Some days ago, the Islamic State removed Abubakar Shekau and named Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the new leader of Boko Haram.
Al Barnawi thereafter released an audio message where he accused Shekau of “Violating Islamic tenets, living a life of luxury with his wives, neglecting starving women and children.”
Here are excerpts of the message:
“[Shekau] was boasting that if we attempt to escape from his empire his men will kill us.
“He is a liar.
“I am not the only one that left, but eight of us left, all kitchen cabinet members.
“And right now two other top members are on the way to join us. We are all here.
“The issue of Islam is not personal, there is no sentiment in Islam, and that is why we are here.
“Nobody can dare us or stop us from it, no matter how he brags.
“Here we are on our own. Can’t you see how we left your empire?
“We left women and everything and just left with guns on our shoulders.
“We would have crushed anyone that stood on our way.
“We said we would not touch anyone but just go on our way to our religion.
“We will fight for the cause of Allah and work against personalizing Jihad and against unjustifiable killings and shedding of blood.
“We are out because you came out with your own cassette.
“We want our people to know proper Islam because Allah in the Quran forbids killings without justification.
“In the Quran, Allah forbade Muslims from killing one another…and he also taught against killing in secret.
“If it is serious punishment, it must be public for people to know and witness it.
“But once you see killings in secret, there is something fishy and this is what we noticed with Shekau.
“What he is doing is not Islam.
“He said we should follow him and we agreed, but we later realized it is another thing and we said no.
“We have to stick to the Quran and what Allah said, not [follow] someone’s waywardness.
“We have vowed to say the truth. If we will be eaten, let us be eaten up and if we will be roasted, let us be roasted.
“We will not leave our fellow brothers in the dark; this message of mine will get to Sambisa Forest.
“It will get into Shekau’s house. We have agents that will convey the message no matter how he dislikes it.
“In one of our Shura meetings, someone asked Shekau how he felt about Muslims running away from their own land to the land of the infidels for their own safety.
“Shekau said [the Muslims] are also infidels.
“These people are not infidels, they are Muslims running for their lives.
“Shekau is ignorant of the fact that it is forbidden for a Muslim to be killed after being chased out of Islamic Caliphate to a strange land and [when the Muslim] has not taken part in any conspiracy against Muslims.
“[Shekau] is ignorant and needs to be taught the rudiments of Islam.
“Islam is not his creation. Only Allah defines who is a Muslim and who is an infidel.
“Even if you travel to a foreign land, you have no jurisdiction to say who is who until you have a basis.
“Anywhere you go you can’t say who is who. You can’t kill and take away people’s properties.
“We fled from him with our religion for good.
“It is there in the books, when you are not allowed to do Islam you have the liberty to flee and follow what you know is right.
“Shekau, we did not touch you, don’t touch us. If you touch us we will touch you and we are many against you.
“We have people in your house and even your present hideout.
“[Shekau] said he is looking for our information. We also have your information and we are close to you.
“What kind of thing is this?
“There were states we captured as part of the Islamic Caliphate and you allowed men to be looting property.
“We told you and you did not take action.
“We don’t know this brand of Jihad; you kill children, women and bomb people.
“We should be looking for infidels and not our own people.
“How can we be killing people in the mosques when there are churches, barracks?
“It is nonsense and Allah will ask you [about it] if you don’t repent.
“Another thing is, [Shekau] is interpreting verses with his own opinions and the cassettes are being spread.
“Stop interpreting the Quran with your own opinion.
“We who lived with [Shekau] knew his conduct.
“What is not in the Hadith, he will insist that it is there.
“Kai, Imam, all these interpretations are your own creation. Please go and seek education and knowledge from those that know.
“Nobody should believe him. People should seek understanding and not depend on his lies.
“Haba Imam, have you forgotten our past?
“Is this how we started?
“You forgot your days in our learning place with your two items of clothing, learning under the tree?
“And today you are arrogant and killing your own people because you have now got an empire?
“You forgot how you rushed to pass a verdict over the case of a man over sheep?
“And you rushed a judgment that saw the man’s hand amputated.
“The same thing happened in Bama.
“Let us teach you, Imam.
“It is your responsibility to look after fighters and ensure their welfare.
“Go and study the Quran. It is not me that wrote, but it is there in the Quran.
“Anything that was given to you, you must provide for the welfare of the fighters.
“Imagine him in the cassette I played saying Allah said fighters should feed him.
“Tell us where in the Quran Allah said we should feed you?
“We know it is your responsibility to feed us and give us money for chicken and all our needs.
“This is the truth, Imam.
“Even [when fighters] advance towards enemies, [Shekau] doesn’t make logistics available.
“The other time, we lost plenty of gas and fuel to fire.
“Before, you ruled over us, but now we are free.
“Another thing that made us leave you is because you don’t listen to your cabinet.
“If we follow Shekau, we will never make heaven. That is why we left.
“Stop giving opinionated fatwa.
“You don’t listen and accept our views.
“Another thing is Shekau doesn’t make weapons available for fighters.
“People fighting a war are left with no weapons.
“We have lost many territories in our emerging Islamic caliphate to infidels because of your laxity.
“You are the cause.
“This was the beginning of our revolt against you.
“If you leave us alone, we will leave you alone.
“If you continue antagonizing us, we will also continue.
“If you repent, we will accept you and embrace you. You should repent and fear Allah.
“This is the open letter to you.