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We are in the Time of Jihad

We are in the Time of Jihad, is based on the video interview of Syrian ISIS defector Abu Abdullah recorded in Turkey in October 2015 by Anne Speckhard and Ahmet S. Yayla. The counter narrative video is produced by Zack Baddorf and ICSVE staff.

Abu Abdullah worked in the ISIS hisbah, or morality police. According to Abu Abdullah, ISIS members did not keep the obligatory daily prayers, claiming they were excused from doing so due to being in the time of jihad.  Likewise during Ramadan, ISIS leaders made their own fatwahs in order to break the fast early. Abu Abdullah tells the viewer that ISIS members joined for money, and enriched themselves. He warns that the Islamic State is in name only and is not Islamic at all. He advises viewers not to join.

The timed transcript of We are in the Time of Jihad video is below:

We are in the Time of Jihad

0:02 With the other [ISIS] brothers, I used to [have to] incite them to pray.

0:08 The Sheikh would say [as an excuse], ‘We are in the time of jihad.’

0:11 I’d say, ‘This is not okay, Sheikh.’

0:15 I had to incite them to do it. ‘Fear Allah, Sheikh. Get up and pray,’ [I said].

Former ISIS Soldier

0:22 He answered, ‘We are in the time of jihad.’

0:24 During Ramadan, they issued a fatwah [a legal opinion concerning Islamic law]

0:28 about being able to hold iftar [the meal breaking their fast].

0:33 They issue themselves fatwahs.

0:36 ‘Sheikh this is not acceptable.’ [I said]. ‘What about prayers and fasting?’

0:41 But no, he made his own fatwah.

0:45 They [applied] religion on civilians only.

0:50 They don’t apply it to themselves—not at all.

0:55 Those people love money

1:04 They [say] they are righteous, but they know that they are not.

1:09 They just [stayed] for the money.

1:13 The majority [got] high salaries. They built houses and bought cars.

1:19 People in ISIS do whatever they please. Be careful brothers not to join ISIS.

1:28 It is not Islamic and knows nothing about Islam. [The Islamic State] is just a name.

1:38 The Truth Behind the Islamic State

1:41 Sponsored by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism

1:46 See more at

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She has interviewed over 600 terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world including in Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East. In the past two years, she and ICSVE staff have been collecting interviews (n=78) with ISIS defectors, returnees and prisoners, studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, their experiences inside ISIS, as well as developing the Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project materials from these interviews. She has also been training key stakeholders in law enforcement, intelligence, educators, and other countering violent extremism professionals on the use of counter-narrative messaging materials produced by ICSVE both locally and internationally as well as studying the use of children as violent actors by groups such as ISIS and consulting on how to rehabilitate them. In 2007, she was responsible for designing the psychological and Islamic challenge aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000 + detainees and 800 juveniles. She is a sought after counterterrorism experts and has consulted to NATO, OSCE, foreign governments and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA and FBI and CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, London Times and many other publications. She regularly speaks and publishes on the topics of the psychology of radicalization and terrorism and is the author of several books, including Talking to Terrorists, Bride of ISIS, Undercover Jihadi and ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate. Her publications are found here: and on the ICSVE website

Follow @AnneSpeckhard

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