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Interview With An American Taliban

Bruce Kennedy

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In the name of God, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful.

Isanu Dyson, or Abu Hamza as he is known, is a revert to Islam and has been called the first American Taliban. Long before the press labeled Sulayman (John) Walker the American Taliban, and Yaser Esam Hamdi simply an enemy combatant, Dyson was actively speaking out in defense of the Taliban and what has been incorrectly identified as “radical” Islam. A Native American, Dyson considers himself a Muslim-American first and an American-Muslim second. He has been open about what he believes and since September 11th, 2001, this has caused him no small amount of grief. Although he publicly condemned these attacks on civilians, he has been interviewed by the FBI, sat in front of the Grand Jury in New York, been flown across the country under armed guard, and has been asked to “volunteer”, which he politely declined.

Dyson has repeatedly been quoted out of context in the Western press and has watched, in anguish, as his country declared war, not just on “terrorists” and Islam, but also on one of its own citizens - namely himself. Abu Hamza agreed to talk with Jihad Unspun to help people understand the mood in the “new” America, how Muslim Americans reconcile religion and allegiance to their country, and to provide a better understanding of the Taliban, a group that continues to be drastically misrepresented in western press.


J.U.S: Welcome and thank you for agreeing to this interview. You have been billed as the first American Taliban. How did you come to get this name?

Abu Hamza: To answer this, one needs to look no further than the media itself ? prone to sensationalize anything that will sell advertising time. It was something that was simply incomprehensible at the time - a white, affluent, American, that was Muslim, speaking favorably of the Taliban? Ajeeb! I suppose that the reaction was natural, due to the essence of the statements I made last year, as well as to date, during which time I have not changed the fundamentals of my opinions regarding these points. I believe a Muslim when he speaks, defend his honor when he is defamed, ask Allah to forgive him, and forgive him myself when he has erred and I believe real Muslims do not apologize for Islam, but rather adamantly hold fast to the Truth. May Allah guide me, and make me one of them.

After September 11th, I was amazed at the silence and cowardice of the Muslim community to even speak about the truth of the matter. Even once the drive towards a new “total war” concept was aired from Washington and various rightwing groups across the country, there was still no sign of the believers in this country publicly enjoining the good and forbidding the evil - although after a year this is beginning to change. Yet almost immediately after the attacks, the ‘unfit’ began hitting the airwaves in a brazen and nauseous fashion that “apologist Muslims” are so keen to demonstrate. So I tried to do my part in providing a clear and real picture of the realities of the situation as I then knew them, but was hamstrung by an unsympathetic media and public - and I have had along time to reflect from that.

I felt that it should be clearly stated that right, wrong, or indifferent, the US government reaped only the seeds that it has sown; and, unfortunately, Mister Average American has unknowingly been taken along for the ride in the process. And no one, least from amongst the Muslims, was truly telling him why. And lastly, because I fully support those that have struggled to raise the banner of Islam and make the ‘Word’ of Allah superior to all other ‘words’, and by Allah’s Will, lead man out of the worship of the creation, into the One who has created All things; and by fighting those who fight against Allah. I presume
that is why.

J.U.S: You are a revert to Islam, born in America. Can you please give us some background of how you came to Islam and to support the Taliban in particular?

Abu Hamza: I actually became Muslim while living in Washington, D.C. during the 1998 cruise missile assault on Iraq. Being a young American, the last thing on my mind was religion. However, due to my complete ignorance of Islam, except as being some Middle Eastern religion that has terrorists, I had no idea what Islam was, or that it in any way applied to a young motorcycle racer and student like myself. I was soon to learn the Truth first-hand and accepted Islam at the first opportunity. Obviously there is far more detail to the story, but that is something for another time.

