"Equipping Invaders" Funds Shift Towards "School Bags", Meetings with Jihadists masked by "Pity-Seeking Expressions"

(1) ISIS Are Among Us: Peculiar Transition in Al-Asala Society Tactics

Al-Asala secretary-general Abed Al-Halim Morad sneaks into Syria  accompanied by Sheikh Faisal Al-Gharir on April 19th 2014
Al-Asala secretary-general Abed Al-Halim Morad sneaks into Syria accompanied by Sheikh Faisal Al-Gharir on April 19th 2014

2014-11-13 - 10:30 م

Download ISIS Are Among Us: Peculiar Transition in Al-Asala Society Tactics as PDF

by Husain Marhoon: Until August 2013, advertising could still be seen for the "Equipping Invaders" campaign that the Salafi group "Al-Asala" ran. The group, who has close ties with the Bahraini Royal Family, created the campaign with the sole task of equipping militants to join the fighting in Syria, through posters and monthly notifications sent to accounts of  "Al-Asala" group leaders. However, starting from the month following September until the end of 2013, it was     evident that the campaign managers had changed their tactics.

Since the onset of 2014, ads for "Equipping Invaders" were withdrawn from circulation. The"One Body Campaign" account was deleted from social media networks, which was a framework on which "Al-Asala" society sought to list all fundraising operations for "Jihad in Syria", through its religious wing i.e. Al-Tarbiya Al-Islamiya (Islamic Education Charity Society). It created a new account and made certain not to include anything related to aid and funding of militant actions.


Son of the Royal Court Minister  Nasser Bin Khalid

Al Khalifa supervising

fundraiser-December 2014

The first "Equipping Invaders" campaign was launched in July 2012 and based in six Bahraini mosques.1 Within a year, campaign managers were able to organize four tours through which they raised 4 million US dollars, by providing shares, each of which represented a take-up of 1,000 Bahraini Dinars (approximately 2,600 USD).2

Al-Asala society member Sheikh Faisal Al-Gharir stated that the "number of fighters it sponsored over four months had reached 1,530". He also bragged in another statement at the end of August 2012, saying that "this money achieved great victories in Syria, downed jets and accomplished other things we cannot disclose." Meanwhile, Al-Asala group’s secretary-general Abed Al-Halim Morad, posted a tweet on June 14th 2013, saying: “Glad tidings! Military equipment and peculiar weapons have entered Syria, and Jihadists are using them in their battles against the Nasiris (Shia) and the devil’s party (i.e. Hezbollah).”


It is shown that the latest ad for the "Equipping Invaders" campaign was posted on the 21st of August 2013 on the Twitter account of "Al-Asala" society secretary-general, Abed Al-Halim Morad, which represented the largest platform for the promotion of the campaign on Bahraini social media networks since 2012 and over a period of months. He had written in this respect: "Equipping 1,000 invaders project aimed at protecting Al-Ghouta children from chemical weapons. Each share equal to 100 Dinars (approximately 265 USD) is offered daily after sunset at Abu Hanifa and Sheikhan Farsi Mosques".

This was the last signal he left in his account in connection to the "Equipping Invaders" campaign. Thereafter, a phase of complete inactivity took over, as everything indicating any relation to the campaign, along with expressions written on the subject disappeared. This included posters that read, "He who equips an invader is like the one who invades" and others that also specified the value of each share for whoever wanted to make a donation and the number of "invaders"needed to be equipped. This coincided with a stop in the flow of militant brigades’ videos that existed throughout the period between mid-2012 and mid-2013, expressing their thanks to Bahraini supporters by name. It was evident that something had changed.

Flaunting that drew attention and new tactics

The strategy of flaunting that Al-Asala leaders used in their public call for equipping militants, infiltrating Syria’s territory, meeting Jihadists from the extremist group Suqour Al-Sham (Falcons of Syria) and Abu Dawoud Brigades, let alone the many news reports on the deaths of Bahrainis in Syria, intensified criticism of the Bahraini authorities. Al-Asala leaders’ tweets on social media networks, openly encouraged volunteering for Jihad and preparing Jihadists to head to conflict-ridden areas, provided full data used by journalists in their analytical pieces.


Interior Ministry anti-narcotics directorate

head Major Mubarak Bin Huwail

visiting “One Body” campaign tent

to offer a donation-July 2014

Therefore, a public opinion emerged on the "dangerous entity" being created from a distance in Syria in the shadow of a witnessed conspiracy on the part of security authorities, who did not address any case to date or question those involved in funding "Jihad", even it was done publicly and against Bahraini laws.

Amid all of this, ISIS began to gain prominence from its battles in Syria, turning all eyes towards them. The militant group’s brutality spread terror in the world, and even in the hearts of a group that shares the same extremist ideology, Nusra Front, with which the first Bahrainis who left to fight in Syria, about six fighters, were killed. In light of these developments, Al-Asala adopted another less striking tactic. What is the new “tactic”? It is the same support masked by humanitarian causes.

