Readings — From the June 2008 issue

Cheaper Cell

From a memorandum by Mohammed Atef, a.k.a. Abu Hafs, an Egyptian-born Al Qaeda leader who died in Afghanistan in 2001, to Abu Khabab, an Al Qaeda member. Translated from the Arabic by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful—

Honorable brother Abu Khabab, salaam and may Allah bless you and grant you good offspring, amen.

When I came back from my trip, I heard about some of the incidents that took place between you and the brothers. I was very upset about what you did. I hope that you can explain your point of view by writing a detailed letter, because I won’t be able to see you.

  1. The tickets: I obtained 75,000 rupees for you and your family’s trip to Egypt. I learned that you did not submit a voucher to the accountant, and that you made reservations for 40,000 rupees and kept the remainder, claiming you had the right to do so. We believe that a brother should take only what he needs for the trip. I would like you to know that we have never given such an amount to anyone else. Abu Obaida granted this money to you under great legal stress. So I hope you will meet with the accountant and give him a copy of the tickets as well as the remaining amount.

  2. The air conditioner: You have not paid the 20,000 rupees for it. As you know, the appliances used by brothers in Al Qaeda are not considered anyone’s private property but rather part of a trust. Brothers are allowed to use furniture until they leave, at which time they should return it.

  3. Your salary: You added an amount of 3,000 rupees to your salary for three months during your sick leave. I told you you were not entitled to it and that you had to check with Abu Obaida about it. You said you were in need of money. I told you to send the money back to us and that we would help with whatever we could. The following day, as I recall, I sent 15,000 rupees to help provided that you paid back the amount added to your salary. I waited, but you did not send us the money, so please explain this issue to the accountant or to brother Othman.

  4. The memos: I also heard that you went to the Shari’ah Institute and took the memos pertaining to the special courses. You are not allowed to do that. These memos belong to the Institute, whether they were photocopies or originals. Send the memos back where they belong.

  5. The car: Please turn over the car to brother Othman at the Al Qaeda guesthouse. This is an order you must follow as a member of Al Qaeda.

  6. Conduct: I learned from brother Othman that you talked to him in a threatening manner. You should not have done that, because we are all brothers in the eyes of Allah. If you believe you were treated unjustly, all you have to do is to tell your official brothers about your feelings.

You know very well—may Allah have mercy on us—that we are both equally responsible for the aforementioned amounts of money. I would like to remind you that you pledged allegiance to Abu Obaida in front of me and that you and I are subject to punishment for any violation.

I pray to Allah to grant you and me sincerity. Allah knows that we should be very careful not to do any injustice to anyone.

Your brother,
Abu Hafs

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