their shirk from when they belonged to “Jabhat al-Jolani”. The followers of this organization call for fighting the Islamic State if they invaded the lands of infidelity, ruled by their apostate brothers, to remove the shirk and to establish the religion in it. They have been pleased to be “Guardians of Shirk”, who govern the land other than by the laws of God and will not allow in anyone who is capable of doing so. …
But the leaders of this Organization and its soldiers have fought the muwahideen side-by-side with those who rule by their disbelief, and have tried to seduce Muslims in their prisons away from the faith [i.e. IS’s ideology], either with torture or patience and more subtle methods, as they did in the areas of Horan [southern Syria], Hama, Qalamun, and the northern Aleppo countryside, though they now refrain from paying the soldiers of “Jaysh al-Hur” [the Free (Syrian) Army] …
We warn Muslims about their loyalties and their answers. They must repudiate the infidelity they have been a party to and any disbelief they are still clinging to and anyone who still adheres [to these incorrect beliefs] from among their brethren. They must return to belief in God Almighty, and strive in the way of God, the Lord of the Worlds … God says: “If they repent and establish prayer and pay zakat, then are they your brethren in religion. [In this way do] We explain the ayat [proofs, revelations] in detail for those who [have the knowledge to] understand” [Tawba (9): 11].
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 Naba refers to Usba al-Jolani (عصبة الجولاني), which could also given as: the Jolani League, the Jolani Faction, or the Jolani Cabal.
 The exact word used is intima (انتماء), which means “belonging”, referring to the bayat (oath of allegiance) al-Qaeda’s leaders have had to the Taliban leader going back to Usama bin Ladin pledging himself to Mullah Muhammad Umar, later an important point in the ideological contest between IS and al-Qaeda.