Assassinated Egyptian scholar 'predicted IS rise' 25 years ago

Assassinated Egyptian scholar 'predicted IS rise' 25 years ago
Egyptian scholar, Farag Foda, allegedly predicted the emergence of the Islamic State group shortly before being assassinated in 1992, reports suggest.
3 min read
20 May, 2017
Al-Azhar Mosque issued a fatwa against Foda [Twitter]

Video footage of late Egyptian thinker Farag Foda has surfaced online, showing the scholar predicting the rise of the Islamic State (IS) group in the early 90s.

“These people will harm people in the name of Islam and will instigate violence in the name of Islam. This is not Islam, Islam is a religion of peace,” Foda said in the interview, which was first resurfaced by al-Arabiya.

Foda added that there will be a group of Muslims who will take on a militant version of Islam, which they will popularise in order to brainwash and recruit young men to fight for them.

He said that they will reject their national identity, and will only identify with Islam, noting all cultural remnants will be a symbol of apostasy.

It is thought that this is the exact rhetoric that got Foda assassinated, after a group of gunmen affiliated with al-Gama’a al-Islamiya, shot him dead on 9 June 1992.

Foda’s son and other witnesses were seriously wounded in the assault.

Before he was shot, Islamists were highly critical of Foda’s secular discourse and accused him of straying from God’s path. The Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar had issued a fatwa against him and other secular scholars, referring to them as “enemies of Islam”.

Models for the future

In addition to predicting the rise of IS, he had also predicted that the Arab world would take on two models for the future: an Iranian model and a Lebanese model.

Foda described the Lebanese model as one that would circulate among countries that are susceptible to sectarianism, with a range of people who come from religious and ethnic minorities.

He said that among the minorities will be groups of people who will take on their disadvantaged status to organise and disturb national security, leaving the country vulnerable to an ethno-sectarian conflict; much like what is happening in Iraq today.

The Iranian model, according to Foda, is one in which religion and class marry to create mass mobilisation.

He said with this model, a religious group will rise up against an “infidel” regime and create a popular movement on the backs of socio-political and economic discontent of the masses.

He added that the group will mainly be comprised of young men who will exploit those in lower socio-economic classes within their country to seize power.

The Islamic State group captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria in 2014, however an international US-led coalition has pushed back the militants.

In early March, a US defence official said the militants lost more than 65 percent of the territory they once controlled.