Jordan Security Forces arrest al Qaeda spiritual guide for incitement
AMMAN: Jordanian Security Forces on Monday arrested an
influential al Qaeda spiritual guide Abu Mohammad al Maqdisi on suspicion of
fomenting terrorism on the Internet, security sources said.
They said Maqdisi was ordered to be held for 15 days
after he was called in for questioning by the state security prosecutor. He was
initially charged with “using the Internet to promote and incite views of
jihadi terrorist organisations.”
The self-taught intellectual was seen as the spiritual
guide of the slain al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the think
tank of the US West Point military academy has called him the most influential
living Islamist mentor.
“He was arrested soon after he appeared at the
prosecutor’s office and charged,” one security source told Reuters. He has
spoken out against Islamic State in recent months, saying their brutal methods
of decapitations smeared the reputation of global jihadism. However, he has
softened his criticism in the wake of U.S.-led air strikes against the group in
both Iraq and Syria.
He was released from prison in Jordan last June, where
he had served a five-year jail term. Some Jordanian officials suggested that
authorities fearful of militancy spilling across their own border had agreed to
free him so that he would speak out against the Islamic State.
The Islamic State emerged as an offshoot of al Qaeda
in Iraq before expanding into Syria after the start of the uprising against
President Bashar al-Assad over three years ago.
The expansion ignited battles with rival Islamist
groups, including the al Qaeda-affiliate al-Nusra Front, in which thousands
have died. Maqdisi has mocked the Islamic State's proclamation of a caliphate,
saying it only deepened already bloody infighting among jihadists. (Reuters)