Qibla (group)

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Qibla is a militant Shi'a Muslim organisation in South Africa founded in the 1980s. The group espouses jihad and the establishment of an Islamic state in South Africa.

Qibla is one of the most well-established Islamist organizations in South Africa. It is labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.,[1] Formed in 1980 by radical Imam Ahmed Kassim to promote the establishment of an Islamic state in South Africa, Qibla uses the Iranian revolution as its model. During the 1980s, Qibla sent members to Libya for military training, and in the 1990s, operatives trained in Pakistan and fought alongside Hezbollah in South Lebanon. By 2000, over one hundred Qibla supporters had been arrested for violent offenses. After 9/11, Qibla announced that it had recruited fighters to send to Afghanistan.

Qibla is not the only group with which Ahmed Kassim is involved. In 1995, he was appointed chair of the Islamic Unity Convention (IUC), an umbrella organization for over 250 South African Muslim groups. There has been speculation that the IUC is a front for Qibla, and the group has voiced its support for convicted terrorists. Following the sentencing of those involved in the 1993 New York "Day of Terror" plot, Kassim and the IUC penned an open letter to President Clinton that demanded "the immediate and unconditional release" of plot mastermind Shaikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and "all those sentenced with him."

To spread its message, the IUC set up the Cape Town-based Radio 786. The station, which claimed 135,000 listeners in a 2000 survey, it presents programs focusing on social issues that concern the Muslim community as well as the broader public to South Africa's Muslims. In a 1998 report, the Israeli government singled out Radio 786 for its use of "classical anti-Semitic themes." Currently, the Radio 786 website boasts an extensive tribute to deceased Palestinian freedom fighter and Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin. [2]