As far as supporting the Taliban, that is rather simple: Allah, Subhanallahu wa Ta’la (All Glory be to the Most High), has declared in the Qur’an “Enter into Islam completely” and therefore I say whatever Islam says, and adjust accordingly, even when mistaken. I have confirmed repeatedly that in essence, what the Taliban has sought to establish was exactly what is called for in Islam; an Islamic State based on the beliefs of the Ahl-Sunnah wal Jama’a (literal: the people of the Way of Muhammad - the true followers of Islam). I have and will continue to be strict in my personal repudiation of any ‘factual’ violations of Islamic Sacred Law, by anyone who might actually have committed such excesses, however I would most certainly stop short of complete condemnation of a movement who’s roots are so noble, and intent so righteous. Anyone who strives for the pleasure of Allah has my support.

Today Muslims are suffering all across the world, and they are quick to blame everyone but themselves, although there are external factors as well. Yet even worse, they abandon those who are ready to do the work that has been given to the Ummah (people) of Muhammad, Salallahu a’lyahi was Salam (May the Peace and Blessings be upon him). It should be clear to those with at least some knowledge of the Deen (Islam as a complete way of Life), that the establishment of Shar’iah (Islamic Law) on the earth is the duty of every Muslim, even if at the minimum he only believes it in his heart and accepts this, should it to come to pass during his lifetime, Insh’allah (as God wills). Consequently, I proudly support all those who correctly act on the verses of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, Salallahu a’lyahi was Salam, and I ask for Allah to guide them in their affairs and forgive them of any wrongdoing.

J.U.S: Many of our viewers are Muslim Americans. With America now openly at war with Islam, both in and outside the country, many of our viewers struggle with how to maintain their faithfulness to Allah while supporting their country. How do you reconcile your religion with your civic duty?

Abu Hamza: “If you don’t love your country, at least do it no wrong...” this is a quote I recently heard from a US Judge dealing with a spy case involving a State Department worker; and I agree with it completely. With the citizenship we enjoy, we have given an oath of fealty, either implicitly or explicitly, to ‘obey the law of the land’, and as of yet this country has not, in general, demanded us to disobey Allah, to my knowledge. It should be further understood that, for those of us here in the US, we have acceded to such a fealty of sorts, by nature of what it means to hold citizenship, and are obliged to fulfill our basic agreements or to give notice of our rescinding such an oath to that affect. Know with certainty that Allah’s promise is true, and the Messenger of Allah was true, and Satan does nothing but invite towards destruction ? for success is none other than in the pleasure of Allah alone.

In the same breath I need to say, that I agonize deeply for my brethren in Islam, especially those who are, or intend to go out, or work, ‘for the pleasure of Allah’. Unlike most, I had no choice in the matter of being an American, as I was born here, converted here, and made Hijrah (pilgrimage - an obligation of every Muslim). However, I was stopped short, by the Will of Allah, because of an Arab government that has no concept of Islam or Ikhwan (Brotherhood) as is the case with all of the governments of the Islamic lands.

In addition, I do not condone the use of citizenship as a “cover” not to fulfill ones responsibilities, as entrusted to each Muslim by Allah, to the creation, and those in Islam. I only say that there is ample evidence in the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet, Salallahu a’lyahi was Salam, and the actions of the Sahabah (The Companions of the Prophet Muhammad s.w.s.), to substantiate the position that as long as you reside under agreement of citizenship, or residence, or visa, having directly or indirectly accepted to comply with the law of that country, before having previously declared your true position, you should not engage in warfare, or aggression concurrently.

In so saying, Muslims in the US should not forget their obligations to there brethren while keeping their oath of fealty to the US, as long as it does not cause the disobedience of Allah in the process; and our brethren should be understanding and patient with us, making dua’ (supplication) for us, if we have not yet come to join them in an honorable and befitting way, in the cause of Allah. Overall, this is a very sensitive issue, one which clearly requires the advice and opinion of the learned authentic scholars of Islam and one should seek out such advice if need be. And obedience is to none other than Allah; not ones own desires, even if ones intention is good.

J.U.S: The Taliban had been grossly misrepresented in the West. The latest political victory for the MMA (Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal - a radical Islamist party) in Pakistan gives us some indication of how the Taliban are perceived outside of western influence. What first hand information can you provide us with about the Taliban and your experiences with them?

