What It’s Like to Be on ISIS’ Kill List

DAILY SIGNAL — Waleed Basyouni is trying to take something good from the fact that the Islamic State terrorist group has specifically targeted him for death.

In the twisted way in which the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, views the world, Basyouni says he would not be considered a threat to the terrorists if he wasn’t doing something right.

“I have a long history with these jihadist groups speaking very vocally against them,” Basyouni, a Houston imam, told The Daily Signal.

“When we, as Muslims, come out and show there is another choice, you can be successful or accepted in keeping a Muslim identity and also a national identity, that in itself will destroy what ISIS is calling for, even if it makes us a target. I take pride from that. It means whatever I am doing is hurting them and I am glad to know that.”

Last month, ISIS published a hit list https://www.clarionproject.org/docs/Dabiq-Issue-14.pdf in its online propaganda magazine, Dabiq, targeting moderate Muslims living in the West.

In an article titled, “Kill the Imams of Kufr in the West,” ISIS calls for its followers to kill “overt crusaders” and “politically active apostates” who “involve themselves in the politics and enforcing laws of the kufr [disbelievers].”

The target list includes high profile Muslim American political figures Rashad Hussain, who has served as the U.S. special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. And for the first time, ISIS put out a direct hit on U.S. imams, or religious leaders, including Basyouni.

In an hour-long phone interview with The Daily Signal this week, Basyouni described what it’s like being on an ISIS kill list, and why the threat won’t stop him from preaching Islam the only way he knows how, and condemning those who twist the religion into something it isn’t.

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