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Inside the US: Muslim Brotherhood Member Calls for Jihadist Terrorism Worldwide
By Cynthia Farahat
Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.
A Muslim Brotherhood propagandist based in New York City has called for jihad both in the United States and internationally.
Bahgat Saber, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, operates from his New York apartment and often streams live videos from Times Square. During his multi-hour videos, Saber routinely incites terrorism, assassinations, kidnapping and torture in an extremely graphic manner. The calls for violence in his videos are viewed by millions of people across the world.
In October, when Saber called for bloodshed, he used a code-phrase employed by al-Qaeda to activate their terrorist cells for open warfare. In a video titled, “Ride, O horses of Allah.” Saber started his video with, “We are working in the upcoming phase on Ride, O horses of Allah” — which is al-Qaeda’s call for activating terrorism.
Usually Saber incites terrorism against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; this time, he specified targeting opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist project anywhere in the world.
The code-phrase first appeared in 2005 in the leaked diary of al-Qaeda’s former chief scholar, Abu Anas al-Shami. He wrote that he utilized the historic Islamic statement, “Ride, O horses of Allah, and preach the good news of Paradise,” to call for jihadist action, and that the phrase “had the effect of a thunder bolt, and it became the call for jihad.”
On October 18, on his YouTube channel, Saber released another video, titled, “Bahgat Saber Announces War Against Everyone.” That blanket statement confirms his intention to instigate indiscriminate warfare not just in the Middle East but around the world.
To this day, al-Qaeda utilizes the code-phrase, “Ride, O horses of Allah,” in its media channels to order jihadist action. What is particularly threatening is that this statement requires an order of nafir, the Islamist order for total and indiscriminate war. The call entails jihadist action in the US against all Muslim Brotherhood opponents and infidels, as Saber clearly states in his video.
“We are approaching work to bring down the Egyptian regime and turn its military into an army of God,” Saber said. He later explained that his idea of a revolution was not “an online post,” or a “protest,” but an “armed war against the infidel army” of Egypt. “The time has come,” he stated, “for revenge for the regime…the aim is to cleans the nation of every traitor, everyone who disobeys God and His Prophet, and their orders.”
Saber further noted that “Ride, O horses of Allah” means “the battle has begun.”
I, Bahgat Saber, announce that my battle with the military and those who support them, and [including] all infidels, if they are the descendants of infidels; it [war] has begun from this hour…Ride, O horses of Allah, our war is on social media, on the ground, using our words, our arms, using tools whether it was a pen or a sword, or a rifle….Birth is always accompanied by blood….blood to cleans the nation.”
Saber later stressed that his terrorist orders target anyone who opposes the Muslim Brotherhood: “Listen carefully… I will destroy you, no matter who you are.” He emphasized that he is not simply an opponent of the Egyptian government and that he will “chop off the heads of all those who betrayed Allah and His Prophet.”
Saber also shared with his listeners thoughts such as: “If you want to kill yourself, why die alone? Take four or five people down with you.”
Afterwards, he announced that he was opening recruitment for what he calls the “Egypt Liberation Front.” Saber, whose group utilizes the Clubhouse mobile application to connect jihadists worldwide, also mentioned that he had attempted to travel to Turkey to train Islamists in refugee camps but that the Turkish government had declined his offer.
Saber’s use of the al-Qaeda code, perhaps coincidentally, came just two weeks after the release of my book, The Secret Apparatus: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Industry of Death, which discussed Saber’s activities. It is hard to not take such threats personally.
Candles, Flowers and Work
The Muslim Brotherhood, like many jihadists and criminal enterprises, relies heavily on coded language. In 2009, for instance. mass murderer and Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, said:
“Rely on guerrilla tactics whenever possible. Plant ‘flowers’ — improvised explosive devices — on trails and dirt roads. Concentrate on small-unit ambushes, with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.”
The term Saber often uses for improvised explosive devices is “Light a candle.” In his video to activate al-Qaeda, Saber recommended: “Light a candle in a police vehicle.” He criticized Islamists who call for jihadist action without being adequately armed, and stated that he was beginning his terror operation “through creating cells,” that will coordinate with one other.
“One group will be responsible for funding, another for identifying individuals to be targeted, others for [propaganda] to break the barrier of fear.”
He later urged that there should be a plan for taking care of the families of the jihadists who die or get arrested:
“If a fallen [jihadist] is supporting his parents, his parents become my own… I will provide for them from mine and my children’s livelihood. When they see you do this, what else would a [jihadist] worry about?”
In addition, he affirmed that he would be financially responsible for the families of fallen terrorists: “It will be as if you are there for your family and even better.”
Saber in his videos often uses the word, “work,” or “revolutionary work.” In April, 2020, he defined what he means by “revolutionary work”: to dominate.
“We have a clear mission, and it is revolutionary work, and the definition of revolutionary work is violent work, and the definition of violent work, is work that sheds blood. So, you Bahgat wish for bloodshed? Yes, I wish for the bloodshed of the unjust, the debauchees.”
This video has been deleted from the internet, but the author sent its contents to the New York Police Department on April 26, 2020.
Deadly Assassination Fatwas Issued in NYC
When fatwas — religious opinions or edicts — entail orders for assassination, they are called “blood fatwas.” Basically, they are contract killings masquerading as religious pronouncements.
