On March 18, Abu Qatadah Al-Filastini, a jihadi ideologue residing in Jordan, wrote a post on his Telegram channel encouraging Muslims in the West to acquire military training in the aftermath of the recent New Zealand mosque attacks.

Abu Qatadah related that during one of his stints in prison in the United Kingdom, he was transferred to a high-security facility occupied exclusively by murderers, where the inmates’ only opportunity to converse with one another was during their daily walk in the prison yard. On one of his walks in the yard, a “vicious-looking” youth, who appeared to have barely reached legal adulthood, approached Abu Qatadah, whose photo he recognized from the press, and introduced himself as a Jew.

The fellow inmate told Abu Qatadah that he was a dual British-Israeli citizen and had traveled with a group to Israel, where they spent six months in a training camp learning about “weapons and martial arts.” The Jewish inmate said that traveling to Israel for military training was “an accepted thing among them,” and that he had met young Jews from various countries at the training camp.

The Jordan-based cleric wrote that he was reminded of this episode after the March 15 attacks on New Zealand mosques, when some people criticized the Muslim worshippers for not responding to the shootings with “military behavior commensurate with the action of the criminal murderer.” The jihadi ideologue commented that the reason for their poor response is that the enemies of Islam receive military training, unlike “our youth, even our ummah,” who by and large do not express interest in acquiring combat skills, while “those who do take interest are fought, persecuted, killed or imprisoned.”

Abu Qatadah added that the late Al-Qaeda ideologue Abdallah Azzam had viewed the jihad in Afghanistan as particularly valuable to help Muslims develop military skills, but few truly understood him. However, Azzam was vindicated when the Afghan jihad arena became “a turning point for tremendous good,” including providing the mujahideen with valuable military experience.

Abu Qatadah concluded with the invocation: “Oh Allah, open the gates of jihad to distract Islamic youth from entertainments, weakness and ignominy.”