Abu Hamza: Indeed Allah grants success to whomsoever He wills; and this country as a Republic, should think twice now that the people of Pakistan have made a clear declaration to the world. After September 11th, within days, I attempted to contact the unofficial Ambassador to the UN of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, to no avail, and soon to follow was the closure of the borders to and abandonment of Afghanistan, by Pakistan and it’s neighbors.

Sadly, all my knowledge is second hand from those who, Insh’allah, have direct experience and can be trusted. Indeed I have the greatest respect and admiration for someone like Sulyman Al-Faris, and accept the undistorted and authentic statements made by him, that confirm the authenticity of Taliban; for that which is good, because he is a Muslim, and a Muslim is one who is truthful. Yet it should be born in mind that “Taliban” is not the issue. Jihad for the sake of Allah is the issue. It is irrelevant whether one has “first hand information” of a particular group or not, but rather the point is whether or not one craves to reach such a noble apex in Deen. No, “Taliban” or any other ’Sahih’ (authentic) Jammaat is only the “vehicle”, and a facilitator to the establishment of the Shar’iah. And because the intent is essentially the same no matter what group it is, the focus then tapers down to the individual, and the authenticity of the specific group, if these are both sound, then ’Tawakul Allah’ (Trust in God); Insh’allah. We are all fighting, or intending to, in some way or another, in the way of Allah, Insh ‘allah. And Allah knows best the true mujahideen (strivers after the way of Islam), and the sincere believers in this regard.

J.U.S: You have been quoted as saying “I would consider it more noble for me to go and get myself out of the country, renounce my citizenship, end up in Afghanistan, pick up a gun and fight alongside everyone else against the enemy - American soldiers”. Is this a correct comment and if so, how do you come to that conclusion?

Abu Hamza: The correct and unedited quote begins with: “Rather than hide in the shadows and pretend to be just like everyone else, etc., it would be more noble...”, I suppose in hind sight, and having no experience with the media, that I should not have tried to give this example in the ‘first person’, but as they say you live and you learn, Insh’allah.

So to continue, the first part of the quote, alluding to what I have previously mentioned was omitted from the article and subsequently changed the context of the quote. This quote also contains a very interesting feature - a hyphen. This hyphen was inserted, in lieu of the question that I was asked, that in turn
solicited the response that was then “plugged in” with the quote. The question was in reference to being asked to clarify “the enemy” in regards to the actual statement I made. And I stated that it did not matter who it was. So when I was asked if that applied to US soldiers, I stated that this was indeed the case. That shouldn’t come as a shock, as that Shar’iah does not bend to suit western standards, nor does it seek to be politically correct. I need not justify something that is simply an issue of “cause and effect”; the United States is the aggressor, and therefore by default becomes “the enemy” in this circumstance. One can clearly deduce what was intended by way of a general illustration based on my view while everything was unfolding a year ago, Insh’allah. To briefly answer why this is the case; it should suffice to say that “The Muslims are one brotherhood” and it is obligatory upon any Muslim to defend the life, honor, and property of another Muslim, without exception. So by way of example or fact, the matter is still the same, as nationalism has no place in Islam.

J.U.S: Many Americans think that the events of September 11th are strictly an attack by “radical” Muslims that came out of the blue and are void, mainly because of censored press, of the understanding that Muslims have been killed by Americans in vast quantities for many years. How do you perceive this event?

Abu Hamza: As far as I have investigated the matter, I have come to the understanding that the Trade Center attacks were not permissible if one follows the classical interpretations of Islamic Law based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah. There are many discrepancies in regards to 911 - in the actions behind the event, who may have actually perpetrated it, and what has been traditionally held as acceptable warfare in Islam. However, it is for those of authority in matters of Islamic Sacred Law to determine, and for Allah to Judge. Hence I am only opining based on my own resources of Islamic scholarship, since I am in no way an Islamic Jurist myself. I myself wish to say what Islam says about that event, and ask Allah to forgive the Mujahideen for any errors or miscalculations, if they were truly behind this.

