Kuwaitis are heading to Syria not for tourism, as was their habit, but for jihad. Diwans [meeting houses] are filled with young people seeking to join the new mujahedeen, or maybe just to donate money to help Syrians with food and weapons.
The young Kuwaitis, who once were known for their love of luxury, are today concerned with the problems of surrounding countries and are ready to go to fight in Syria, in response to the fatwas of some clerics calling for jihad and martyrdom.
Former Kuwaiti MP Waleed al-Tabtabai has become a role model for many young people, including Khaled Fouad, who was “martyred” a year ago in the west of Damascus, Nasser al-Dosari, who died in Latakia, and Bandar al-Ali among many others.
According to some figures, more than 20 young Kuwaitis joined the ranks of the Free Syrian Army and died, as opposed to other Kuwaitis, who perished in the ranks of the Syrian regime. News circulated about one Hussein Fadel Abdul Karim, who was affiliated with pro-regime Abu al-Fadl Brigade.
Kuwaitis, who mostly belong to Islamist movements, including former MPs, political activists or clerics, are leading one campaign after another to arm the Syrian opposition’s armed fighters. They have been raising banners in public places calling for jihad and armament, not to mention social campaigns on social networking sites, including Facebook, calling for preparing mujahedeen and supplying them with financial support.
“Those who have not yet donated for Syria, do it today. Those who have already donated, do it again. Let us give money for the mujahedeen, for this is the true jihad,” one of the messages on a Facebook page said.
Another page said “denounce those who prevent support and donations in mosques. Why did they allow it in Afghanistan and withhold it in Syria? Donating for Syria is an important duty for the affluent people as much as it for the refugees and fighters as well. With the fall of the tyrant, the issue of the refugees will be solved.”
In light of this fact, there are fears in Kuwaiti society that the Afghanistan scenario would play out once again, as young people are increasingly motivated to die as martyrs. According to Mansour al-Shammari, he believes that jihad is tantamount to adherence to Islam, especially following the calls of clerics.
“Everyone should embark on jihad using their spirit, money and children, according to their own capabilities in order to bring an end to Bashar al-Assad regime, which has killed many,” he said.
Another group of Kuwaiti young people believes that political struggle within its own country is much greater than fighting abroad.
Rache al-Anzi, for instance, totally rejects jihad in Syria or in any other nation. Speaking to Al-Hayat, he said, “Our young people ought to be in their country more than anywhere else in the world. We need them to achieve real democracy, which is much more significant than fighting somewhere else.”
Moreover, Mohammed al-Dosaril, is also against jihad in Syria. He said, “I am totally against Kuwaitis fighting in Syria, which has become a battlefield serving international interests. What happened in Syria started with demands for reform and popular demands and ended being a sectarian conflict, fueled by young people. Each country has its own group fighting in Syria, so things are likely to degenerate when Assad is defeated, as happened in Libya.”
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