Martyring Dr Khan
On 16 December, Syrian authorities declared that Dr Abbas Khan, a British volunteer in Syria, had committed suicide in his Damascus jail cell, where he had languished for over a year. Dr Khan’s family, however, accuse the Assad regime of murdering the 32 year old orthopedic surgeon from London.
While Syrian authorities claim that Dr Khan’s death was self-inflicted and that experts had found “no traces of violence or torture,” the British Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson MP has claimed that, “Syrian authorities have in effect murdered a British national who was in their country to help people.”
Extremist charities initially took Dr Khan to Syria, but now other extremist charities seek to benefit from his death.
The media has lauded Dr Khan as a “an idealistic humanitarian with no connection to Islamist extremism.” Journalists have largely failed to note, however, that Khan initially travelled to the Turkish-Syrian border with Human Aid, a British charity which organizes events with preachers such as: Haitham al Haddad, who regards Jews as “enemies of god, and the descendants of apes and pigs”; Khalid Al Fikri, who incites hatred against Shia Muslims; and Shakeel Begg, who describes jihad as “the greatest of deeds.”
Another video of support circulated by Human Aid features Sheikh Al Arifi, a Saudi preacher describes the killing of “infidels” as a “great honour” and advocates the murder of Jews. On IQRA TV, Arifi has stated that:
What was taken by force will be restored only by force, as conveyed by the Prophet Muhammad, who said: “You will fight the Jews.” He did not say: You will conduct negotiations, they will make concessions, and then you will make concessions, and then we will reach a compromise and divide Jerusalem… By God, Jerusalem will not be divided. He said in the hadith: “You will fight the Jews and kill them.” It was the Prophet Muhammad who said this, not me.
Furthermore, Human Aid is part of the Miles of Smiles convoys to Gaza, which serve to shore up support for the Palestinian terror group Hamas. One Human Aid video of their trip to Gaza features “martyrs” of Gaza.
There is no evidence to suggest that Dr Khan was actually in Syria to promote an extremist ideology. Charities like Human Aid, however, regard martyrs as an important recruiting tool. Whatever the reason for Dr Khan’s presence in Syria – whether humanitarian or ideological – he has nevertheless become a martyr for the Islamist cause.
Since Dr Khan’s death, Human Aid has sought to idolize Dr Khan as a humanitarian martyr – even launching an “aid convoy” to Syria in his name.
Aid convoys to Syria have a sinister reputation. In late 2013, German media reported that convoys of ambulances from Germany, ostensibly full of medical supplies, were actually used to bring weapons into Syria.
British convoy organizers, meanwhile, have named some of their vehicles and charitable gifts after Aafia Siddiqui, an Al Qaeda activist described by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller as “an al-Qaeda operative and facilitator.” During her trial, Siddiqui demanded the court ensure none of the lawyers or jurors involved was Jewish.
These same British convoy organizers, in fact, also regard Khan as a martyr to their cause, and have inscribed his name upon their convoy vehicles. Human Aid, which originally took Dr Khan to Syria, is part of these convoys.
Extremist groups have invoked Dr Khan’s death in order to exploit further charitable initiatives to supply Syrian rebels and promote Islamism as the basis for a post-Assad Syria.
Previous events organized by the Global Aid Project have included speakers such as Yvonne Ridley, an Islamist convert who is an outspoken supporter of the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah; Abu Usama Ad-Dhabi, who advocates the murder of apostates and homosexuals and claims that women are “incomplete, deficient”; and Ajmal Masroor, spokesman for the Harrow Central Mosque, which publicly supports IslamOnline, the website of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Yusuf Qaradawi.
Phone numbers listed to Global Aid Project fundraisers belong to activists from the Islamic Education and Research Academy, a Salafi extremist group whose officials have incited hatred against Jews, have been banned from entering Britain and have called for the murder of adulterers.
Moreover, Global Aid Project’s fundraising event in memory of Dr Khan is due to be held at the Water Lily, a venue in East London known as a frequent platform for some of the worst hate preachers in Europe. In December, Sheikh Adel Al-Kalbani was announced as a speaker at the Water Lily. Al-Kalbani was later banned from the United Kingdom because of his expressed hatred against Shia Muslims.
To Dr Khan’s family, he was a son, a brother and a father; to the Islamist charities, however, Dr Khan is a sacrificial lamb, whose death is held aloft as an inspiration to others. Assad’s regime may have murdered Dr Khan, but British Islamist charities want to martyr him.