Akram Kassab, a New York City-based Muslim Brotherhood theologian and member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Union of Muslim Scholars — designated by the UAE as a terror group — issued an assassination fatwa from a Muslim Brotherhood television channel, Al-Ann, on May 18, 2015. The fatwa stated that it is a “religious duty, a necessity, and revolutionary dream” to “get rid” of judges and officials who support the Egyptian government in its war against the Muslim Brotherhood. Kassab said that it is important to execute “retribution against them.” When the interviewer asked him if his statements could influence youths to take action, he replied, “Do you mean that they might kill a judge or a criminal from the police or the military? There has to be an act of vengeance against them.”
After Kassab’s fatwa, Egypt’s leading prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, was assassinated on June 29, 2015 by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. The murder was carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood’s lijan al-amaliyat al-mutaqadima (“Progressive Operations Committee” or “Special Operations Committee”) — a terror cell operated by the group’s “Secret Apparatus.” A year before Barakat’s murder, Kassab had targeted Barakat on an official Facebook page, posted pictures of him with horns, and had asked people to spit in Barakat’s face. Kassab, after issuing his fatwa, similar to the one broadcast by Saber, continued his work in the US and frequently delivered sermons at the Muslim American Society Youth Center in Brooklyn.
At least Saber’s latest use of al-Qaeda’s coded call to jihad has prompted the Egyptian government to be on high security alert, according to Ahmed Moussa, a prominent Egyptian commentator and former officer in Egypt’s State Security Intelligence. On October 24, Moussa stated on Elbalad TV:
“This terrorist [Saber] is residing in America, has armed militias, and is operating them from America…. Our American friends, you claim as a great nation that you are countering terrorism, yet he is discussing armed terrorist action and you are harboring him in America. I would like to see how our American friends will deal with this.”
Moussa, announcing that Egypt’s military was on high alert, asked what “American intelligence agencies and the FBI” are going to do about these threats.
Saber’s History of Jihadist Propaganda
For years, Saber has operated with impunity inside the US. During a video in April 2020, he gave a lengthy Islamist religious sermon drawing parallels between early jihadists who attacked infidel caravans and those of today.
Today’s jihadists, Saber said, now have “plenty of caravans.” He ordered his listeners to go to Ramses Square, the busiest public plaza in Cairo, Egypt, and to target everyone there, “from the cart selling pickles in the market,” to “the trucks carrying vegetables,” and even street food vendors selling “selling liver [sandwiches].” Saber went on to name targets such as police vehicles, military buildings, government buildings, power lines, gas lines, the Egyptian Media Production City compound, and even hospitals. He urged his listeners to not “view ourselves as weak and use our minds and science; what you do not know is all available on our teacher Google, that can teach you everything, everything.” In the same video, he appealed to so-called “lone wolves” to carry out terror operations.
In July 2020, Saber demonstrated how to murder opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, using household appliances as weapons. He also held a small stick during the video and said:
“If you stab someone with it, you [can] kill him. You do not really need a knife, you do not need a missile, you do not need a tank, all you need is to listen to the word of God.”
In an August 2020 video, Saber pressed his listeners to search the internet for manuals on how to manufacture explosives. Jihadists often call Saber during his live broadcasts and discuss terrorist activities. During this video, he spoke with a self-confessed ISIS-affiliated terrorist; they discussed the logistics of carrying out terrorist attacks.
Saber first advocated for terrorism on US soil during the early months of the COVID-19 crisis. In March, 2020, during a Facebook live-stream video, he urged listeners to engage in bioterrorism both in the US and Egypt. “If you are a soldier,” he said, “you can go into the Defense Ministry and shake hands with all the generals of the military and the police.”
“The same is true with the justice system… If you have contracted coronavirus, you should exact revenge. Avenge yourself, avenge the honor of your women, avenge the people who are in prison, and avenge the oppressed people.”
In the same video, he urged his listeners to spread COVID in the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC.
At one point, Saber even boasted that he does not care about US laws and ridiculed those who say, “We are living a country and should respect its laws, and respect this and that…” He said, “What laws, darling?” He then bragged about his ability to get away with breaking the law: “Bahgat Saber is sitting in the street saying chop heads off.” Law enforcement in the US, he later said “will neither scare nor shake us.”
Saber and his Associates Operate with Impunity in the US
Saber is also seems widely connected to Muslim Brotherhood activists across the US. One of his New York City-based associates is the self-confessed Muslim Brotherhood operative, Ahmed Abdel-Basit Mohamed, also known as “Basit.” Sentenced to death in Egypt for his role in deadly terrorist attacks there, he now lives freely in the US. Basit confirmed the Egyptian government’s accusations when he publicly bragged about his involvement in a terrorist attack in Egypt in which 506 people were wounded or killed.
In a Facebook post from August 16, 2015, Basit admitted his involvement in jihadist riots in Cairo in 2013 that led to the deaths of 210 people and the wounding of 296 others. Jihadists had marched from al-Fateh Mosque in downtown Cairo to a bridge and reportedly fired automatic weapons at civilians and police officers. Basit praised a gunman in the deadly riot: “Due to Allah’s blessing and generosity, an armed man appeared from the end of the bridge; seeking God, the man started shooting at thugs.” According to Basit’s LinkedIn profile, he is currently an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Manhattan College.
The Muslim Brotherhood is directly connected to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Muslim Brotherhood members such as Saber and Basit operate inside the US and openly support jihad.
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan turned that country into a transnational jihadist training camp under the oversight of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated regime in Qatar, now hiding behind the US airbase there while acting against America’s interests.
How long will the US continue to ignore its self-declared enemies who, while enjoying the hospitality of the US, plot to destroy her?
Cynthia Farahat is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum and author of The Secret Apparatus: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Industry of Death.
Image Credit: MEMRI