by Florian Flade
Almost exactly one year ago Shahab D. appeared for the first time in a propaganda video released by the „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ (IMU). The 27 year-old Iranian was seen sitting in the mountains of Waziristan, holding a huge sword in his hands, praising Jihad and those who left their homeland to fight in Afghanistan.
„The only reason we left Germany and our parents is, for the victory of this religion!“, Shahab D. said in the October 2009 video titled „Advantages of Jihad“. The young Jihadi from Hamburg called himself „Abu Askar“.
Seven months prior to the release of the propaganda message, Shahab D. was living the life of a faithful Muslim in peaceful Hamburg, Northern Germany. When he was eleven years old, Shahab D. and his parents had fled Iran and arrived as asylum seekers in Germany in 1994.
The family settled in Hamburg, Shahab D. grew up as a regular German teenager of Muslim descent. He quickly learned the language and adapted to the culture of his new country.
It was shortly after 9/11, when the Iranian teenager became interested in the radical Muslim community who operated out of Hamburg´s most radical mosque – Masjid al Quds. Here, the Hamburg cell led by Mohammed Atta prayed and met. The hijackers celebrated weddings, attended sermons by an extremist Sheikh from Morocco and found many brothers sharing the same views and wish for Jihad.
Shahab D. visited the Al Quds-Mosque near the main train station, in St.Georg, a rather unpleasant suburb of Hamburg. Born an Irania Shiite, Shahab became interested and more and more drawn into the fundamentalist sect called Salafiyya. The men at the mosque welcomed the young worshipper, invited him to lectures and Ramadan celebrations.
Finally Shahab D. converted – a Shiite Iranian refugee had become a hardline Salafi. He grew his beard, changed the way he dressed, wearing long robes, imitating the Prophet Muhammad as much as possible.
One of the first people to notice how Shahab´s behavior changed and how his radical views increased by the month was his girlfriend, a 23 year-old dental student, the daughter to a West-African Muslim father and German mother. The young couple followed the ultraconservative interpretation of Quran and Sunnah, sticking to all the rules they could find in Salafi scholar texts. In the Hamburg mosque the two celebrated their wedding.
Influenced by his Muslim friends at the Al Quds Mosque – which had changed its name into „Masjid Taiba“ by then – Shahab D. was eager to migrate to a true Islamic country. He wanted to leave Germany, Europe and the West with all its sins and temptations, start a new life under Sharia law in Muslim lands.
Instead of moving to Saudi-Arabia or Yemen, Shahab D. and his wife decided to join militant fighters in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
Several of Shahab´s friends and fellow worshippers at the Taiba Mosque shared this dream of going for Jihad, they were celebrating the 9/11 hijackers who had worshipped in this mosque, had met in this neighborhood and were close friends to other worshippers still living in Hamburg.
In Spring 2009 decision was made. Shahab D., his wife and three other people from the Masjid Taiba community (among them Afghan Ahmad Wali S. who is the America´s prime source for intel on the Euro-Plot) headed to Pakistan. On board a Qatar Airways flight the five Jihadi-recruits flew from Frankfurt Airport to Doha, Qatar, and then taking a connection flight to Peshawar, Pakistan. That was in March 2009.
Somewhere in Waziristan Shahab D. from Hamburg joined the „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ and attended military courses and learned how to shoot guns, rockets and mortars. By May 2009, he finished terror training and became part of the fighting groups, assaulting Pakistani soldiers and possibly even Nato-troops in neighboring Afghanistan.
„One of the secrets of jihad is this tremendous, intense brotherhood among the Mujahideen“, Shahab D. said in a propaganda tape about his time in Waziristan, „Brothers from various countries side by side in the battle trenches – from Russia, from Morocco, Tunisia, China, Turkey, Europe, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Iran. Allah brought them together.“
One of Shabab´s comrades, the German-Afghan Javad S., died in combat, fighting Pakistani troops in Oktober 2009. Shahab D. recalled seeing S. firing an RPG at the Pakistani soldiers and then getting killed.
Now some credible information leads to suggest Shahab D. himself was killed in the hills of Waziristan. Jihadi sources say, the Hamburg Jihadi embraced „martyrdom“ alongside another German militant and several other foreign fighters, when a missile fired from an unmanned CIA drone hit a house in North Waziristan.
At least two militants of Tajik nationality and the two Germans were killed in the attack which happened near Miranshah. The exact date and location was not known.
If the reports are true – and there is no reason to doubt they are credible – the „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ has lost one of the most valuable propaganda tools. German members of the militant group played a big role in the propaganda releases, drawing even more radicals from Germany to join them.
CNN had quoted the captured Hamburg Jihadi Ahmad Wali S., telling the US interrogators at Bagram prison, his friend Shahab D. was proposed to be a „foot soldier“ in al-Qaeda´s plot to target European cities. This information has never been confirmed.
Back home in Germany, Shahab D.´s mother told reporters a few days ago, her son was „fooled“ and „tricked“ into radical Islam by the extremists of now closed Masjid Taiba. Other sources say Shahab converted to the most radical branch of Islam to distance himself from his very strict father.
Read my article about the Two Killed German Jihadis on WELT Online.