Last week, a link to a document entitled “Interview with a prisoner from al-Baghdādī’s group: Part I” was circulated by a Twitter user who goes by the name al-Mundhir al-Ḥussainī and describes himself as a “Da’esh dissident” in Misrata. As the title suggests, the link directs to an Arabic language manuscript from what is alleged to be a conversation between a captive Islamic State (commonly known as ISIS, referred to below in Arabic as ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyyah) supporter in Sirte and those guarding him, who remain anonymous.

While it is impossible to ascertain the authenticity of the interrogation, it nevertheless makes a very intriguing read.

So, without further ado…

Interview with a prisoner from al-Baghdādī’s group

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

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What is your name?

Maḥmūd.

How old are you?

17 years old.

Where are you from?

Sirte, from aẓ-Ẓahīr.

Will you confirm that you are a fighter with Tanẓīm ad-Dawlah organisation?

Yes, but I am not a fighter, my position is as a transporter of weapons.

Are you a member of ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyyah?

Yes, but I have not pledged allegiance to the caliph Ibrāhīm ‘Awād.

Why?

I am still going through the rehabilitation and education phase.

Where do you study?

In the al-Manārah ash-Sharī’ah behind the Sirte medical clinic complex.

Who teaches in al-Manārah?

Shaykh Muḥammad teaches me, but there are other classes too.

What is the full name of Shaykh Muḥammad?

I don’t know – they don’t tell us because they are worried about being captured.

What do you learn in al-Manārah?

Tawḥīd, above all else.

Go on…

We get explanations of “The Three Fundamental Principles” of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb as well as another book that Shaykh Muḥammad teaches us about, “The millat of Ibrāhīm and the Prophets and Messengers” by al-Maqdisī.

Do you know the opinion of Shaykh Abū Muḥammad al-Maqdisī about the ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyyah organisation?

Shaykh al-Maqdisī is one of the shaykhs of jihad and a preferred companion. He has issued a fatwā on the necessity of pledging allegiance to al-Baghdādī.

Okay, okay… Is your father alive? If so, does he work?

Yes, my father is alive. He was a soldier in the army before the events.

Does your father earn a salary from ad-Dawlah?

Yes, he earns a salary.

Why did you decide to join ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyyah?

Because of its power – it has the power to prevail over the American Crusaders.

How did you join ad-Dawlah?

I went to study in al-Manārah.

Were you fully accepted?

Initially, you go to al-Manārah and you ask to join the lessons and they ask you to return after one week, when they inform you as you whether you have been accepted or rejected.

Who pointed you towards al-Manārah, put the idea in your head?

My colleague at the [Name Withheld] Institute. It is he that advised about it.

And this colleague of yours, does he fight for the ad-Dawlah organisation in Sirte?

Yes.

Why do you fight?

Because you are kuffār. You are murtaddūn who fight for Maḥmūd Jibrīl and for the tyrannical, apostate congress [the General National Congress].

Why is the congress apostate?

Because… [he remains silent, unable to answer].

Why is aẓ-Ẓawāhirī a murtadd?

Who is aẓ-Ẓawāhirī?

Which shaykhs of jihād do you know?

Shaykh Walīd al-Farjāni and Shaykh Turkī al-Bin’alī.

I mean the most senior shaykhs, the leading scholars of jihād.

Abū Muḥammad al-Maqdisī.

You said that your dad is alive. Does he pray at dawn?

When he rises [in the morning] to get my brothers to their studies.

What time is that?

8 o’clock in the morning, usually.

How about you?

Just a little before.

You said your father was a soldier in the army before the events. Does he work now?

No.

Does he earn a living from ad-Dawlah?

Yes.

How is it that he can earn a living from but not have a job?

He doesn’t have a job.

You mean he earns a living but he doesn’t go to work?

Yes.

Is this money not ḥarām?

Fundamentally, the state was established on principles of the kuffār. Now we take what is rightfully ours.

Let’s return to ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyyah in Sirte. What is it doing here, and what is its function?

The implementation of the ḥudūd and the establishment of a state of Islam.

Is it not one of the responsibilities of the caliph and that state to provide the essentials for people, before establishing its borders?

The state is providing the people their essentials.

From where are the people taking their salary, fuel, electricity, gas? Where are the doctors? Who provides medicine and food? Who gives this? If the ‘apostate’ Libyan state cut off the supplies to Sirte, salaries would stop, fuel, gas and electricity would be no more. Can aṣ-Ṣafrānī and al-Baghdādī protect against this?

Ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyyah implements the ḥudūd – it cuts off the hand of the thief and flogs those who drink. This is something that the apostate Libyan state cannot do.

So we are meant to cut off supplies from the people and then cut their hands off too?

Shaykh Muḥammad says that the implementation of the ḥudūd is the basis of the state of Islam and that there is no Islam without the application of the ḥudūd.

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I will complete the rest of this interview tomorrow, if God permits it.