Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A crib for the ISIL video

Another chapter in the IS Grand Guignol:  Syrian soldiers shown  rather industriously  digging their own graves, prior to their execution by the Islamic State.

Now here’s a wrinkle: 

The FBI on Tuesday sought the public's help in identifying the English-speaking Islamic State fighter with what sounds like "a North American accent." The agency posted a short clip of the original, 55-minute video released Sept. 19, which concludes with the purported executions of Syrian soldiers taken prisoner. The video does not show the killings, but the mass murders were reported by news agencies.
"We're hoping that someone might recognize this individual and provide us with key pieces of information," said Michael Steinbach, assistant director of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division. "No piece of information is too small."

OK, well, here’s a tidbit for the Bureau:   The speaker’s Arabic accent is really quite good -- consonants, vowel length, and inflection.   A great many students leave DLI not enunciating as well as that.

The transcribers of his speech were baffled by some of the expressions.  Muhâjirîn al-Ansâr came out as the more familiar Mujahideen.  (Muhâjirîn -- well, long story;  but in this context, think of this as “foreign fighters” .)  Nusayri kâfir was left untranslated and untranscribed;  it means ‘Alawite infidel’.  The Alawites are the sect to which Bashar al-Asad belongs;  they consider themselves Muslims.  So, Nusayri kâfir  is an example of “kafir inflation”, which is the defining trait of takfiris.

The takfiri speaker then mentions the blame that has accrued to ISIL for turning their guns against fellow-Muslims.  He says:  “They lie!”, saying that ISIL is murder on the kuffâr.  But since they apply the term kuffâr (plural of kâfir) to what almost everyone else would regard as fellow Muslims,  he cuts off the limb on which he sits.

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