The fact is that in the last months of 2013, the indicator of Bahrain’s interference in the Syrian crisis made a peculiar shift which can be described as an “evasive transition”, the end of a busy phase of announced logistic military support and the beginning of a new phase under the disguise of humanitarian aid.

All slogans used in the "Equipping Invaders" campaign were now used in "Food baskets" and "Schoolbag" campaigns. The same people who managed "Euipping Invaders" took up the new task, including Sheikh Abed Al-Halim Morad, Sheikh Faisal Al-Gharir, Khaled Mousa Al-Beloushi and Abed Al-Karim Al-Ammadi, while the number of mosques where fundraisers were being held decreased from six to only two, Sheikhan Al-Riffa and Abu Hanifa Al-Bisitin mosques.

The"One Body campaign" resumed its activity on social media networks; however, with new accounts launched on May 15th 2014, fueled by purports inspired by the new policy: distancing itself completely from any explicit sign of Jihad-related support and charging all fundraising operations with"pity-seeking expressions".


"The New Disguise of Funding "Terrorism

As the “Equipping Invaders” campaign faded away, the "One Body Campaign" launched about 12 fundraising projects almost on a monthly basis, adopting the same former policy of offering previously-priced take-up shares:"Caravan 1,750 Bahraini Dinars (approximately 4,600 USD), flour 200 Bahraini Dinars (approximately 530 USD), general relief 50 Bahraini Dinars (approximately 132 USD), blankets 10 Bahraini Dinars (approximately 26 USD)".

The new projects were entitled as follows: Winter Bag project (November 2013), Relief Distressed Ghouta campaign (November 2013), Ummahat Al-Momineen-Mothers of the Believers- Camp for widows and orphans (November 2013), Dress Children of Syria Campaign (December 2013), Syria Children’s Smile for Treatment and Nourishment project (March 2014), Mohammed Yousef, Pioneer of Humanitarian Aid, Caravan For the Relief of Syrian People (April 2014), Foster Care of Syrian Orphans campaign (May 2014), Bahraini Child, Noura Al-Souwaidi, Caravan for the Relief of Syrian Children (May 2014), I Am Khawla Campaign For the Foster Care of Syria Children (May 2014), Fast-Breaking Project (July 2014), Fitr Charity (Zakat) Project in Eastern Ghouta (July 2014).

Despite a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on August 7th 2012, warning against "visiting or entering conflict-stricken areas and militant-combat zones", after members of Al-Asala snuck into Syrian territory controlled by the opposition, Al-Asala leaders continued to infiltrate the Turkey-Syria border almost frequently until late 2014 under the pretext of sending aid.

A recent photo posted by Al-Asala secretary-general Abed Al-Halim Morad shows he was in Syria along with Faisal Al-Gharir on April 19th 2014 during the opening of “Ummahat Al-Momineen Camp 2”. Another photo taken on January 10th 2014 shows "One Body Campaign" on Syrian territory delivering what they called "winter aid".

On December 29th 2013, one of Khalid Mousa Al-Beloushi Campaign leaders made a statement, saying: "Glad tidings to the people of Bahrain and the gulf. You have provided a warm environment for more than 3,000 Syrian families through your donations. We will deliver the aid ourselves in the coming days". These campaigns, held every Saturday (from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.), were backed by state authorities, whilst receiving special comprehensive coverage by the Royal Court owned Al-Watan newspaper Official statements posted by campaign managers show field visits paid by officials to their headquarters in a show of support and praise of their efforts. “One Body Campaign” notably celebrated a visit by the son of the Minister of the Royal Court, Bahraini military officer and Al-Riffa Sports Club President Nasser Bin Khalid Al Khalifa to their tent which was particularly set up for fundraising (December 2013), as well as Interior Ministry anti-narcotics directorate head Major Mubarak Bin Huwail (July 2014),Judge Yasser Al-Mahmeed (December 2013), and Judge Abed Al-Ilah Al-Marzouqi (December 28).

3 داعش

Judge Abed Al-Ilah Al-Marzouqi visiting the “One Body”

campaign tent-

 2013 December

As campaign managers did not reveal the amount of donations received from these officials, campaign posters showed that transfer and deposit operations were made through an official account in Faisal Abdallah Mohammed Al-Gharir’s name, registered in Bahrain Islamic Bank, chiefly-owned by the government and the military retirement fund, and operated under supervision of the Central Bank of Bahrain under international account number of (BH30BIBB00100000170128). It is the same account found on posters and leaflets used to receive donations in "Equipping Invaders" campaign.


Gulf Funders and Preachers

What is noteworthy in this respect is the amount of support that "One Body Campaign" received from gulf funders. It was encouraged by gulf preachers, invited to campaign headquarters, such as Salafist Saudi preacher Othman Khamees (May 3rd 2014) and hardliner Mohammed Al-Oraifi (July 9th 2014)who was recently arrested by Saudi authorities on charges of “funding terrorism”, and Saudi-based Syrian preacher Sheikh Adnan Al-Aroor (May 29th 2013),whose bank accounts were frozen by authorities in Riyadh.

