The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has called on the South African Government to investigate “concerns and allegations that elements in SA are key players in facilitating funding and sending of recruits fighting alongside ISIS”.
The call is made by ACDP MP Cherylln Dudley in a press statement released on Tuesday (November 18) expressing condolences to the family and friends of Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig, an American aid worker who has become the fifth westerner to be beheaded by the Islamist terrorist organisation which claims a stretch of territory in Syria and Iraq as an Islamic caliphate. Dudley does not disclose her source regarding alleged SA complicity in ISIS terror.
In an input she made on November 10 at the launch of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion and Belief (IPP) at the headquarters of the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo, Dudley said: “The ACDP has also been successful in placing the issue of Religious extremism and global terrorism on the agenda and encouraging the South African government to be unequivocal in statements denouncing the atrocities being done in the name of religion. We are also calling on government to investigate claims that many being sent to fight with ISIS are being facilitated by structures operating within the South African borders.
“Linked to this I have had contact and met with the Ambassadors’ to SA from Iraq and Syria – to get their perspective and to make sure that any interventions we call for as a party will be relevant in improving and not further exacerbating the situation on the ground.
“I have also stood side by side with a local Imam who was brave enough to hold an anti-ISIS rally and speak against the atrocities being done in the name of religion. Freedom of Religion, conscience and belief – as complex as they might be – are extremely important and must be prioritised to the same degree as other human rights or democracy will be seriously undermined.
“I would like to ask the IPP to initiate research into global facilitation of funding and sending of ISIS recruits to terrorise people and destabilise governments – in order to equip IPP delegates to call on governments to put in place relevant and effective measures to counter activities by those facilitating the funding and sending of recruits.”
According to a recent report prepared for the United Nations security council, some 15 000 foreign fighters from 80 countries have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join jihadist groups like ISIS. But to date there have been no confirmed records of SA recruits or SA-based funding of ISIS and Muslim bodies in SA have denounced ISIS atrocities.
In a grisly online ISIS propaganda video released on Sunday showing the severed head of American aid worker Peter Kassig a procession of foreign-looking recruits is shown trudging through a desertscape in military fatigues, on their way to kill soldiers captured from Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s military, reports The Guardian.
Unlike in previous ISIS videos, the faces of the 15 or so executioners are not hidden. The camera lingers on the faces of the killers – several of whom are believed by western intelligence services to come from Britain, France and elsewhere in Europe. One of them appears to be a long-haired 22-year-old from Normandy named Maxime Hauchard.
UK police are also investigating claims that Briton Nasser Muthana, a 20-year-old medical student from Cardiff, was featured in the video. Muthana has previously been seen in an ISIS propaganda film.
While the camera darts past the Arabs on the death march, it highlights men whose “physical features appear central Asian, south-west Asian, as opposed to Iraqi or Syrian physical features”, said Robert McFadden, a former special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, now with the Soufan Group consultancy.
The prominent role given to foreign recruits in the group’s propaganda intensifies a pattern established when Isis released footage showing a masked man with an English accent announcing the killing US journalist James Foley. The masked man – dubbed Jihadi John in media reports – has appeared in several other videos, and westerners, foreigners and particularly English-speakers have been a staple of Isis video propaganda ever since.
Not only does the presence of the foreigners send a distinctly threatening message to their home governments, analysts say, it helps ISIS advance an argument about its legitimacy to skeptical jihadists.
In the new video, Jihadi John, the British recruit whom UK investigators are still attempting to identify, pledges that “tomorrow” Isis will kill US troops, some 3 000 of whom Obama has ordered to Iraq.
“The Islamic State will soon, like your puppet David Cameron said, will begin to slaughter your people on your streets,” he said.