Omar Hammami, the American terrorist who has served as a Shabaab military commander, propagandist, recruiter, and fundraiser, recently released a statement calling for jihadists to declare a global Islamic caliphate.
Hammani’s statement was posted on May 25 in four parts [Part 1, 2, 3, and 4] by a jihadist known as “somalimuhajirwarrior,” or “foreign Somali warrior,” on a YouTube website. The lecture is titled “In Defense of the Khilaafa: The Next Stage.”
The release of the lecture took place just one week after Hammami, who is known as Abu Mansour al Amriki, published part 1 of autobiography, in which he recounted his life in the US, his path to jihad, and his time with the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia. The autobiography refuted the rumors that he was executed early last month by Shabaab for releasing a video in which he claimed his life was in danger. Shortly after the release of the video, Shabaab quickly denied that the group presented any danger to Hammami.
In the lecture released on May 25, Hammami said that the establishment of the global caliphate is critical to prevent the West from dividing and conquering the disparate jihadist movements and defeating them individually. He cited a RAND study from 2006 that said al Qaeda’s ideology is its center of gravity and that suggested methods for causing the jihadists a strategic defeat.
The conclusions of the RAND report are “absolutely correct,” Hammami said, according to a transcript of his statement provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.
“So to bring the point home, it’s obvious to all that after the death of the Prophet … this monumental collective action of establishing [monotheism] on the earth can only truly be done properly through the vehicle known as the [Caliphate],” he said. “This means that the Muslims worldwide must unite under the leadership of one Muslim leader called the Khalifa [Caliph]. This then is the reality of the ideology of al Qaeda and al Qaeda, the ideology of the global jihadists, and the ideology of every truly sincere Muslim. This is also the ideology that truly scares the pants and socks off the [disbelievers].”
Hammami noted that a key conclusion of the RAND paper is that the West must break local Islamist insurgencies from the global jihad.
“[A] prong of the RAND strategy for defeating al-Qaeda is to break the links between the global and local jihads,” he said. “In other words, they want to cause disunity among the Ummah and keep us from establishing the Shariah of the Prophet … as a unified group under one single leader.”
Hammami cautioned that “internationalization brings costs as well as benefits,” and compared the problems with the current global jihadist movement to the “international communist movement during the previous century.”
“Contradictions inevitably arise between the global vision promulgated by movements’ theoreticians and the national agendas that many local cadres naturally pursue. Excluding this friction could be a part of an effective Western counter strategy,” Hammami said.
He warned that human nature may interfere with the overarching goals of the global jihadist movement, and local or regional jihadists may view the global jihadists as a “burden” to their cause.
“So what then of a situation in which a certain land of jihad reaches a level of supremacy in its region, where it finds itself no longer in need of the benefits of being part of the global jihad, but rather instead, it begins to see such ties as a burden,” Hammami stated. “Although it may keep some of the global rhetoric, it may actually begin to stand in the way of outside operations or the creation of new jihadi fronts? Worse still, what if multiple lands of jihad in different regions reach such a level simultaneously? Shall we simply rely upon human nature and wait for one side to simply yield power to a unified authority and instinctively guide the Muslims to unity?”
Hammami then said that the “mujahideen” must balance the goals of “freeing Islamic lands and administrating them in accordance with Shariah … while still keeping our eyes squarely on the goal of spreading the jihad globally.” He said that current jihadist groups “have begun specializing in only one of these two fields, either focusing entirely on spreading the jihad globally or focusing entirely on establishing Shariah in one particular land.”
He observed that the jihad “has become made up of a conglomerate of local jihadi fronts” and that the global jihadists, such as himself, “are left without any political capital in which to steer the jihad.”
Hammami stated that the solution to this problem is the creation of a global caliphate, under a new name. He suggested discarding the name “al Qaeda” and the various Islamic States, and appointing a Caliph with a “more global outlook.” He advocated that the Caliph should be from the Quraish tribe, the one into which the Prophet Mohammed was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia:
Therefore, in conclusion, I propose to the mujahideen of the world that we unite no longer under our old names which can only encompass a certain region or a certain class of the Ummah. Instead, we should unite under an all-inclusive name that also has a firm basis in the Shariah. This will be a method of not only uniting the mujahideen, but it will also turn the jihad truly into a jihad of the entire Ummah. Of course, this name is not the global insurgency, or al-Qaeda, or the Islamic State of such and such country, or the such and such movement. No! This name is no other than the rightly-guided [Caliphate], it is inclusive of the entire Ummah, and it is the name which has the most evidence from the Quran and Sunnah.
With this new name we will not only find a method of unifying our efforts of expanding the jihad and establishing the Shariah in different lands, but we will also find a solution to the matter of who truly has authority over deciding the direction of the jihad. We will finally have an authority with greater powers than simply giving the order for deciding which particular front or operation has strategic priority. This, of course, requires that we have to have a [Caliph] who not only controls land but also has a global perspective of the jihad. Having land under his control will obviously give him the missing political capital discussed earlier, and his position as [Caliph] will also give him added weight and credibility from Shariah. Similarly, his position will also force him to have a more global outlook, because his authority stretches the globe.
Of course, human nature dictates that we are naturally more inclined to supporting our own tribe or people, and we are more interested in freeing and administrating our homeland. I understand that, and in response to that, I propose that we choose a [Caliphate] that is from the core of the Muslims lands and from the tribe of Quraish.
Hammami then proceeded to address various perceived criticisms of his arguments. He even denied ever being a member of the Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical political party that calls for the establishment of a global caliphate. He also said that those who claim that his proposal would divide the Muslim world are wrong, because “the Ummah is already divided and a much eviler form of division could be on the horizon if we sit and do nothing.”
Finally, he argued that the mujahideen have played into the West’s trap because they have failed to promote the caliphate and that accordingly the Muslim world is unfamiliar with the “concept.” He attributed the lack of acceptance of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq, to the mujahideen’s failure to educate the Muslim world on the importance of a global caliphate.
“The Muslims will always remain unaccustomed to the idea of [Caliphate] for as long as we, and I mean the mujahideen especially, continue to hide the concept from them. The longer we stray away from it, the longer we implicitly agree with the [disbelievers], who assert baselessly that the [Caliphate] is a figment of our imagination,” Hammami said. “We have to remember that the state of the Taliban was met with severe criticisms from the Muslims, just like the Islamic State of Iraq was met with sneers.”