Regardless of the criticism and agitation that emerged ahead of Sheikh Al-Oraifi’s visit, state authorities continued to allow him to enter Bahrain and deliver a speech at Sheikhan Al-Farasi mosque in Al-Riffa, entitled "One Body".

Infrequent announcements posted by Al-Asala secretary-general on his Twitter account also reveal part of the support offered by gulf sponsors. He announced on November 27th 2013 of receiving "a generous donation of 37,000 Riyals (approximately 9,860 USD) from a Saudi brother offered to Al-Sham Campaign". On December 28th of the same year, he again spoke of another "Saudi donation of 185,000 Riyals (approximately 49,805 USD) offered to One Body Campaign. He stated on April 8th of this year, "a contributor from Saudi Arabia donated a truck as part of Mohammed Yousef Caravan For the Relief of Syrian People project". In another statement made on the 20th of last May, he said "Gulf donations are coming forth. A (female) donor from our sister country the UAE contributed with 10,000 Dirhams (approximately 2,722 USD)".


Judge Yasser Al-Mahmeed visiting the “One Body” campaign


December 2013

Bahraini laws decisively ban receiving donations from foreign parties. Article number (14) of the Political Societies Law in Bahrain issued in 2005 “prohibits societies from accepting any donation or benefit from a foreign person, entity, international organization, or an anonymous person".Article number (2) of the Law of Associations, Social and Cultural Clubs, issued in 2012 on raising money, stipulates that "civil societies are banned from acquiring money from, or sending money to, a party outside Bahrain without written permission from the ministry." Also, “civil organizations are not allowed to raise funds inside houses of worship, during funerals, or inside any religious center."Amendments issued by the king in 2013 to Article number (9) of the Law of Protecting Society from Terrorist Acts and Organizing Fundraising for Public Purposes stipulate that "Those authorized are not allowed to transfer any amount of raised money to a person or foreign entity outside Bahrain without the minister’s approval according to regulations specified by the executive list." Article number (14) of the same law also stipulates that "whoever raises funds for terrorist purposes is penalized by a 10-year jail sentence and a fine of not less than 100,000 Dinars and not exceeding 500,000 Dinars."

Nonetheless, these laws are generally enacted in a selective manner only to harass opposition societies. Reassured by this, the Salafist Al-Asala secretary-general Abed Al-Halim Morad spoke of his approach of interfering in the Syrian crisis.

Although the government continued to issue statements warning of "getting involved in regional and international conflicts, joining extremist religious movements or groups listed as terrorist organizations locally, regionally or internationally, or providing any material or emotional support for them," as the foreign ministry statement said on February 25th 2014, Morad continues to act as if he is not subject to these warnings.

One month following this statement on March 19th 2014, he said: "We will continue to support the Syrian revolution until Assad’s regime falls or we shall die trying."He certainly knows that nothing has changed except titles: Don’t call it "Equipping Invaders," call it "providing schoolbags" . He has indeed become an expert in this game!

:Read , in the next part

 "Jihadi Salafism" in Bahrain, the disputes of its two pillars "Al-Binali" and "Al-Hamad", its books and local publications

 Positions of "Islamic Jihad's" pillars on February 14 protests and how the government used them in their war on the opposition

- Rebukes by "Al-Zawahiri's" supporters for Binali's silence towards "the tyrant in his country" and his response in his book "Couchant Lions" Al-Osoud Al-Rabida

- Adel Al-Hamad, fierce in his Fatwas legitimatizing the killing of Shiites, yet submissive to the "Palace" praying for the long life
of the king, and his security forces

: footnotes 
1 The mosques where fundraisers for “Equipping Invaders” campaign took place are: Sheikhan Al-Farsi Mosque (Al-Riffa), Abu Hanifa Mosque (Al-Bisitin), Nadi Al-Sahel Mosque (Al-Had), Al-Sheikh Issa Bin Ali Mosque (Al-Muharraq), Al-Isma Mosque (Hamad City), Al-Gharbi Mosque (Qelali).

2 According to the account of Al-Asala leader, Abed Al-Halim Morad, details on the “Equipping Invaders” campaign projects are as follows: “Equipping 85 fighters in Syria’s Mount Zawiya region” project (August 2012), “Equipping 1,000 invaders to break Homs siege” project-1,000 Dinars for each share (March 2013), “Equipping 5,000 invaders to fight in Homs” project-1,000 Dinars for each share (March 2013), “Equipping 300 invaders in Damascus and Al-Qusair” project (May 2013), “Equipping 2,500 invaders to protect the honor of women” project-1,000 Dinars for each share (June 2013), “Equipping 1,000 invaders to protect children of Ghouta from chemical weapons” project-100 Dinars for each share (August 2013).

See list of videos that militant brigades in Syria posted and in which they thank Bahraini supporters

See moving strip in following video on which the value of each share for donation is mentioned


التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

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