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Jabhat a-Nusra leader says post-Assad Syria to be under Islamic law


December 19, 2013

JAN LEADER SPEAKS: Even if we were to reach that stage, Jabhat a-Nusra commander Mohammad al-Joulani said in an exclusive interview broadcast on Al-Jazeera Wednesday that “Jabhat a-Nusra will not rule in isolation.” Al-Joulani’s head is covered by a black scarf, with the camera recording from behind his shoulder.

The interview with al-Jazeera’s Tayseer Alouni will be aired in its entirety Thursday evening.

“We believe society in Syria in general is a Muslim society,” says al-Joulani, whose face has never been seen publicly. He lays out JAN’s vision for a post-Assad Syria, saying that sharia committees will gather scholars, scientists and intellectuals to “create a suitable plan to manage this country.”

Jabhat a-Nusra, whose 10,000 to 20,000 fighters fight alongside other Islamist rebel organizations, follows sharia law and takes its orders from the “ethics of the Quran and the prophet,” said al-Joulani.

On April 20th, 2013, al-Joulani swore his allegiance to al-Qaeda’s Mohammed al-Zawahiri, announcing Jabhat a-Nusra would begin to operate as al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

United States categorized Jabhat a-Nusra as a terrorist group in December 2012; the United Nations Security Council has also labeled the group as a terrorist organization.

A transcript of the entire interview in English is here. Translation from Arabic courtesy of Syria Direct’s Elizabeth Parker-Magyar and Abdulrahim Qaddoumi:   

As for us, we have a Sharia platform for Jabhat al-Nusra toward things. We look to the precepts of Shari’a, according to the Quran and the Sunna, in these things.  We slander and scold all who exaggerate Takfir [accuse others of being an infidel] toward people or the general public.

We believe Muslim societies are, in general, Muslim societies. We believe the society in Syria is, in general a Muslim society. Turkish society is Muslim in general. Egyptian society is a Muslim society. Therefore, we denounce also who say that these communities are originally Kafr, or similar to that. We scold and punish those who commit these judgements, without the teaching and knowledge of Allah and Shari’a.

As Jabhat al-Nusra, we will not lead the community in isolation, even if we were to reach this stage, where we arrive at the stage of the Sham’s liberation. [We will not lead in isolation even] when Damascus falls for example, or when a large part, like when let’s say nearly 80% of the land has been liberated.

At that time, Sharia committees will gather, and high-ranking scholars, scientists and intellectuals will gather from the people who have sacrificed and participation, and the people who have opinions, even if they were outside this country.

Scholars of the Sham will gather to establish a Shura council of Muslim scholar, to create a suitable plan to manage this country. Of course, it will be according to Islamic Shari’a. The rules of God [the highest and mightiest] will rule the country, Shura will spread in the country, and justice will spread as far as possible.

Video courtesy of al-Jazeera.

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