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BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

This is a discussion on BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt? within the Global Affairs forums, part of the Main Topics category; Egypt's most extreme hardliners in Sinai revival People watch as smoke rises from the burning remains of a building and ...

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    Default BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    Egypt's most extreme hardliners in Sinai revival


    People watch as smoke rises from the burning remains of a building and vehicle after a firefight between Egyptian security forces and suspected militants at the al-Goura settlement in Egypt's north Sinai region on August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer
    EL-ARISH, Egypt: A fringe group so extreme that it worries even Egypt's Muslim ultraconservatives is secretly reviving itself with greater firepower and followers in the country's volatile Sinai Peninsula.


    Followers of the group known as Takfir wil-Hijra, dubbed "Takfiris", lead secretive, isolated lives where anything and anyone that does not adhere to their limited interpretation of the Quran is deemed heretical. They dream of a puritanical Islamic state in Sinai.
    While not all Takfiris are militants fighting jihad, or holy war, their ideology makes them easy pool to draw from for the armed groups believed to be behind attacks against Israel and Egypt's military in Sinai.


    Takfir wil-Hijra has swelled in numbers in recent months, multiplying from a few hundred faithful in Sinai before last year's popular uprising to at least 4,500, living in the impoverished small towns of northern Sinai, according to security officials and local Bedouin tribal leaders.
    Their rise underlines how lawlessness after security agencies fell apart with the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak last year have fueled the spread of more hardline ideologies in Egypt.


    The long festering woes in Sinai have come to the forefront as the Egyptian military wages a week-old expanded operation in the peninsula aimed at uprooting Islamic militants. The operation was sparked by a surprise attack earlier this month in which gunmen killed 16 Egyptian soldiers at a checkpoint near the border, then attempted an attack into Israel.


    Sinai's arid land of rugged mountains and desert roads dotted by towns and villages has long been neglected by the government, with investments directed to just a few tourist-friendly cities along its southern Red Sea tip. Its northern territory, which borders the Mediterranean Sea, Israel and the Gaza Strip, remained largely desolate, subsisting mostly on illegal trafficking of migrants and drugs as well as trade through underground tunnels to Gaza, largely sealed off by Israel and Egypt since the militant group Hamas took power there in 2007.


    The Bedouin tribes that dominate the area have always been religiously conservative and traditional. But stricter Islamic doctrines have been gaining influence. In particular, the ultraconservative Salafi movement has grown more overt in Sinai, advocating an austere, literal interpretation of Islam similar to Saudi Arabia's, strict segregation of the sexes and a return to what it sees as the way of life of the Prophet Muhammad.

    The Takfiris go much further, however, ready to shun even their own families who are not part of the movement, say other Bedouin. Efforts by The Associated Press to arrange interviews with members of the community through intermediaries were rejected.


    "They don't see people. They don't even attend their own parents' funerals and say their parents are infidels,
    " said Sheik Ouda Abolmalhous, a tribal elder in northern Sinai. Even tribal allegiances, which reign supreme in northern Sinai, come second to their loyalty to the group, he said.
    If meat is not slaughtered at the hands of a Takfiri, the group's followers won't eat it, even if it's at their parents' table. Their children do not attend schools, whose system and teachings are seen as seditious.


    The men do not attend traditional Friday prayers in mosques, whose preachers are seen as heretical. They do not support the Muslim Brotherhood or ultraconservative Salafis, whose participation in politics is seen as blasphemous.


    The group's name underlines their isolationist ideology. In Arabic, Takfir means to declare someone an infidel. Hijra refers to the 7th Century flight of the prophet from his enemies in Mecca to take refuge in the nearby city of Medina - and thus metaphorically points to escaping a sinful world. Its original name was Jamaat al-Muslimeen, or "Society of the Muslims," with the implication they were the true Muslims.


    Sheik Ouda said what most worries him about the Takfiris is that their isolation makes their capabilities hard to gauge.


    "They're capabilities are not seen. It is like preparing an army to be on standby, ready for attack,"
    Sheik Ouda said.


    Sheik Arafat Khedr, a leader of the Swarka tribe in northern Sinai, said he tried to hold dialogues with the extremists five years ago in an unsuccessful attempt to bring them into the mainstream. He went mosque to mosque preaching against their ideology.


    He says Takfiris are against the Egyptian government and state even before they are against neighboring Israel.


    "They have vowed that security forces will never return to the area. They see them as infidels and believe they need to cleanse Egypt first before Israel," he explained.


    The Takfiri ideology was born in dark prison cells under Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s. Among the Muslim Brotherhood members detained at the time was Shukri Mustafa, who witnessed Islamic activists executed and tortured to death at the hands of police. After his release from prison, Mustafa broke off from the Brotherhood and spread his radical ideas, gathering followers mainly in Assiut and other cities of southern Egypt.


