by sheikyermami on April 25, 2012
Behind enemy lines:
“My duty is to use my voice to tell people the truth, and the truth is jihad, Jihad is a duty.”
Mohamed Mahmoud sits on his bed and tries to keep his cat away from his visitor. He is wearing the Pakistani traditional dress known as shalwar kameez, and light-brown pakol, the hat worn by Pashtuns. “The Prophet Muhammad also had a cat,” says the 26-year-old with a smile, sensing our surprise. On the wall behind him is a black flag of the sort often seen in videos from al-Qaida and similar organizations, with the creed of the Muslim faith written on it in Arab letters: There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.
(Allah is not God. And Muhammad is bad news.)
“My goal in life is victory or shahada, the martyr’s death,” says Mahmoud, who has made a name for himself in the global jihadist movement as Abu Usama al-Gharib.
Despite appearances, however, Mahmoud is not a mujahid in the Hindu Kush. Rather, he is sitting in a studio apartment in a small city near Frankfurt. The apartment building is in the center of the town, next to a pharmacy and a Turkish diner. For him, the world outside is the world of the “kuffar,” or infidels. Mahmoud has a single mission: He wants to convert the infidels to Salafism, the ultra conservative interpretation of the Koran that has triggered a debate in Germany over the limits of religious freedom.
“That’s what I stand for, and that’s what I’ll die for,” says Mahmoud, born in Austria to Egyptian immigrant parents. So far, he feels that society hasn’t understood him and his religious zeal. But most great leaders, he says, only gained true recognition after death.