I very much wince at the reality that vigilantism that is taking root in the minds and hearts of Muslims around the world due to the oppression they are suffering, as this is against the decree of Allah. And one should not circumvent those dictum put in place by Allah and His Messenger and contained in Islam, simply in order to strike back at the enemies of Islam. These principles serve to guide those who seek the pleasure of Allah, while striving in Allah’s way, and hence should not be abandoned with out a sanctioned and approved reason.

Americans need to be aware of the fact that they are in harms way by virtue of what their government perpetrates in their name, which insights Muslims to vent and lash out in ways that are only comparable to what is done against them; even though it may be outside the sphere of Islam. And I keep saying “Muslims”, because we comprise over 1 billion of the world’s population and live on most of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves, but it should be duly noted that others outside the Muslim world have suffered in similar ways, such as the peoples of South America as an example. It is also my belief that brother Osama has erred in issuing a fatawa allowing for the killing of all Americans, because of the scholarly opinions from those whom I sit with to learn from. Yet if brother Osama has evidence to support such a fatawa, and he is correct in such an interpretation, then that is another matter, and it should be presented for clarification.

Further, the West’s “demonization” of Osama Bin Laden only arrests any attempt to understand his true intention and grievance; for even if you hate Osama Bin Laden, it is more in ones best interests to understand the grievances of your enemy, than to be blind to them at your own cost. And let it be clear, that by this, I do not rebuke another Muslim without having listened to him state his case. Yet I am no one in the scheme of things, and no one that brother Osama or any other Muslim needs to make an accounting to. If an issue of Islamic Sacred Law is in question with regard to scriptural evidence, then it is between brother Osama and the authentic Ulema (Islamic Scholars) of Islam to dispute it, and for Allah to Judge. I would just hope that brother Osama has Taqwa (due respect for Allah - common translation) with respect to Allah’s creation, even if Americans are seen as an enemy, and to not disparage Islam in the process of attempting to expel an imperialist force from the lands of the Muslims. Alternately, if brother Osama is no more than a rebel in religion, and acting outside of the dictates of Islam, then he is for the Muslims to deal with, and no one else by way of Islamic judicial prosecution.

So if it’s a war against Al-Qaida, then call it that, but as anyone can see this has very little to do with Osama Bin Laden, and everything to do with the resurgence of Islam in the world, in relationship to geo-political and economic interests.

J.U.S: Now that America is furthering its war against Islam, and for what is obviously for their own specific agenda, what do you think the final outcome for Americans will be?

Abu Hamza: Well, the Romans fell, and the Mongols became Muslim. Only Allah knows what the outcome will be regarding the details, but assuredly Victory is only for Allah. The Americans are traveling the same path now that others before them have traveled. And because of this, American ideology is doomed to failure for its inability to adopt humility in light of humanity and such blessings and strength as it has been given. In 1929, America was on top ofthe world, yet soon the Great Depression started and that was a clear reminder to the people. They denied this sign of Allah, yet Allah has continued, and does continue, to send many reminders to them. There is also very little by way of ‘nobility’ left in America, and as the last vestiges of those things which are truly good slip away from this society and culture, the only thing that remains in waiting is the Wrath of Allah.

J.U.S: Since September 11th, 2001 you have been the target of a great deal of questionable treatment. Can you tell us why and how you have been targeted and what affect this has had on your life and your views of America?

Abu Hamza: Life has its trials and tests, and I seek Allah’s protection from the oppressors and wrongdoers. An unwritten rule in this country is that if you are a citizen, then as long as you obey the law, you are virtually untouchable Insh’allah. But if your not a citizen, then even without cause, in some instances, you can become ‘expendable’. But even so, as a citizen, one can still be victimized by the media as I have learned all to well.