    The Takfiris kidnapped and executed a former Egyptian minister who was also a Muslim cleric when their demands were not met by the government in 1977. The following year the group's leader Mustafa was executed in prison under President Anwar Sadat.



    Decades later, the organization's structure is unclear and is apparently without a leader. Many of the group's followers, for example, do not know one another.


    Security officials and tribal leaders say a few dozen of the group's militants fled from prison during the 18-day revolt against Mubarak, during which the police force was overrun by angry protesters seeking to topple his regime. And in the absence of police in the streets since, others were more easily recruited to the movement.


    Their popularity in Sinai has been fueled over the years by a lack of jobs, poverty and government repression.


    After a militant bombing against tourists at a Red Sea resort in southern Sinai seven years ago, the state began taking a tougher stance toward Bedouin. Mubarak's feared State Security Services took over security duties in the peninsula from the military intelligence agency, and it began a wave of arrests and torture of young Bedouin suspected of being Takfiris, though the connection between the movement and the bombings was not clear.
    Security agents rounded up tribal elders and raid Bedouins' homes, arresting wives and daughters to put pressure on suspects to surrender but in the process angering many in the community.


    As a result, some tribal sheiks turned against the security agencies and shielded Takfiris even if they themselves were not members, said a former high-level official in northern Sinai. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
    "The Takfiri looks to the nation as a whole as heretical," said Mohamad Jabr, who was once a Takfiri before turning to Salafi movement.
    But he said "oppression, punishing people for turning to Islamic law, stripping people of their basic human rights and police harassment gave birth to terrorism."


    Last edited by Durani; 15th August 2012 at 01:15 PM.

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    Default Re: BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    If the article is true, then this is very worrying...basically a khariji state within a state. you cant hold dialogue with such people since they deem everyone to be zindeeq/kafir.
    Hopefully both side can come to an understanding/compromise...enough blood has been shed.

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    Default Re: BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    What Scares the Sinai Bedouin: the Rise of the Radical Islamists



    Takfir wal-Hijra is the kind of organization that makes even some of the Sinai Peninsula's most hardened arms smugglers shudder. A loosely organized extremist group, that allegedly has ties to al-Qaeda, it defies local customs of tribal law and lineage. "There are no tribal distinctions," says Mahmoud, whose uncle is a Takfir member. "They say they're all the same." The group views most of the world's population as infidels including fellow Muslims for failing to follow their strict interpretation of Islam. "They feel it's fine to steal from others because they consider people outside Takfir non-Muslims," says Mahmoud. "Even their relatives, even their brothers."
    That has made Takfir largely unpopular in the Sinai, where family trumps all. And yet, here in Egypt's most lawless corner, local residents say Takfir wal-Hijra is making a come back.


    On July 29, less than a week after the incident in Sheikh Zweid, and on the same day that Islamists held marches across the country calling for the implementation of Islamic law, a mob of armed men launched a mid-afternoon attack on a police station in the North Sinai capital of al-Arish. A witness told TIME that the men were dressed in black, their faces masked; and they carried black flags with the words "There is no God but God" written on one side and "Revenge" written on the other. They carried machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and hand grenades, he said. They were well organized, and many were from the area. By the time the assault ended nine hours later, according to the witness, five people were dead, including two security forces, and more than a dozen injured.
    Later, the head of North Sinai security General Saleh al-Masry told CNN that Takfir wal-Hijra had been involved. "We arrested 12 assailants including three Palestinians," he said. "I guarantee there is no al-Qaeda presence in Sinai but the Takfiris are in the thousands." CNN also reported that Takfiris had distributed fliers, demanding Islamic law, in al-Arish earlier that day. On the handouts, the group called itself "Al-Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula."

    Takfir wal-Hijra isn't a new threat, but its revival is. "Before, most of them were either imprisoned or making mandatory visits to state security, so they had no space to breath," explains Ahmed Abu Deraa, a journalist in al-Arish. Takfir was a prime suspect in the string of terrorist bombings that ravaged South Sinai tourist resorts from 2004 to 2006, leaving nearly 150 people dead. And that has given them an "unwanted" status among Sinai's majority, Abu Deraa says.


    But the winter uprising that ended the 30-year reign of President Hosni Mubarak also opened a security vacuum in areas of the Sinai along Egypt's border with Israel and the Gaza Strip, where other extremist groups have found a foothold. Bedouin smugglers report that Palestinians now cross easily between the two sides via the tunnels, further subverting Egypt's grip on area security. And without a police force to keep watch, Takfir has started holding quiet weekly meetings at mosques in the border town of Rafah, Abu Deraa says.


