Online ‘news’ agency reposts oath of allegiance to Baghdadi amid suspensions

Since the beginning of the month, Telegram has taken down thousands of Islamic State, al Qaeda and other jihadist accounts. The messaging application has targeted various well-known disseminators, as well as some lesser-known ones.

The Nashir News Agency, which aggregates and posts official Islamic State content, has lost dozens of accounts — only to relaunch them in short order.

In what appears to be an act of defiance in the face of this online crackdown, Nashir reposted an oath of fealty to the Islamic State’s emir right in the middle of the suspensions. Nashir republished the renewal of its pledge in an Arabic statement on Dec. 9. The online outlet then reproduced an English-language translation the following day (Dec. 10). Both the Arabic and English versions of the oath can be seen below.

The statement is not new. This same bay’ah was translated by Halummu, which regularly translates Islamic State messages, in the past. The English version is the same one observed earlier this year. (See the translation by Halummu at the bottom of this article.)

The statement is titled, “Renewal of the Bay’ah,” a reference to the pledge of fealty that the Islamic State’s members and supporters offer to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The oath reads: “To frustrate the kuffar and terrorize them, we renew our bay’ah to Amir ul-Mu’minin, the Khalifah of the Muslims, Shaykh Mujahid Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husayni al-Qurayshi (may Allah preserve him), pledged to listen and obey, in times of delight and dislike, and in times of hardship and ease, and to do so selflessly, and to not dispute the matter of those in authority except if we see blatant kufr concerning which we have proof from Allah.”

This is a fairly standard version of the bay’ah sworn by jihadists.

The statement then includes a quote from Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, a jihadist who first declared the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2006. Muhajir was a longtime member of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ). He relocated to Baghdad in 2002 and worked with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Muhajir and his comrade, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, were killed in Iraq in 2010. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi succeeded them as the head of the ISI, which he expanded into the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham in 2013, and then finally into just the “Islamic State” in 2014.

“We recommend to the soldiers and supporters of the Islamic State that which Shaykh Mujahid Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (may Allah accept him) had advised,” the statement reads.

“Oh soldiers of the Islamic State! Do not be hurt by [the] harm of the stirrers of fitnah [civil strife] nor [the] retreats of the defeated,” Muhajir reportedly said. “Allah is your Supporter. Pray unto Allah for firmness.”

BBC Monitoring first reported on Telegram’s campaign to shutter various jihadist channels, providing an overview of the steps taken by the messaging app to remove known disseminators. As of Dec. 9, Telegram had suspended 6,827 “terrorist bots and channels” since the beginning of the month – a far higher total than usual, as BBC Monitoring noted.

FDD’s Long War Journal follows dozens of Nashir News Agency accounts. While many of these were removed by Telegram since Dec. 1, Nashir quickly replaced them. The statements seen below were posted on replacement channels, as well as on some of the Telegram channels and groups that were missed in the latest campaign to disrupt terrorist content.

Nashir regularly reposts statements and media from the Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency and Halummu, as well as other media outlets for the self-declared caliphate. This content is produced in multiple languages. Just today, FDD’s Long War Journal has downloaded content from Nashir in Arabic, English and French.

Renewal of bay’ah to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi:

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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