In Jordan Town, Syria War Inspires Jihadist Dreams

(New York Times) Ben Hubbard - In Zarqa, Jordan, the hometown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who gained infamy for his bloody reign as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq during the early years of the American occupation there, the increasingly sectarian war in Syria has ignited militants, inspiring the largest jihadist mobilization the city has ever seen. Jordanian analysts and Islamists estimate that 800 to 1,200 Jordanians have gone to fight in Syria, more than double the number who fought in Afghanistan or Iraq. Sitting in his book-lined living room, Mohammed Abu Rahaim, a professor of Islamic culture, proudly swiped through photos on his phone and spoke of his two sons who had joined the Nusra Front in Syria. Harith, 32, left a wife, three children and a steady job. One photo showed him with a rifle at his side, heating water on a wood fire. The next photo showed him dead, his bearded face protruding from a body bag. Mr. Abu Rahaim said that when the phone call came with the news, "I got out of my car and bowed to God," proud that his son had achieved the martyrdom he so desired. Like many others, he saw jihad in Syria as a noble effort to replace the countries created by colonial powers with an Islamic state.

2014-04-14 00:00:00

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