Family want Isis executioner brought home to SA

By NABEELAH SHAIKH Time of article published Jun 5, 2016

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Durban - A South African family of seven who left South Africa to join Islamic State (IS) has sent out an SOS after their 18-year-old son, Eesa, was shot in the head and is in a coma.

The Moosagie family of Port Elizabeth left in January last year and are believed to be in Raqqa, Syria, the capital of Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate.

They have made contact with the South African embassy in Turkey asking for help. They were expected to cross into Turkey but with their wounded son in a critical condition they have not been able to make their way across the border.

The family comprises Mufti Rashid Moosagie, an Islamic educator, his wife, daughter, two sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandchild.

His brother, Moulana Allie Moosagie, said he hoped the family would return safely and realise its mistake in aligning with IS.

“I was very upset when I heard they left to join IS. I was in Saudi Arabia for Umrah (holy pilgrimage) at the time. If I was in South Africa, I would have tried to stop them.

“This has caused so much trouble in our family and has even put my family in danger. I have had no contact with them since they left but I have heard through other family members that they are trying to come back and want help. My nephew could have been killed.

“This is horrible. But praise to Allah he is still alive. IS does not represent Islam. Why must we (Muslims) fight someone else’s power struggle? I hope they have realised their mistake,” he said.

According to Allie, an Islamic scholar in Cape Town who has a doctorate in Islamic Law from UCT, he and his brother, Rashid, shared a different world.

“He was always isolated from society and became radicalised while growing up,” said Moosagie. Eesa, who was not married when he left South Africa, seemed to have been involved in active combat.

In a Facebook post he bragged about how he had “beheaded an infidel” in Mosul, Iraq, last November. Eesa’s profile picture depicts IS fighters. He also shared posts with the details of credit card numbers of Iranian bank accounts.

It is believed IS had hacked into more than 300 accounts.

In another Facebook post, Eesa shared gruesome images of dead babies covered in blood, with a post directed at a Facebook user who spoke of the French bombings.

Eesa listed Port Elizabeth as his home while his brother and sister-in-law listed both Port Elizabeth and Raqqa as their home towns.

Last year, Mufti Rashid wrote an open letter to South Africans on the website of Channel Islam International detailing his decision to join IS. He condemned local Muslims for criticising IS and described how difficult life in a war-torn environment was.

“You don’t experience true pain like us here. Just a few weeks ago, about 2.5km from us, these kufaar Americans sent in drones to locate a masjid. The fighter jets followed and tried to bomb this masjid but missed, striking an adjacent block of flats, wiping out three families.

“Brothers you don’t know what real pain is, to see a mother frantically running back to her bombed-down apartment, screaming hysterically to her children whose faint screams under masses of rubble dwindle into a silence never to be heard again. But you don’t utter ONE word of disapproval, which leads us to believe that that you are quite happy with these cruel attacks and bombing,” he said in the letter.

Martin Ewi, senior researcher on counter-terrorism issues at the Institute for Security Studies said the family should be allowed to return and re-integrate into society on condition they provided a detailed account of their time under the jihadist group.

“We need to look at the bigger picture. This family carries a wealth of knowledge for our intelligence official and this can help them. If the family is remorseful and has realised that they made a mistake, as an act of compassion, they should be allowed to come back if they can co-operate and assist the government.”

Sunday Tribune

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