Loving Death and Martyrdom
"We love death like you love live."
"Like a summer camp [jihadi camp in Syria]. You chill, you have fun. You see different groups and drink tea with the Syrians."
"I wouldn't do attacks here [in Canada]. That's not my style. I'm not against them [Islamic State]. If they do it [attacks on foreign soil] , that's their business."
Ismael Habib, 29, Montreal
Facebook Ismael Habib
They, non-Muslims, have the option, after all, of embracing Islam themselves, to save their lives. When they fail to exercise this option they invite death. The very fact that they have eschewed Islam renders them fully complicit in their own death, and it is the duty of the faithful Muslim to lead them to their death. As simple as that. When the Iranian Revolution took place, this obligation for all Muslims was emphasized. The Shiite Iranians sent the al Quds division of the Republican Guard to Lebanon in the 1980s.
There, they indoctrinated the Lebanese Shiites, a poverty-stricken minority, to understand their obligations and take pride in them, re-awakening their spiritual lives. And the mantra of "We love death like you love life" exemplified their pride. And Hezbollah was born. A pride and an explanatory statement that was adopted by another terrorist group, Hamas, the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood. It has since become a universal declaration of exceptionalism adopted by Islamist jihadists.
"Shariah is Islamic law", Habib explained to an undercover RCMP officer who had gained the man's trust, portraying himself as a Montreal gangster boss who could help Habib travel back to Syria to rejoin the jihadi group he was interested in. He was explaining to the man known as "the Boss", how, as a teen, he became more invested in Islam, than the superficial Muslim upbringing he had been brought up with. Now, he said, he was intent on following the path that Allah lays before all faithful Muslims.
The RCMP agent was interested in persuading this man to relay to him the names of other Montrealers who would ostensibly appreciate help in evading authorities to travel to Syria. Since he was prepared to smuggle them by ship directly to the war zone. Habib recommended the Assahaba mosque, where Adil Charkaoui, a controversial imam preaches. It is known also as the Centre islamique de l'Est de Montreal, linked to young people who previously left for Syria.
"You know he gives course to the youth and there are a lot of young people who are riled up", stated Habib helpfully. His own previous trip in 2013 to Syria was where he met up with his brother-in-law and where they made contact with Chechen jihadis. He had been there in Syria for three months, prior to the point where Islamic State made its surprise successful grab for geographical territory in Iraq and Syria, enabling it to declare the presence of its caliphate.
And he was anxious to return.
Although Habib described his jihad as fighting to establish an Islamic state in the Middle East, in his opinion the November 2015 attacks in France were just dessert reflecting French military involvement against ISIL. He was "really happy" at the attacks that killed 130 people. And should he find himself in need of gathering new recruits around him he would look for them at Adil Charkaoui's mosque.
That was then, and now he is charged with attempting to travel to Syria to commit a terrorist act, and with giving false information to obtain a passport. The undercover RCMP officer is giving testimony at Ismael Habib's trial. Habib has had his plans to return to Syria derailed. Life is so cruel and unfair. His intention to die as a martyr and receive his duly-earned reward, 72 women "beautiful and virgins", as he described them, delayed, for his trip to Paradise has been aborted.