German Institute on Radicalization
and De-radicalization Studies

A Second Letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from the Mothers for Life

Today – on international Mother’s Day – the world’s only international association of mothers who have lost their children as so called “foreign fighters” ‘Mothers for Life’ have published a second open letter to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Since our first letter almost one year ago, mothers around the world have been threatened and even murdered because they tried to get their children out of “IS”.
This will not stop us and we will remain strong and determined to speak out. We will keep providing help to families around the world experiencing violent radicalization and we will do whatever we can to prevent others from falling prey to the “Islamic State”.

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A Second Letter to Our Sons and Daughters

Attention: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
From: The Mothers for Life

Almost one year ago we spoke about our feelings regarding you – our sons and daughters – who have been killed in Syria and Iraq or are being called to join a war that is not yours. Instead of answering our questions, we have been scorned, mocked and attacked by those claiming to uphold the values and traditions of Islam and those who hate Islam. In attacking us they found alliance. Representatives of the so called ‘Islamic State’ called us ridiculous and dismissed the pain we felt about losing you.

Now, many countries celebrate Mother’s Day around the world, but for us this is a day of sadness and sorrow. We are reminded of how our hearts were broken and those being most valuable to uswere taken from us. We do not even have a grave to turn to and mourn about our loss. Our lives and families were torn apart by claims of defending honour and quests for justice or freedom. Tricked by those who only follow their own greed, sin and lust for power, our most precious believed to follow a higher cause and were turned against us. You even dared to turn our own children against us in the name of Allah and forced some of them to kill their own mothers because they tried to plead for their children’s return.We who gave birth and life, were cheated, threatened, andforced into the open in the midst of our pain and not granted the right to heal and mourn in silence. We had no one to turn to and so found each other. Despite your attempts to silence us, we are still here, we became stronger, and we keep gaining in numbers and in strength. In the end, it was you hiding behind your own cowardice in silence when we approached you.

We do not ask you to honour us – your mothers – on Mother’s day, as you hold this day to be an innovation of the kuffar and it is forbidden to celebrate any other days than the Eids prescribed in Islam. Instead we ask you to fulfil those duties and values being bestowed upon you by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), those values – you claim – making you superior to the Kuffar. And it does not matter what faith we have, as Asmaa’ the daughter of Abu Bakr said: “My mother came to visit me at the time of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) and she was a disbeliever. So I consulted the Messenger of Allah, (Peace be upon him) and asked him, ‘My mother wants to visit me and expects me to treat her kindly; should I uphold the ties of kinship with my mother?’ He said, ‘Yes, uphold the ties of kinship with your mother” (agreed upon prophetic tradition).

You have been commanded to honor your parents and uphold the ties of kinship, and you have been forbidden to disobey your parents. As mothers it was conveyed to us that we have been given something in Islam that no other religion has: that our rights take precedence over those of the father, as al-Bukhaari (5514) and Muslim (4621) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, who is most deserving of my good company?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Then your father.”

Maybe you are right not to celebrate Mother’s Day, which contradicts the commandment to honor your parents every day. But when you attack those who do as being corrupt and sinful because they only honor their mothers once in a year, you should recognize that you have become worse. You do no honor us by following the orders of some self-subscribed Caliph. You do not honor us by killing other human beings and throwing away your life, for which we gave everything. And you certainly do not honor us by dragging our mutilated bodies through the streets, because your commanders were scared by our presence.

Again we turn to those thinking of going to Syria and Iraq and those who are there. There is no glory in death and killing. We have seen the pictures of our children and they were not smiling, because they had realized that they would not die for a great cause but simply for hollow and shallow opportunism filled with hypocrisy and double standards. There was nothing glorious about their death. One of our sons was forced to blow himself up, because he was shot in the face and of no further use to his ‘brothers’. He died alone. While his ‘brothers’ stab into each other’s backs, he had to die for their corruption and not for any glorious cause. We hear from our sons and daughters who are still alive and in Syria or Iraq almost every day how miserable their lives have become. We see their misbelief and urge to come home, and while talking with some of you, we can see through the tough shell, and see you miss the everyday life with your friends and family. We know that you can feel your roots with us – your family. Do not fall prey to those who use you for their own gain. Listen to your heart and the ones who brought you into this world.

To parents all around the world: reach out, ask for help and support, and do not hesitate to speak out against those trying to take away your children as cannon fodder. We are here, and we are many. You are not alone.
We are the Mothers for Life and Paradise still lies at our feet [Musnad Ahmad, Sunan An-Nasâ’i, Sunan Ibn Mâjah].