Durban – The self-proclaimed Islamic State is recruiting South Africans to join its cause. And some have already made the caliphate their home.

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Independent Media has obtained a step-by-step guide on how South Africans can travel via Turkey to the caliphate’s headquarters in Syria.

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The document is available online via a micro-blogging platform, but can only be accessed with a password.

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It includes details such as how to book flights, accommodation, what to pack for the journey, who to contact once you reach Turkey, how to contact “your agent”, and how to make your way to IS-controlled land.

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The organisation has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria. It also has operations in Libya, Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. It aims to create a society based on a fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law.

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The UN has declared IS a terrorist organisation after several beheadings of foreign prisoners and attacks on non-Muslims.

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Independent Media has previously reported on claims that some South Africans have joined IS.

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This week, we used social network platforms to track down two South Africans who claimed to have joined the group. One claimed to be from Port Elizabeth and the other from Joburg.

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Using the pseudonym Abu Hurarya Al-Afriki, 18, one of the men said he had been living in the caliphate for two months. A second man who identified himself as Abu Layth Al-Hindi, 25, joined the caliphate a month ago.

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Both have set up social media accounts to help South Africans wanting to join IS.

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Al-Hindi said life in the caliphate was tough at times.

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“But by the will of Allah, you can overcome anything,” he said.

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Al-Hindi said access to the caliphate was becoming more difficult.

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“Now we have a new rule called tazkiya. You have to give the state a guarantee that you know and completely trust the person you are bringing. If it is found that the person is not trustworthy or that the person is a spy, then both you and the person will be beheaded.”

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Al-Hindi said anyone planning on hijrah (migration) to IS would have to do so at their own expense.

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“However, once you get here everything is provided for you. You are given all basic necessities, you are placed into a job if you would like to work and you won’t have to deal with the nonsense that people put up with in South Africa. It is the life that every believer wishes to lead.”

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He claimed he was aware of 11 South Africans living in IS, but Independent Media has no way of verifying this. “We all get to know each other here.

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“The English speakers generally meet and discuss where they are from.”

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The name Al-Afriki means someone from Africa.

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“It is my duty to guide and assist people to the khilafah (caliphate). I have already been contacted by nearly 100 South Africans wanting to join us,” said Al-Afriki.

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“Guidance from Allah made me join the Islamic State. As a Muslim, you will lead a life full of honour. The attraction is simple. We just want to live under Islam. We don’t want to see evil, vice, gambling, nudity, prostitution, music, murder, deception, uncleanliness, streets reeking of faeces and a host of other evil and filth which exists in the Western world.

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“The khilafah does exactly what Allah has told us to do. It is not permitted for a Muslim to live amongst the disbelievers in their lands; it is only rightful for a Muslim to live in an Islamic state, governed by the laws of Allah. The disbelievers are governed by man-made laws.

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“Life here is like life in the time of the Messenger. We live the same way in which his companions lived. It is necessary for Muslims to have a leader, a caliphate and power for Muslims to establish Islam and its complete control over the world,” he said.

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Both the men said their job was to encourage and guide other South Africans to the caliphate.

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They said it was better than living in South Africa or in a Western country.

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“The attraction is simple. We live the life we want to lead under Islam and by the guidance of the holy Qur’an. Muslims who do not choose this life are misguided and they are not just non-believers, but they are sinners,” said Al-Hindi.

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“As a Muslim, you would lead a life full of honour; therefore I encourage my brothers and sisters to join me in the khilafah.”

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Al-Hindi said that although they are asked to surrender their passports upon arrival, they were also allowed to leave the state at any time they chose.

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“If you want to leave, you have to go to the border office and collect your passport. They will take you over safely,” he said.

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Al-Hindi said those who entered IS were provided with a home if they had come with their family or spouses.

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If a woman entered the caliphate on her own or with friends, she was placed in a special guesthouse with widows and other unmarried women.

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Once in the state, all expenses are taken care of, including medical care.

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Women are placed into jobs, as nurses, receptionists or in a special media department where they promote IS in articles to attract more people to the IS.

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“Women don’t even need to work because the monthly stipend is sufficient for them. But if they choose to work, they can do so,” Al-Hindi said.

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He said there were added benefits. “When you get married you get a special gift from the state. All newlyweds get a gift of $1 000 which is equivalent to R11 500. Which country in the world does this?” he said.

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He said children were well cared for.

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“They can go to school and learn.

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“They get a normal education just like one would get in a Western country, but obviously guided by the principles of Islam. Our women and children are not deprived like most people think,” he said.

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“You will live a life far better than those who live in the West. The time is now for you to join us, before it is too late – the doors are slowly closing.

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“And, to the Western world, I have one message for you: ‘Die in your rage.’”

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Sunday Tribune