Flint-area Muslim cleric blasted in ISIS magazine

Detroit News staff and wire reports

A Flint-area Muslim cleric is among the global figures the Islamic State has called out in its online magazine for allegedly straying from the faith.

In the newest Dabiq, the Islamic State’s English-language online magazine, the authors of an article titled “Kill the Imams of Kufr in the West” claim Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani is “quick to ally with any (disbeliever) who will allow them to spread their message and take the wealth of ignorant people to pay off their extravagance.”

The writers say “kufr” refers to any religion outside Islam. They also suggest the ruling for a person who commits riddah, or apostasy, is death “unless he repents before he is apprehended.”

Kabbani, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Detroit News Thursday night, also was shown in a picture with England’s Prince Charles and a caption referring to him as a “murtadd,” or apostate.

The 71-year-old Muslim leader is considered “one of the world’s most renowned scholars of Islamic history and the spiritual science of Sufism,” according to the web site for the Islamic Supreme Council of America, which has headquarters near Flint and lists Kabbani as its chairman.

“As deputy leader of the Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order, Shaykh Kabbani also serves as a guide and teacher to approximately 2 million Muslims throughout the world, particularly in the United States, England and Southeast Asia,” the web site says.

Kabbani, who studied at the American University of Beirut, has also founded 23 Sufi study and meeting centers in the United States and Canada as well as authored books on Islam, according to the web site.

He warned in a 1999 speech to the State Department that extremism posed a threat to national security and for years chastised other Islamic leaders over failing to speak out against terrorism, The Detroit News reported. Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, Kabblani was among the regional officials who publicly requested Arabs or Muslims come forward if they know something that could help investigators.

A copy of the latest edition of Dabiq was provided through the website for Aaron Zelin, the Richard Borow fellow at the Washington Institute who studies jihadist groups.

Other high-profile figures the Islamic State mentions in the article discussing Kabbani included U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Detroit native who represents Minnesota in Congress, and Huma Abedin, a Kalamazoo native and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s longtime personal assistant.

FBI officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night about the citations.