Islamists Take to Facebook Calling for Day of Solidarity
One Ummah, One Banner, One War. This is the call of the day for Friday, February 22 from some Islamist circles in the Middle East. Individuals and sheikhs (self-proclaimed or otherwise) have recently been discussing a day of popular action throughout the global community of Muslims. It is this community which is referenced when the word Ummah is utilized here. The “banner” is that of jihadist movements around the world – a black on white or white on black affair that is the foundation of the Islamic faith: There is no god but God, Mohammad is the Prophet of God. The “war” is that of a jihad against an unbelieving West and the secular regimes that they support throughout the Ummah.
From all indications, this “One Ummah, One Banner, One War” campaign originated in Syria very recently. The campaign’s Facebook page was started on December 23, 2012. The promotional video for the call to action was posted on youtube less than a week ago on Valentine’s Day. A Facebook post on February 17 that makes a clarion call for the campaign’s launch is an Islamist-infused manifesto that speaks of the necessity to establish a new Caliphate. The best characterization of the language employed in the message is militant.
It’s connection to Syria is no surprise. The Islamists promoting this campaign see the war in Syria much as they see the war in Afghanistan and saw the war in Iraq – a jihad against Western (or Western-backed) forces that seek to divide and thereby oppress the Ummah. They view the conflict in Syria as a microcosm of the larger conflict in the Muslim community. As such, this campaign is a call for solidarity among Muslims in the region and around the world. It comes at a time when the conflict in Syria will mark its second year on March 15. The war has claimed an estimated 70,000 lives thus far. And hostilities continue.
The question is to what degree this campaign will materialize. While not in the same vein as the “Days of Rage” that set off the revolutions throughout the Middle East, the campaign is poised to attract crowds among Salafists. Given the elements of proximity and immediacy, larger public gatherings can be expected in Syria and Lebanon than in Tunisia or Egypt. It being a Friday (and the religious outlook of those involved), mosques will most likely serve as the primary places of gathering. While militant in rhetoric, the day is not expected to be marked by violent militarism prompted by individuals taking part in the campaign.
Despite it’s being called “One Ummah, One Banner, One War,” campaigners will likely come to find that their vision is not as unified as they wish. The fact that Shiite-majority Bahrain is conveniently ignored in discussions of this Sunni-dominant movement is a case in point of such fragmentation. The slogan has a nice ring to it, but Friday will tell how much support the campaign has.