I believe it is true that I have experienced the “new” America first hand, but I will leave your readers to decide the “how” and “why” I have presumably been ‘targeted’. And I adopt this method, because only when one looks at the totality of victimization occurring against those who have been ‘targeted’ in this country, and even more so around the world, can one gain a complete understanding of what truly happens when one is ‘targeted’. And it is my belief that one will rediscover their own humanity in the process of doing so - and Allah knows best.

Today, I am far more aware of the incongruity that exists in our application of the law and our treatment of others in the legal process, the media, and in society. I have come to the clear realization that America and the American government is not what it claims to be.

J.U.S: You have been quoted many times out of context in western press. Is there anything you would like to say to set the record straight?

Abu Hamza: Absolutely, but rather than go line by line or word by word making corrections to what has been written and said, it would be better to summarize like this:

Islam is a complete and perfect way of life that requires devotion and total allegiance to none other than Allah. Hence, as a Muslim, I will be judged not as to what kind of American I was, but instead what kind of Muslim I was in this life. Islam prescribes that all Muslims stand up against injustice in all of its forms, by action, word, or at least by intention. So I am no less for criticizing policies that are destructive and serve no other purpose than to further Iconoclasts, which hide in the shadows of government, banks, corporations, and special Interests groups, that have no love for the ‘values’ that we proclaim to cherish and believe in. Americans have been manipulated to abandon these ‘values’ by the very government we blindly defend, in exchange for an artificial sense of ‘security’ based on a self-imposed threat. And this is astonishing.

For illuminating the truth, I am no more a ‘traitor’ than any other activist who has sought the betterment of humanity at their own expense. Yet it is clear that today there are many ears, but very few willing to actually listen. Many are quick to condemn, very few willing to recognize the guilt of their own institutions, and the reality of the grievances against them.

Out of humanity, I do fear for the people, that America has miscalculated, and misjudged their target. This country has given its’ leadership powers that it was not intended to have, evidenced by the testimony of the citizenry by way of that which they value, and of which continues to be readily espoused. In supreme arrogance as a society, the government, media, and public have collectively eroded the humanity of the rest of mankind, for those who are not “American”. In essence, thereby having become no better than that which they claim to oppose, thereby only increasing the threat potential against them, and I am amazed by this insanity.

No one is trying to steal anyones freedom. Instead, it should be clearly understood that everyone else is trying to reclaim their own basic freedoms, from an imperialistic and hegemonic government, which acts in the name of the American people, and which is unflinching and audacious in its repeated and unrestrained application of ‘actual “terrorism“‘, by its own definition, as simply an act of “Foreign Policy”.

J.U.S: With 6 million Muslims inside America, and in particular with a large number of Muslim youth, Muslims continue to be harassed, detained and mistreated. As someone who has been under the microscope, what advise can you give Muslim Americans in coping inside the “new” America?

Abu Hamza: Be patient. Every test is good for a believer, so thank Allah for what “hasn’t” befallen you. Follow Islam as it is supposed to be followed, and Allah will protect you, obey Allah and Allah will give you success, Fear Allah and Allah will honor you. Do nothing to harm your neighbor unjustly, nor the creation of Allah. And fulfill your oaths, and Allah will bless you, Insh’allah.

J.U.S: And finally, is there anything you would like to say to our non-Muslim viewers to help them understand what is really taking
place here?

Abu Hamza: Everything they need to know has been written by those seeking only to arouse awareness and disseminate the truth; individuals like Norm Chomsky as an example. So do not be like the masses and reduce your cognizant thought to something so minimal as eating, sleeping, laboring, and procreating. Instead, endeavor towards Truth, endeavor to understand, endeavor to learn, and endeavor to recognize your own humanity so you might understand someone else’s suffering. And shed the clothing of arrogance and materialism, and adopt humility in reference to Allah and His creation. And Guidance comes only from Allah.

J.U.S: We thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Abu Hamza: May Allah Reward you.


Published Tuesday, November 19th, 2002 - 12:24pm GMT

Article courtesy of Jihad Unspun

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