    Unlike a rival Islamist group, "Dawa," which has enjoyed a large local following in recent months, Takfir aims to take control of the territory, some residents say. And that's not something that tribal leaders and smugglers who have stepped in to fill the security void left by a retreating police force say they're comfortable with. "If their numbers grow large, they'll kill people," says Mahmoud. "And if that happens, we'll arrest all of them." He doesn't specify how. But Mahmoud's friend Mohamed, an arms smuggler, nods: "We'll do it under the table, above the law."


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    Default Re: BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    Many Egyptian political forces have asserted that Mursi's recent amnesty of a number of Jihadist Islamists will lead to more crimes against Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai. Moreover, many wonder whether some of those recently released Jihadists were involved in last week's Sinai attack. Certainly, the suspicion is heightened by a statement relayed by an Egyptian website, issued by Egyptian Jihad leader Sheikh Nabil Naim, the right arm of the first-in-command of Al-Qaeda, Ayman El-Zawahri, claiming that elements from the ultra radical Takfir wal-Hijra organisation were responsible for the attack.
    If, indeed, this is the case, it suggests that this group cares little for President Mursi's Islamist credentials and that it still subscribes to the belief that Egyptian society is a heretical one and that it is therefore legitimate to kill its members. While Takfir wal-Hijra cells exist in a number of Egyptian governorates, they are more heavily concentrated in the Sinai where the general lack of security and their arms and large financial resources give them considerable manoeuvrability.


    Originally part of the Jihad under the leadership of the dentist known as Khaled Mosaad, its members affiliated themselves with the "Shawqiyin", or followers of Sheikh Shawqi, following Mosaad's death in the wake of the notorious Taba incident. Sheikh Shawqi founded the group that was initially called Al-Takfir wal-Hijra but which changed its name to Al-Qaeda wal-Jihad (The Base and the Holy War) after some disagreement among the members of the original name. According to Sheikh Nabil Naim, these people were among those released from prison following the 25 January Revolution, which is to say before Mursi became president. He went on to describe them as a group of "fools" whose thinking was superficial and who were hated by the people of the Sinai.


    Many observers believe that the Takfir wal-Hijra groups are connected to like-minded groups in Gaza and that Mossad has infiltrated all these groups. They add that the groups are heavily armed because they are intensively involved in illicit weapons trafficking.

    Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | Look no further

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    Default Re: BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    ^ Even if this groups still exists, I think the whole story has been hyped up for the benefit of Israel's security.

    Nothing like a good old bogeyman to scare people into submission.

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    They wouldn't have " ties with AQ" because they see them as kuffaar.
    ٰ


    {And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made for him light by which to walk among the people like one who is in darkness, never to emerge therefrom? Thus it has been made pleasing to the disbelievers that which they were doing.}

    Al-An'aam 122

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    Default Re: BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    If true, it is a very disturbing development. This bull needs to be tackled by the horns:



    The Takfiris kidnapped and executed a former Egyptian minister who was also a Muslim cleric when their demands were not met by the government in 1977. The following year the group's leader Mustafa was executed in prison under President Anwar Sadat.
    This is referring to Sh. Muhammad Husayn al-Dhahabi, then Minister of Awqaf, and author of the famous al-Tafsir wal-Mufassirun, a very pioneering work on Manahij al-Mufassirin for its time and still a very standard reference work, may Allah have mercy on him.



    The description in the article very much matches the views of the old Takfir wal-Hijra, so I'm curious that they managed to survive as they must have gone completely underground. The fact that the ideas exist is not surprising though as there have been signs of such trends in thought gaining some following here and there for some time now.
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    Default Re: BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    This is the group, it is claimed:


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    Default Re: BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    [QUOTE=justabro;646509] If true, it is a very disturbing development [/QUOTE]

    Indeed.

    Some people think of Jannah as their fathers property : We let in, whom we want and we exclude whom we want

    Allaah's Mercy is wide reaching...

    Jannah as wide as the heavens and the earth ... prepared for only a few masked men in Sinai?? LOL

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    Default Re: BREAKINGNEWS: Takfir wal Hijrah ... rise again in Egypt?

    [QUOTE=Durani;646511]
    Quote Originally Posted by justabro View Post
    If true, it is a very disturbing development [/QUOTE]

    Indeed.

    Some people think of Jannah as their fathers property : We let in, whom we want and we exclude whom we want

    Allaah's Mercy is wide reaching...

    Jannah as wide as the heavens and the earth ... prepared for only a few masked men in Sinai?? LOL
    People like you are munafiqs who are just scared of jihad . they just dont have the guts to get their life in danger for the sake of Allah and yet you accuse wrongly the muslims who are waging jihad . Pity on your emaan and views

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