Jihad, MTV-style

Posted: Feb 12, 2004 12:00 AM

Although Osama bin Laden has long used videos for recruitment and garnering political support, an MTV-style music video in Britain seems to be the first radical Islamic propaganda to utilize an overtly Americanized approach to reaching Muslim youths.  And it may just be catching on.

 Called ?Dirty Kuffar,? which means dirty ?infidels? (or non-believers), the slickly-produced video (which can be viewed online at http://ipnews.planetgac.com) combines cartoonish images and footage of graphic violence, and the all-English lyrics are sung in Jamaican dancehall reggae style over a beat taken directly from the very recent international smash hit Sean Paul song ?Get Busy.?

  In short, it is very hip, very current, and very American?except for the violent content that would make even the most hardened of ?gansta? rappers blush.

  The band, Soul Salah Crew, appears as masked Muslim warriors, standing in front of the camera, moving to the music, with a Quran in one hand and a gun in the other.  Interspersed with that are shocking images, such as a Russian soldier getting shot repeatedly by a Chechen rebel with a machine gun and a clearly doctored CNN news piece that ostensibly shows U.S. soldiers killing an innocent Iraqi civilian.

  The video also seems to make no distinction between Western leaders such as President George W. Bush and Tony Blair and U.S.-backed Arab dictators such as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, exhorting listeners to ?throw them in the fire.?  Also to be ?thrown into the fire,? according to the lyrics, are any Muslims who ?fall foul of the code,? where ?code? most likely means the Quran.

 It is unclear whether the video is intended to recruit or merely to preach to the (literally) converted, but there is no doubt about the intended message.  The chorus is twice punctuated by the non-Gandhi-inspired line, ?I am going to bomb, bomb, bomb.?  Who would be the likely targets?  The lyrics seem to hint at a possible answer with the following warning: ?Those who disobey the Quran will self-destruct.?

  ?Dirty Kuffar? is all the rage these days among rabid Muslim youths in Britain, at least according to Arab satellite broadcaster al Jazeera.  And The Observer in London cites a radical Islamist, Mohammed al-Massari, who ?claims that the video has been selling in large quantities at mosques to the younger generation and is in heavy demand overseas.?

  Al-Massari, though, has every incentive to hype the success of ?Dirty Kuffar,? as he is the man responsible for initially making it available to the world, courtesy of the web site of his misleadingly-named Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights.  Although the British-based CDLR is labeled a Saudi dissident organization, its dissent is premised on its belief that the Saudi regime isn?t supportive enough of fundamentalist Islamic rule.

  CDLR?s radical bona fides can be confirmed by a quick scan of their web site.  In addition to hosting the ?Dirty Kuffar? video, the site boasts a message board (where members post articles and have running dialogues) containing discussions such as how ?Jihad? is actually a ?defensive war? and how the Holocaust is the ?biggest lie of the 20th century.?

  The Saudi ?dissident? group has for years been suspected of ties to al Qaeda, and according to the Investigative Project?s Steven Emerson, CDLR purchased a satellite phone for Osama bin Laden in 1998.

  In The Observer, al-Massari is quoted as saying, ?'I believe the lyrics are only metaphorical. It is not like this is a fatwa.?

  But as metaphors go, ?Dirty Kuffar? seems to be awfully direct.  Among the text messages that flash across the screen during the video are ?Be prepared for battle with the infidels? and ?Jihad Against the Crusaders.?

  The closing lyrics leave little doubt the sympathies of the Soul Salah Crew: ?Peace to Hamas and the Hizbollah / OBL (Osama bin Laden) crew be like a shining star / Like the way we destroyed the two towers.?

  If you do view the video (online at http://ipnews.planetgac.com), be prepared for the video?s end: footage of the twin towers collapsing to the sound of laughter.